Cannondale Habit Carbon SE - Review

Sep 20, 2015 at 14:36
by Mike Levy  



What do you think of when you see that a bike has 120mm of travel? There's a good chance Lycra, skinny racer types and even skinnier tires come to mind, but it doesn't have to be that way. With the 120mm travel Habit, Cannondale is jumping into the short-travel, big-fun niche that's opening riders' eyes to how much of a good time a "little bike" can be on challenging terrain. While the ten bike Habit lineup all sport the same 27.5'' wheels and 120mm of rear wheel travel, it's the $4,480 USD Carbon SE model reviewed here that receives a few winks and nudges towards getting a little rowdier than its siblings. The up-sizing includes 10mm more travel up front from the new 130mm stroke Lefty 2.0 Alloy OPI strut that gives the bike a 67.5° head angle (half a degree slacker than the tamer bikes), as well as more aggressive tires and 180mm rotors all around.

Habit Carbon SE Details

• Intended use: cross-country / trail
• Rear wheel travel: 120mm
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Carbon front triangle, alloy rear
• Lefty 2.0 Alloy OPI, 130mm
• Internal dropper post routing
• 1.5'' head tube
• 12 x 142mm axle spacing
• Weight: 27.5 pounds (12.47 kg)
• MSRP: $4,480 USD


It's probably not out of line to say that the Carbon SE's mother might have been a cross-country whippet and its father a husky trail bike, with their 27.5 pound offspring clearly growing up to be a high-spirited thing that doesn't give a shit if it confuses people about its intentions so long as the rider is having fun. Sure, you could do a cross-country race on it, and no one would tell you that you can't show up to an enduro event aboard the Habit, but I suspect that the turquoise bike's main purpose is to just have a good time.


Cannondale Habit SE review test


Frame Details

The Habit's carbon fiber front triangle is said to employ a unique blend of materials that make it especially resistant to impact strikes, say from a rock that gets thrown up by the front wheel or if the bike gets put onto the ground at speed, and Cannondale feels confident enough in the frame's ability to shrug off such hits that they don't include any type of bolt-on down tube protection. The buzzword that they use here is 'BallisTec Carbon', and Cannondale says that the technology is actually similar to what's used in, of all places, the baseball world: ''The resins we use are high strength, high impact resins similar to what is used in the construction of carbon baseball bats; light, stiff and designed to endure thousands of deformation cycles.''


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
The Lefty and its one-piece upper leg and crowns attach to a full length 1.5'' head tube.
Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
The lightweight carbon rocker link is moulded by compacting thousands of pieces cut from pre-impregnated carbon fiber.


There's a big 1.5'' head tube up front that's home to an equally large steerer tube, and there are two cable entry ports just aft of the head tube. One of these is for the hydraulic hose for the Monarch shock's XLoc remote that comes on the more expensive Habit offerings, while the other is where the KS LEV Integra's internally routed cable feeds into before going all of the way to the bottom of the down tube and then up part of the seat tube. More companies should route their dropper cables this way rather than having them on the outside of the frame until they reach the seat tube. The rear brake and shift lines are located on the underside of the down tube, being held in place with bolt-on aluminum guides.

Cannondale was actually the first to come up with the BB30 bottom bracket design that allows the use of a massive 30mm diameter aluminum spindle, having since made it a free international standard that frame and component manufacturers can use. I remember working as a mechanic at a Cannondale dealer when BB30 was introduced back in 2000 and, regardless of how you feel about press-fit bearings, it was a fairly wild idea compared to the threaded shells we were used to back then. Moving farther back, the rear brake caliper attaches onto the chain stay via the new flat road standard and an adapter that bolts to it. This is said to be lighter, more reliable and easier to produce in carbon, and Cannondale has matched this on their aluminum rear ends as used on our SE test bike. There's also a 12 x 142mm QR axle holds the wheel in place - nope, no Boost.


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  The Lefty might look like it's a wild idea from the future, but the single-sided strut has been confusing people since the late 1990s.


Lefty 2.0 Alloy OPI

Cannondale's Lefty strut (it's not really a fork, is it?) is probably one of the most polarizing mountain bike products that's ever been manufactured, with its out of the norm appearance simply making it a no-go for a lot of riders. I've always found it a bit amusing that people swear the single-sided strut, which has been around for well over a decade, will never stand up to how they ride, then they happily drive away in their car that has all of its wheels held on from just one side. Same goes for the landing gear of most planes. Different horses for different courses, of course, and it's good to think critically, but the Lefty architecture is about as proven as it gets, and Cannondale has also made some important updates to the design.

Internally, the aluminum stanchion is actually square, and the inside of the upper leg matches that shape, with four strips of roller bearings allowing the two pieces to roll rather than slide into and out of each other. The square-in-a-square design is what keeps the leg from rotating, whereas a traditional fork slides on bushings and depends on the axle and brake arch for torsional rigidity. The new Lefty design uses 3D forging to create a one-piece lower leg and stanchion that allows for a round external section, and therefore a more traditional fork seal can be employed to keep gunk out rather than the old accordion-style fork boot. It also lets Cannondale add a glide bearing to further enhance stiffness. The same 3D forging creates the one-piece upper leg and fork crown unit that means Cannondale doesn't have to bond or bolt those sections together. Less pieces means less complication and less weight.


