Weaknesses: Cruising-like tyres in the initial setup - have to change to a set of slightly lighter and more lively tyres.
1FG makes a great bike, having one of the finest moderately priced frames I've ridden. For a sub 70 kg rider it appears to be as rigid as you would ever imagine.
Obviously enough, there's always something to improve: First of all, could use some high-end components (mainly seatpost, seat, cranks) as the Optimo frame sets a solid ground for a truly outstanding setup. Components are sensibly chosen though, durability and expense in mind. Also, hydraulic rim brakes would add to the simplicity and ease of maintenance/repair.
I'll give it 5 chilis for the value (even considering the European pricing) and 4 chilis overall. With some minor upgrades, it'll be outstanding...
Bike Setup: Cannondale Bad Boy 1FG - standard setup, except the pedals (Shimano M324).
Date Reviewed: December 9, 2004
Strengths: 1-The finish is awesome, this is a beautiful bike. 2-The price was cheap 3-First week of riding was fantastic
Weaknesses: 1-The stem, seat post and V-brakes were awful 2-The contest creaking from the EBB was obnoxious(this happened to others I talked with that had the same bike) 3-For single speed way to much maintenance adjusting the EBB 4-The EBB adjustment is on the Drive side which makes it hard for easy on the fly adjustments
The EBB adjustments would last anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks before it started creaking(loudly). I had the bike shop work on it and they had no more luck than me. A Cannondale rep (hearsay) told the bike store that you can flip-flop the EBB, bad idea-this causes the BB to come loose. The 1FG goes up for sale today, I have another SS frame coming UPS tomorrow. I wrote Cannondale and they blew me off saying that their was no problems with the EBB. If only they would take a look and see all the people having problems with it in the MTBR SS forum. All around bad design from slipping and accessibility to the EBB adjustment. I suggest if you just got it take it back I had a friend who took his right back. Thanks for nothing
Similar Products Used: 1-1st single speed 2-Gary Fisher Sugar 3 2000
Bike Setup: Hope Mini's, Monkey Lite bars, Thomson Seat Post, Easton Stem, Chris King headset,
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2004
Strengths: A lot of value for the dollars. This was a closeout deal which made it even better. Very light straight forward singlspeed design right out of the box.
Weaknesses: No mention of the Ebb in the owners manual I got. But this info and all you need is at the Cannondale website.
I have ridden this bike 3 times now and have found it to a lot of fun. I get a better workout and this bike will improve my climbing and all around biking skills. It has been years since I bought a complete bike and this has been a pleasure.
Similar Products Used: Klein Pulse race - converted to SS Ti Hardtail - was converted, now back to gears
Bike Setup: Fox Vanilla RL set at 80mm with very stiff springs, Crank Candy pedals, a larger rear gear for the hills. Other than that stock.
a Cross Country Rider
from Philadelphia, PA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2004
Strengths: This bike has alot to offer, even stock. I made the decision to get this simply because I wanted a single speed, and after having a Scalpel 800, 2 years ago, I liked the cannondale frames. This frame is very strong, and certainly can take a beating. The wheels are fine for an initial set, or perhaps just a backup set. The actual bars/stem/seatpost are "alright" for begining.
Weaknesses: The frame has no issues, not does the fork. I do want to point out some component weaknesses;
1) Brakes. Both the levers and the V's are crap. Replace with disk ASAP. This is the worst part on the bike. While they do work if maintained, they are loud and somewhat annoying at times.
2) Stem, Seatpost, Seat (Depending on what model). The step is cheap, replace with thomson. The seatpost is also cheap, and as mentioned, replace with thomson. The seat that I got was a fizik, which I will comment and say is not a good one and combined with the seatpost, makes ALOT of noise.
3) Wheelset. Don't get me wrong here, the wheels are fine, but they are not great, and you might as well do better getting a built up King $$$ or Paul, or White etc...
4) I am getting some noise from the EBB, but I would imagine I need adjustments and greese (and a bit of oil). A tip I picked up was to drop a dab of oil down the seat-tube to the EBB.
The bottom line, and I will not go into much detail as the other posts explain alot, is that this bike is fantastic. I got a good deal on it being last years model, and there are changes with the '04 compared to the '03, forged vs. CNC. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to get into single speed. As mentioned below, when you get on and ride this bike, it just GOES!!! with no noise!
When you make the upgrade to some parts, you truly have a proven race bike for single speed. I can out gun regular hardtails and full suspension bikes no problem. The bike will allow you to do things that you never thought you could do over time, and if you go back to a regular bike, you could be even better.
Some people might feel that the bike lacks since there is not fork. I am not a fan of cannondale's proprietary forks, and therefore I would not consider purchasing their headshock model. When you buy the rigid, you get a 1 1/8" headet so you can put a king in, or whatever you like, and mount a good fork without the 1.5" hassle. I have run rigid for awhile since owning it, and it really works well. Put a little less pressure in the tires, and you will be otherwise good to go. Only once did I feel that I could have used a front fork. Probobly the best would be to have a front fork available if you know the terrain will be junk. Keep the rigid for most of the regular riding, and just hot swap them out.
