Tested: Cannondale Trigger 29er 1
By Brice Minnigh

Ever since my first ride aboard Cannondale's 26-inch-wheeled Trigger, while busting out hot laps for last year's Bible of Bike Tests, I'd been itching to pull the trigger on the company's new 29-inch version of the bike. All of our testers had been blown away by the sheer speed the 26-inch Trigger engendered on our Horsethief Bench trail loop near Fruita, Colorado.

In fact, our impressive lap times on that bike—a carbon version weighing just less than 24 pounds—had us insisting that the versatile trail bike would be a more desirable race bike than some of those in our cross-country category. This immediately led us to wildly imagine the speed possibilities that the anticipated 29-inch rendition could afford.

Upon returning to our respective homes, some of us set about secretly trying to score a production version of the Trigger 29er, so by the time I got my hands on this test bike I was primed for speed. It didn't let me down. on the first ride—my mildly technical singletrack commute, filled with abrupt, punchy climbs and sharp descents—the bike felt freakishly fast, its big wheels rolling effortlessly up taxing climbs that often leave me breathless.

Aiding on these climbs was the proprietary Dyad RT2 dual shock produced by Fox Racing Shox, which can be run in 130-millimeter and 80-millimeter travel modes. In the shorter-travel mode, the Trigger climbed like an XC bike, while popping it into the longer-travel mode immediately gave it a more all-mountain disposition for the descents.

At the same time, Cannondale's beefed-up Lefty Supermax PBR fork instilled confidence while charging through chunky terrain. The fork felt amazingly stiff, and its 130 millimeters of travel—together with the large wheels—helped the bike plow through the chunder with an ease that mimicked a longer-travel machine.

Another factor contributing to my comfort was the presence of a sensible FsA Gravity lite handlebar-and-stem combo, with 740-millimeter-wide bars and a no-nonsense 40-millimeter stem that felt commensurate with the Trigger's technical capabilities. In addition, the bike's curved seat tube allows 17.6-inch chainstays to be incorporated into the design, giving it a snappy, decidedly playful feel and enhancing its maneuverability in tight sections of trail.

I even had the pleasure of racing the Trigger 29er in an enduro event in Finale Ligure, Italy, where I blissfully barreled my way down ancient, babyhead-filled trails that spilled out onto cobblestone streets before dead-ending on the shore of the Mediterranean. It was amore.