Bikes with remote suspension or geometry adjustments do not tend to fare well at Bible. Our testers usually favor single-setting frames that perform in their one-and-only mode over those that require distracting additional controls to adjust for changing terrain.
Predictably, at least one pair of eyes was rolled when it came time to test Cannondale's new carbon Trigger and its remote-controlled, dual-mode Gemini system. Gemini offers a plusher setting counterintuitively called 'Flow' and a stiffer, more appropriately named 'Hustle' mode. The rider toggles between the two with the bar-mounted remote, which changes the usable air volume in the shock, effectively reducing the bike's travel by 20 percent when it's time to, well, hustle. And the 27.5-wheeled Trigger does indeed hustle. Testers described the feel of the stiffer setting as an active pedal platform, allowing the rider to lay down power without giving up on traction. Hustle mode works well on doubletrack and smoother singletrack climbs, but the softer, more adherent Flow mode offers a better balance of efficiency and traction on technical ascents. Regardless of mode, the Trigger is a comfortable and capable climber. Its 74.5-degree seat-tube angle, reasonable 1,190-millimeter wheelbase and stubby 420-millimeter chainstays make for quick moves around inconveniently placed roots and rocks.
The only descent you might not want to be in Flow mode for, ironically, would be a flow trail, where one tester appreciated the additional support of the more progressive Hustle mode. The more supple Flow mode is the right setting everywhere else. The Trigger is an intuitive descender, its 66-degree head angle providing ample confidence and stability on steeper, faster trails without feeling unwieldy on slower ones. The frame's short rear end lends itself to playful riding and Scandi flicks into tight corners, and the 145-millimeter rear suspension didn't have any shortcomings; it was reactive, supportive and had ample bottom-out resistance.
Impressed as they were by the Trigger, testers skeptical of remote controls preferred the overall performance of the similarly equipped Norco Sight 27.5. The Sight's suspension performed at least as well on singletrack as the Trigger's, and it felt slightly more capable and plush on the descents without yielding maneuverability. For the rider who will utilize the Gemini system, though, the Trigger is the clear choice. It'll blast up fire roads then morph into a capable, fun descender at the top--and that's nothing to roll your eyes at.
Q&A With Peter Vallance, Cannondale global director of product for mountain, and Jeremiah Boobar, director of suspension
What rider should buy the Trigger, and what rider should upsize to the Jekyll?
The Jekyll is purpose-built for enduro racers looking for all-out descending performance, while the Trigger is for aggressive trail riders who live for big days in the mountains. Both bikes feature Gemini, our exclusive new dual-mode shock technology and progressive geometry that give riders exceptional traction and efficiency on the way up, and uncompromised, full-throttle performance on the way down.
Why opt for a remote suspension adjust when so many bikes can climb and descend in their one and only setting?
Sure, so many bikes can climb and descend in one setting, but there is no doubt most mid-to-long travel bikes sacrifice responsiveness and efficiency. We want to give riders a more playful and responsive feel in situations like rolling terrain, jumps, berms and of course, climbing. Unlike a platform setting which most shocks use for climbing, we can deliver fully active suspension in Hustle mode, which means much better traction and a smoother ride. If the rider still wants lock out their suspension for pavement or fire road, Gemini has that function too.
Can the Gemini shock be swapped out?
Yes, the Trigger and Jekyll use standard metric shock sizes, allowing the shocks to be swapped with other shocks on the market. Both frame designs were optimized to work best with air springs.
Can you explain rear end's Ai offset, and the reason for it?
Our Ai offset positions the drivetrain 6-millimeters outboard, twice that of Boost. This gives us a lot more design freedom to achieve super short chainstays, which deliver the Trigger's killer climbing traction and cornering performance. Short chainstays normally mean compromising mud clearance or chainstay construction, but the 6 millimeters enables us to fit the most fun tires along with big mud clearance and still have a light and stiff chainstay. A side benefit is that a more evenly dished wheel is stiffer and stronger.