a Cross Country Rider
from Missoula, MT
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2011
Strengths: Frame. Suspension (design and hardware)The Fox Float RP2 and F120 RL fork are easy to set up and have performed flawlessly.
Weaknesses: Tires, pedals, brakes.
What a great bike. I bought this as an entry level ride for endurance racing. I have put several hundred miles on it over the last couple of months, and it has not missed a beat. It inspires confidence while descending and LOVES to climb. There is virtually no pedal bob while climbing with the pro pedal engaged on the Fox RP2. It is very efficient. I have heard ugly things about the WTB Speedisc wheelset, but I have been very happy with them. At 210 lbs, I have put them through the ringer. They have yet to go out of true and are reasonably light for the price.
Drawbacks: The stock seat, a Fi'zik Nissense, left me numb in 5 minutes..so it went along with the stock 32 tooth rear cassette. The trails in Montana are WAY to steep and long for a 11-32 tooth (at least for this old guy)The tires are also pure suck. Do your self a favor, switch them out and run tubeless. It will save you a ton of weight and energy. The most glaring problem is the Avid Juicy three discs. They are underpowered, inconsistent and NOISY. They are the next thing to go.
Given the price of this bike ( Under a grand on ebay)The value is still fantastic given the minor upgrades you might want to make.
Overall I am completely happy with the purchase. I rode the Butte 100 with this rig and it rocked. The best thing I can say about it is that I forgot it was there while I was riding. It just became part of the rider.4 Chilis of 5. I took one off just because of the upgrades that need to be made.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 14, 2010
Strengths: Single pivot, raw finish, OS headtube, cannondale name, made in USA, stiff rear end, great climber, step on the gas and it motors......
Weaknesses: seat tube too short for XL it should be at least 21" not 19.7" since most riders who opt for XL need a 21" seat tube. Mounting of rear shock needs to be switched to lever in front for easy reach.
This bike is designed for the XC rider at heart and for the beginner rider into full suspension XC this bike is a fabulous ride. The RP2 is a great simple shock that offers open and lockout Propedal. If you are a heavy rider such as 240+ do not get this bike for it is really designed for the sub 230lb rider and below. It is not designed for all mountain riding like the Yeti 575 since the Rush has 110 mm of rear travel so it is geared around climbing, tight single track, fast trails, long rides etc. It is not a jumping bike either so do not do any ledges above 3ft high for this is a stay glued to the trail and ride. It is a peddaling machine not a gravity machine. For under 2 grand this bike rocks and the raw finish on a single pivot looks sexy to some and ugly to others either way it rides really well. The rear shock mounting hardware is very user friendly and is a breeze to work with. The mounting hardware on the Cannondale is far easier than the previous Yeti 575 which was an enormous headache.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Antonio TX USA
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2008
Strengths: Excellent ride for both road and off-road. Handles the trails very well. It is also very comfortable to ride for long durations.
Weaknesses: Stock SPD pedals - experienced inconsistent release. Suggest upgrading these pedals.
After shopping around, I found this full-suspension MTB to be among the lightest (29 lb./13.1 kg) for this price. It has an excellent Al frame design from Cannondale, made at their Bedford, PA plant. Components are excellent for this class of bike.
a Weekend Warrior
from Chicago, IL
Date Reviewed: August 16, 2008
Strengths: Quality frame, suspension, drivetrain
This bike is quality. The only negative is the pedals, which are terrible. I can't say enough about the Fox suspension either; it's simple to adjust the air pressure and even easier to adjust your rebound on the fly. I'm been impressed by the drivetrain as well, and it's holding up a lot better than I anticipated. This bike will last me at least 5 years. I agree with the previous reviewer's comment... if you're considering getting a full suspension bike drop everything and buy this bike now.
Strengths: The frame and suspension. This is a nice smooth, steady, predictable bike.
Weaknesses: The Wellgo pedals. I suggest you switch them out ASAP. I found out the hard way that release is unpredictable. Sometimes they would not release and tenaciously gripped my cleat, even in the lightest release setting. This was especially true when trying to clip out when the pedal was in a forward position. The inability to clip out resulted in an ankle injury during a fall. I think the cleat can sometimes get jammed in the space in the split retainer in the front of the pedal. That's my theory, anyway. The plastic on my seat has come loose from the bottom leaving a rather sharp piece of plastic hanging below the seat. I should re-glue that.
