Strengths: Durable, reliable, comfortable. Great when loaded down. Conti Top Touring 2000 tires are great (over 6000 miles with _one_ flat.) Strong wheels.
Weaknesses: Stock gearing does not have enough low end. Heavy but hey, it is a touring bike.
This bike is a workhorse. It is very stiff but when loaded it comeinto it's own. For years i towed my dog around with me in a BOB trailer and have done several self-contained camping trips. I have 10 bikes (or more) and other than my recumbent this is by far the most comfortable. The Lepper saddle is a boon but alas, after a wreck the seat rail was bent and I replaced it with a Brooks Swift which is almost as good.
Similar Products Used: None really. Own A Lemond Sarthe, Airborne Zepplin, Airborne Manhatten Project, Klein Q Pro-XX, Abici Vader, Vision recumbent, Ridley Boreas, Schwinn Grape Krate, Cervelo P3, Airborne Carpe Diem, Douglas Project Cross...
Bike Setup: Stock. Added Madden Racks/Bags front and rear and a nice bell.
a Recreational Rider
from Portland, OR USA
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2003
Strengths: No bottom bracket flex when pedaling hard. VERY durable paint. Lepper saddle is extremely comfortable if you don't have a very upright riding position or a wide butt. Quite comfy with 32C or larger tires. Plenty of room for tires and fenders.
Weaknesses: Brutally rigid with high pressure, narrower (28C) tires. Coda v-brakes with adapters have to be constantly maintained to get adequate braking; replaced them with Tektro mini v-brakes and got rid of the adapters for much superior braking; handlebar position too low for touring, and if your raise your handlebars to saddle height or higher the saddle is a bit too narrow to support the weight transfer comfortably (for a big person anyway); the gearing is WAY too high for loaded touring (a 52/11T combo on a touring bike? Yeesh!), but they've fixed that in the past few years; can't use a chainring smaller than 26T with 130mmBCD coda crank or the chain gets jammed between the inner chainring and crank spider. Doesn't have double eyelets on dropouts for both fenders and a rack. Shimano STI levers too small for big hands.
This is a follow-up to my earlier review, now that I've got a few thousand more miles on it.
Similar Products Used: other cannondale touring bikes
Bike Setup: Stock bike w/ 25" frame, except for:
- Nitto 46cm handlebars
- Custom Rock Lobster stem w/ 45-degree rise/ 110mm extension
- Campy Record brake levers
- Shimano bar-end index shifter (rear)
- Rivendell Silver bar-end ratchet shifter (front)
- 26/39/48T chainrings
- Tektro mini-V brakes without adapters
- Continental 700 x 28C tires
- Litespeed full carbon cyclocross fork
from St. Paul, MN USA
Date Reviewed: August 2, 2001
Strengths: Frame is fantastic. Shimano STI is great. Clearance is a little tight for a large handlebar bag, as noted elsewhere here, but I did get it to work with the biggest Cannondale bag after a little experimenting with bending the shift cables. Rode the bike on a 500-mile tour last August and am planning another this September, it was great. I have about 2,300 miles on it so far between commuting and touring.
Weaknesses: CODA brakes suck, as also noted elsewhere. I think I will still replace them sometime. (Wish I could put on race-style sidepulls, I think the Ultegra's on my Klein racing bike have MORE stopping power than these CODA's plus they NEVER need adjustment, instead of once a month like the CODA's). Not sure about wheels-- I had a minor accident (only time I've had impact with a car in over 60,000 adult-ridden miles) soon after buying the bike, luckily no frame damage, but had to re-build the wheels. I used thicker spokes and Mavic rims, built them myself, and they've been rock-solid.
Although my bike is far from "stock" at this point, I still think it's a good buy if you can get the shop to make a few switches for you-- probably the CODA brakes, which I'm still stuck with, should be the #1 thing to go. The frame is most important after all, and in that area, Cannondale definitely has a winner. Possibly consider a lower granny gear if you'll actually do loaded touring; and maybe consider different wheels from what I've heard elsewhere (I've ridden wheels I've built myself for quite a few years, so I'm not sure how stock wheels tend to hold up). Note: My value rating is a little lower due to the cheaper CODA parts that come stock, but I'd have chosen 3.5 if available; my overall rating is necessarily based on MY bike with the parts now on it. I'd have chosen 4.5 if available, due to bad CODA brakes. The bike is still a good deal compared to more expensive English imports or the Bruce Gordon stuff with steel frames (I'm definitely sold on stiff aluminum touring frames for loaded touring).
Similar Products Used: Klein racing bike for fast weekend rides, Cannondale road tandem. I've had Cannondale and Trek touring bikes in the past.
Bike Setup: Exchanged seat when I bought the bike, didn't want to break in leather. Also exchanged tires-- sounds like a mistake since many people like the Conti's (I wanted a higher pressure rating). Ended up with an Ultegra crankset after my crash bent the right crankarm on the CODA-- so I have a 24-tooth low chainring.
from Somewheresville, USA
Date Reviewed: February 25, 2001
Strengths: I actually have the 2001 model; but it's very similar. This bike is wonderful. I'm not a racer, just a commuter and long-distance tour-freak, but this thing will haul. It has good pick-up (albeit, not like a CAAD 6 R4000...) and will pull some major weight. This bike will be around for many many years to come. I'm happy, what can I say?
Weaknesses: Umm..I've yet to find one. Maybe the fact that it doesn't make breakfast and pack up the tent...
This is a wonderful bike. I'm not really all that experienced; I don't even go for those stupid looking tight pants that all of you freaks wear :) but this bike does the trick for me. Smooth ride, easy ride, good gearing, relaxed feel, and I even got a kickass Lookin Gel seat thrown in for free! Worth EVERY penny
Similar Products Used: My 1987 Wallyworld Huffy...don't even miss it ;)
Bike Setup: stock. I put a cheap $30 rack on this puppy and haul it all over the place. They put new shifters on it this year, nice touch.
a Recreational Rider
from Durham, NC, USA
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2001
Strengths: very solidly built. stable loaded or not, at any speed. nice range of freewheel gears. spiffy color-coordinated design.
Weaknesses: For a bike built for touring, why does it come with a 32/42/52 crank? I had to replace it with a 22/32/44 in order to climb hills when fully loaded. I also prefer a more upright sitting posture when touring, so I changed the 90-degree stem to a shorter one with a 110-degree angle. I worry about the leather saddle in wet weather or overnight dew, often found when touring.
I have never experienced wheel misalignment. Flat tire and broken spoke yes, but that's due more to road conditions than the bike. The leather saddle takes a while to break in. Brake cable under top bar is where I want to put my pump. My LBS had to order replacement spokes if I wanted black. Otherwise, it's a great bike. Also works well unladen. My first experience with STI shifters & clipless pedals. Love 'em both. Still runs like new after 1500+ miles.