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Review: Cannondale Habit Carbon LT1

Jul 31, 2023
by Henry Quinney  
Personally, I've always had a soft spot for Cannondale. I'm too young for the 90's heyday, but I do have fond memories of the exciting new world of enduro and Jerome Clementz riding in a way I think we all wish we could. The Waves, or whatever they're called, are all a bit much for me. Amazing riders, yes, showcasing the best of a brand like Cannondale? Maybe not. I want to see downhill bikes, racing, and something different. In fact, that two-shock downhill bike was the coolest thing the brand has done in a very long time, especially accompanied by the "This is a Test" tagline. It's such a shame they canned it to pursue cooler projects.

Habit Carbon LT1
• Wheel size: 29"
• Travel: 140 frame / 150mm fork
• Carbon frame
• 64.7 degree head tube angle
• 440 mm chainstays (size large)
• Sizes: XS - XL
• Large w/o pedals 14.25 kg/31.4 lbs
• Complete bike: $5,499 USD
cannondale.com

When I covered the release of the Habit it struck me just how sensible and conventional it was. There was no quirkiness to it, at least on the surface, and everything about it seemed to be pragmatic and well-judged. That's not to say there wasn't some clever design involved, or that this bike isn't a very solid execution, but rather it was akin to seeing David Bowie talk eloquently and expressively about philosophy, and then remembering that he too was Ziggy Stardust. Yes, you knew he had it in him, but you're kind of taken aback by how down-to-earth he is. Maybe the freeride kids know what they're talking about, after all. Maybe, in fact, two shocks and one fork leg is exciting, but not what I would personally wish to ride every day.

Cannondale Habit LT review





Cannondale Habit LT review
Cannondale Habit LT review

Frame Details

There is something about the Habit that has people pointing out how good it looks. Working for Pinkbike, I get to ride several different bikes over quite intense periods. Turning up to my local cafe and bike shop, Ride Hub, is often a good acid test for whether a bike is desirable or not. Oftentimes, they hardly even blink, or worse yet exclaim what-on-earth?! but there was something about the Habit where everyone immediately agreed it was a very good-looking bike. I'm not sure if it's just the paint or the styling, but I would say that it might have something to do with its simplicity, which will become a theme when we get onto the riding characteristics.

Cannondale Habit LT review

The Habit also comes in a non-LT version, which sports 10mm less travel in both the fork and the shock. It's essentially the same frame and linkage but with a different stroke shock. Often, shocks with a certain eye-to-eye size will cover more than one stroke length, and the difference is taken care of with a limiting spacer. This spacer can be removed if you rebuild the damper. You could then, depending upon which fork you have, change the air spring on the fork to match, too, if you wanted to make the wholesale change from Habit to Habit LT.

Speaking of the suspension, it should be noted that Cannondale uses what they call "Proportional Response System". What this references is that there is sometimes a one size-fits-all approach to both geometry and suspension layouts, and that can sometimes be expressed in different ways. For instance, some brands might have an extra-large with longer stays but the stay itself is the same length - however, where they hang the bottom bracket off the front triangle is different. So in some ways, much like with seat tubes, there can often be a difference between effective and actual - both with their limitations and nuances.

Cannondale Habit LT review

Before you get too excited though it should be noted that this proportional system is only available on the carbon bikes, plus it's only three different layouts over five sizes, meaning the extra small, small, and medium still share the same rear end. It's also hard to test in that I ride a large. So while I can say how this bike performs it would be impossible for me to test a bike for somebody of smaller stature, and vice versa.

The frame has some nice subtle features, though. There is a rubber cover to stop your chainstay from gobbling up rocks, non-guided non-headset (hoorah) routing that is made very easy to live with thanks to a removable panel on the downtube, ISCG threads, and a tried-and-true threaded bottom bracket. There is also a second water bottle mount should you want to go full-enduro and fit the bike with tools or tubes.



Cannondale Habit LT review

Geometry

The Habit LT's geometry, to my mind, screams modern, sensible trail bike. It feels as if every three years we all say "Finally, trail bikes have actually got decent geometry!" But this time we must surely mean it. Of course, the Habit isn't the first 140 mm travel bike to get the best of enduro and downhill - far from it in fact - but it does, to my mind at least, offer very well-rounded geometry and capitalizes and improves upon all of the nearly-great trail bikes of years past.

In fact, the only thing I would take aim at would be the seat tube length. It's short enough, but only just.

The size large that I had on test featured a 440mm rear center, a 475 mm reach, and a very healthy 644 mm stack. How a bike fits you is down to both the size of the bike, and the size of your body. For me, at 183 cm or six feet, it fits perfectly. Everything was in range, comfortable and easy to affect. I think 475 mm reach, for me, is the sweet spot, especially on a bike like this. The relatively large stack height is then combined with a 30 mm rise bar. While plodding around Squamish I ran the stem sometimes lower on the steerer. For the fast, steep and sequential turns of the bike park though I was happy to have the option to run it higher.

Cannondale Habit LT review

Suspension Design

Cannondale use a four-bar, Horst Link system. As many brands do, they've renamed it something fancy but four-bar is what it is. So, what sets it apart, if anything at all?

