A well balanced, fast and capable bike that you can chuck around
Need to know
- Cannondale’s latest 120mm bike blends XC race with aggressive trail riding
- Single-pivot suspension uses a carbon rocker link and flex in the carbon seatstays to save weight
- Flat brake-mount borrowed from Cannondale road bike tech neatly hides the rear caliper on the chainstay
Cannondale’s brand new Habit brings conventional trail bike wisdom to a short-travel, lightweight package. With 27.5in wheels, and 120mm of travel, combined with a wide 760mm bar and short stem as standard, it’s a fast, capable machine that ticks all the right boxes.
Typically, the Habit 1 comes come packed with Cannondale’s proprietary features, including the signature one-legged Lefty fork. You also get a snazzy remote lock-out system for both the RockShox shock and Lefty fork. The Habit frame looks simple and clean cut, but carefully manipulated carbon seatstays do away with the need for pivots — saving weight and reducing maintenance.
Watch our review of the Cannondale Jekyll
Cannondale has also done a lot of work on the fork. As usual, the Carbon Lefty is super stiff, and the revised 2.0 model has great control and damping, making it very impressive for a 120mm unit. The rear suspension on the Habit rides poppy and tight — even with the shock in the full open setting it’s easy to stomp out your power without energy loss.
In fact, the Habit is so fast on the gas, that the remote lockout only really reduces grip and adds harshness. We reckon it would be better off without.
The bike is well-balanced and, with its stiff carbon chassis, you can chuck it around the trail and be rewarded with instant responses to shifts in body weight. However, the CZero carbon wheels are clad in a skinny Rocket Ron rear tyre, with a thin casing, that makes the bike feel overly edgy and you can get out of shape in the blink of a eye if you’re not 100 per cent focused.
There’s no denying that the Cannondale Habit Carbon 1 delivers a fast, capable bike with a distinct XC bias, but Cannondale hasn’t ignored the out-and-out trail rider either — the SE version sports 10mm more travel up front, slacker steering geometry and much meatier tyres.
All of which should mean that you’ll be able to milk the chassis’ playful suspension pop and manoeuvrability, and relax your grip a little bit more on the descents. We’re keen to get one on test soon.