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
The fork can be firmed up by pushing the green button at the center, while pushing the red rebound dial re-opens the Lefty's compression circuit.
Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
The clever modular brake mount is slotted to allow you to remove it without having to completely undo the bolts or re-center the caliper, although you obviously don't have to take the wheel off to fix a flat.


A revised PBR Isolated Damper with Trail+ tune is dropped into the strut and allows the rider to firm the fork up by pushing the green button (that's the 'Push Button' in the name) on top of the fork crown, while the red rebound dial that encircles it (that's the 'Rebound') is pushed to open the damper back up. The rider can't tune the amount of low-speed compression - it's either locked or wide open. The Lefty's air spring pressure is adjusted at the bottom of the leg by removing an anodized aluminum cap, and the bike comes with a number of different sized volume spacers that can be dropped directly into the air chamber to help create a more progressive stroke. It's interesting to see that the spacers don't thread or clip into place as on other forks on the market, but simply slide right down into the leg.


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  The 120mm travel Habit uses a single-pivot, linkage activated suspension system that appears to be fairly simple and light.


The Habit's Suspension Explained

I know what you might be thinking: the Habit's suspension layout looks a bit, ahem, dated when compared to the fancy pants virtual-pivot designs out there, but the simple design disguises a fair bit of clever engineering on Cannondale's part. The 120mm travel SE employs a cost-saving aluminum rear end (more expensive models feature a carbon tail) that can be boiled down to being a single pivot, linkage activated design, with the main pivot roughly aligned with the top of the bike's 30 tooth chain ring. Like some other relatively short-travel bikes, including the Scalpel that's been in Cannondale's lineup for many years, the Habit forgoes a traditional dropout pivot in favor of a design that flexes as the bike goes through its travel. Weight savings is the most obvious plus - there are no bearings or pivot hardware - but it's not out of line to assume that Cannondale's Zero Pivot rear end is also more torsionally rigid than one with standard pivots, which might be why the bike can get away without a bridge joining the left and right seat stays.

It's all held together with new expanding collet-style pivots that lock into place, and the trick carbon fiber link modifies the leverage ratio while compressing the RockShox Monarch RT DebonAir shock. Cannondale actually claims that the carbon link saves 100 grams over the aluminum link, which isn't a small chunk of weight relative to the link's small size. There's no handlebar mounted remote to be found here, just a pedal-assist lever on the shock itself, although I'd argue that any 120mm travel bike worth its weight shouldn't need to be firmed up so long as you've set it up correctly.
Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot




Specifications
Specifications
Release Date 2016
Price $4480
Travel 120
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch DebonAir RT
Fork Lefty 2.0 Alloy OPI, 130mm
Headset Cannondale HeadShok Si
Cassette SRAM XG-1180, 10-42, 11-speed
Crankarms Cannondale Si BB30, 30T
Bottom Bracket Cannondale Alloy PressFit30
Rear Derailleur SRAM X1, 11-speed
Chain SRAM PCX1, 11-speed
Shifter Pods SRAM X1, 11-speed
Handlebar Cannondale C3 riser, 760mm
Stem Cannondale C1, 60mm
Grips Cannondale Dual Locking
Brakes SRAM Guide R, 180/180
Hubs Lefty 60 front, Formula with XD, 12 x 142
Spokes DT Swiss Competition
Rim WTB Frequency Race I23 TCS 27.5
Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance, 2.35 front / 2.25 rear
Seat Fabric Scoop Shallow Elite with Cromoly rails
Seatpost KS LEV Integra

Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot










Climbing

Saying that the wall of roots in front of me is kinda steep would be a bit like saying that Jerome Clementz is kinda handy at riding bicycles. I've never met the builder behind the first trail that I pointed the Habit up, but I suspect that he likes to do things like stick forks in wall sockets for fun or cut his fingernails so short that it hurts to touch anything - he's got to be a bit of a masochist to think climbs like this are fun. Screw having a good time, I just want to get up it without tipping over backwards. Then I do just that, and with much less flailing than expected. The Habit found the traction to crawl to the top, over and around wet roots that look more like sleeping anacondas than any sort of plant life, and did it all without any drama. I'm pretty sure that I only need one hand to count the times that I've cleaned this particular bastard, and I know that all of my other successes have been on 29ers with aired-down tires and have come only by cashing in all my chips. Surprisingly, it all happened pretty easily on the Habit.

I'm not saying that the Habit is going to sprout feathered wings and whisk you up all of your tricky ascents, but I will say that this is the first 'tweener-wheeled bike that climbs on par with the most gifted of 29ers when talking about low-traction, technical ups. It's that good. The Nobby Nic tires are pretty grabby, which obviously helps, but the bike's weight distribution and rider positioning is spot-on, while the front-end can be steered around the tightest of corners without things getting awkward and tippy despite the 67.5° head angle. I always like it when a bike's geometry chart lies to me, and this is the perfect example of a bike easily out-tech'ing quicker handling machines in places that it shouldn't be able to.


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  A 120mm travel bike better climb competently, but the Habit gets on up exceptionally well.


