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Cannondale Quick CX3 Review

Cannondale CX3 Review

The Cannondale CX 3 is a joyrider in every sense of the word. Based off of a mountain bike frame, the CX 3 has been upgraded with road components to make it more compatible with urban environments.

Cannondale designed the CX 3 with offroad commuting in mind, and it suits that purpose perfectly. Boasting a comfortable front shock, this bike can take a lot of punishment while providing a smooth, even ride.

Great for crushed gravel paths or hiking trails, the CX 3 provides a lot of flexibility to ensure that your ride remains constant, regardless of where you might be riding.


cannondale cx30 review shimano
Shimano Acera 31.8 Clamp derailleur in thefront, Shimano Deore on the rear.

Cannondale Quick CX 3 Specifications

Cannondale’s CX 3 retails for $800, and comes packed with some quality pieces:

  • Frame: SmartForm Aluminum Alloy C2
  • Fork: SR Suntour NCX 50mm travel, 1-1/2″- 1-1/8″ tapered, with lockout
  • Tires: Panaracer Comet Hardpack, 700x38c
  • Crankset: Shimano Acera
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano Acera
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore
  • Shifters: Shimano Alivio 3 x 9
  • Brakes: Shimano M315 hydraulic disc, 160/160mm rotors
  • Saddle: Cannondale Quick CX Ergo
  • Suspension: 50mm travel front suspension, 1.5 to 1.125 in. tapered head tube
  • Number of gears: 27
  • Gender: Unisex

Other Quick CX Models

It’s important to note that the Cannondale Quick series of bikes actually have 4 different versions, the CX 1, 2, 3, and 4. The notable differences between these models tend to be frame composition, as well as hardware and drivetrain styles. The basic design shape is consistent throughout all 4 models. Notable differences include the following:

CX 1

  • Shimano SLX components/SX components
  • Proprietary Cannondale disk brakes
  • SmartForm C2 aluminum alloy

Other Cannondale Quick models

CX 2

  • SRAM NX components/GX components
  • Suntour hydraulic fork

CX 4

  • Suntour/Shimano drivetrain
  • Tektro M285 hydraulic disc brakes

See All models on

What’s Good About Cannondale Quick CX 3

As a higher-level intermediate bike, the Quick CX 3 comes loaded with decent, mid-level parts.

cannondale cx3 forks
Forks: SR Suntour NCX 50mm travel, 1-1/2″- 1-1/8″ tapered, with lockout, Brakes: Shimano M315 hydraulic disc 160mm rotors

Frame & Saddle – Good

The SmartForm aluminum frame provides great stability while cutting weight from its traditional steel counterparts. That being said the frame is of a thick diameter, and quite rigid. The top tube length is noticeably shorter than some, providing a comfortable upright riding position.

Dual water bottle mounts come standard on all versions of the Quick CX. There are also rack mounts, as well as stays for full-sized fenders.

The proprietary Cannondale Quick CX Ergo saddle is designed with comfort as its first focus. Based on mountain bike designs, this saddle was created with bumps and rough terrain in mind.

Drivetrain & Derailleurs – Good

The 27-speed drivetrain contains Shimano components and provides a wide array of gear combinations to get you up any large hills you may encounter on your morning commute. While not anything particularly high-end, it’s certainly a quality, dependable road setup.

Made out of high-grade aluminum, the Shimano Deore series rear derailleur features improved chain retention and more stable shifting to ensure a smooth ride all the time.

Tires & Brakes – Great

The Cannondale Quick CX 3 comes stock with Panaracer Comet Hardpack, 700x38c tires, which are built with compacted gravel in mind. While these aren’t the fastest tires when dealing with smooth pavement, off-road rides will be an absolute breeze with these high volume cyclocross tires.

Disk brakes are currently all the rage for cyclocross-commuter hybrid bikes. The Shimano M315 hydraulic disc brake package included with the Cannondale Quick CX 3 is a solid, mid-level set that’s ridiculously easy to adjust and repair.

Should I Buy It?

ConsiderationsThe Quick CX 3 is a great mid-level stump jumper. While not the best bicycle for your urban commute, the CX 3 provides a dependable ride regardless of the terrain. At just $900, it hits a critical price junction between functionality and cost. Keep in mind that the drivetrain components are decidedly mid-level, and will most likely need replacement after the first year or two.

While the added cyclocross touches like front suspension make rough trails fun to jet down, the wide travel provided by the fork makes smoother landscapes somewhat more challenging and unbalanced. At the end of the day, a bike like this is always going to feel heavy and sluggish on urban commutes.

The geometry on the CX 3 is great for comfortable riding on back trails, providing an upright stance that’s enhanced by its flat, wide comfort bars.

At the end of the day, the Cannondale CX 3 may not be at the top of the gravel bike pack. But, it packs a lot of mid-range features that make its price point very attractive for experienced cyclists looking for a change in feel from their traditional road bikes.

Hydraulic front forkSlow on flat land
27 speedsFrame on the heavy side
Upright, relaxed positioningSmall for travel

Buy the CX3 From REI

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