Firstly, this bike has a comparatively low anti-squat value. This will be bad news in terms of all-out efficiency on smooth roads and, in my experience, good news if you plan on your suspension actually suspending you on actual mountain bike trails. A value of around 100% should give a platform that neither extends or contracts under acceleration; above 100% and the suspension will want to extend, which could increase efficiency, and below it'll be far happier to break into its stroke. Extending, firm suspension is good but when you're off-road and pedaling I find that I'm demanding the bike to not only provide support my efforts but also grip and track. A lower anti-squat will aid this because the bike isn't resisting going into its travel as you pedal. The Habit has a value of 80-90% at sag depending upon the gearing. This is leaning towards my preference, but it is a game of opinion.

Anti-rise is relatively middling to high at around 50% at sag. This is related to the mass transfer and suspension extension under braking. Again, it's a personal thing. A lower value will help keep braking forces independent and stop the wheel locking. A high value will make the bike squat more and keep geometry more consistent.

The leverage is also reasonably linear as it progresses from a ratio of 2.9 to 2.4 in a relatively consistent and smooth curve. This should give a bike that is happy to use the initial part of its stroke and then steadily ramp up the resistance the shock and offer as you go deeper into the stroke.





Test Bike Setup


The Cannondale is an easy bike to just get on and ride. That's not to say it doesn't have some creases in the spec that need ironing out though. Firstly, the SRAM Codes are a perfectly decent brake - and are very appropriate for a bike like this - but there is a vast gulf in power and feel from the Code Rs to the RSCs. Yes, I know that nothing comes for free, and wanting top of the line brakes is just the start of wanting top of the line everything else, however, I would gladly forgo a carbon bar for some more powerful options to slow me down. To really enjoy this bike, I decided to put on some RSC levers that I had at home. Save for the piston material it makes the brakes the high-end option, and for me is a great way to add some extra pep to a bike's spec.
Cannondale Habit LT review
Henry Quinney
Location: Squamish
Age: 31
Height: 183 cm / 6'
Inseam: 82 cm / 32.5"
Weight: 77 kg / 169 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None

The Rockshox Lyrik Select+ is a great fork, as is the Super Deluxe shock. Both were not only easy to set up but also easy to make small and consistent adjustments too. They have all the important bits you'd want from the higher-end kit - namely the excellent damping, although they do go without one or two features. The fork does without the Buttercups, and the shock doesn't have any external compression adjustment. That said, the compression damping it did offer from stock was just where you'd want it to be. The rebound damping was effective and within a useable range, too.

The cockpit, save for the 170 mm post's awkwardly shaped remote lever, was all correctly proportioned and fit for service, as were the tires. Yes, there are gripper, beefier tires than the Exo+ Dissector and Minion combination, but there are also burlier and beefier enduro bikes to fit them to. If this were my bike would I change the tires for something gripper and thicker? Perhaps - but I would run these into the ground first.

Cannondale Habit LT review

Climbing

The Habit LT's geometry offers a quite upright position that, when combined with that amply steep 77.1 degree seat tube angle, gives you the front wheel tracking you might want from a steeper bike, with all the control and comfort of a bike with a higher stack. Of course, as stack height increases, especially on slacker bikes, a wayward and floppy front end can come into play as your weight lurches. However, the Habit has tempered this balance well to give you the best of both worlds. It also opens up its remit as an all-round trail bike because there isn't an excessive amount of weight in your hands and wrists.

Of course, it's no XC bike, and there are bikes that will climb faster than this 140 mm travel bike, but the Habit does offer a very well-rounded performance. It's comfortable on undulating terrain thanks to that higher stack, planted on steeper switchbacks, and the suspension tracks and grips well. I would sometimes make use of the climb switch for hard-pack fire roads or tarmac stretches, but if there was anything remotely rough I set it to open and let it track.

Again, balance is the right word, and the bike does strike a great balance between tracking and efficiency. It might not be the most suited to out-of-the-saddle stamping, and if you're somebody that throws your weight around the bike then maybe the Habit won't be the firmest feeling, but if you're happy to stay seated and spin it out then the suspension does a very admirable job. I found that there was enough mid and end-stroke support when descending to really be able to enjoy the suppleness of the shock on the climbs and reap the benefits of all the grip it offered.

For a bike so capable on the descents, this climbs just about as well as you could hope.

Cannondale Habit LT review

Descending

Cannondale has made some weird bikes in the past. Hell, they're even making some kind of weird bikes now. They're still sticking to the Lefty, they're still making the Jekyll which, at best, could be described as "different", much in the same way one might describe a pug with its tongue too big for its mouth and that has trouble breathing as "cute". The Habit, however, the Habit is a different story.

Not only is it simply a good-looking bike, but it's also a good-looking bike because it looks clean and simple. That ethos tracks through to how it descends, too. It doesn't feel like it's trying to redefine the category or disrupt the industry with a lukewarm take. Instead, it seems that it is merely simple good quality fresh ingredients cooked with care. We review a lot of trail bikes, and there are many great ones out there, but each has its foibles. It's almost as if Cannondale has looked at the complaints people have made about this last wave of great trail bikes and just thought "What if we make a bike that isn't trying to be this boundary-breaking, genre-defining, world-changing thing but instead just avoids a lot of the criticisms other 130 or 140 mm travel bikes come in for?" It's extra-regular, and all the better for it.

