The most strikingly obvious thing that sets Cannondale apart is the Lefty fork, which looks more like a strut than anything else. This is due to its distinctive single-sided design that sometimes leaves riders skeptical of its performance. Lefty starts with a dual crown design that distributes steering and impact loads through the entirety of the head tube and steer tube, instead of concentrating forces on a single fork crown like a standard suspension fork. It then couples this to a square stanchion that similarly improves stiffness, and places this stanchion along a set of needle bearings for additional stiffness and overall smoothness. As a package, the Cannondale Lefty fork is inherently stronger, smoother, and lighter than a conventional fork.
Perhaps the face of the Cannondale mountain bike line is the zippy Cannondale Scalpel Si cross country mountain bike, which is given the XXC nomenclature. It is the model of efficiency on the cross country course, with it’s Ai offset design moving the drivetrain 6mm to the left, which allows not only for a stronger wheel, but far shorter chainstays as well. What earns the full-suspension Scalpel Si’s XXC moniker, however, is it’s slack head tube angle and generously raked fork. This gives it responsive handling at low speeds, but doesn’t compromise the high-speed stability the Scalpel Si is known for. The Cannondale F-Si cross country mountain bike follows suit as Cannondale’s hardtail model, built for rapid speed over high-speed sweepers rather than techy rock-strewn trails. It too receives Ai offset as part of Cannondale’s dedication to thinking outside of the box.
Firmly entrenched in Cannondale’s “fun” bracket is the Cannondale Habit and Bad Habit full-suspension trail bikes. Designed as an “if you could only have one bike” mountain bike, models like the Cannondale Habit 3 trail bike are equipped to tackle techy trails, while being light and responsive enough to keep up with traditional cross country bike. It uses 27.5 inch wheels for greater maneuverability, with models like the Cannondale Bad Habit 2 receiving plus-sized 2.8” tires for greater grip and rider confidence. With 130mm of travel available, these bikes prove that big amounts of travel aren’t necessary for big fun.
Up the travel bracket is the Cannondale Trigger all-mountain bike and Cannondale Jekyll enduro bike. The Trigger’s unique combination of a 66 degree headtube angle, stout 420mm chainstays, with a steep seat tube and long reach across the range ensures efficient climbing capability, downhill stability, and baked-in fun all over the trail. It’s 27.5 inch wheels ensure that the Cannondale Trigger 3 is easily maneuverable, while the 150/145mm travel does an impressive job of smoothing out techy terrain. The all-new 2018 Cannondale Jekyll enduro bike strikes an unlikely balance between huge 170mm/165mm travel, best-in-class pedaling efficiency, and sub-30 lb weight without flexiness. The new Gemini shock is novel in it’s Hustle and Flow settings – 165mm travel in one setting and 130mm rear travel for superior climbing ability than nearly any other enduro bike in it’s class.
The Cannondale mountain bike line is oft-underestimated. It runs the gamut of needs, with price ranges that fit everyone. Whether the mountain bike needs to be as fast as a road bike, or it needs to speed down a steep flow trail, Cannondale has a bike for everyone.