I ride on trails usually 3 or more times per week for fun and exercise. I really like this bike. It is a lot of fun and I think it is a pretty good value. For example, you can find the same shock and fork on bikes costing hundreds more. The drive train and shifters have worked well, but need occasional adjustment. Brakes have been dependable although I don't find them particularly powerful. Suspension has worked very well and I found it easy to set up. The tires have given me adequate traction for my usual rides, which include eastern dirt, mud, rocks and roots. I don't push the limits. Some folks may want a more aggressive tread. I'm not sure about the weight, it feels light to me. I'm not an ounce counter or a racer. I am now climbing stuff I wasn't able to climb before and riding over trail obstacles that I wouldn't have attempted before. I think this is an excellent trail bike for a recreational rider who doesn't want to spend a lot of money. For me, it has everything I want and nothing I don't. It's just a good, solid dependable trail bike, no gimics. Highly recommended. I have to take one chili off because the stock pedals caused me a major hurt.
Similar Products Used: My last mountain bike was a completely rigid GT Tequesta, so this is a nice upgrade. I have been mostly riding my road bike the last few years.
Bike Setup: Stock setup except for I now have Shimano M540 pedals, which I like a lot and release dependably. Incidently, the retainer at the front of the Shimanos is one solid piece, not split like on the Wellgos, therefore, no cleat jams. Again, just my theory.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 23, 2008
Strengths: Frame, suspension. Smooth, steady, comfortable and predictable ride. Good for a "masters" rider like me.
Weaknesses: Stock Wellgo pedals. My advice is to change them out ASAP. For me, they did not release consistently sometimes tenaciously gripping my cleat and refusing to let go, even on the lightest release setting. This was most noticeable when I tried to release at the front of the pedal stroke. My theory is that the cleat can get jammed in the open area at the front of the pedal. Anyway, a failure to release caused me a major hurt. The pedals came off and went in the garbage. The seat is coming apart. The plastic is coming off the bottom, which could cause a cut in a crash. I could glue it back, guess I should probably do that before my next ride.
I ride trails on this bike 3 or more times per week, usually at least an hour per ride. It's my primary form of execise. My road bike has been sitting idle in the basement. I am very pleased with this bike and have had a lot of fun on it. I think you get a lot of value for the money. For example, you will find the same fork and shock on bikes costing hundreds more. For me the Rush 5Z has everything I need and nothing I don't. Nothing fancy, just a good, dependable trailbike. Everything has worked well for me so far (except pedals). The frame looks great (I got black). The hydraulic brakes have been reliable, although I don't find they have a lot of power. Shifting has been good, you have to keep it adjusted though. Suspension works well. Wheels have been reliable. The tires have provided decent traction on the dirt, roots, rocks and mud that I typically ride. Some may want a more aggressive tread. I think the bike is a good all around trailbike for the recreational rider who doesn't want to spend a ton of money. Not sure about the weight. Feels light to me, I'm not an ounce counter or a racer. I'll give 5 for value and 4 for the overall rating due to the pedals and seat. I think they should just sell the bike without pedals rather than put those Wellgos on.
Similar Products Used: My last mountain bike was a rigid GT Tequesta, so this is a nice upgrade. I've been mostly road biking over the past few years.
Bike Setup: Stock except changed pedals to Shimano PD-M540. They have been flawless and always release when necessary.
a Weekend Warrior
from cary, nc
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2008
Strengths: For the price... excellent design and combination of components. Seems to work in perfect harmony for me. I have put about 150 miles of single track (3/4) and road (1/4) on this dog, and it's been pure pleasure.
Weaknesses: Tires (Maxxis Ridgeline) are inadequate for southeast dirt and mud, and I really need to upgrade to something a little more agressive (Ridgeline is designed for hard pack found more regularly in Western US).
Great rig. Oh yeah... it's made ("handmade") in the good ole U. S. of A, so no cheap Chinese/Taiwanese crap here. Plus, you won't get the run-around from Cannondale if something goes wrong.
