By Ryan LaBar
Cannondale recently brought a group of mountain bike journalists to Deer Valley, Utah, to launch a new bike, as well as go over its changes, to the “OverMountain” line. This new bike is the Trigger, a 120-millimeter (adjustable down to 70 millimeters) trail bike to fill the short-travel gap that was in the Cannondale OverMountain line.
I spent a day riding the riding the top-end (for the United States) Trigger 1 on the buff trails surrounding the Deer Valley Resort.
It seems Cannondale chose the launch loaction well, as fast flowing trails with small jumps, dips and rollers, like those surrounding Deer Valley, Utah, are where the Trigger is best in its element. The bike is light and nimble making it a riot to pump through dips, rail corners and double up trail features. It seemed the more aggressively I rode the bike, the better it reacted.
I didn’t think that the Trigger’s shorter-travel, 70-millimeter “Elevate” mode would make all that much difference over the 120-millimeter “Flow” mode, however in the oxygen-thin air of Deer Valley, its helpfulness was made readily apparent. The efficiency it offered was like having an extra gear on the climbs. I was surprised by the lack of through-axle rear end on the bike, though I never felt like there was an abundant amount of flex in the frame–Cannondale claims this was to keep weight down. And at 24 pounds (claimed, complete) the Trigger is certainly light; light enough–and certainly efficient enough with its Elevate mode a thumb flip away–to use as a weekend racer. The stem length (on the size large, at least) was one of my few complaints with the bike–it seemed a bit long for agressive trail riding. I’d also be interested to see how the carbon-fiber bash ring holds up to repeated rock hits.
The bike’s new Lefty matched its rear-suspension feel quite well. It’s smooth through the first two-thirds of its travel with a nice ramp up at the end to prevent harsh bottom outs.
Speaking of Cannondale’s new Lefty, it has received the biggest changes since its inception. For this new Lefty, the needle bearings and square stanchion have been moved completely inside the upper leg of the fork, while the lower, exposed, part of the stanchion is now round and slides on a bushing to improve stiffness deeper in the fork’s travel–Cannondale is calling this its Hybrid Needle Bearing Technology. Having the needle-bearing system located completely inside the Lefty allows the bearing shuttles’ positions to be automatically reset when the fork bottoms out–a manual maintenance process with the old Lefty models. In addition to improving stiffness, requiring less service and cleaning up its looks, the round, external stanchion allows riders to set their sag with the good old fashion O-ring. The internals have also been updated with a new damper assembly.
These updates seem to make the Lefty more conducive to long-travel applications–some hints from a few Cannondale employees seem to confirm this possibility.
While Cannondale filled the empty travel spot in its OverMountain line, there was one spot left open during the initial presentation: wheel size. During the final toast at the last dinner of the launch, however, Cannondale wheeled out its Trigger 29er, with the strict request that no photos be taken (Cannondale would not allow me to do an artist’s rendition either, unfortunately). I will describe what I was able to see and gather from the Cannondale staff: The bike is set to have 130-millimeters of travel both front and rear–the rear will be adjustable down to 80 millimeters in its Elevate mode. The Trigger 29er’s linkage is slightly different from the others in the OverMountain line, as the rocker link is attached to the seattube area instead of the downtube, however, it will still be using a pull shock. The bike will be offered as three models ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, and will be available with an aluminum frame only for its first year. The top-end model will come with an all-new Lefty, which Cannondale was very careful not to leak any information on.