Cannondale 4 Caffeine 29er Hardtail

  • Fork: RockShox Dart 329
  • Hubs: Shimano M475 rear
  • Chain: Shimano 9-speed
  • Handlebars: Cannondale C3, 20 mm rise
  • Brakeset: Shimano BR-485 160/160 mm

User Reviews (11)

Showing 1-10 of 11  
chad schrum   [Jun 18, 2013]
Strength:

frame x5 sram derailer

Weakness:

rear free hub

I ride a lot I never have the money to really by the bike I need this bike for the price has good components ive rode this bike a ton I bought new in 2009 ive broke the dart shock arm it cracked put reba air on it the frame is tuff I its 2013 ive went through a bunch of chains bottom crank bearings chain rings cassetes derailers pedals but the frame never cracks an love the color scheme black with greenish blue

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
gtrdave   Weekend Warrior [Jul 06, 2010]
Strength:

It's a Cannondale. The geometry is perfect for me. The mixed components, while not top-end at all, have held up well over the year with only a minor rear disc issue being my sole problem. My LBS fixed it and I was good to go. The Continental Race Kings are a good all around tire and the low knobs make it easy to street-ride to the trail head, drop in, blast and then road ride home.

Weakness:

It's heavy. The Dart 3 shock alone is almost 6lbs, but it does work. The original seat was not to my liking, so it got changed, as did the original toe clip pedals. Yeah, the 6" discs seem undersized for this bike, but they have never failed to stop me.

This bike works for me. It fits me and it handles great. The frame is the same quality as the Caffeine 1 which makes future component upgrades worth while. Cannondale is quality...or was quality...let's hope that the new owners down ruin a great reputation in bikes.
The bottom line: this is a great 29er for the money.

Similar Products Used: I tested the GF Mamba, Kona Kahuna, Access XCL 9.5 and looked at a few other entry-level 29ers before deciding on the C-dale. For me, none of them matched the ride quality and flickability of the Caffeine.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
stevez   Cross Country Rider [Jan 13, 2010]
Strength:

Solid frame. I'm a 245lb rider. I paid $20 extra (when i bought the bike) to beef up the Dart 3 fork and boy is it nice for cross-country. Even with a big rider like myself dropping 3-5 foot drops.
The juicy 5 brakes are amazingly smooth. I have not had any problems with them.
The Sram X5 shifters are tight with only having to add one click for cable stretch in 500 miles.
Frame handmade in the USA.

Weakness:

The wheel set is the weakest link by far. The weight is "heavy". I've broken the free hub 3 times. Cannondale has fixed it every time for free.
Moving frame production out of USA in 2010.

I would recommend this 29er to any XCer that likes monster trucks. This bike will roll over anything in the trail. Just ask if you can upgrade the wheelset before you buy.

Similar Products Used: Klein pulse comp hard tail 26er, Trek vrx 300 full suspension
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Turp   Cross Country Rider [Oct 03, 2009]
Strength:

Frame geometry and attention to details (paint and beautiful weld joints), trail worthy components, hydraulic brakes, and tires. Has held up under well under a heavy rider on fairly technical trails.

Weakness:

Rear freehub cogs went fast. However, the replacement has done fine.

Great bike and very good component set. I ride at least 1-3 times a week on a fairly technical trail with lots of roots and rock gardens. The bike (29er) is very forgiving on obstacles. It has also held up well under my 200+ weight and has yet to need adjustment. The only glitch has been a free hub which is fine now. This is a great bike for enthusiasts looking for a very good introduction into 29ers. I'll likely run it as is until something breaks with the exception of possibly buying a spare wheelset.

Similar Products Used: No 29ers but previous ride was a rigid Specialized Expedition. I did also demo'd a Trek 6000 26 inch when I bought the 29er. The Cannondale fit better.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
turpster   Weekend Warrior [Sep 06, 2009]
Strength:

Frame quality and geometry.

Weakness:

Hubs. I have had problems with freehub failures. I am on my third.

This is a great riding bike. I ride 2-3 times a week and love this bike. The stock setup is okay for entry level riders looking for the next step. The components work well and are solid performers. The only issue I am having is the free hubs which are not well suited for cross country on 700 sized wheels and a heavier rider. I will likely upgrade to XT. All in all, a nice package on a great frame.

Similar Products Used: Specialized
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
TheUsualSusp3ct   Weekend Warrior [Jul 23, 2009]
Strength:

Good frame & stock components for the money. The Avid Juicy 3 brakes, SRAM shifters, drivetrain, & wheels/tires are all good quality. So far, I've had no problems with the RoxShox Dart 3 fork, either. All-in-all it handles, climbs, and rolls very well.

Looks great, too. Black & Seafoam green - the white AVID Juicy 3 brakes are a sweet accent.

