When I first looked at this bike I was worried. It's not the most popular bike and had a very vast verity of specs. But i was wrong. This bike is great big wow! Suspension work in sync, the frames amazing, handles awesome on berms and technical trails.whats not to like. Well something's. the Kenda tyres tend to slip a lot on rocks and loose ground, most of the times u hav 2 skid around those tight corners. The crankset on mine was for a 9 speed when the shimano shifter were 4 a 10 speed. Those 2 things can be changed (which I did) and now is a awesome XC/Trail bike that luvs to climb and luvs to decend.
Strengths: Great frame, geometry, components that behave, grips, brakes, wheels & tires, front forks
Weaknesses: Little hefty, dust squeal on the fr break, platform pedals
This for me was a return to a dual suspension bike after a 6 year hiatus. I was looking to get another Giant, but the inventory was not good for the XL sizes. This RZ 120 3 was supposedly the last one in the Illinois warehouse, and other reviews here convinced me it was a good bet.
This bike is a wowzer. It looks good and gets a lot of comments, and it runs very sturdy. There is some flex creak coming from somewhere that I will chase down. I have less than 100 miles on it so far, and the only beef is the high-pitched UFO sound coming from the front brake when you're in the top ring in high gear - in other words, maximum street speed. It doesn't seem to be binding and a touch of the lever makes it go away for a few seconds. Annoying, but not destroying, the experience.
I do river trails full of ruts and roots, and the RZ dances over them with aplomb. The geometry is exceptional - i should have wrecked a few times by now but the bike tends to figure out its own turns and is very forgiving for bad lanes through the rough.
You can really stand up and crank on this bike - it will reach high speeds over really rough footing if you're on the flat or on a down slope. It does take some extra umph to get the thing at speed. I haven't weighed it, but others guessed that it is close to 30 lbs and it feels like it.
This bike was the 2012 version that has Rock Shox, not the Lefty, up front, and they work fine. The breaking is good and not grabby, but will clamp down fast if you need it. Seat is surprisingly good, and the shifters are the most right-on of any bike I've ridden, hitting gears faithfully from any of the chain rings.
I got a decent price - $1600 out the door - and it still feels like an excellent deal for a solid frame and good components on a full suspension with disks. Match that with a really attractive design, and it's hard to beat.
Strengths: Super rigid platform in terms of the Lefty fork and stiff frame. Makes for a very precise great-handling bike. The bike is extremely versatile - can be set-up like an XC race bike or an all-mountain bike and is very capable of going up and coming down.
Lefty fork is best 120mm in the biz: rigid, lightweight and plush. Lefy maintenance/reliability issues are urban myth. Bearing reset is only a 3 min. affair.
The bike looks like a million bucks. Even non-bike people stop and look.
Weaknesses: Price. I got mine at a significant discount - otherwise would not have pulled the trigger. But when you factor in the Lefty fork, you are kinda getting what you pay for here. The rear suspension pivot bearings are lame and die in as little as 6 months. Luckily, heavy duty aftermarket replacements are readily available for cheap and last MUCH longer.
This is a review of an '11 RZ 120-2. Once set-up properly, the bike flat-out hauls arse! Up or down. Get the sag and reboud right, and the cockpit right (a flat wide bar for me), and put some correct rubbers on the rims for your area. The thing hooks-up on the nastiest techy climbs and bombs the gnarliest decents with reckless abandon. Lock-out the shock/fork and she pedals w/ hard tail like efficiency on flat smooth ground. I have mine set-up like a stouter/plusher Scalpel. Super percise/accurate in the corners, and climbs like its nobody's biz, but can effortlessly soak up and take a lot of abuse when coming down at speed. A great "do it all" bike that's precise yet plush, fast yet comfortable and durable. Great bike.
Strengths: Bike balance and handling, components, Instant rideability, climbing*
Weaknesses: weight and tires.
