Cannondale Rush Carbon 4£1,899.00

Great-looking, half-carbon long-distance cruiser

BikeRadar score4/5

This Cannondale is a classic case of ‘simple done really well’ if you want a great-looking, efficient bike for less aggressive riding. Push harder though, and the Rush becomes more of a panic.

Getting a half-carbon bike for under £2,000 is definitely reason enough to take a closer look, and the fibre front end rides as sharp as it looks. The twangy back end undermines this clarity when you push hard, but it’s still light, responsive and always fun to ride. While it’s fine as it stands, the Rush Carbon 4 is also a worthwhile investment for those looking to upgrade their bike.

Ride & handling: Loves fast and flowing trails, but flexy back end hampers performance

There’s a definite friendliness about the Rush straight away. The slight stiffening and downward ‘dig in’ of the swingarm under power gets you off to a good start, which the low weight and long riding position convert into a very efficient and comfortable cruise, and an impressive turn of climbing speed.

The Fox fork up front stands out clearly in terms of damping control, even against the best efforts of main rival RockShox, and the rear shock never got flustered either. The Pro Pedal platform damping lever is easy to reach if the rhythmic pedal bob on climbs starts to bother you, but there’s never any sense of lost power.

The big carbon mainframe and well-matched cockpit dimensions mean the Rush gives great feedback at the front end. You can really push the nose in hard and hold it there through corners and it hustles through singletrack or rock gardens well too.

While the low bottom bracket means a bit of pedal/crank end clatter if you try to keep the power on through ruts and blocks, the low belly means inspiring stability at speed.

Cannondale rush carbon 4: cannondale rush carbon 4

The back end is definitely on the articulated side though, with noticeable rear end flex and sway rapidly loosening the shock bolt.

The wheel twists noticeably across the dropouts, making it a bike that smears rather than sticks and slices when you start putting it under any sort of sideways pressure.

This same twist is also evident if you’re really pressing the pedals, but the bottom bracket and stiff front end create a rock-solid mainframe to brace your power bursts against.

The fact that the rear suspension references not only your pedalling but also your braking and even the smallest weight shifts also makes it a very involving, enjoyable bike to flick through the singletrack.

Check for alignment and shock looseness before you buy: check for alignment and shock looseness before you buy

Frame: Carbon monocoque is an engineering and aesthetic highlight

Despite its prestige, Cannondale’s Rush is one of the cheapest carbon mainframed full-suss bikes around. The big fluid-lined monocoque wrapping round the oversized head tube and bottom bracket certainly doesn’t look cheap though.

The massive bottom corner allows Cannondale to use the latest super-stiff BB30 oversize axle cranks. The big front end of the swingarm is an intricately cut and pocketed piece too that leads smoothly into the big curved chainstays, while super skinny seatstays drive the Fox shock. The seat tube and seat post are super-skinny too, and this will add some useful flex between the bike and your bum.

Smooth lines – including internal gear routing in the swingarm – make the Rush easy to clean, and the bolted brace hidden ahead of the tyres is cut away to minimise clogging.

The rear seat tube slot is vulnerable to back wheel spray though, and the stays were visibly out of alignment against the seat tube on our sample.

The carbon frame is an engineering and aesthetic highlight: the carbon frame is an engineering and aesthetic highlight

Equipment: All decent kit, and frame is worthy of upgrading over time

A simple-to-ride bike always leaves more thinking time for componentry to shine, and there’s plenty of gear to drool over here.

The Fox F120 fork slays steps, rocks and other multiple bogey situations with complete contempt and the ever-dependable Float RP damper does the same job out back.

The FSA BB30 cranks feel rock solid underfoot, while SRAM shifters punch gears with precise clarity. Mavic rimmed wheels are as proven as the swingarm framework, while Continental’s Mountain King tyres are rapidly becoming a modern classic.

The long, flat Nisene saddle gives loads of bum shuffle room on epics while stem and bar are well proportioned for fast but reassuringly controlled riding. 

The way the fox forks manage their damping oil flow is consistent and controlled: the way the fox forks manage their damping oil flow is consistent and controlled

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