Weakness:

Front brake disc overheats/warps - you can feel it unevenly grab . My LBS explained that this is a common problem with these smaller discs and with this bike's setup I can't just put on larger discs to rectify the problem. I think they're like 180mm. They warrantied the discs and replaced them for free, but the same thing happened (warping) the very next ride. I'm no downhill bomber, either, just you're average 210 lb rider. I've just been ignoring it for now.

This was my first 29er and I haven't been disappointed with my purchase. I've really put this bike through some tests this summer - four mtb races, a few epic rides, and tons of less strenuous XC rides @ my local park . It's withstood a few wrecks too with minimum damage. I think this machine is worth the money. A good step-up at the right price for me.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
FooserX   Weekend Warrior [Jul 16, 2009]
Strength:

All the components seem to be working great. For the first few rides, the shifting was absolutely flawless...but then it started ghost shifting...took it in...fixed!
Price is cheap for what you get in my mind.

Weakness:

Heavier than what I'm used to, but that's normal for the price and a 29er and an XL size.
Brakes were sqeaking bad but the cycle shop fixed them for free.
The clearance is less than I'm used to, but that's because of the 29er wheels. I love riding it, but one crash had me coming down hard on the bar which sucked bad. It was a pretty unique fall though - but still...
Also don't like the wires underneath the top tube...it makes it awkward to hold sometimes when moving it up and down my stairs.

My budget was $1000...so I knew I wasn't going to get some top of the line bike that people are going to be envious of. When I tried out the 29'er, it felt so much better than the 26" tires, so I went with this. For $800, it seemed like a nice entry bike.

The brakes are awesome, the Dart 3 fork is getting horrible reviews, but so far it's been perfect for me. The tires aren't knobby...so I think the traction is lacking at times, but that could just be my experience or needing to upgrade to better tires.

I've put on some good rides on technical trails, and have to say - I absolutely LOVE this bike. I love the way it feels, especially when my legs are fresh and I can roll up big boulders. I'm a beginner, but I still love how it handles and goes over rocks. It definitely keeps going once it's going too. And yes, I'm noticing the less nimble steering, but that's just going to come with time too. I can't say anything really bad about the bike's performance because I'm just a noob...but I can say it feels great to ride.

The first week was great with it...then I found myself doubting the bike because I just don't know enough to compare it too...but then once I put in more trail time, I can't get enough of riding.

I would like to see the weight come down a bit, but everything's working so far perfectly, so I am not going to fork out more money to bring it down 4 pounds. All in all...if you're looking for a nice bike to start at to see if you want to get into mtb, this is a great buy! Also want to give props to Littleton Cyclery for having the cheapest price...cheaper than REI...and all the nice customer support/maintenance.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Thrillseeker123   Cross Country Rider [Aug 26, 2008]
Strength:

Canonndale 29er's....you can't go wrong with that. This bike is insanely strong and fast. I'm 6'1, 180lbs frame is the BEEF...wait more like BISON.
Climbs excellent, rolls over everything and I did some 4ft drops with out any problems.

Weakness:

Dart 3 fork has to go, brakes are very good but I will have to upgrade to 8" rotors for better stopping power.

You gotta have it! I love the color and the looks on this bike...it's definitely an eye-catcher.
Overall this bike is monster I'm very satisfied!

Similar Products Used: K2 ZED 4.0
Motobecane fly team
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
rossyo14   Weekend Warrior [Jul 25, 2008]
Strength:

Love the frame. Can't go wrong w/ Cannondale. Made in USA. Disc brakes work great. Shifts very smoothly. Climbs well, just rolls over rocks and trees. Great bike for the price at only $1000.

Weakness:

I've noticed a lot fewer reviews of this bike than I saw before. My only complaint with this bike is the shock. It worked well for a few weeks but then started leaking oil and the lockout stopped working. From what I read before this is not an isolated incident. Fortunately RockShox responded quickly to the problem and my local bike shop is fixing it.

This is a great bike for the price. For more serious riders I would upgrade; if you have the money I would at least go w/ the Cannondale 29er 3 Caffeine to get the lefty fork and a little nicer specs. If I had the money I would have. Other than the shock though, I love this bike.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
slbrook   Weekend Warrior [Jun 21, 2008]
Strength:

Comfortable bike, a great ride. Picks up momentum and goes. Enjoy the larger size. Just rolls over dirt.

Weakness:

Sometimes hard to find parts (not all lbs stock 29er tires, etc, looked hard to find a rear rack that works with 29 and disc brakes). That should change. Just barely fits on bus rack.

This is a perfect bike for me. I commute, ride trails and enjoy the great outdoors. Wheels are even bigger than my road bike. Have gotten quite a bit of attention from this bike. I considered a commuter instead, but once I rode this bike and considered my desire for off-road, I have not turned back. Found that PlanetBike Eco rack for disc brakes fits nicely on rear. Others were too short. Old Man Mountain probably could have fixed me up too, but Planet Bike Eco rack is cheaper and works great.

Similar Products Used: hard tail 26 and full suspension 26.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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