Cannondale Trail 8 [Review]
Top Features: Aluminum frame, 75 mm of travel, mechanical disc brakes, 27.5″/29″ wheels, trail-ready geometry
Best for: Beginners and newbie trail riders
Cannondale Trail 8 is an entry-level mountain bike that offers excellent value for the money, reflected in the following specs:
- Frame: SmartForm C3 alloy aluminum
- Fork: SR Suntour M3030, 75mm
- Bottom Bracket: Sealed Cartridge
- Front Derailleur: Shimano TY300, 34.9 clamp, 3-Speed
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano TX800, 7-Speed
- Number of Gears: 21
- Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc, 160/160mm rotors
- Rims: WTB SX19, 32h
- Tire Width: 2.25″ (F), 2.20″ (R)
- Saddle: Cannondale Stage 2
- Weight: 32 lbs. 8 oz. (14.74 kg)
Cannondale Trail 8 is a phenomenal mountain bike that doubles as an everyday commuter. It has everything a beginner rider would be looking for — low price, dependable components, durable build, and good looks.
Even though Trail 8 has wide tires that make it suitable for off-road riding, it is not intended for extreme trail rides and abuse. Its entry-level components wouldn’t be able to take it for very long.
Cannondale Trail 8 is a bike made for casual riders who wish to have some fun on dirt roads, explore unpaved routes, and take short commutes in the city.
Here are some of the most important features you should be aware of before buying.
Trail 8 has an excellent aluminum frame that Cannondale uses on many of its bikes. The SmartForm C3 alloy, as the material is called, is light and feels nimble on trail rides.
It features internal derailleur cable routing, rear rack and fender mounts, and two water bottle mounts. The geometry is comfortable and upright and the design is sleek and simple.
The SR Suntour fork gives you 75 mm of travel, which is enough to eliminate vibrations, help you jump curbs, and conquer potholes.
The reason why Trail 8 costs just $485 is due to entry-level components. But that does not mean they’re bad. They’re just intended for beginners.
Front and rear Shimano Tourney derailleurs give you 21 speeds. They’re excellent for weekend adventures, casual commutes, and easy-going workouts.
If you plan to use them for a lot more than that, you’ll find them lacking in precision and durability.
Heavy-Duty Disc Brakes
The star of the show on Cannondale Trail 8 is its mechanical disc brakes. They’re not fancy by any means, but the performance and stopping power they offer is much better compared to V-brakes.
Disc brakes ensure excellent braking in all conditions, which is especially important if you plan to ride in wet weather, snow, and mud.
Competent Wheels and Tires
The burly 29″ wheels and knobby tires are the most important parts on the Trail 8 bike. They give it versatility and make it suitable for off-road riding and ready to tackle some serious terrain.
The smallest frame comes with 27.5″ wheels, whereas larger frames are 29ers. The tires on all wheels are WTB Ranger Comp, 2.25″ wide.
These wheels are a bit heavy, but they are durable and roll well over obstacles. The tires are quite knobby, so you should expect plenty of grip.
One of the things that owners of Cannondale Trail 8 praise the most is handling. This is neither a light nor a small bike, but its geometry makes it swift and efficient both on and off trails.
The variable wheel size (27.5″ or 29″) ensures the best possible fit. Short people find it easier to control smaller and lighter 27.5″ wheels, whereas taller people will get to enjoy the more functional 29ers.
Frame Sizing and Fit
Cannondale Trail 8 is available in four distinct frame sizes, which is enough to find the right fit no matter your height.
Small: 5’2″ – 5’6″ (27.5 inches)
Medium: 5’6″ – 5′ 10″ (29 inches)
Large: 5’10” – 6’1″ (29 inches)
X-Large: 6’1″ – 6’4″ (29 inches)
Proper fit is also guaranteed due to variable wheel sizes. The smaller 27.5″ wheels on the Small frame provide a lower standover clearance and give short riders better control and a more nimble experience.
Should You Buy Cannondale Trail 8?
Trail 8 is a safe buy for beginners, casual riders, and first-timers on the trails. If you recognize yourself in any of these three categories, we believe this bike would be a good fit for you.
Cannondale Trail 8 is a versatile two-wheeler that can complete different types of tasks and handle a variety of terrain. Plus, it costs less than $500, which is a big plus.
Its entry-level components are more than good enough for average cyclists who are just looking for a way to get from point A to point B or spend more time outside.