It was time to upgrade from my beloved Gary Fisher 26" hardtail (10+ yrs old) and I was looking at 29" hardtails and 26" all mountain bikes (full suspension short travel). I enjoy being the first up climbs and thought of myself as more of an XC rider who enjoys trail features. The shortlist was Giant Trance X4, Trek Fuel EX5, Kona Tanuki Deluxe, Scott Spark 60, GF X-Caliber, Specialized SJ HT 29r, Carve 29r. I found last years model Rize (2011) wallowing at my LBS with a great price tag on it. This bike was not on my short list due to lukewarm reviews and higher end cost.
I put a hold on the bike and went home to sleep it over (and check out the last bike on the list). To my dismay Giant has no stores in CT that had a Large or XL frame for me to try, very disappointing after learning it won MBRs 2011 trail bike award. Not unhappily I went back to buy the cannondale.
This bike was equipped with x7 shifters, x9 derailer, shimano crank, elixer 3 hydraulics, rockshox recon tk silver front and xfusion 120 mil rear, mavic 317 wheelset w kenda slant 6 tires. I took off the reflectors and stock metal platform pedals replacing with my spd clipless. Finally! we went straight to one of our local stomps, Tyler Mill, to see what kind of mess this bike could handle.
The Rize is a well balanced machine. VERY competent descender, fantastic handling in tight single track, and the components work well together. I was expecting more slug while ascending, and while the rear sag was noticeable it did not really impede my climbing. I found the bike to be very balanced in fast corners and enjoyed the full sus immensely. There is a double drop on a tech downhill that I felt capable of handling (a first), and hit almost 90% sag on landing. very smooth transition from pedalling efficiency to big hit handling. Bike is stable as a house. does very well on narrow park features (teeter totter great success!)
That being said, its heavy. Not pull your back out heavy, but noticeable on climbs. And the Kenda Slant 6 would not have been my first choice for the terrain up here in CT after having so much success on kinetics and nevgals.
Overall I was very pleased with this bike. The Rize 120-3 is an elegant machine with pleasing aesthetics. I went straight from the shop to the trail with no issues. We did 13 miles of dirt mud and water up and down over and under with no complaints from the bike and no more fatigue from the rider than what was expected. I may never go back to a hardtail.
Strengths: This bike is solid. Great suspension, really soaks up the bumps, and, maybe this is shallow, but it's got a really sweet paint scheme on it. I get compliments on it ALL THE TIME!
Weaknesses: Seems heavy, even after replacing the wheel set.
My bike is the "Feminine" version, so the components and fork/rear shock are different, which I'll outline below.
I took a huge leap of faith and bought this bike without test riding it, first. My LBS owner knew I was looking to upgrade to a FS from my entry-level HT Rockhopper that I'd been beating the heck out of for 5 years, and when he got a notice from Cannondale that this bike was on closeout from their warehouse, he called me right up and we ordered it after much deliberation. I was SO pleased when the bike came in and they built it up for me, as it was BEAUTIFUL, and not only that, but performed wonderfully out on the trails. I immediately felt more confident on this bike, as it soaked up former scary obstacles like they were mere blips on the trail. The BB is nice and high, so I can clear logovers with no problems. The bike is super responsive, well-balanced, and navigates down tight, twisty singletrack easily.
I'd recommend this for XC trail riders who like their terrain on the aggressive side, who like to tackle logovers and rock gardens, but still have a lot of climbs to hoof to get to their sweet, rippin' downhills. I only give it 3 chilis for value b/c the equivalent men's version has much nicer components. Overall, the bike is solid, and I have no complaints about its performance. The only complaint I do have about it is that the standover is quite high on it. I just barely clear the top tube, but I see that the 2012 version of this bike, the Lexi, has a shorter standover on it, so it seems they've addressed that. I swapped out the stock wheel set and Kenda Nevegal tires with Stan's Arches and Schwalbe Nobby Nics tires about a month ago, and I can feel a huge improvement in speed and "light footed-ness." It climbs almost as well as my 29er now.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2011
Strengths: Lefty Fork, Makes it easy to bounce over roots when climbing tech. singletrack
Weaknesses: Front Derailer, Wheelsets, rear derailer
Cannondale tried to make it right at the begining by giving me a new rear wheel,new front derailer,etc....but the bottom line is almost every time I ride it something isn't right and needs replaced. I know that stuff brakes, but really....every ride!!!!! Cannondale refused to call it a, "Lemon" when I asked for a trade in, or my $$$$ back after only having the bike 3 months and had to replace almost everything. I WILL NEVER BY CANNONDALE AGAIN. I can't wait to get rid of this thing at the end of the season!
