Since relocating back to the Pacific Northwest, the prospect of exploring hundreds of miles of trail means having a capable short travel trail rig is a priority. Since Inga’s new day job is doing events and marketing for a bike shop that is a Cannondale dealer, it was only logical she would gravitate to wanting to get some time on the Habit, the hot newness from Cannondale. One of the bikes on her shortlist, the Habit features 27.5″ wheels and 120mm of front and rear wheel travel, near ideal specs for riders like us that prefer enjoying trail features over straight line speed of wagon wheeled machines.
Now available in a women’s specific version, the Women’s 1 is spec’d with narrower 740mm bars, shorter cranks and a 60mm stem, and a women’s specific saddle. Other than the spec changes, the Women’s 1 is comparable to the Habit Carbon 3, both of which list for $3730.
Add a dropper post, immediately
When riding the Habit, our main complaint was the lack of a dropper post. We were only able to drop the seat a few inches before the post bottomed out, which made descending rock gardens much less fun. (ok, suck) It seems silly that a bike costing close to $4k still requires another $300+ in order to make it trail worthy. On one hand, since the bike doesn’t come equipped with one, you’re free to choose the model of your choice. That said, riding burly trails without the ability to get the seat low enough is a total buzzkill.
However, based on the new, lower cost offerings we spotted at the show, we’d be surprise if it didn’t include one next year.
On the trail
As you’d expect for a bike with minimal travel and heft, the Habit felt zippy when on the pedals and on the gas. Unlike the XC race specific bikes like the Scalpel though, the Habit is fun pointed both down and upwards, and is a much better choice for the majority of riders looking for a bike in this travel range. With a 68º head angle, the Habit felt solid and stable at speed, though our preferences run towards slightly slacker front ends, and we’d look into modding the Lefty fork to 130mm of travel (as found on the SE model) to suit.
If you’re on the hunt for a trail bike that gets to point A to B quickly on relatively mellow terrain, the Habit fits the bill quite well. It’s a fun, playful bike that pedals well and gives you the confidence to rip downhill on challenging terrian. It’s so playful that Inga forgot it was only 120mm of travel a couple of times and almost crashed due to the high set post. Again, no dropper post?!?!
Lefty one sided fork
Yes, the fork only has one leg. Yes it works well. These are the kinds of things you should expect to hear and say if you own or ride a Lefty fork. That said, the push button lockout made activating the fork a simple affair, and it felt well balanced to the rear. Although Inga is a light rider, the suspension felt very responsive, which can be a challenge with some forks, which can be difficult to tune to accommodate her light weight.
Other than adding a dropper post, the only other thing we’d change is dropping the front derailleur and adding a narrow-wide ring and a 40tooth cog for a proper 1x conversion, in order to trim a little fat and offset the weight of adding the post. The Deore components are all competent, and provide solid value and performance, but leave some room for a diet.
Did we mention it’s pink? Inga happens to be extremely fond of the color.
The Cannondale Habit Women’s 1 lists for $3,730. Check it out at Cannondale.com
words: Inga Beck and Jason Van Horn. pictures: Jason Van Horn