Cannondale Rize 4 - First Ride £2199

Lightweight all-mountain rig

BikeRadar score 5/5

Cannondale had started to become synonymous with working in carbon fibre rather than their original aluminium staple. But the Rize 4 is a back-to-roots, aluminium front triangle version of their 130mm (5.1in) lightweight, all-mountain range of bikes.

Ride & handling: A true all-mountain bike – it climbs well but relishes the steep and lairy

The short-ish top tube (570mm/22.4in on our medium bike) perfectly combines with the 67.1-degree head angle to make for an agile chassis, yet with enough room to move around for efficient climbing. We even dropped a slightly shorter stem on and it never felt cramped.

Climbing on the Rize is helped by the ProPedal Fox shock. It’s perfectly placed to reach down and engage or disengage the pedal platform and it’s certainly needed.

The bike sits very easily into its travel with the ProPedal off, giving bags of traction and small bump sensitivity. The Rize suffers on the climbs without the ProPedal, but the platform makes more of a difference on this bike than similarly specced machines. 

The 'Backbone' – a single piece of forged aluminium used to combine the bottom bracket shell, the double-butted seat tube, the main pivot and the swing link pivot – does a good job of stiffening up the lightweight chassis, but major flex comes from the chainstays.

Mostly it’s not detrimental to performance, and you can even use the flex to turn the bike quicker. But it can catch you out on off-camber compressions, with the immediacy of the rear steer effect.

Despite excellent climbing credentials, the Rize relishes being pointed down the steep and lairy. The short cockpit and chilled-out head angle put you firmly in control, and can have you confidently and happily hitting rapid altitude loss.

Frame: 'Backbone' creates a strong, stiff, good-looking chassis

Cannondale employ a double-pass welding process on their aluminium frames to give their signature smooth and flowing appearance.

The heart and soul of the frame is the Backbone. This adds stiffness at the centre of the bike and ensures that the frame is straight as an arrow.

The 130mm (5.1in) rear travel is via a low single pivot. An asymmetric swingarm pushes on carbon fibre seatstay struts, activating a Fox RP2 shock through a swing link.

Equipment: Excellent fork, brakes and wheels, but 20mm axle would make more sense

Front bump-eating duties are taken care of with the excellent RockShox Revelation 409 fork, with the very tuneable Dual Air spring system.

Unusually, the much stiffer 20mm Maxle Lite option is not specced, which is slightly mystifying given the bike’s intended all-mountain use and the minimal difference in weight over the quick-release version.

Avid Elixir R brakes are excellent as ever, sensibly specced with a 185mm rotor up front to give a bit more grunt. Lightweight Mavic rims and equally light Schwalbe tyres combine for a very light overall wheel weight.

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