Similar Products Used: 07 Stumpy comp (0oohh how I miss her)
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2010
Strengths: This bike is a 2010 bike through and through, unlikely to look dated as cannondale don't alter things all the time just get it right first time. Supple suspension which stiffens as you pedal down, sram gearing which is superior in my opinion, lightweight and excellent climber yet chuckable too. A confidence inspiring ride
Weaknesses: Stem too long and bars too thin unless you're a racer, Schwalbe Rocket ron's might be fast but not mud friendly, should have lock on grips as standard really, 1800 pound bikes should have sealed bearing hubs surely
The difference betwen this and the award winning, 2005 Scott Genius MC50 highlights the advancements that have been made in such a short time. This bike is stiffer, racier, lighter, the parts are superior (might cost more but prices have gone up) except for the hubs, though functionally they're similar anyway. Definitely could do with a shorter stem and some bigger bars as it's stretched and this would make it a better trail centre tamer as opposed to racer. It's a bike for life though and people who don't replace every year should look here, just upgrade as you feel as the frame is worth it and you'll have a top quality steed.
a Cross Country Rider
from Anchorage, Alaska
Date Reviewed: April 28, 2010
Strengths: The construction is super stiff, along with the Lefty gives you extra confidence that this thing can take nearly anything you find on the trails, in all it makes for an awesome XC ride. Lockout is a definite plus.
Weaknesses: The Lefty, I know it may sound like lunacy but I've had some trouble mounting my computer sensor on the fork (yes even with the lefty computer mount that Cdale makes) makes for really awkward mounting of the sensor and the magnet. Wish I had gone for a PBR instead of a DLR Lefty but not to say I'm not happy with it's performance anyway.
The seat isn't my cup of tea get a bit on your taint's nerves after a while, need to make the groove in the center deeper. The Noby Nick that come on it are a little sketchy when cornering on loose gravel but most riders should be able to manage.
This is definitely an XC/Marathon bike despite the seat issue I have with it, I could still ride all day on it without much complaint. Very pleased with the frame construction. I would only change the things that I mentioned in the weakness block and possibly change the setup to a 2X10 drivetrain. It's gonna be a great summer for riding and I honestly can't leave the damn thing alone (when I'm done riding I want to go back out again)
Cannondale Lefty's are somewhat proprietary so be warned if you plan on getting a roof rack for it or have one already buy the adapter (20$).
If you've an XC rider you will love this, if you're looking for more travel maybe the One Forty might by more for you but give this one a shot first you might be surprised.
Similar Products Used: Trek Liquid Twenty 2003 (stock)
Bike Setup: Stock except for Shimano M-520 pedals and Ergon GX1 grips.
a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder, Co, USA
Date Reviewed: April 5, 2010
Strengths: Stiff frame, great suspension feel, clean paint, great geometry, decent parts; comes with lock on grips and actual Candy pedals rather than low end Smartys.
Weaknesses: Brakes are a bit cheap; although they work just fine; XT hub would be better than a Deore at this price
The frame build quality, geometry, and the new lefty are outstanding. The parts are decent, except I'd expect nicer brakes for the $2600 retail price. Weight is at 28.5 including heavy pedals for size L. Rides smooth and the suspension is very predictable and balanced; considerably more so than my last FSR bike. The rear shock, Rockshox Monarch 3.3 is easy to use and feels efficient. Overall, the good suspension, handmade in USA frame, ride quality and high end aluminum; probably outweigh some of the cheaper parts; and it's BB30 compatible. Great frame to upgrade in the future.