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Cannondale Caffeine 29"er

Discussion in 'Cross Country, All Mountain & Trail Riding' started by Guitar Ted, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. Guitar Ted New Member

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    Here are some pics from my first off road ride on the Caffeine 29"er. You might also check out Jeff Kerkove's take on his first ever 29"er ride on this bike.

    I think this bike has alot of potential. Right now, all I can say is that it's a nice, smooth riding hardtail. The pics show the limits on the tire clearance that will turn off all you knobby, big, wide, and meaty freaks out there. I highly doubt that a Nevegal or Rampage will work at all in the back of this rig. Heck, I can almost get the Exi to rub the chainstay on this as it is.

    I'll be riding this for a couple of months and checking in here with reports and answering your questions. You can see more on this at www.twentynineinches.com or at www.g-tedproductions.blogspot.com Thanks!
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  2. ito Mr. Schwinn Effing Armstrong

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    Got to pedal one of those around last week, handled fairly well.

    I must say, it is pretty damn heavy for such an expensive bike. I look forward to a long term review of the bike.

    The Ito
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  3. sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    $1500 is an expensive bike? I was thinking the build is so/so on this bike, like Dual Duty rims, X-7 components, etc.

    Or is that standard on most $1000ish 29ers?
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  4. MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    Sorta disappointing about the tire clearance, but that is a sharp looking bike nonetheless. But still what were the C-Dale guys thinking with that clearance issue. They should have been well aware of the meatier tires coming to market. Hmmm.
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  5. mud'n'sweat Falcon

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    That clearance is scary. Good luck getting this to fly off the shelves C-Dale
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  6. Guitar Ted New Member

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    Actually, it is flying off the shelves(Or more correctly, the racks) from what I've been told. The bike was concieved as an '08 release, but was fast forwarded when Cannondale got inundated with requests for the bike by dealers. Perhaps they were not aware in their hurriedness to get this out sooner that there would be such tires available upon the bikes release. Sure, the tire announcements came this past summer, but remember, these frames were probably in the final stages of prototyping already by then. Probably way too late to do anything about it by then. I know Cannondale tests their models long in advance of release and then doesn't have the ability to shift midstream because that means they would have to re-test agian, (it's their way of doing things) causing a delay of months, or in other words, make this an '08 model after all.

    Then there is the flip side of this conundrum, and that is having beau-ceaup tire clearance and derailluer drivetrains. You can't have your cake and eat it too on 29"ers. As an example, Rob Pennell and Ben Witt, the principals behind the Dorothy have discussed this at length with me. These "new crop" fatties are pushing beyond the limits of what you can get away with. If Cannondale opened up the stays to clear these monster tires, you would be limited to using outboard bearing cranks, and poor chainlines in several gearing combinations that were previously fine. This introduces much accelerated drive train wear issues. Then you have front derailluer clearance issues to boot. Finally, you have to not only clear the tire, but give enough room to account for flex and make it work in the mud. A very tall order, and you are going to start seeing lots more of this issue cropping up all the time, especially with hardtails.

    Weight-wise it's not all that light at 29 lbs. However, it could shed about 500 grams right off the top by going to XR's and lighter tubes. The rear wheel was especially heavy feeling, what with the lower level Shimano hub and Dual Duty rim. The 31.8 bar is huge, and believe me, you do not need a riser on this bike. I sat waaay upright on her! Good for ultra enduro, but for fast single tracking, (what this bike would be really good at), it's too upright. So a flat, carbon bar would lose some weight right there, along with lever upgrading, and going to BB-7's over the 5's would improve performance and save a bit more weight over BB-5's. What I'm saying is, throw a little cash at it and it'll get lighter.

    Price-wise, speaking of money, it's right on when you consider that a Lefty, if they were offered for sale after market by Cannondale, would run upwards of a grand, or so I'm told. That's an expensive, albeit very good fork.
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  7. CT QBall 29er New Member

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    Friend of mine at C'dale shot me your blog write up and said, "see you should have held out" but my retort was, they are still not shipping as of yet and I have already ridden my Q Ball a 100 miles off road, its geary, its aluminum, and it weighs more than 25 lbs.

    Don't get me wrong, its a nice bike and I'll give it a try but I am waiting to see if they do an SS version (in the 20 to 25 lb range) or an FS version (under 30 lbs).
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  8. Guitar Ted New Member

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    Rumor has it that an SS version will see the light of day by summer of '07.(According to a Cannondale rep, allegedly)
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  9. MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    Perhaps i overreacted on the clearance in back. If there is room for An Exiwolf in back then that's probably good enough. I think for many 29er guys the real call for a meaty wide 29er tire was probably more for front tire applications than for rear.

    I do dig that silver color and would love to see how the lefty feels on that sucker.
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  10. mud'n'sweat Falcon

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    I just took issue with how close the Exi is because it appears in the photo it is possible to get some rub with it.
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  11. Angus Jack Ass Pen Goo Win

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    For comparison look at a Gary Fisher X-Cal it has similiar parts (excluding Lefty) is lighter and about $200 cheaper...
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  12. sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    thats bad news... for cannondale dealers...
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  13. CT QBall 29er New Member

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    The only thing C'dale has going for them is the lefty. Fisher has 'em beat with selection and styles.

    Granted Fisher has been in the 29er game alot longer and they wouldn't be offering so many different bikes if they didn't think there was market for them.

    It will be interesting to see if they offer a full squish version. If they are going to offer a SS version, will it be a lefty too?
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  14. N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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  15. MMcG Ride till you puke!

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    I'd like to take one of those out for a test ride sometime.
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  16. tozovr New Member

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    I was looking at one of these in a medium at a local shop today...tossed it on the scale and was shocked to be at 29#s...looks like the cranks, bars/stem and brakes could REALLY help drop some weight. The WTB Speed Discs are nice but looks like Cannondale went with a generic rear hub.

    My opinion is that a Geared 29er with the speed bond lefty is a helluva deal...also handmade in the US...

    hell, my Rita was $1399 new and it's a SS.
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  17. Guitar Ted New Member

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    tozovr: Yeah, it's got some porky parts on it, but the wheel assemblies are the worst. I weighed a Large F-29 that I was building without the wheels and it came in at 17.5lbs.

    I think the rear wheel alone is 8 plus pounds, including the cassette, tire, tube, and skewer!
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  18. Heath Sherratt New Member

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    There really is nothing on this bike that is light besides the Cannondale SI stuff-lefty,stem, headset etc. This bike can weigh in around 24 lbs easy with the money thrown at it. It is however a handbuilt bike with a solid beginner/intermediate spec for a ridiculously low price point. Everyone forgets that handbuilt frames are expensive, just because C-Dale is large they throw them in with Fisher and Trek and Specialized/Giant, but C-Dale is handbuilt at the same price point relatively, I think they have a leg up when it comes to spec simply because of that quality control issue.
    On another note, I was very impressed on how the 9er rode. Great handles for such a tall bike. With a solid spec this bike would be awesome! Great idea for a singlespeed too! Eccentric BB and this thing would kill it!
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  19. Guitar Ted New Member

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    I'm hearing that there will now be NO single speed 29"er. The '08 model line up will include two 29"ers. One like this years in terms of spec and another model up spec'ed to a "race" level, whatever that may mean. No word on specifics or prices. I'll keep my ear to the ground.............
    #19