a Recreational Rider
from Boston, MA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 7, 2003
Strengths: Very good component spec, great looks, rugged design, quality, good value, does the job intended, made in Pennsylvania
Weaknesses: Coda v-brakes kinda cheap, stock tires might be fatter than necessary, stiffer than cro-mo bikes
I bought this bike to ride across the country (3380 miles) Boston to Portland (http://robots.mit.edu/people/lichter/biketour/index.html). I loaded about 55 pounds of gear between the rear panniers, rear rack, and handlebar bag. I looked at a Trek but decided on this one for the quality, value, components, and looks (plus a deal for it being a last year's model). I think Cannondale has a proven track record with touring bikes. The bike performed admirably. No mechanical failures at all. People had warned us about broken spokes and bent rims on touring bikes but I didn't experience that at all. Wheels were perfectly true at the end of the trip. I traded for a narrower version of the Continental Top Touring tires and they were awesome. My first flat tire was at mile 2900, from a goathead thorn in Idaho. I definitely appreciated the STI shifters - they made life much easier, although they might have been tricky to fix if they broke down in the middle of nowhere. I think the Tiagra components are just fine. I had no problem with the gearing. I used the lowest gear only a few times on the entire trip (in only the steepest mountains), and it was fine. Maxed out the top gear on some big descents, although when you're fully loaded you might want to think twice about pushing the speed limit. Still, the bike was stable and solid throughout. A little stiff for a touring bike, but I guess that's the price of aluminum. A great bike for whatever price.
Favorite Ride: Bluff country of southeastern Minnesota
Purchased At: The Bicycle Shop, St
Similar Products Used: 1990 Specialized Hard Rock mt. bike (old faithful)
Bike Setup: Blackburn expedition rack on back, c-dale rear panniers, c-dale handlebar bag, Look mtb pedals, 2 water bottle cages (didn't use third braze-on), cyclecomputer, x-long seatpost. Traded tires for a narrower model of the Conti Top Touring.
from Vancouver, BC, Canada
Date Reviewed: November 7, 2002
Strengths: Comfort, responsiveness and componentry and value.
Weaknesses: Front chain ring too big. (46-x-x) would probably be more appropriate.
Tires too wide.
I bought this bike in 2001 so I got a good deal and I believe the dealer was ending the relationship with Cannondale. The bike was very comfortable comparing with the Trek 520 which forces me to lean more forward. The frame is light and responsive. When I need to come out of the saddle the bike responds very well with me. Cornering is stable and gives me oppurtunity to improve my cornering skills.
Componentry is a nice mix. Mostly Tiagra stuff in front (except the Coda front crank), XT derailleur and Deore rear cassette. The 700c35 tires are definitely the widest I have seen in any touring bike. The other side effect is that the fenders I got could not cover enough and I got splashes up my body. I would be changing them in the future.
The Wellgo half platform-half cleat pedals are OK. I have a pair of Shimano 323 and I like those better. Otherwise I would have continue using them.
The T800 has STI shifting which is very convenient as opposed to lever at the end of the handlebar.
Similar Products Used: Tested Trek 520 (2001), Kuwahara Caravan (97?)
Bike Setup: 56cm frame. Shimano 323 pedals. Fenders, back rack.
from Rockford, Illiniois, USA
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2001
Strengths: The T800 is a confident touring bike with a delightfully rigid frame. The ride is a little sharp initially, but I acclimated to it quickly. The long geometry makes a graceful bike that is a pleasure to ride loaded. I have put 1500 miles on mine in 6 mos, mostly commuting but at least one tour up to 500 miles. The bike handles 80 lbs of gear confidently, 40 mph descents are the delight they should be, there’s no hesitation on my part, and no swaying or shimmying on the bike’s part. The mix of road and touring components make a reliable bike, and the XT rear and Tiagra front derailleurs are a nice mix of economy and durability, but the Tiagra shifter are not where I would skimp. I am still confused with the 52 – 42 – 30 chainrings that came with the bike, they’re much too tall.
Weaknesses: No name V brakes - the front one squeals and my LBS nor I can find a fix. No pump peg, no fender braze-ons, annoyingly tall chainrings.
There are better touring bikes out there, but none better at this price point. The T800 is an extremely well built and put together tourer
Similar Products Used: R500, test rode trek touring bike.
Bike Setup: Blackburn lowrider front and Jandd back racks, Cateye mity3, Cyglo light, Eclips vista light and Trek tail light, Trek tool bag, Arkel front pannier, East-pak rear, Tranz-it bar bag, Zefal frame fit pump and full fenders, kickstand and add'l reflectors from LBS.
a Recreational Rider
from Des Moines Ia USA
Weaknesses: A bit stiff on rough spots, R.R. tracks, pot-holes etc. This maybe due to a flabby 45 year old rider.
I hadn't been on a bike since Carter was president. My friends insisted that it was something I'd enjoy and helped me pick out a bike to fit my large frame (6'3" 240#). The hy-breds I tried seemed short between the bar and saddle. The touring geometry fits me a lot better. The C-dale offered the most bike for the money. Mt. bikes and hy-breds may offer a softer ride but the road tires roll a lot easier and 99% of my riding is on paved roads and trails. I went with the stock clip-less pedals and was nervous to start with but now I won't ride with-out them. I've put on 300+ miles since purchase with-out any problems. The T-800 is a nice compromise. I could have spent $2500+ for a top of the line cro-moly or >$500 for a junk entry level bike. With this bike I got a solid professionally built bike with good components and still have the dollars to buy the add-ons. Ride safe, wear your helment.
Favorite Ride: Local rails to trails, RAGBRAI maybe this July
Purchased At: Barr Bikes West Des Moines
Similar Products Used: Test rode hy-breds, Trek 720, Raliegh R300
Bike Setup: I changed the drop bar to a flat bar with bar extenders and grip shifters. I went with a Serfas saddle. I added a rear rack, front and rear fenders, kickstand, 3 bottle holders, mirror and a computer. Price listed above is with this set-up. I will soon be adding a front rack, rack and bar bags and panniers.
a Recreational Rider
from Clifton, NJ, USA
Weaknesses: Too early to tell but 30x32 lowest gearing (26 gear inches)seems too tall. Front gears of 46-34-22 teeth would seem to be a better set-up for loaded touring in hilly terrain
I cycled my first 20 miles on it today and found it to be a very enjoyable ride, comfortable and easy to ride compared to other bikes I've had. Since the tires and most specs are similar to the hybrids I've used, I think the handlebars/seating psosition and stiff frame must account for the easy way the bike ate up 20 miles. I missed the gear indicators of the other bikes I've used but found the bike to be excellent in all other ways after this brief tryout. I used the panniers to carry home some food I bought along the way. I plan to use the bike for local errands, weekend jaunts, and hopefully, 2-3 day 'tours.' The bike should stand up to the rough streets in this area while being easier to cycle than my mountain bike, with less flats than I was getting with a previous owned "sports touring" road bike, and faster/more comfortable than a hybrid. This bike is an excellent choice for those want to commute or tour or just do recreational biking on less than ideal streets and roads. It offers a more rugged alternative to a racer/sports tourer, a faster and (for longer rides) more comfortable alternative to a hybrid and can eat up much more mileage than a mountain bike on anything but off-road surfaces.