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Cannondale Trail Range Review

Cannondale Trail Review

  • Price Range: £549.99 - £1,399.99
  • Discipline: Hardtail trail bike
  • Usage: Light trails and recreational MTB
  • Wide range of models for every budget
  • Lightweight CAAD alloy frames
  • 27.5” and 29er wheel options for ideal sizing
  • Only 1x drivetrain options on Women’s model
  • No dropper post on higher end models
  • Limited women-specific models

Updated: 24th October 2017

Overview

The Cannondale Trail is an aluminium trail hardtail mountain bike. The Trail is based around size-specific wheels, with the size Small coming with 27.5” wheels, while the Medium and Large come with 29er wheels, giving consistent handling across the sizes. All models in the Trail range use Cannondale’s CAAD technology for their frames, giving lightweight and robust performance.

For riders who are new to mountain biking, or those who want an easy to get along with bike for cruising the trails, the Cannondale Trail has a model that’ll fit both your riding style and budget. This fun bike is smile-inducing, with its accessible handling.

Cannondale Trail Frame

Frame

Lightweight CAAD aluminium frames

All seven models in the Cannondale Trail range use the same aluminium alloy frame. They use Cannondale’s own CAAD aluminium, which stands for Cannondale Advanced Aluminium Design, and is the process which Cannondale makes super lightweight, really modern and high performing aluminium frames.

The frames are packed with features, like internal routing for the rear brake and potential to have an internally routed dropper seatpost. The tapered headtube keeps the front end stiff and helps with direct handling, and there are plenty of mounts for water bottle cages, mudguards and even a rear rack, making the Cannondale Trail super versatile. All these features put it ahead of the game at this price point. The women’s models get their own frame with a lower stand-over height for easier riding.

The Cannondale Trail frame is a lightweight and versatile hardtail design, made for fun

Cannondale Trail suspension

Suspension

Suntour and RockShox forks

The RockShox Recon fork found of the Trail 1 is a high-performing fork, made to tackle more challenging trails and mountain tracks.

Being a hardtail mountain bike, the Cannondale Trail comes with a suspension fork up front to help absorb bumps and deal with rough trail features. The three lowers tiers of the Cannondale Trail range have Suntour forks with remote lockouts, so you can press a button on the handlebars to stiffen or soften the forks, helping you climb easily and hit descents with confidence.

Throughout the rest of the range you get quality RockShox forks, giving superb on-trail control. The top three models, including the 3, 2 and 1 get lightweight air spring forks, and the flagship 1 gets a RockShox Recon fork, complete with remote lockout. This fork is a standout performer, especially at the price point. All models in the Trail range have 100mm travel, giving the perfect balance between bump absorption and efficient climbing.

Cannondale Trail groupset

Groupset

Shimano hydraulic disc brakes throughout

Shimano drivetrains provide reliable shifting a wide range gearing, making sure you have consistent performance in any condition

A real highlight of the Cannondale Trail range is the fact that you’ll find Shimano hydraulic disc brakes on every model. These are super reliable, and deliver superb braking power in any weather condition, giving you peace of mind when the elements turn.

On all models throughout the range you’ll find a full Shimano drivetrain, with a 2x setup, meaning you get two chainrings up front, giving a wide range of gearing options. The Trail 7 and 6, and Women’s 3 and 2 all get 2x9 speed drivetrains, while the 5 and 4 get 2x10 speed drivetrains, and the Women’s 1 gets a 1x10 speed drivetrain, giving simpler shifting. The top three models get 2x11 speed drivetrain, all with clutch rear derailleurs that allow for future upgrades to 1x setups, should you want simpler shifting and fewer dropped chains.

Cannondale Trail wheels

Wheels

Size-specific wheels

Cannondale makes sure that everyone riding the Trail gets the same fantastic experience by making the range wheel size-specific. This means that the size Small bikes get 27.5” wheels, while the Medium, Large and X Large get 29er wheels. The Women’s models all get 27.5” wheels.

The three entry level models, the Trail 7, 6 and 5 all get Cannondale’s own branded rims, matched to WTB Ranger tyres, which deliver excellent traction, while keep rolling resistance low. The Trail 3, 2 and 1 all get tubeless ready WTB rims that are not often seen at this price point. Tubeless tyres give better puncture resistance, better rolling, as well as grip, so they’re all around better performing.

The top models get tubeless ready rims, so you can easily get the wheels setup tubeless to gain even more performance

Cannondale Trail best for

Best for

New or veteran MTB riders

The Cannondale Trails are super versatile bikes. They make a great first mountain bikes, as they’re accessible and give all-round superb performance, both on the trail and on milder terrain like canal paths and forest roads. The lightweight CAAD aluminium frame with its full range of mounts mean that you can use the Trail both as a weekend explorer in the mountains as well as an everyday commuter.

The Shimano drivetrains with their 2x setup mean that you have plenty of gearing to tackle the steepest climbs, and even keep the pace on the roads. And the disc brakes give complete control right at your fingertips. For those who know what mountain biking is about, the Cannondale Trail represents an easy and confidence inspiring ride, that’s also capable of going deep into the mountains.

Cannondale Trail rear mech Cannondale Trail rear brake
Cannondale Trail fork lockout Cannondale Trail brakes
Cannondale Trail headtube Cannondale Trail lockout lever

Cannondale Trail range models

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