Cannondale Habit LT review

The geometry is balanced - for me, this bike is near perfect in its proportions. The ever-so-slightly shorter reach and the high front just make everything feel so in range. The shorter reach means that also, proportionally speaking, the 440 mm rear end puts more weight on the front, as it's representative of a greater proportion of the bike's total length. Yes, your bike with a 430 mm rear center may well have ridden very well several years ago, but it was also combined with a reach of a similar value. So, although one tends to think of shorter rear ends as giving a more poppy, rear weighted, and playful bike, one could argue that the generation of short-stay bikes that enjoyed its heyday in 2015-2018ish oftentimes had more weight on the front than the long stay-bikes of today.

The Habit LT is weighted on the front, balanced on most trails, and able to handle very steep trails because of and not in spite of this well-proportioned and pragmatic geometry. I'm not a believer in massive reaches, especially when combined with short rear ends. This Habit, and the grip it achieves on any manner of trail is a testament to this.

Cannondale Habit LT review

The suspension is well-damped while also offering solid tracking. For a bike that is so smooth off the top the mid-to-end stroke support is very very good. In fact, this bike doesn't really have a blind spot when it comes to descending. Sure, it can hang up a little of square chunks if you don't have speed on your side, but it's all in all a very well-executed four-bar. I tended to run mine soft and fast, and it felt like the bike could reset between impacts. That, coupled with the sure-footed-yet-sensitive nature of the Lyrik, felt like a bike where the main components were all reading from the same page.

Its spec is largely sensible, where it really counts anyway. The Lyrik Select+ with the Charger 3 is a good fork, and the Super Deluxe shock is also a welcome addition. If you want a bike that can genuinely hang with enduro bikes on bike park laps and also has big climbs and all-day trail rides well within its remit, you could do a lot worse than the Habit LT.




Cannondale Habit LT review
Cannondale Habit 140
Canyon Spectral 29 2021
Canyon Spectral

How Does It Compare?


Canyon and Cannondale are in some ways polar opposites, and in others seem to try and be doing similar things. Both have a strong foundation in cross-country. Both employ a slew of freeriders and cool-kids to showcase their bikes and both have enjoyed success in enduro at the highest level.

The Spectral is slacker and longer than the Habit, with 10 mm more travel in both the frame and the shock, but I would say what the Habit comes short on in travel it comes good on with stability and balance. The Spectral is a solid bike, it really is, but it feels in some ways like a conservative bike that has included certain progressive dimensions, all while being a very strong pedaller, whereas the Habit feels like a progressive bike that's been tempered to hold a greater relevance on the trails it will actually ride.

The Canyon is longer at the front and shorter and the back. It also has a lower stack. When going very fast, it comes alive, especially on smoother trails. Its lower front also plays into this. It's a bike for picking apart trails and nailing turns, more than a bike for letting the brakes off and hoping for the best. While the suspension does a great job, it feels simple yet effective rather than particularly well-damped or refined. That does come back to the rider in some ways though, and it offers lots of support under and pop under load.

The Cannondale, while shorter on travel, gives you more to brace against with the higher front, meaning you're more tempted to let off the brakes and really let it run. Despite it being less travel, I would say the shock offers more composure on repeated hits. It does track well and offers excellent grip when climbing, but there isn't so much of a platform when putting load through the bike. That said, it will also struggle to get close to the Canyon in terms of all-out value for money.



Cannondale Habit LT review
Prices inUSD.

Which Model is the Best Value?


Which of the bikes would be the one to go for? Well, the LT1 that I tested could do a lot worse in terms of value, but it could also do better. In fact, what would I personally prefer, GX or SLX? Code Rs or SLX brakes? For both instances it would be the latter. From there, my only point of concern would be losing the reliable DT Swiss rear hub in exchange for the Shimano model. Shimano's hubs have got better in recent years, but DT Swiss still are superior in my opinion.

The side-ways-grade to the smaller Pike wouldn't be an issue in terms of stiffness or capability - and it might even align better with what your riding than the heavier Lyrik. However, I would have one eye on upgrading the damper in the future. Outside of that, I would put the money saved towards a longer dropper should you have it.



Cannondale Habit LT review
This bike isn't just its suspension - what else caught my eye?

Technical Report


SRAM Code R Brakes: This bike deserves better brakes, or at least bigger rotors. 180 mm on the rear is fine - we all know that it is - but 200 mm is better, especially when trying to make the most of the Code Rs. Although they might look the same, the architecture of the lever is very different between the R and RSC, and the difference in power is drastic.

Cannondale Cockpit: The bars feature an oval center, and are relatively comfortable. However, while a carbon bar is very exciting I would rather have an alloy one and better brakes. I know it's not that simple but I would prefer a higher spec where it counts.

Dropper post: This is a great bike... that's been fitted with a dropper that's too short. 170 mm for a large just is not enough. Furthermore, the lever is clunky, and it's hard to find a good placement with the SRAM brakes. It's either too far away or rubbing your thumb.

Wheels and Tires: The Exo+ casing tyres are good, and the Minion DHF/Dissector combination offers plenty of grip for something that rolls so fast. The wheels, which include a nice DT rear hub, do track well, and I think the low profile WTB rims are to thank. That said, they did detension several times, and are a bit more oval now than when I started. If longevity isn't something you struggle with though, I would say these rims actually offer a really great level of compliance and help smooth out the rough stuff and chatter to break it down into smaller bites for the bike to handle.