The Habit gets a move on when you're riding up smoother ground that's more about efficiency than handling skills, as it should given that its travel is closer to a cross-country race bike than a big-travel beast. I never felt the urge to reach for the Monarch's pedal-assist lever, even when playing with suspension setup and running more than thirty percent sag, which probably means that the Habit will be more than efficient enough for anyone who doesn't wear white Lycra or fingerless gloves on a regular basis. The SE's upsized tires (they're wider than those on the other nine Habit models) don't exactly roll with a lot of urgency, though, so while the bike is going to feel sporty for anyone who's coming off a heavier, longer travel rig, you'll probably want to swap them out for something less chunky if you plan to ride it in those old fashioned events they call cross-country races. Then again, anyone who's going to be doing that sort of thing more than a few times a year will likely be looking at the SE's slimmer and lighter siblings - this turquoise toy is more for fun than competition. Firming the Lefty up via the green button on the fork crown does make things feel more efficient, but it also caused a strange clunking at the top of the stroke that Cannondale said is a symptom of the damper design. It's a bit disconcerting, but I was assured that nothing is being damaged.



Descending and Suspension

I really enjoy riding bikes that people don't expect to perform well, and not to be to hard on ol' Cannondale, but the East Coast company doesn't exactly spring to the front of my mind when I'm thinking about bikes that put a shit eating grin on my face. No, I think of tiny Spanish cross-country racers and sporty road bikes, or maybe Tinker Juarez. But I also love surprises and underdogs, which is exactly what the Habit is. The bike has less rear wheel travel than the height of a pop can. It's ''missing'' half of its fork. It's very, very turquoise. As it turns out, it's also very, very fun.

The Habit's color might be questionable, but its handling certainly isn't. Cannondale has struck just the right balance up front, as their little bike feels neither nervous and pointy or too slack relative to its travel. The sum of a 67.5° head angle, just the right amount of trail, and what has to be the most torsionally rigid short-travel fork out there, is a bike that nearly does all the thinking for you, even when you should be finding yourself under-biked on a rowdy trail. Geometry and the handling that comes from it is king of all, with travel a distant second, and the Habit only reaffirms that fact as the bike gives you plenty confidence relative to its travel. It doesn't quite match the Process 111 in this regard, the king of short-travel bikes that punch above their weight, but I'd rather be on the Habit during an all-day adventure that's going to put me on fun terrain.


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  On the Habit, even the most flowing and relaxing of trails can be turned into a good time.


A big reason for that sort of thinking is just how easy it is to make the Habit do whatever you want, even though the bike can still feel like a cross-country machine when you need it to. A lot of riders with a few years of skill can make any bike an extension of themselves, but I suspect that the Habit will widen that range even more. Yes, you can ride it like you're wearing a heart rate monitor and are trying to stay in whatever dumb zone you're supposed to be in, but that'd be such waste given what the Habit is capable of. I nailed long manuals on this bike that I've never even attempted on other machines, which is the sort of thing that can make a ride, at least for me, and I found a bunch of silly and useless natural jumps that I never would have bothered with had I been on most other bikes.

bigquotesThe last time I had this much fun I was six years old and in the ball pit at Burger King with a sugar high from a chocolate milkshake. Those were good times, but I think I'd rather be on the Habit with a sugar high from a chocolate milkshake. Some things don't change.

Enough about the handling; how does the Habit's suspension perform? It erases massive rocks and roots like they're not even there, and absorbs hard landings from huge heights so well that you'd think you're on the end of bungee cord. Just kidding. The Habit has 120mm of rear wheel travel, so you're going to get smacked across the face if you forget that fact, but what the bike does do is use what travel it has in a smart way. Some short-travel bikes ramp up way too fast in an effort to compensate for lack of girth, but all that really happens is that they feel like shit once you get past the sag point. Others put so much focus on all-out pedalling ability, which is arguably not a bad a strategy given their usual intentions, that they just feel harsh regardless of spring rate. The Habit doesn't do any of those things, though. It just works well, which is kinda boring but also really good. You can set the little Monarch shock up with anywhere between 20 and 30 percent sag and not really have anything to complain about, although I tended to prefer running it on the firmer end of the scale and let the shock's DebonAir air can supply the suppleness. That approach worked well for me because I could ride the bike like I'm way younger than I actually am, but not lose that forgiveness at the top of the stroke.


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
  Shoulder checking large rocks continues to be a bad idea.


The bike's Lefty fork is interesting, and not just because I was telling people that you can't ride no-handed because it will lean to one side. It doesn't do that at all, but I managed to convince a bunch of riders that it did. If you're reading this, I'm sorry-ish. As I said above, the fork chassis is unbelievably resistant to twisting. I know many people won't believe me when I say this, but it feels a lot like there's a double-crown downhill fork on the front of the Habit in this regard - just point the bike where you want to go and if you don't get there it's not because the steering let you down.