Similar Products Used: Gary Fischer, Trek, Specialized,
Bike Setup: Stock... for now
a Weekend Warrior
from Abingdon, MD
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2008
Strengths: Warranty, Frame, Components, Fork, Shock, and the list goes on.
Weaknesses: None that I would call "weaknesses". With that being said I would upgrade the seat, seatpost, bars and stem.
The bottom line is you will not find a better equipped full suspension rig out there, period. I researched all the major players and nothing came close to offering the same equipment as this model. At 28 lbs stock, it was lighter then my hardtail! I plan on having this baby down to 26lbs, by next season. I would recommend swapping out the saddle, bars and stem. Here you can shave a few pounds and make the bike a bit more comfortable. I have the FOX F120 RL set to quick rebound for better downhill stability and the reat RP2 set about mid way through the rebound adjustment so a cush rearend. If your thinking about this bike, STOP, and get it! You will not regret it!
Favorite Trail: Chapel Hill, Carrboro, FairHill, White Clay
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Princeton Sports and Travel
Similar Products Used: none
Bike Setup: Stock except for, Easton Monkeylite SL handlebars, Thomson Seatpost, Crank Bros Candy pedals. Plan on switching out the stem for a 90MM and the saddle for something a bit more comfie.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2008
Strengths: Handling, Fox Fork and Shock, Sram X-9, looks, ride quality.
Weaknesses: I have seriously not found one yet.
This bike is for someone that wants a quality bike with quality components for an excellent price. I love this bike!!! It has made me a better, more confident rider pretty much from day 1. The Raw finish is awsome and shows no blemishes. I love the suspension - it makes the ride so much better. There is not a day I regret buying this bike. There is not a day that goes by that I don't want to ride it either.
Similar Products Used: 1st full suspension. Have had a few quality hardtails. I looked at the FSR XC, HiFi, and the Fuel EX. This one by far had the best of what I was looking for.
Bike Setup: Stock except for EggBeaters.
a Weekend Warrior
from Chapel Hill, NC USA
Date Reviewed: March 25, 2008
Strengths: This is a great "trail" bike for the serious weekend warrior. It is great for that involve some drops and jumps (1-3 feet). It is a great climber and exudes confidence downhill. Raw finish has been very durable (or maybe just hides trail blemishes well). I have been extremely impressed with the SRAM components (combo of x-7 and x-9). Avid Juicy 3 have been ok. No real concerns. Fox front and rear suspension has been great thus far. Easy to tune to rider preference.
Weaknesses: The bike is on the heavy side, but with a couple extra $$, that can be changed. I really havent noticed the weight though. The Maxxis Ridgeline tires have been sufficient, but not great. I have occassional traction problems when climbing, depending on wet versus dry conditions. The slipping may be "rider error" as well. Tires are easy to change out.
Bottom line, is that this is a great entry level bike for a weekend warrior who is serious about his equipment. I returned to mountain biking after a 10 year break. In doing so, I did lots of homework on which bike to buy. After countless hours on MTBR, and many other forums and websites, I opted for the 5Z. I could not be happier. I highly recommend this bike to anyone who wants a great trail bike at a decent price.
Similar Products Used: Test rode Specialized FSR Expert, Trek 69er Fuel and 69er 3x9 hardtail, Fisher X-caliber, Cannondale Prophet, and Cannondale Caffeine (26 and 29er)
Bike Setup: Currently is stock setup with exception of ODI grips. Plans for upgrading wheels and tires but haven't felt a need to do so immediately. Gonna ride the stuff till it needs replaced.
from Pittsburgh PA
Date Reviewed: February 25, 2008
Strengths: The frame and the suspention are top notch, the bike floats down the trail. The suspention is very tunable and I can't say enough. As usual the C-dale frame climbs better than you would think. Great bike for XXC or XC racing. X9 drive train is great.
Weaknesses: The wheels suck, heavy and the hubs are very ah..Clunky is a good word, The wheels need to go. The brakes are a little week. A touch heavy for 1700.00 (mostly in the wheels)
This is a a great fram and suspention. Just understand if you plan on building a fullout racer, your really only getting frame and suspention at this price point as most of the componets are just to heavy. If you a week end trail rider, you'd be hard pressed to find a better bike for 1700 bucks. Well just my thoughts.