Pros

+ Balanced, proportional geometry
+ Suspension strikes a balance between support and tracking
+ Sensible frame features, including no headset routing
+ Covers a lot of bases in climbing and descending
Cons

- Some spec choices miss the target
- Not the most efficient climber on smooth roads



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesExtra-regular is no bad thing. This is a very well-executed bike that simply works very well. Balance, composure, maneuverability, and comfort can oftentimes seem like ideologies that are diametrically opposed to one another in bikes, and you can merely have two or three out of the four at best. The Habit LT makes a very strong argument that, as riders, we might just be able to have it all.

Henry Quinney


Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
348 articles

172 Comments
  • 61 2
 Would be cool to see this bike compared to a similarly spec'd Santa Cruz Hightower 3. I say that because Cannondale and Santa Cruz are both owned by the Pon Group, with Santa Cruz occupying their "Performance" segment, and Cannondale as their lower-tier "Sports" segment.
  • 71 0
 Time for a Pon Group field test!
  • 36 0
 Add GT for a triple header
  • 4 0
 They should also only test the highest end offerings from each Pon Holdings bike. Most expensive field test out there.
  • 90 1
 You know, that's not a bad shout. So many brands are owned by a larger parent company, and it's interesting to see how they're all positioned within that. I've spent a lot of time on the Canyon recently, which is why I compared it, but I'll consider this approach in the future. Thanks.
  • 9 0
 Yeah-Pon’s tiers are weird, especially when a brand like Cannondale has so many expensive options (and I mean that relative to the other pro level bikes on the market).

I’d love to see more high performance aluminum stuff from Cannondale again. CAAD13 road frames are really good (if you can get one) but how about an equivalent Scalpel and Scalpel HT???
  • 1 1
 @ratedgg13: And spec them all with OneUp stuff to make the PON bikes complete!
  • 8 2
 "... and Cannondale as their lower-tier "Sports" segment."

You mean the brand that makes $15k bikes and $2k single-legged carbon forks?... Are you high?
  • 5 1
 @Nygaard: yes, they do also sell quite cheap entry level bikes. One of them is currently on sale for 650 Canadian pesos.
  • 7 0
 @Nygaard: I am pointing directly to Pon Group's description of their brand-market segmentation. I am not here to suggest that pricing schema's perfectly align, although in general Cannondale seem to offer similarly spec'd bikes for significantly less than Santa Cruz.
  • 2 0
 Specifications are IN the contents but NOT IN the contents! Some one @henryquinney might have forgot to put them in!
  • 4 0
 @KJP1230: tbf pretty much everyone offers similarly specd bikes for significantly less than Santa Cruz
  • 3 0
 @Upduro: Correct. Having ridden a Santa Cruz for some time, I really don't see the hype. I got a well-spec'd loaner Megatower 3 when my Spec Enduro was in the shop. Could not wait to get my Enduro back.

I am not saying their bikes are not good, even very good. But I did not find anything in the performance that justified the cost over other brands.
  • 41 7
 Nope, sorry cannondale, my wounds are still too raw from you dropping support for the unreliable bits you sold me. Its great to innovate but plan to stand by your customer instead of leaving us with the trash. In my case it was a headshock that sealed to the frames headtube. Three years from new you stopped selling parts for it.
  • 13 4
 My first bike was a Cannondale hardtail. What an unreliable POS. Turned me off the brand.
  • 40 7
 question is why one ever buy a headshock bike in the first place? Big Grin
  • 11 1
 This is a LONG time ago, but I worked at a Cannondale dealer in the early 2000s. We sold a lot of Cannondale flat bar road bikes that used MTB trigger shifters that were just flat out incompatible with the front derailleur. Every one of those bikes went out the door with the FD rubbing on the chain.
It was pretty amazing that our shop owner didn't offer a fix (well, that was the kind of guy he was) and even more so that none of the customers complained.
  • 33 3
 I bought a Cannondale Gemini as my first real downhill/free ride bike at the age of 13 after saving every penny I could for roughly a year. Within three months I had cracked the seat tube/BB junction. I took it to my local dealer and was told Cannondale would be giving me a brand new Team Volvo edition frame, 13 year old me was beyond stoked. 3 months went by, I saw nothing. I was then told Cannondale could only warranty the front triangle, but it would still be the Volvo team colors, which would kinda match my silver and red swing arm. Ok, cool, pumped on it. Another 3 months goes by, radio silence. Contact Cannondale one more time, 2 weeks later a matte light green front triangle arrives at my local shop. After 6 months of waiting I end up with a half matte green, half gloss silver/red bike. Needless to say after all that I was incredibly disappointed, to the point I vowed to never purchase or recommend a Cannondale product to anyone ever again. A promise that has stood for over 20 years now and will continue to. I ended up selling that frame for pennies and my dad remorsefully bucked up the difference to buy me a Santa Cruz Bullit frame.
  • 9 7
 @Tayrob: I genuinely hope that your and my comments have the effect of dissuading at least one person from buying a Cannondale.
  • 8 3
 @Tayrob: I had a very similar experience when I was 12 years old with my Cannondale Jekyl. I saved up forever for the frame and my rear swing arm snapped on one side in the early summer. I waited around 4-5 months for a new one to show up and missed basically the entire summer of riding which was huge for me. Every 2 weeks I would call and the shop would say 2 more weeks. That experience really soured the brand for me as well and have never ridden one since.
  • 4 1
 @Tayrob: my first real dh/freeride bike was the Team Volvo Gemini, I even got the dh jersey! Never cracked the frame, but I was replacing shock bolts every other week.
  • 6 1
 @bman33: I'll tell you why...cus in 93 that was some bad ass tech. Of course, the reliability, and vulnerability of the needle bearings was appauling. But, of course, you couldn't Google it before hand to see if anyone had experienced issues...
  • 2 1
 @carlitouk: I was buying my first 'real' MTB in 1993 (1994 model year) after growing up racing BMX (insert BMX Background joke )... That said, even then most of us realized Headshocks, while looking cool maybe, were best left to sponsored athletes at the time such as Tinker and team. Rockshox were in their infancy with the Mag 20/21 series of forks. However, we knew moto had sorted most of the front suspension issues and protocols way before MTB.... forks "should" look and work similar, not the Heashock approach.
  • 3 2
 @Tayrob: stories like that is why I would never spend a penny on their products and it doesn’t matter who they sponsor. Owning a Cannondale will never end well. Thanks for sharing.
  • 1 1
 Username checks out
  • 1 0
 @Tayrob: ... and the Bullit frame never cracked? Those were bullit-proof lol.
(never seen a Bullit or a VP Free cracked IRL, guessing your experience was similar)
  • 2 0
 Always weird when people show up with real-life negative experiences with a brand and then people downvote them. "How dare you have/ report a bad experience!"
  • 3 0
 "...wounds are still too raw... Headshock"! That had to be more than twenty years ago. I do agree that unsupported proprietary tech is a risky buy, but this bike is fairly conventional and proof that the company is listening to reason over absolute innovation.
  • 1 0
 @Tayrob:About 10 years ago, I owned a small independent bike shop. A customer of mine absolutely wanted a Cannondale Scalpel Carbon II, so through a befriended Cannondale dealer, I could sell him his dream bike at the time. The dream quickly became a nightmare as one malfunction after the other occured. In about a year' time, the only parts that weren't replaced under warranty were: handlebars, wheelset and seatpost. Everything else failed. Cannondale did come through in time for the warranty, but it was a "never again a Cannondale" experience for the customer. He sold it off after that year and never looked back.
  • 1 0
 @Exbow: On my Scalpel, the carbon seatstay bridge failed twice. Torque it to 5nm and it would eventually allow play in the axle. Torque to six and it would crack. The second replacement they sent was pulled off a demo bike in a dusty corner. They informed me it was the last one available for that model (which ran from 2012-2015), ever. Which is what I think about every time I see one of these frames: ticking clock.
  • 34 1
 Did I miss the part where Pinkbike decided to stop weighing their test bikes?