The Lefty's air spring is also on point, and it comes with a number of spacers that you can drop into the fork if you want it to ramp up quicker. I tinkered around with a few different volume setups and ended up with a pretty progressive spring rate, mostly because I found myself releasing small amounts of air during the first handful of rides in a search for a more active stroke. That just wasn't there, though, which made the front end feel a bit unforgiving compared to what we're used to in 2015. The travel is super smooth, but it's not as supple and active as the latest from FOX or RockShox. Think warm Nutella versus KY Jelly. Damping is decent, however, and there seemed to be enough support that you do have the ability to go a bit low on air pressure without spending most of your time deep into the travel. There is no external low-speed compression adjustment, though, so you best just be happy with the factory setting. Cannondale has what is probably the best fork chassis on the market right now, even if it looks odd and scares people who don't know any better, but they still need to step up when it comes to what's inside of it. And that could happen sooner rather than later, as Cannondale has poached one of the main minds behind RockShox's Pike. I wouldn't be surprised if the next-gen Lefty turned out to be a something very special.




Technical Report


• Pivot Hardware: I had the bike's main pivot loosen off after a few weeks of riding the bike, which only goes to show that you need to stay on top of things regardless of any fancy expanding collet-style pivot hardware. It took about ten seconds to snug up and never came loose again.

• KS Lev Integra: I've given KS' internally routed dropper a lot of heat in years past, all of it deserved, but the latest model that came spec'd on the Habit Carbon SE worked flawlessly during my entire time on the bike - I didn't even have to tinker with its cable tension once. KS also still has the best remote in the biz, even if the plastic body on this OEM version did crack when the Habit went cartwheeling down the hill without me on it, although I feel like the blame for the damaged remote falls more on my poor line choice that day than anything.

• Schwalbe Nobby Nic Tires: I really like these tires. They get more traction than when you use a photo of a puppy on Tinder, and they're predictable in all sorts of conditions... except when they don't have air in them. I'm not sure if it was just an incredibly bad string of luck, but I managed to suffer more flat tires in a month of riding the Habit than I have over the last two years on other bikes. This is not typical of all the new Nobby Nics - the ones on my personal bike have been extremely reliable - but the casing on the Habit's Nics proved to be about as resilient to sharp rocks as single-ply toilet paper, with the result being nearly as messy. All of the cuts were too large for the sealant to plug up.


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
I can fix a flat tire really quickly thanks to how much practice I had with the Habit's Nobby Nics.
Cannondale Habit Carbon SE review test Photo by Clayton Racicot
The bike's LEV Integra was trouble-free during the entire test period.


• Short Stem, Wide Bar: Not long ago, I had a 160mm travel test bike that came stock with an 80mm stem, which is laughable while also making Cannondale seem forward-thinking. The SE has 120mm of rear wheel travel and comes with a 60mm stem that clamps onto a 760mm wide handlebar, a combo that felt spot-on for the bike's front-end length and how it wants to be ridden. This is a playful bike and the shorter stem only helps to bring that personality out.

• Water to Spare: I don't feel like I should be pointing out that a large-sized water bottle fits inside of the Habit's front triangle, but the last few test bikes I've written about either only have room for a small bottle or the sole H2O location is on the underside of the down tube. This is a big deal for anyone that likes to do big rides, especially if they don't like wearing a backpack for hours on end..

• Fabric Scoop Seat: My ass felt at home while perched on the Scoop for hours on end, and while everyone's undercarriage is shaped differently, I bet that the very large majority of riders would also get on well with Fabric's most popular seat.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe short-travel Habit is like a cross-country bike if cross-country bikes were more about a good time than breathing through your eyeballs for a few hours while pretending you're enjoying yourself. It's adaptable in that you can ride it all day without feeling like you're being punished for something, but then it reminds you exactly why you're out there: for fun. It's also a good reminder that travel doesn't define a bike, and neither does its appearance. - Mike Levy



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About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 34 • Height: 5'10” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 165lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Mike Levy spent most of the 90s and early 2000s racing downhill bikes and building ill-considered jumps in the woods of British Columbia before realizing that bikes could also be pedalled for hours on end to get to some pretty cool places. These days he spends most of his time doing exactly that, preferring to ride test bikes way out in the local hills rather than any bike park. Over ten years as a professional mechanic before making the move to Pinkbike means that his enthusiasm for two wheels extends beyond simply riding on them, and his appreciation for all things technical is an attribute that meshes nicely with his role of Technical Editor at Pinkbike.



