What should a trail bike be? Cannondale think they have nailed it with the all-ew Cannondale Habit.
Cannondale have just released an all-new Habit, a 130mm trail bike that they claim is the perfect trail bike - for any sized rider. That's a lofty claim, given the depth and strength of the trail bike market. Bikes like the Specialized Stumpjumper, Whyte T-130, Canyon Spectral, Norco Sight, Giant Trance, Scott Genius, Yeti SB130 and more have all hit the market and won fans around the world. So what exactly are Cannondale doing differently with the Habit?
“Nowadays, almost any manufacturer can meet the basic requirements of a decent bike. Most trail bikes out there today are actually pretty good,” said Peter Vallance, Cannondale’s Global Director of Product Management. “However, we knew we could deliver more with the new Habit. More control, more fun, and more efficiency for all riders.”
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If you were to list the requirements of a modern trail bike, the new Cannondale Habit already reads like a tick list. 130mm of travel, confidence inspiring geometry, 435mm chainstays, 66 degree head angle, no proprietary parts, can use a long dropper post, available in carbon, stuff, strong, can take a bottle cage... but throwing all those things together doesn't mean you necessarily end up with a complete trail bike.
Cannondale hit the lab and the terrain lab to see what made (or broke) a good trail bikes. Specifically, how did riders of different size and weight find the bike and suspension handled?
This threw up a whole lot of data, especially because a rider's weight will always be the biggest component of the bike and rider package. Cannondale found that with suspension especially, small riders often suffered really bad performance under braking, while larger riders had pretty average performance when pedalling. Cannondale wanted to make suspension and handling the same across all sizes of bike, and adaptable for a wide range of body weights. They studied the centre of gravity of the bike, the rider - and most importantly the whole system. They also did extensive research into the proper amount of anti-squat, and anti-rise, to get the best pedalling suspension that was still super active under braking.
Larger Habits have a higher leverage ratio rise, while smaller frames have a lower leverage ratio rise. Tube diameters are modified for each frame size, as are fork offset and even bearing sizes.
Big news is the Cannondale Habit uses a 4-bar linkage, something that really helps tune the suspension performance across each frame size, and especially helps with maintaining suspension performance under braking. Cannondale call it Proportional Response, and it looks to be something that will really set the Cannondale Habit apart.
“All other bikes use the same pivot locations across their size ranges because it’s easier to design,” commented Luis Arraiz, Cannondale frame design engineer. “One-size-fits-all is not the optimal approach for suspension. A rider’s center of gravity has a big impact on how the suspension reacts to inputs like braking and pedaling. With Proportional Response, rather than simply changing the stack and reach dimensions of the frames, we’ve custom tailored the suspension pivot locations for each size bike and rider, so no one is left behind. They all get the perfect ride.”
The Cannondale Habit range
Like any good trail bike, the Cannondale Habit models can run 29" wheels or 27.5+ by using a geometry flip chip. They have a long reach, wide bars, short stem and clearance for big tyres. All the models run Fox suspension, and Maxxis tyres on wide rims.
There are 4 models coming into Australia. The Cannondale Habit Alloy 6 will sell for $3299, while the Cannondale Habit 5 will sell for $3699. The big upgrade is a move from 1x10 to 1x11, and the addition of a dropper post.
If you like carbon, then the Cannondale Habit Carbon 3 sells for $4999. It has a SRAM Eagle 12-speed drivetrain with a mix of GX and NX, NoTubes Arch rims, and of course a Fox 34 and Float for suspension.
For a higher spec, try the Cannondale Habit Carbon 2, which will set you back $6799. The group set is a SRAM Eagle 12-speed mix of XO and GX, with a Fox Float DPX Performance rear shock amongst other upgrades over the 3.
We're yet to get a ride on the new Cannondale Habit, but it joins the trail bike party not only with a requisite list of features, but a whole lot of research into making sure it will stand out from the crowd when it comes to the ride on the trails. Right now, it looks great on paper. But the proof will be trail time.