Bike Setup: 1FG w/Thomson Post, Thomson Stem, EA50 Bar, Stock Grips, Jucy Seven Disk F/R, Stock Wheels, Stock Seat.
from St-Martin, Guadeloupe, FRANCE
Date Reviewed: November 14, 2003
Strengths: + Simple + Cool + Different + Cheap + Training tool + No maintenance + Impressive + Light + Strong
Weaknesses: + Brakes + Excentric on tandem side + Part I don't like (crank + stem + seatpost + brakes + handlebar)
I have a Kona Bear Dee Lux, a Trek 9.8, a cannondale Tandem a Klein road bike. If someone break in my house I would like him to leave the 1FG. If you can change your trails around your house, buy this bike. It's like learning how to ride again. At first you wonder how you will be able to enjoy to hammer uphill and spin like crazy on the flats plus kill your wrists on all the rocks. The 1FG will teach you. It's a formidable training tool. One thing your riding buddies will never stand : you beating them with no shifters. This is the bike of kings. Did I write how cool and retro it looks ?
Bike Setup: Thomson seatpost + Weyless carbon bar (very wide) + XT Vs + Stan tubeless on 2.3 tires
a Cross Country Rider
from Austin, TX
Date Reviewed: October 12, 2003
Strengths: Simple design. Good component mix. Good value for the money. Stealth looks.
Weaknesses: Seatpost, stem and Coda V-Brakes. I've already swapped out the seatpost and stem with Thomson and the V-Brakes were swapped for Avid mechanical discs.
1) Cannondale has really changed over the past year since they declared bankruptcy and were taken over by the Pegasus group. It is obvious that they've gotten back to their roots (building frames) and away from all the other really bad ideas they were pursuing for the past several years (dirt bikes, components, etc.). I'm all for companies turning themselves around after losing their way and I think this is such a case. Their other bikes also appeared to have improved quality and components as well this year.
2) Frame - This is what Cannondale does best. The frame has a classic geometry and is built with they're new "Optimo" tubing that is found on their high-end road bikes. The frame features an eccentric bottom bracket which allows the use of vertical dropouts and disc brakes without problems. The bottom bracket is adjustable with a 4mm wrench if you need to tension the chain. The rear derailleur hanger has a hook on the end that can be used a bottle opener if you want (this isn't confirmed through Cannondale, but I've tried it and it works).
The frame color is simply called "Raw" and it is just that. Raw aluminum tubing, welds, etc. The entire frame is clear coated to protect against oxidation, but the overall look is very utilitarian and stealth. I suppose you could say it's ugly and unfinished, but I like it anway. The bike looks like it is made to be ridden hard from the color down to the very beefy welds present. I will feel no guilt about beating on this bike. I also liked the graffitti-style labels they had on the bike which contribute to the Urban attitude.
3) Components - First of all the component group lacks the familar in-house Coda brand that Cannondale used to use all over the place. The Coda equipment was sometimes passable, but usually junk. I'm glad to see it gone on most places. Cannondale knows frames and should leave the components to those companies that specialize in such things. The bike is spec'd with Shimano cranks (Ok they're LX, but still better than Coda), Spot singlespeed hubs on Mavic 225 rims with DT spokes, Ritchey seatpost and stem (weakest part of the mix IMHO), Continental tires, Cane creek headset, and Coda V-Brakes (which were promptly removed). I put on some Avid mechanicals which are simply awesome and compare equally to my hydraulic brakes on my other bikes. I also removed the Shimano clipless and put on the Crank Brother Candy SL pedals. I love the eggbeater pedals but always found they have a "hot spot" in the middle of the foot with the small platform. These pedals completely eliminated the problem and I'm going to switch my other bikes over to these pedals now as well.
The gearing is the single speed standard 2:1 with a 32T front and 16T rear on the Spot hub. The basic bike costs about $899 plus the addition of the Avids (pretty cheap to do, about $70 bucks a wheel if you mail-order) and Candy SL pedals.
4) Value - Overall I think the value is pretty good. I was going to convert my old Cannondale F700 over to single speed and it would have cost close to $300 to do the basic job (new wheel and hub, chain tensioner, cogs, etc.) and it wouldn't have looked nearly as clean. So for a little more cash you get a frame specifically built for singlespeed (the eccentric bottom bracket is a huge deal if you want to run disc brakes). You also get a decent mix of components to get you up and running along with a strong frame that is very light and uses Cannondale's best alloy.
5) The ride - So the bike is completely rigid which is a not a huge deal for me because my first bike was a fully rigid Trek 850. I took the bike on some smooth and fast trails to test it out. First of all if you've never rode singlespeeds before it's something to experience. I was always amazed at riding with guys on single speeds and having them blow everyone in the group away. Now I know why: You have to ride fast or you stall on the climbs. Easy enough to understand but harder to put into practice. I maintained a good momentum and only had to bail off the bike after one creek crossing where I lost traction.
This bike is really fun to ride through the twisties. It is just as fast as my full speed when the ground is smooth. In fact I turned in my best time at this particular trail riding the 1FG! I think this is simply because you have to maintain focus and momentum and don't have to the luxury of slacking off and having a granny gear to bail you out. Also when you stomp on the pedals the bike just moves. No saggy suspension, no derailleur problems, just speed.
The rigid frame takes a little getting used to on the rocky sections. By the second day I was pretty stoked with the ride and used to the stiff ride. I may still put on an 80mm Fox though to smooth things out a little. Lastly, the lack of a derailleur, cables, etc. makes for a really quiet ride in the woods. No chain slap, mis-shifts, clicking rapid fire, etc. Just smooth and quiet.
6) Overall - I'm very happy with the bike. I really think the singlespeed is going to improve my riding by forcing me to maintain momentum, not rely on gears to get out of trouble, and build up cardio and power. If you have a spare bike you should try building up a single speed and giving it a shot. If you don't want the hassle you should check out the Cannondale 1FG (1 F&*king Gear). For the price I think it's pretty hard to beat.