165 Comments

  • + 183
 Not sure about the bike, but Cannondale definitely has some bad habits
m.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=168966
  • + 55
 Wow. Poor form from Cannondale there.
  • + 68
 Thanks for posting this, I will remember it when considering a new frame.
  • + 28
 Crack-and-fails
  • - 27
flag Cannondale Plus (Sep 21, 2015 at 6:45) (Below Threshold)
 Hi! if this is the case in Slovenia we think it is, we sent a replacement to our Slovenian distributor in the first week of May. We are following up now to confirm that this is all sorted out. Thanks!
  • + 47
 Well, that escalated quickly.
  • + 34
 In that thread he said he hadn't received anything mid June...
  • + 1
 Well lets see what follows, is a shame that that happens as they do brilliant ridding bikes
  • + 13
 Cannondale says they sent one and the local distributer just has a display model. Sounds like someone along the line just took it for private use, or sold it on the black market...
  • + 25
 @cannondale: Luckily the dude's LBS was good enough to give him an old demo frame so he could get back on the trails. He never got anything from cannondale. At least that's the claim in the thread which I have no reason to disbelieve.
  • + 41
 @cannondale Shame it took you guys this long and to this situation for you guys to get in contact with him with information. He obviously made every effort to contact both the EU and US departments of your brand with little help. Funny how you "show" your considerate words with him in a public setting on your products review and not in personal communication. Also, if you actually read all the forum thread (approx 10minutes), you will clearly figure out whether or not it is the "case in Slovenia" and you will know that it is, not "think". Shit effort overall in my opinion based on reading that whole thread an the manner in which you responded.
  • + 20
 Hey Cannondale it's October now, you know?
this shit had to be sorted out long ago. seems that if YOUR DEAR CUSTOMER doesn't tell what was going on, you don't take any notice of him.
  • + 12
 Did not C'dale indicate they will only replace the frame after Michael Jackson wakes up from death? ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb12075181/p4pb12075181.jpg
  • + 0
 Here in Brazil we had some broken and cracked links and frames
  • - 14
flag filsdanvers (Sep 21, 2015 at 8:56) (Below Threshold)
 He should have bought a Trek.
  • + 9
 A 3 year old frame that cracks with out of warranty scope fatigue cracks is not a frame I want to own. I;ve heard of some local Scalpel owners being SOL on getting their cracked frames replaced. Shame.
  • + 10
 Say what you want about the big S but in my experience they have been AWESOME with warranty related issues. C'dale seems as though they could learn a thing or two.
  • + 13
 All bikes break (some with more frequency than others). What makes the difference is a company and LBS that has your back. I sold out and bought a Specialized because they have a "few questions asked" life-time warranty.
  • + 3
 well, @Cannondale this is a great opportunity to DM @kanioni and make sure you can set things straight.. Did your distributor botch the replacement and keep it? What the hell happened?
  • + 1
 To be clear it's not my warranty case, I just linked the thread 'cause I think it's good to let people know when stuff like that happens.
  • + 30
 Cannondale pays PB big $'s to have front page coverage... ends up with egg on their face. It would have costed minimal to replace the frame to begin with.
  • + 5
 Commenting to see what Cannondales response is to any questions asked after @cannondale 's comment.

If they do comment any further that is.

I think they at least owe a (huge) apology for the incredibly unprofessional comment about micheal jackson. I work in the bike industry, and yes I often like to have a joke with customers. But not when I am in the process of declining to warranty a part that cost that person several thousand pounds. Making a joke at that point would be incredibly rude.

Especially when my declining to warranty it was pretty shitty in the first place. A crack there is pretty obviously a design fault. Too much flex in the bendy downtube + not enough flex in the top tube = a crack at the point those two tubes intersect.
  • - 16
flag karoliusz (Sep 21, 2015 at 13:42) (Below Threshold)
 You don't have to be an expert to see that there's something clearly wrong with this bike. Just look at the fork. And the rear triangle. It's gotta crack.
  • + 1
 Looks like cannondale can join in with Ellsworth on the hate. LOL
  • + 0
 karoliusz is absolutely right, there is no way that rear triangle is going to last long with no pivot near the rear wheel. I owned a Cannondale once, it was a very pretty bike but rife with poorly executed engineering. I have learned my lesson, way too many nice bikes out there to risk getting burned by a Cannondale ever again.
  • + 38
 We did some digging into this and confirmed that the customer received a replacement frame via his shop in May. We totally agree that waiting over two months for a replacement frame is unacceptable. We pride ourselves on prompt and complete warranty support and we certainly acknowledge that we fell short in this case
  • + 0
 Cannondale are you a robot or WHAT ? OP say he receive sweet nothing from you!
  • + 2
 C'mon C'dale. How many warranty replacement frames get mysteriously lost on their way to your customers?
  • + 10
 @Cannondale: LIERS. This did NOT get fixed in May. He says he got a replacement test frame from his bike shop in JUNE and got nothing from you. Here's the MTBR thread, post #53: forums.mtbr.com/cannondale/cannondale-warranty-negative-experience-959705-3.html#post12039113
  • + 0
 @the-one1 it's spelled "liars"

There is also the issue of Lefty "rapid bearing migration". It's well documented that the needle bearings in Lefty's will start to migrate and need a reset every 3-6 months. I've personally owned 4 Lefty's and they all needed this routinely (it takes about 5 minutes and is easy). I didn't mind because they seemed to not need new seals as often. However, MANY riders of the previous generation carbon Lefty's have complained that they ride once and this needs to done. A $1,200+, 2-3 year old fork shouldn't need this much attention.
  • + 14
 Maybe don't believe everything you read on the internet??
  • + 3
 This post has nothing to do with some rare issue every single brand has to deal with. Bikes break no matter what brand you're riding. If you ride them hard enough with no maintenance they'll break. You could also be a very well minded person and literally took every care into consideration and you got stuck with a weak frame or linkage. The fact is this post is about the new bike Levy tested out - let's not rant away on anything else for once....
  • + 0
 You're right. Maybe Levy was riding it just right. Or just maintained it properly. Or was just lucky enough not to get stuck with a weak frame. Let's see this review as a test of this one particular bike and everything will be just fine.
  • + 5
 the problem is not that the bike failed, but cannondale not respecting the warranty
  • + 10
 The problem now is that Cannondale is saying they sent a warranty frame 2 months after the fact (which is crap) but the letter they wrote denied the warranty claim. Somebody is not telling the truth.
  • + 14
 From what i've heard it takes 19 days to break a Habit. It this true?
  • + 6
 And 1 weekend to get it back.
  • + 31
 Hi,
I'm the owner of the cracked Claymore posted in this conversation.
Currently I am biking on Garda, Italy, so I will be quick with this reply.
The thing didn't move a bit from my last post in the thread - I got an test frame from my LBS and thats it, warranty claim was declained.