I fully agree that weight isn't everything, but it is A thing.

Plus, with so many manufacturers (including Cannondale) refusing to list build weights on their bike specs, reviewers actually putting a bike on a scale is a valuable service.

I can get geometry and reach and build specs a dozen places including the manufacturer. Build weights often are only available from independent reviews.
  • 35 1
 We still weigh all of our test bikes. Henry's changing the batteries in his scale - we'll get the weight added in soon.
  • 27 0
 > Henry's changing the batteries in his scale

@mikekazimer: I should have known to never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by Henry.
  • 34 0
 @atourgates: Hello there. Absolutely we weigh our bikes, I'm just an idiot that forgot to include it. Thanks for the heads up and I've amended the article now.

Thanks
  • 2 7
flag jojotherider1977 FL (Jul 31, 2023 at 11:27) (Below Threshold)
 @henryquinney: I thought we were told it doesn’t matter.

Fwiw, weight isnt a big factor in my buying decision. Does it reliably do what I want it to do without worry and distraction? Lets go! Extra freedom units just means i need to upgrade the fitness.
  • 2 0
 @atourgates: haha Henry's Razor?
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: competence is a goal for some
  • 16 2
 Looks like a really solid bike, but for $300 more, you can get the top spec'd GT Sensor, with new Rockshox ultimate and X01 components. That's the way I'd go if it was my money.
  • 5 0
 Cannondale was long known for poor parts that were a solid cut below what the competition was offering at the same price point. Way back when, you were paying for US manufacturing and some unique tech like the Headshok and then Lefty, but now it looks like you're left without even that. It's been a long time since I have priced bikes, so correct me if I am wrong, but that's how it was for years and years.
  • 1 0
 It’s a bit shocking to me to see $5,500+ bikes with GX. At the very least part of the drivetrain should be X01, preferably the cassette followed by the shifter.
  • 2 0
 Same parent company (Pon). Looks like a worthy comparison test.
  • 6 0
 @nickfranko: What rock have you been under the last few years. Be happy it is a full gx drivetrain and not just the rear mech with lower tier shifter/chain/cassette. The next spec down is full of entry level deore parts and you dont even get the select+ fork... Bonkers they put that stuff on a carbon frame, you are $3500 off for your XO spec, the LTD model is 9K!
  • 15 0
 Cannondale actually coming out with a good looking bike? It truly is the end times.
  • 2 0
 And...don't forget Ibis. Cue: Two Minutes To Midnight.
  • 7 1
 Theres only one industrial designer in the entire bike industry now , hes literally working flat out
  • 1 0
 Had to do a double take. In profile, that bike looks so much like my old Jeffsy. Cannondale with a conventional looking bike: ew!
  • 9 0
 Found the " ; "

