Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er Review

The Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er range is comprised of a trio of light hardtail mountain bikes with carbon frames and top tier components. The larger 29 inch wheels allow for faster, smoother rolling and while the frame is stiff it also features elements which make it more comfortable and forgiving than other competitively priced alternatives.

Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er 3

The BallisTec Carbon frame of the standard model in this range is carefully constructed with unbroken strands of this high end material in order to reduce weight while still maintaining strength and stiffness. As such the bike feels responsive and engaging without also being something of a burden in competitive situations.

The front fork is a Lefty 29’er PBR with 90mm of travel, with the Cannondale C2 handlebar allowing you to keep the bike on track and change course effectively. While this is a hardtail model with no independent rear shock, it does have Speed Save technology integrated into the frame. This basically means that the stays are designed to give extra flex, thus absorbing vibrations and impacts while maintaining lateral stiffness for consistent power transfer and efficient pedalling.

The drivetrain is made up of Shimano XT and SRAM X7 components, with a BB30 bottom bracket. SunRingle EQ25 rims are wrapped in Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo tyres for that big, smooth 29er experience, while Avid Elixir 9 hydraulic disc brakes with a large 180mm rotor at the front end give you all the precise stopping power you need.

Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er 2

Cannondale sticks with the same carbon frame setup for this model, which means you get excellent race ready geometry, the Speed Save technology for added suppleness and a lightweight build.

The front fork is the Lefty 29’er XLR which delivers adaptive, progressive travel up to 90mm. This is part of the bike’s integrated setup which looks to provide continuity in terms of lightness and stiffness throughout.

SRAM X9 and X0 components ensure that the transmission operates smoothly and is also a little lighter than the setup found on the more affordable model in this range. The rims are Stan’s ZTR Arch 29’er and the Racing Ralph Evo tyres are back for more as part of this package.

This time Cannondale has ditched its own handlebar technology and gone for the Truative Noir Flat, although you do get in-house foam locking grips. The Fi’zi:k Tundra 2 saddle is planted on the Flash Carbon seatpost, so the supple frame is partnered with a comfortable seating arrangement.

Further weight savings are made thanks to the inclusion of the Avid Elixir 9 carbon hydraulic disc brakes.

Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er 1

While the same frame geometry is present in the Flash Carbon 29er 1, this time it uses BallisTec Hi-MOD Carbon in order to give it the edge over its stable mates. You still get Speed Save technology for faster rolling and more flexibility, while this time it comes equipped with the smooth operating Lefty 29’er Carbon XLR fork.

Components from the Shimano XTR and SRAM X0 groupsets make up the drivetrain, while additional weight is shaved off the bike thanks to the use of Avid X0 Carbon brakes at the front and rear.

There are plenty of hardtail mountain bikes on the market, but if you opt for a Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er you will be able to take on varied terrain at high speeds with a bike that rides smoothly and handles effectively. From a purely aesthetic point of view each of the 2012 models also looks appealing, so whichever one you pick you are sure to make an impact.

Model: Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er
4 / 5 stars
*****