I got a call from Cdale Eu yesterday, they wanted to know the current situation.

I won't reply till next week... I hope you will understand. Trails are great here at Garda Wink
  • + 11
 @Cannondale

your nose is growing.....
  • + 4
 @danibenedicic let us know how it turns out. Funny how they are responsive now.
  • + 4
 It feels like Cannondale has made a fool of itself and, what is worse, keeps doing so again and again.
Just hope PB doesn't censor or delete this interesting "review" (wouldn't be the first time)
  • + 12
 Back from Garda... www.pinkbike.com/photo/12748394 Wink

So, as I've said in the above reply - nothing really moved from my last post in the original thread. I got a Claymore test frame from my LBS (had to give them the damaged one), swapped the components, and sold the bike in May.

Again, I got nothing from Cannondale, not even an answer (till last week, when I got a call apparently directly from Cycling Sports Group Europe - just a chat, they wanted to know if I'm satisfied with their service (obviously not). They contacted me because the link to my thread was posted here, on this review.

Some of you alluded the problem to my LBS, as if they wanted to get the frame for themselves via my warranty claim. I highly doubt that is the case - when I got the call from Cdale last week, they didn't mention any frame being sent to me. I felt they were sorry for this situation to happen... if this will help other people to solve their warranty appropriately, I'm happy with it.

I have nothing else to add, I kept the topic up to date and that's it, nothing else has happend in between.

Thanks for reading and keeping this topic alive and am sorry on the other side that I even had to post it...

(I'll copy this post as an answer to other forums/comments as well, because I currently don't have time to reply individually.)
  • + 32
 I kinda like it.

/goes on the shopping list for next time I refresh, because to be honest I am not the aggressive & rowdy rider I pretended to be when I bought my '09 Trance or Demo.

120mm Travel XC Bike is where it's at for the local trails (Sydney, AU)
  • + 10
 Your missing out Wink
Sincerely 160mm AM 29er

(Sydney, AU)
  • + 3
 You two need to get out to the mountains more!
  • + 80
 It's like a Stumpjumper and a Bronson got drunk one night and humped. But due to all the booze, it was born with only one leg. Poor little bastard.
  • + 3
 I thought it, n you said it buddy..
  • + 29
 This is the kind of bike shops should be steering 90% of new riders in the sport towards. Enough travel (& good geometry) to not make already nervous newbies more scared, but climbs well enough to not discourage them due to their lack of fitness.

Instead, they sell scary short travel XC race bikes, which keep people from riding because they feel like they going to die on every decent, at least a lot of shops in my area do.
  • + 29
 It doesn't have boost. I'm not interested.
  • + 5
 So it begins...
  • + 1
 In all seriousness, though, I thought exactly that. I'm not sure Boost is absolutely necessary in terms of performance, but on the other hand, I don't want to get locked out in the cold when looking for parts in a couple years. How the tables have turned... This uncertainty isn't good for anybody, customers or companies. The industry is going to have to pick, one way or another, and right now it's looking like it'll pick Boost. Too many big players are onboard.
  • + 5
 @Bluefire you know that (even if it 's has been) you can still buy some 26 wheelset?

And you will still easily find some 26 wheels in 3 or 4 years... It's basically because of people who think like you, that boost is going to spread whereas it has literally not advantages (unlike 27.5 and 29)
  • + 4
 @zede
Well said. Whoever negged you is a fool. As they say, a fool and his money are easily parted...
  • + 2
 "People who think like you". Wow. The guy is just trying to decide on whether his investment on expensive parts will still be usable in a short period of time. All the '16 non-plus frames with Boost are making me second think about whether this is a bad time to build up a wheelset. It's not whether Boost has an advantage, it's if our goddamn parts will fit our next frame. Do you want to persuade somebody to build up a 135 wheel because "some are still available"? Way to throw blame on an innocent person in the name of proclaiming something that most of us already agree on.
  • + 3
 he means people who buy the latest parts for fear that nothing else will be compatible 2 years down the line, are the reason the business gets away with changing standards every 5 minutes. If no one bought them, they wouldnt sell them.
  • + 4
 Don't say you can't buy a new frame because of your 135 Wheel. If you want a new frame but you rear hub doesn't fit, buy a new hub, it's way cheaper than a complete new bike with the "current standard"... Oh and that's a secret but 26 wheels fit in 27.5 frame and fork...
  • + 5
 @zede - I do know it; I ride 26 and, while I'm happy with my wheelset, I have no trouble finding fresh rubber when I need it. I don't mean that I would buy a Boost bike in preference to this one - I'm not buying a new bike, period, until some sort of consensus has been reached. As Boost has SOME performance advantages, and 142's only selling point is backwards compatibility, it seems to me that Boost is more likely to prevail in the end, purely from - yes - a marketing perspective. Pinkbike users may or may not be a bastion of level-headed consumption, but the reality is that we, the dedicated and knowledgeable, *are not responsible* for the majority of the purchases that drive the market.

