Thursday, November 16, 2006


Sunny Saturday Part Deux

Okay, a little bit in a time warp, but here we go.

After a nice road ride early (see below) I was all jazzed up to go and test out the new Cannondale Caffiene 29er. Brought up my RIG to compare the frame geometry and handling. Also was curious to see how the Lefty felt in comparison to the Reba.

Mr. 24 has been riding the Caffiene this week. Read some of his impressions here. He's new to (and far from sold on) the whole big wheel thing. I myself am already a disciple of the Big Wheel Church, having been riding a 29er SS for almost a year. I don't think any one bike or wheel size is best for all conditions, but if I was forced to have only one MTB, it would for sure be a 9er. GTed (an ordained Big Wheel Minister) will get his hands on the Caffiene next, so keep your eyes peeled.

The bike looks smooth and industrial with the clearcoated brushed aluminum. I like it a lot.
The welds are clean and buffed.
SRAM X-7 is the componentry.

The bike is HEAVY. You notice that as soon as you pick it up. The most accurate thing I have to measure it with is a digital fish scale. It's up near 3o pounds. Yikes. The complete front wheel (with tire, tube, and skewer), at 5.35 lbs, is more than a pound heavier than the Bonty on my RIG.

My initial impression after riding the Caffiene around outside the shop was that the fork tube angle was steep. Just a feeling. Not sure why. Could've been the illusion of Lefty, I don't know. Maybe the rake?

Unfortunately 1/2 way into the 1 hour drive up to the trail I realized I'd left the RIGs front wheel at home. D'OH! Post century delerium or just the excitement to ride a new stead? Who knows. All comparison would have to be made from memory only.

Thanks to KDog for the loan of the Hurricane Forkup adaptor, and for pointing out the tight rear tire clearance.

Why do they do this? The stock meats are high volume 2.3 Exiwolfs. Can't ever imagine needing anything bigger, but know that there'll be a big problem running those in muddy conditions.

Quick adjustments to setup and off to the trails. Marl Ravine is always a favorite. The tires pick up small gravel chips between the knobs and spits them out everywhere. Took a little while getting used to the SRAM shifter.

The bike rolls smooth, and the handling is quicker than the RIG, but not by any means too quick. Uphill switchbacks were easier. But the bike just feels heavy. Any climbing, especially if you are standing, better be done with the fork locked out, or you'll be bobbin' like Anna Nicole

Downhills were as they should be, a dream. The rougher the better. The solid feel of the tight frame on big wheels (and tires) sent me into turns at the end of downhills faster than ever. The tires held traction on the moist tacky trails well, when they had a chance. Much of the trail was covered in fresh fallen leaves, which led to a few nice saves. Have to wait for leaves to be broken up more to evaluate the grip of the rubber, but I don't think the rubber will be on there that long.

I've reached no concrete conclussions after a few single track hours on the Caffiene - except one :

The Bike Needs a Diet (so do I). 29-30 pounds for a bike that is advertised as race ready is a bit of a stretch. Granted, at the price point you can't expect it to come with tricked out wieght-weeny goodies, but the ride just doesn't leave you with a great first impression. One of the best reason to own a Cannondale is still --------> .

The Caffiene has the feel of a big off road truck that handles well. That they even say it is light wieght borders on deception and false advertising. I'm not trying to be harsh. I love my Cannondales. Have 2 and one more on the way. I've always loved the company. We'll just have to get more hours on the bike to see just what it's all about. This weekend I'll be switching out some components and tires to see what happens

Till then,



I'm still getting used to the Lefty. Finally feeling like "my" bike.
Sounds like a little tweaking, and you'll be set
sounds good,there`s got to be a way to get her down to 24 lbs.
oh yeah, good job on your series win @hilbert,
Taking the beast out to Freedom Park tomorrow. Changing out some rubber.
and congrats to bof' of you guys (well sorta Kevin)on Hilbert. I just had to show up and ride. Danbo had a fight to the end for the Enduro Chamionship.

Me and the Caffiene off to Jenny Craig.........
I'll take it!
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