"A value of around 100% should give a platform that neither extends or contracts under acceleration; above 100% and the suspension will want to extend, which could increase efficiency, and below it'll be far happier to break into its stroke."
  • 6 0
 Pretty sure the whole paragraph on anti squat needs to be rewritten.
  • 1 0
 Damn to fast
  • 10 1
 @henryquinney
You are begging for a longer dropper post than 170, but yet the 170 on the bike is slammed all the way down into the frame when you are riding. Where are you going to fit a longer one?
  • 4 0
 He did mention also that he'd like a shorter seatpost, so that's probably what he meant
  • 16 0
 I lowered it to get it out of the way for descending, but it was too low for climbing.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: do you thing a 200mm would fit and it not be too tall for you to pedal fully extended?
  • 16 0
 @Three6ty: During the test, I used a One up 210mm post and it was great. I even could still have gone longer. Maybe even 220.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: nice to know.. thanks for the info.
  • 1 0
 *seat tube
  • 6 1
 "Yes, your bike with a 430 mm rear center may well have ridden very well several years ago,"

Actually, it still rides exactly the same. Geometry-based ride qualities of a bike don't change just because it's old. A given rider might not prefer it to something different and newer, but the bike will ride just as "very well" even several years in the future.
  • 7 1
 Trail bikes are making a comeback in my opinion. This Cannondale is yet another example. I would argue that the modern trail bike excels everywhere except BC and bike parks.
  • 4 0
 I can assure you, they work just fine here in BC's interior too.
  • 2 0
 I can assure you, they work just fine in bike parks as well.
  • 2 0
 @finistere:

Fair enough, I am a huge fan of the modern trail bike. It does seem to be a true all-rounder, and is what I currently ride.
  • 1 0
 All mountain.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney nice review, thanks. Would you mind sharing the set-up you are using for the rear shock (soft and fast)?
PSI, clicks of rebound and any additional volume spacers you might have added to the shock?
Thank you in advance
  • 2 0
 168 PSI and rebound 11 clicks from closed on the rebound. No additional spacers compared to stock. Cheers
  • 3 0
 "Anti-rise is relatively middling to high at around 50% at sag. This is related to the mass transfer and suspension extension under braking."

Isn't it related to REAR braking only? If you just pull the front brake alone, given the same fork and settings, same(ish) front-center and stack, every bike ever is going to lift the rear pretty m
  • 1 0
 Yes and no. It's a little more complex. Anti Rise is the combined effects of the rear brake on the suspension as well as the shift in center of gravity towards the front of the bike when braking. on that note, Anti Squat is more than just the effect of the chain on the suspension when pedaling, it is also the shift in center of gravity towards the rear of the bike when accelerating.
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: umm, the rise IS the shift towards the front, and the squat IS the shift to the back. They are related, in that anti-rise tries counters the forward shift and anti-squat counters the rearward shift. But the front wheel still has very little, if anything to do with anti-rise. If the back wheel is freewheeling, it can't put any force into the rear suspension, whether from anti-squat or anti-rise. Pulling the front brake will cause the CG shift but it can't do anything prevent the suspension from extending (the rise). Pulling the back brake will cause the same CG shift, but since it's connected to the suspension, it can provide [anti-rise] forces to compress the suspension, shifting weight back and countering the forward shift to maintain geometry and weight distribution at the expense of making the suspension stiff (unless you have some wild frame that has a regressive leverage rate such that it counters the increase in spring rate of the shock).
  • 1 0
 ah I see where I misunderstood your question. I need to stop reading comments when I'm tired.
  • 6 0
 Con: another bike with Clevis Mount.
  • 5 3
 Great review! I would hardly call Shimano hubs/freehubs unreliable. They're rebuildable and pretty easy to replace cups/bearings. Not sure about MS freehubs, but HG are easily replaceable if they crap out (I've only ever worn out one in 30+ years.)
And yeah, while I agree what's with manufacturers not spec'ing 200mm droppers on L/XL, the pics of this bike have the post inserted down to the collar touching the frame, so an additional 30mm of post would make the saddle too high....no?
  • 5 0
 Rebuildable and reliable are not the same.
I’ve never had luck with any Shimano hubs lasting that long, whereas DT Swiss hubs are pretty dang solid (and rebuildable).
  • 3 0
 @nickfranko: No, you're right, they are not the same thing. I personally love a cup and cone system, and am happy to fiddle to get the cones "just right", and love the fact that if the hubs are maintained properly, they can pretty much last forever, so they are rebuildable, and reliable. My experience has been great with Shimano hubs and freehubs. Of course, ymmv. I know that there are lots of hubs out there were the hub is essentially garbage if the freehub goes, as it is part of the hub body (Formula used to be that way, and others as well, I think.) 10 minutes and a 10mm allen wrench and you can replace an HG freehub on a Shimano branded hub. I haven't moved on to MS yet...
  • 2 0
 It's funny how you say you have a soft spot for Cannondale. I caught the end of the 90's, and the 2000's. At that point they had a bit of a different rep. I just remember the everybody called them Crack n fail. I never rode one so I can't speak to it personally, but it's definitely tainted the brand in the back of my head. Can't say I've ever been a fan of their frame designs, but Cedic Gracia was always a man to watch!
  • 3 1
 Firstly, Thank you Cannondale for not putting the cables/hoses through the god damn headset. That is a step in the right direction. Make all the cables and hose routing in a well designed external manner and that would be even gooder!

Secondly, though I have never personally owned a Cannodale, the handful of times I have ridden a C-Dale have been positive riding experiences. That has been on some of their higher Alu road and cyclocross bikes. The ride quality was excellent. I would love to see some of that Aluminium know-how applied to this bike.

