The Cannondale Flash range consists of five alloy framed hardtail mountain bikes, each with its own strengths. There are standard 26″ mountain bikes as well as fast rolling 29ers on offer to give various riders the kind of performance that they need when taking on tough trails. If you want to experience good off-road performance but do not want to shell out for the carbon-framed Flash options then these are a worthy alternative.

Cannondale Flash 3

The Flash 3 is based on a SmartFormed alloy frame which weighs in at 1450 grams, a fact that Cannondale points out makes this frame lighter than some carbon equivalents from rival manufacturers. The result is that the bike is light and very agile, allowing you to accelerate quickly and put down some serious power during ascents thanks to the stiff hardtail setup.

Speed Save technology on the seat and chain stays helps to maintain this stiffness laterally while still giving the bike’s frame some shock absorption capabilities. This means that the bike tends to feel very grounded and manageable in spite of its low weight.

A Fatty DLR80 fork with 80mm of travel sits at the front of the Flash 3, while a number of different Shimano and SRAM groupsets make up the drive train. Avid Elixir 1 disc brakes with 160mm rotors at the front and rear help to keep a tight leash on the Maddux DC3.0 rims and Schwalbe Rapid Rob tyres of the wheelset.

Cannondale Flash 1

The same lightweight alloy frame is found on the Cannondale Flash 1, but this time the fork has been equipped with the Lefty Speed PRB shock that delivers 100mm of travel for even more impact damping.

SRAM X7 and X9 components make up the drive train and the lighter, more capable Avid Elixir 7 hydraulic disc brakes do a good job of retaining rider control in the trickiest of situations.

The Cannondale C2 riser handlebar and closed end, alloy locking grips help to keep you planted and the manufacturer is also behind the saddle, seat post and stem to make sure that no extra weight is being lumped onto the bike.

Cannondale Flash 29er 3

Adding 29 inch wheels to the Cannondale Flash formula is sensible, since it means that you can combine the light stiffness of the excellent alloy frame construction with a 29er setup that is all about building up momentum over long distance slogs.

The Flash 29er 3 has the same SmartFormed alloy frame with Speed Save technology as its 26″ siblings, but this time the geometry and design have been scaled up to take into account the larger wheelset.

At the front there is a RockShox Recon Gold TK 29 fork with 80mm of travel. Shimano SLX and Deore components come together to give the bike smooth, consistent gear shifts, while Avid Elixir 1 brakes are brought over from the standard Flash 3, albeit with a larger 180mm rotor on the rear.

Cannondale Flash 29er 2 & 1

Lefty returns to the alloy frame, this time with the 29er specific PBR fork that has 90mm of travel. SRAM X7 and X9 components on the drive train and Avid Elixir 3 brakes keep the rider on the right track at the right speed, while SunRingle Inferno 25 rims and the reliable Rapid Rob tyres are all onboard.

While the Cannondale Flash 29er 1 shares the frame and fork arrangement with the Flash 29er 2, the augmentations are apparent when you look at the other components which have been selected. A common theme of lightness and durability prevails, with the SRAM X9 gearing and Avid Elixir 7 brakes.

Model: Cannondale Flash
4 / 5 stars
*****