@gabriel-mission - You have a point with what you said about people buying into new standards out of fear, but I'm not sure everyone who's wary of buying old standards can be blamed for the profusion and success of new ones. Personally, my wariness has manifested as cautious stillness, not frantic action. I might well be a fool, but almost every non-wear part on my bike, including the frame, is five years old and works perfectly well, and I have little interest in changing that right now. In waiting for the market to settle, I am more likely to be responsible for the death of Boost than for its propagation.
  • + 16
 I dig the colorway. Judge me whatever you want, but If I'm having more fun than you out on the trail on this bike means Cdale has hit it spot on.

I'd love to get a lefty, but alas I see no seller Frown
  • + 5
 I like that he says the Habit's color is questionable, it's never questionable if it's for a Yeti though.
  • + 9
 TIL there are carbon baseball bats.

Looks like a sick bike though! After riding a couple 120-125mm full suspension bikes, I'm pretty sure that's all the travel I'm ever going to need. Makes for a REALLY snappy, nimble bike that you can take out for super long days. As a rider who spends most of his time on a hardtail, I like that it can ease that beat-up feeling you get after 3+ hours riding technical/chunky stuff, but still really requires you to finesse your way through stuff. I think more people on 160mm bikes should give these things a shot, they're crazy fun.
  • + 2
 Yes indeed. Yeti ASR, SC Tallboy and Pivot 429 are all super fun
  • + 1
 Just rode a SC 5010 this weekend and was pretty blown away with how fast/fun it was through tight and twisty stuff. Add that one to your list if you've never tried it out!
  • + 2
 For sure. Rocky Thunderbolt is also on the list.
  • + 1
 lapierre zesty xm and transition scout too... possibly commencal meta
  • + 1
 I have a Tallboy (cc, xx1). Only has 100mm rear. It's incredible for everything except hucking and parks. But man, if it had 125 it would be so much more amazing. That's why the Ripley is prob the top of the list right now.
  • + 1
 You might like the SB4.5c
  • + 6
 It's bikes like these that make me realize I have a quite serious addiction. I want this bike. It's cool - it's lighter weight than I usually prefer for trail riding because I like do-it all, all- mountain type rigs - but I just want one.
  • + 9
 Great review ! I want to ride it
  • + 6
 I always wonder - how do people do "big rides" with just one water bottle? I drink at least 1L/hour to stay hydrated, so I always use a camelbak. One bottle, even a 750ml one, wouldn't get me very far.
  • + 1
 Yeah, use a camelback. All FS bikes (except the epic) only take on bottle (not counting under the down tube cages which suck).
  • + 2
 Leisurely pace?
  • + 1
 A lot of big rides i can get away with it because of water stops along the way. I usually plan my routes around them.
  • + 9
 Mike Levy...King of Simile!
  • + 7
 " I think of tiny Spanish cross-country racers and sporty road bikes, or maybe Tinker Juarez."

Oh how quickly the mighty can fall... What about Jerome Clementz? HAHA
  • + 2
 Exactly what I was thinking when I read that
  • + 1
 The whole article read like a written Tellsell advertisement..
  • + 6
 I see a Lefty, it reminds me Lycra..dont know why....
  • + 5
 Marco Fontana, Mani Fumic, U23 World Champ Anton Cooper, Mark Weir, Jerome Clementz? Does Levy read the other Pinkbike articles?
  • + 7
 Seems like every 120-130mm bike gets "rowdier than its siblings" or "descends like a bike with much more travel".
  • + 2
 At least they didn't do the "_____ fork is fine for SOME people, but gnarly brahs like us require 34mm stanchions. NEEDS MOAR PIKE"
  • + 4
 I quite like it, I have an old rush lefty.. 2007 and still a great bike. It's a much easier and more playful bike than my jekyll or lapierre. If this is anything like that with almost a decade of better technology, count me in. That or a transition scout
  • + 6
 Unce upon a time Yeti 575 met Camber Evo and it turned into a passionate but evil love. 9 months later a one handed bastard child was born...
  • - 1
 Alas, he was born with a bit defect. He was missing the right part of his fork. But dispite this short coming he tried to be the best bike he could be.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Sep 21, 2015 at 8:02) (Below Threshold)
 Dunno about 29 but my love affair with a 125mm bike is getting over. She's quite ok at home on, even on challenging stuff, but when I go away or want to get rough, she starts to complain. I got to get back to the sugar, 150-160 never failed me Big Grin
  • + 5
 Please can we have the Prophet back?
Just because it looked miles better than these
  • - 1
 Prophet, the Moto carbon among others. Cannnondale bike rawks!
  • + 2
 one other thing that Cannondale does very differently than anyone else is their fork offset.