Thirdly, Cannondale, Please remember the wisdom of Spinal Tap when it comes to innovation:

" It is such a fine line between stupid and clerver" David St Hubbins
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney are you sure your note about Proportional Response only available on Carbon is correct? The alloy seems (per their website) to sport the same figures, or at least very close. Same rear center, with oddly a slightly different front center.
www.cannondale.com/en-us/bikes/mountain/trail-bikes/habit/habit-4
  • 1 0
 As per their copy. I believe that's probably down to BB placement and not size of the rear end. Ie. they just hang the BB from a different place of the front triangle, which is why the front center number is different.
  • 6 1
 So it's a bit vanilla, but vanilla done well is a beautiful thing
  • 2 0
 I have a canyon spectral, and the two thing it is missing from being the perfect do it allthat I can see on the cannondale would be 1,5 cmshorter seat tube length, and the full water bottle fit
  • 1 0
 My XL Spectral can fit a full water bottle but I need a sideloader cage to make it happen, I recommend the Canyon one. Also, you could get a YT Thirstmaster 5000 and Fidlock kit for 835ml of water! A shorter seat tube would be nice and a slightly taller stack height.
  • 1 0
 Im on the old model since 2020 but im looking to switch. The bike really rides nicely suspension wise but over the time a couple of things bothered me.
1. I would like to see the seattube be shortened by ~2cm, im on an size L (182cm tall) and in steep sections I really need to be aware of where my saddle is to the point where Im feeling not confident with it.
2. Give me the option to run a 27,5" rearwheel. Got to try the mullet setup on my 2022 Propain Rage and god damn it feels so good to not worry about the tire hitting you.
3. A slightly slacker HA, although this new version has that (64.7 (new) vs 65.5 (on the old one I belive))

Maybe someone here got any suggestions what could fit what im looking for?
  • 1 0
 Hey @TurboTorsten

I did also use the old version (size MD) and I am now using the new one (also in size MD).

The seattube got definitely shorter --> I am now using a 185 mm dropper and I could even fit a longer one.

All in all the geometry got better, it pedals better than the older model (thanks to the seat tube) and it is more capable descending.

Mullet option: that seems to be also doable with the new Habit: I did read here (www.mbr.co.uk/news/the-new-cannondale-habit-gets-the-long-travel-treatment-425693), that this should be possible too. I could find anything else online though.

It might be worth checking.
  • 1 0
 Looks like a step in the right direction. I had the previous Habit and it was a bit of a mess... overly slack and long seat tube so climbed pretty poorly and I couldn't get any longer than a 150mm dropper in it (for reference I'm currently on a 185 dropper and could go to 210 on my current rig). It always rattled it linkage bolts loose, even with loctite and torqued correctly, and the thing creaked like no other. It was fun but required constant maintenance and check ups.
  • 2 0
 I have the previous generation habit, I love it however I have not had any of the issues you described. Though I do agree the seat tube is too slack.
  • 2 1
 "when combined with that amply steep 77.1 degree seat tube angle, gives you the front wheel tracking you might want from a steeper bike"

Thank you, Henry, for pointing out that rear-axle to saddle position is the major driver in climbing feel of the front wheel, not head tube angle.
  • 1 0
 This is the first Cannondale I could see myself buying in ages. Why? Because it doesn't have any quirks and there's none of the weirdness that has become so typical for Cannondale. The bike seems sensible all around. One could almost call it boring. And yet it's the only model from their entire line-up I'm interested in. Funny how that works, isn't it.
  • 5 5
 Makes no sense for this bike to have a lyrik fork, it's clearly better suited for a pike. Why would SRAM cap the pike travel at 140mm and also start the lyrik at 140mm. A 140mm lyrik is complete overkill for weight vs travel and pikes of the past were stiff enough even at 160mm. SRAM really seems to be forcing customers into what ever they are as the right way to go these days with new standards and now intended fork use.
  • 6 0
 i dont see it that way at all. How is it a problem that if you need a 140mm fork, you can choose a bigger beefier one, or a lighter one? I mean, im light so a pike is just fine at any travel, but someone 100 pounds heavier than me, is probably going to have a better time with a beefier fork, even at the same travel.
  • 3 5
 @Torbo24: I just don't think anybody needs a lyrik at 140mm. The stiffness of a pike shouldn't be compromised at that length so why pack the extra weight.
  • 1 0
 @warmerdamj: Mate, you don't need to tell other people what fork they need. And this bike has a 150mm Lyrik, where you'll definitely start to feel the benefit vs. a Pike.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: thanks mate but I never told anybody what fork they need, I simply said what I thought. Pikes were stiff enough before the lyrik and they still are.
  • 1 0
 The last Habit looked like a good, fun, no-frills trail bike (which apparently rode very well) and this looks to continue that with updated geometry.
Like the similar Vitus, seems an easy-to-recommend all-rounder.
  • 1 0
 I love how quiet my Cannondale bike is

said no Cannondale bike owner
ever.

it’s a full time job servicing the bike every 5 or 6 rides to keep it less deafening.
yet I keep buying them.

the bike you love to hate.
  • 1 0
 @davidvonslingshot mines very quiet actually other than the axs derailleur
  • 5 3
 So the dropper is too short at 170mm, yet in the photos it's completely slammed down into the seat tube?
  • 3 0
 Looks like a salsa blackthorn
  • 2 0
 A part of the test should have been ,smoke a joint and slap a muddy left right, left right 30 second down hill.
  • 1 2
 "The Habit also comes in a non-LT version, which sports 10mm less travel in both the fork and the shock."

