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Cannondale Trail 7 Review

Cannondale Trail 7 2019

Cannondale Trail 7 is an all-around capable hardtail bike aimed toward entry-level riders who enjoy cycling recreationally and steering off the beaten track.

Beginner’s Best Friend

MSRP $720

Cannondale Trail line is a selection of six entry-level hardtail models that Cannondale built with the beginner enthusiast rider in mind. The Trail 7 is the cheapest and the most basic one of them, so it’s the perfect starting model for anyone who’s just getting familiar with the sport. Even though it is the most affordable model, it has a lot to offer to its future owner. Some of the materials and some of the components used on this model cannot be seen on any other bike in this price range. Thus, we can say with certainty that Cannondale Trail 7 is a bargain.

One of the elements that we should start our review with and that all models from the Trail series have in common is the CAAD frame. CAAD stands for Cannondale Advanced Aluminum Design and represents the company’s latest technology in frame development and manufacturing. CAAD frames are light, modern, durable, and feature internal cabling and dropper post compatibility. It’s the first thing you spot on a bike, so it easily gets you interested straight away.

Cannondale Trail 7 of 2019
Available also on black & blue

What we liked

Apart from the advanced frame that you wouldn’t expect on a bike that costs just above $700, there are other things to like and desire on the Cannondale Trail 7. For example, this hardtail bike has a coil-powered SR Suntour fork with 100 mm of travel. This fork is a bit heavier than the air-powered one found on the more expensive Trail models. But, that’s not something you should be worried about as a beginner. The 100 mm of travel is the perfect amount to get you over any bumps on a singletrack ride or a school ride.

Cannondale Trail 7 has a large number of Shimano components on it, such as the derailleurs and shifters. They let you select one of the 18 gears on the 2×9 drivetrain smoothly and with ease. The 2×9 drivetrain is not common on entry-level bikes, but it’s a great choice as it lowers the weight while still giving you more gears than you’ll ever need.

Being able to stop quickly and efficiently is essential both for beginner and experienced riders. Cannondale would not be one of the best companies in the world if they didn’t understand that. That’s why all Cannondale Trail models, including Trail 7 come with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.

They are powerful, precise, and responsive, so you will not have any issues stopping in all weather and trail conditions. Moreover, the 160/160 mm rotors are also built by Shimano, which is another plus.

Cannondale Trail 7 2019
Equipped with 100mm SR Suntour XCM fork

Things get interesting once you get to the wheels and tires. Namely, the 2019 Trail 7 is a size-specific model which means there are both 27.5″ and 29″ versions. The S frame comes with 27.5″ wheels, whereas all larger frames come with 29″ wheels. This is a great method to help shorter, younger, or less experienced riders be more in control of the bike on the trail.

It’s a really thoughtful detail from Cannondale, which is what makes the Trail 7 a good choice for beginners. The tires on all wheel sizes are 2.25″ wide, which is the perfect size for all-around performance in all moderate conditions.

 

Pros:

  • CAAD technology aluminum frame
  • Suspension with 100 mm of Travel
  • Size-specific wheels for added stability
  • Awesome looks
  • Internal cabling
  • Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
  • A versatile 2×9 drivetrain
  • Rack and fender compatible

Cons:

  • Heavier coil-powered suspension
  • Entry-level components
  • Cheap pedals

Are there any setbacks?

Cannondale Trail 7 2019
Wheels are heavy

Being that Cannondale Trail 7 is an entry-level bike and the cheapest model in the Cannondale Trail line, it certainly has some downsides. However, considering what we just said, we can’t really take them seriously. If you keep your expectations realistic and remember that this is a beginner model, you will be quite happy with Trail 7 and ride it for a long time with minor adjustments.

If we were to be nit-picky, we could point out that the wheels are the weakest point of Cannondale Trail 7. They are the aspect that most riders mention in online reviews. The thing is, they need more frequent truing if you tend to abuse the bike frequently. However, if you ride it recreationally and moderately, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Some riders also mention that they dislike the pedals, which are the basic Cannondale platform model. But, that’s really a personal preference. You can easily change them and even swap them for a clipless model if you wish to.

Finally, after giving Cannondale Trail 7 a thorough examination, we can say that it is an excellent choice for all beginners out there who are looking for their first trail bike that will help them fall in love with nature and cycling.

We say go for it!

15 thoughts on “Cannondale Trail 7 Review

  1. Gearing system doesn’t work properly so the chain slips off front gears while shifting!

    It’s a Cannondale Trail 7 and manufacturing company doesn’t seem to care about the issue!

    1. Hi Cusack,
      Sad to hear that. Do you have a MicroShift front derailleur? It might happen because Cannondale used such a weak part there, which is a shame. If you tried to adjust it without any positive results, you might want to upgrade it to Shimano’s Deore, for example. Doesn’t cost much but will add value to this bike.

  2. I have been riding mountain bikes hard-core for years. Moved up to Washington state from Arizona and haven’t ridden for the past five years because of my career change. So last month I went out and got the trail seven and I love it. I guess I’m old-school because I like the Hardtails the full suspension always seemed to slow me down whenever I was trying to generate speed . Not really into the hard-core stuff anymore but I think Cannondale did a good job on this saddle.

    1. Great to hear that you found your way back to cycling, Paul! You are right, both HT & FS have their pros and cons. The Trail 7 is certainly a good MTB, no doubt.

    1. There are quite a few differences between the two. The Trail 7 2019 has a different fork, different rims, hubs, as well as the brakes and brake levers. But the derailleurs and shifters are the same.

  3. Hello Guys
    I bought the trail 7 a few months ago mainly because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. So I figured if I buy an entry level bike I’m not gonna be too disappointed if I don’t like riding. And I have absolutely fallen in love with it. My question is is it difficult to upgrade the forks? I’ve recently put a dropper post on it and it was a game changer.
    I’m a bit confused because the gram description mentioned that the head stock is tapered however the forks are described as straight 1 1/8 stem.
    So my question is what exactly would I need to upgrade.
    Many thanks
    And keep riding
    Tim

    1. Hello Tim! Trail 7 is a nippy little beast on the trails, so I’m not surprised that you’ve fallen in love with it. 🙂 On Cannondale’s website, it says that the headset has a 1-1/8 reducer which is how it is possible to have that combination. Enjoy your future rides!

  4. Hi so I’m in the UK down in Cornwall where we have a lot of trails where you got straight off the road onto them but a few months ago I was using a borrowed bike and broke my wrist on what seemed to be a really nice trail it was at a quite steep and stony area and was wondering if the trail 7 could keep up I’m mainly worried about the brakes too as what happens when they get wet will this bike keep me safe when riding ???

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your injury, Hayden. I hope you’re recovering well. 🙂

      You don’t need to worry about the brakes going wet, as they are hydraulic disc brakes, so they will perform nicely in all conditions. The Trail 7 also has pretty wide tires (2.25″), so it will give you a lot of traction. However, it is still a bike that’s intended for moderate rides, so unless you plan to ride it very aggressively over rocks and do jumps, it will have no problem keeping up.

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