This thing has 50mm. That's 8mm more than a 27.5 Pike; 6mm more than a 34 or 36 and 4mm more than X-Fusion. (it's 10mm more than Marzocchi and that's just plain funny. Make sure you neg prop me if you love Marzocchi.).

Giant put the 29er crown (well the 46mm offset one) on the Pikes for their Reigns (65 degree H/A) in an effort to speed up the steering. I do not know how they did not end up with the 51 offset 29er CSU and am hoping they tested it and decided on the 46.

Anyway, point is, geo has just gotten slacker and slacker over the years and fork offsets have remained pretty much unchanged so we have these floppy front ends because of arguably way too much trail.
  • + 6
 Warning: rider can only perform clock-wise x-ups
  • + 5
 so how exactly is one supposed to tension the headset? Surely we aren't just expected to flex the crowns together???
  • + 5
 Rear tires last a lot longer if you don't skid so much Levy.
  • + 1
 This is encouraging, sounds like it solves a lot of the dumb design issues with the 2013 Scalpel (though are the headset bearings still pressed directly into the frame? It's annoying to need a headset press to change bearings).
  • + 0
 We did some digging into this and confirmed that the customer received a replacement frame in May. We totally agree that waiting over two months for a replacement frame is unacceptable. We pride ourselves on prompt and complete warranty support and we certainly acknowledge that we fell short in this case.
  • + 2
 yeah sure
  • + 3
 It's not a hardtail and it's not a 29, but it looks like I could get along with it real easy.
  • + 3
 They get more traction than using a photo of a puppy on Tinder does, haha! Levy rules Wink
  • + 3
 Sometimes...
  • + 1
 After years of not really liking what cannondale were doing.. I am really liking this bike! I might even try and get over my aversion to the lefty. On the shortlist for my next ride
  • + 1
 Bought one, I love it! It strikes the perfect middle ground between my Anthem and Enduro...best get them both listed to sell now ????
  • + 0
 To be honest it's a much better spec obviously, but very pricey and for much cheaper you could ride my Lappiere X-Control which sounds like it rides very similarly too this bike.
  • + 0
 I'm sure that rear triangle is stronger than it looks, but it doesn't have the most confidence-inspiring look to it. But hey-they made that crazy pivot-less Scalpel work OK too.
  • + 2
 Lefty is one of the best performing forks period, if you haven't ridden one in anger, keep your assumptions to yourself.
  • + 1
 I rode one for a while and really ditched it because it was an XC bike, not because of any issues with the Lefty. I took it well beyond its intended XC purpose and got into trouble a few times, but the Lefty held up. Getting Clementz on a Lefty Max would've been huge. If I were Cannondale I'd have paid top dollar to get him racing a Lefty. It just perpetuates the perception that it's not a real/serious fork.
  • + 1
 27.5lbs holy shit that is heavy for a 120 mm xc bike. My giant reign advanced is 27lbs and 40mm more travel. Should be sub 25 lbs for that price
  • + 2
 This was my thought exactly. I am getting a 2016 reign advanced and expect it to be around 27 lbs with my trail wheel/tire setup. My friend's bronson carbon is 25 lbs and change. I'd only consider a short travel trail bike if it comes with a big weight savings.
  • + 2
 My C'dale Rize is asking for a paternity test. This bike should be called RIze.
  • + 3
 Warm nutella. KY. The Levy household sounds like a fun place to be
  • + 2
 Comedy gold ^
  • + 4
 I want one. Badly!
  • + 2
 Beautiful bike! Love cannondale, but have the same issue with my stock nobby nics, 5 flats in 2 months, so bad!
  • + 1
 Anyone else between sizes? At 5'10" I'm stuck between m and l and test rides not easy.
  • + 1
 I'm 5'11" (180cm) with a 34" inside leg, the large is a perfect fit for me
  • + 1
 Another review that makes jabs at XC riders while also using overcompensating analogies.
  • + 2
 I thought this bike was a 29er. I would prefer that to the smaller wheels.
  • + 1
 @mikelevy Do you know the internal width of the rims?
  • + 1
 so is the rocker made from all the off cuts? very "sustainable"
  • - 3
 This seems like a fun bike from Cannondale. But the fork... Its no 2006 888 so you will have to service it one day. Good luck finding anyone that can, and wants to in western Canada. They might actually sell a few of these bikes if they put a two legged fork on it. An aftermarket fork might not ride like they intend but it could help to build an overall positive reputation for Cannondale.
  • + 0
 That Resindale looks like an easy habit to break. I'd go for a Cruz in a second instead.
  • + 1
 looks like a specialized stumpjumper
  • + 1
 Looks like a sess... Nevermind
  • + 0
 "strange clunking at the top of the stroke" i am a potential buyer and i want to know what is this clunking al about!!!
  • + 1
 Cannondale invented Press-Fit BB.
  • + 1
 Was hoping for more than half a degree..
  • + 7
 ...like, maybe, a whole one? But I still like it. And every time I read about the lefty I want it a little bit more.
  • + 5
 That's what she said
  • - 1
 Looks like the love child of a Nomad and a Stumpy....only with a funny looking fork.
  • - 1
 Nice looking bike! Never liked the Lefty though ;-P
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