I don't understand this. Why artificially limit the frame's capability. It's built for 140/150mm, ride it at 140/150mm! Unless you're overly obsessed with geo and really need that half a degree steeper head tube from the shorter fork, why would you want to pedal around that extra frame only to have the movement stopped by the shock alone? Especially with only stroke changing, it won't even feel very different.

Even if you're similarly overly obsessed with "efficiency" or pedaling platform, you can always run the longer shock and fork at the same sags as the shorter ones, and end up with exactly the same feel, but keep the extra travel for forgiveness when you try something new.
  • 2 0
 Because choice.
  • 1 0
 @WishIWazFaster: a choice to change a number, without real side-effects, that just provides more of something good, with virtually no trade-off... It's a stupid choice. And offering stupid choices is stupid.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: I disagree slightly. The 130/140 bike could be great - but in my opinion it’s the stroke limiting spacer that is the redundant part, and not the steeper angles and lower front of the 140mm fork option. It should be a 140/140 option.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: Then we're mostly saying the same thing: the non-LT option is silly shock-wise, because the frame can do the 140.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: So is dogmatically denigrating people's freedom of choice, just because you think it's stupid.
  • 1 0
 @WishIWazFaster: I don't just think it's stupid, it IS stupid.
  • 2 0
 In a sea of trails bikes, the Habit seems as though it is just another fish. Be a shark.
  • 3 0
 I will die on this hill.
  • 2 0
 REI has this exact model on sale at $4438(USD).....tempting at that price
  • 1 0
 agreed, just saw that too!
  • 1 2
 The geometry of this bike in size medium is almost identical to the geometry of the Yeti 130LR from 2019, the Yeti being 137mm/160mm travel. Funny how things come back around.
  • 2 0
 The previous Habit had a 430 reach in a medium so this is just them catching up really.
  • 2 0
 Long pants- when did this become a thing?
  • 1 0
 spring 2022
  • 4 0
 Dress for success. I'm wearing a cravat on the trails these days.
  • 1 0
 Need a real scientific brake comparison test. Have seen so many different opinions on power of various models vs. another.
  • 2 0
 No science here, but I have owned R and RSC. I used both with the exact same set of pads & rotors, bled both using the same technique, and rode both in the same weather. The RSC is tangibly better in both power and feel.

(It's not that I as a random commenter should have credibility, let alone more so than Henry the bike mechanic and tester, it's just that my disappointment with R and ensuing purchase of RSC positioned me to compare them very directly.)

To prove it with science, one would only need to take apart and measure the Swinglink to see how much extra leverage it creates at bite point vs. the simple R lever.
  • 1 0
 Enduro mag did one a couple years ago - can’t remember if they tested code r, but code rsc were the winner when it came to price vs performance, with trickstuff winning overall performance I think
  • 2 0
 There a reason they are named Cracknfail
  • 1 0
 I like how the paint colours meet where the frame is likely to crack hahaha
  • 1 0
 Down to earth with you, pedant! The man who fell was the man who gets up. Gs! 2ziggy
  • 1 0
 I didn't amend it at all - which I will do now that I'm aware of it. Although I disagree with your latter statement. Thanks
  • 1 0
 O HQ, we're in the wrong rectangle. To uneditability then!
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: Oh bloody hell - I don't know how to reply to comments, apparently.
  • 6 4
 Habit YT
  • 3 2
 just thankful not to see some new iteration of a "lefty" on it...
  • 2 0
 Totally not a Cannondale fan, but what do you not like about the Lefty? Concept, execution or both?
  • 6 0
 When will Cannondale blow all of our minds with a "Righty"?
  • 3 0
 @RayDolor: When Trump get re-elected !!!!
  • 1 0
 @TrappFam: Psst:Trump rides a Cracknfail. Pass it on......

Extra credit: What make does Biden fall off of.........?
  • 1 0
 @Insectoid: can "because it looks stupid" be a valid reason?
  • 2 0
 @preach: It's undeniable that aesthetics matter to a lot of people, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't one of them. Still, I found the original Lefty a compelling product, the current not at all.
  • 2 1
 Surprised to see no cable tourism.
  • 3 0
 I'm surprised the top comment isn't about the lack of cable tourism.
  • 1 0
 did they finally get rid of Ai rear hub offset?
  • 1 0
 Yes, they did! Thanks to UDH I guess.
  • 1 0
 The new cannondales are fire!
  • 1 0
 This or a new Trek Top Fuel EX? New England trail rider here.
  • 1 0
 I thought it was a Jeffsy on passing inspection ...
  • 1 0
 Bike very similar to the Salsa Blackthorn.
  • 1 0
 looks really nice actually
  • 4 3
 Why T?
  • 1 0
 also looks like a Whyte e bike
  • 1 0
 good looking bike
  • 1 1
 ; !!!!!
  • 2 2
 Nice work Cannondale.
  • 1 3
 Ahh its good to see brands hovering that Large reach around 475 - none of this silly 490+ stuff
  • 1 1
 Thats because people who are 5'9" insist on riding larges.
  • 1 1
 @RonSauce: if only that were true huh..........................
  • 1 2
 you're*
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