The Cannondale Trail 5 is a new addition to the £750 category and features a Smartform aluminium frame, which is one of the most comfortable here
The Cannondale Trail 5 is a new addition to the £750 category and features a Smartform aluminium frame, which is one of the most comfortable here.
There’s a ton of give in the rear end to smooth out lumpy trails bit it’s also direct when cranking hard. It’s also one of a handful of bikes that feature the Boost QR standard for added wheel strength and stiffness.
Unfortunately, getting a good suspension fork on a frame this quality was always going to be a tough ask and, while the RockShox XC30 is comparable in travel and stiffness to others here, it’s has limited adjustment. You can pre-load the coil spring but different rates for bigger/lighter riders are hard to come by. To stiffen the fork for climbing you can flick the simple compression lockout but the rebound damping is fixed, so again if you’re a heavy rider this fork may just be too quick.
In the terms of geometry, the Trail 5 has a split personality. It has a reasonably slack head angle and low bottom bracket, so feels planted in corners, but stand-over clearance is at a premium and the seat tube is way too tall and with an uncut post we couldn’t get the saddle low enough on descents.
With its fancy frame and Boost wheels, it’d be easy to think the Trail 5 is the perfect upgrade bike but you get all this and more with our test winner.