Cannondale Trekking Light £1299.99

Surefooted and stylish touring

BikeRadar score4/5

Everyone who set eyes on the Cannondale was immediately impressed – it’s one of those bikes that simply looks good. We’ve come to expect practical bikes to bring with them a degree of dorkiness, so we were to delighted to see the Trekking Light buck that trend.

The whole bike looks fantastically well integrated, as if it’s come straight off the drawing board of an industrial designer. And with the Cannondale, it’s not just skin deep.

Ride & handling: Slow and predictable, just what a relative novice is after

We found the Trekking Light immediately surefooted and safe, giving us the confidence to really enjoy the descents, despite a full camping load at the back. Handling initially felt a little dull but 50 miles down the line, we were really appreciating its predictability.

Not that it felt overly ponderous. A choice frame and parts means the Trekking Light bowls along nicely once kicked up to speed. And despite all the extras, it’s not the kind of bike that feels like a dead weight when carting it up a few flights of stairs.

The fork did feel a touch harsh; expelling a little air from the Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres helped with all-day comfort. That said, we appreciated the Ergon grips.

Chassis: Typical Cannondale quality, with an accent on practicality

Cannondale’s aluminium frames may no longer be made in the US, but as far as we can see, they haven’t suffered for it. The subtly shape-morphing tubeset, brushed finish and neat welds ooze quality.

Take a closer look and there’s some genuinely well considered detailing too. The seatstay rack mounts are hidden within the tube; if you remove the rack provided, there’s no needless clutter on the frame. The disc mount is cunningly placed between seatstay and chainstay so disc brakes won’t foul the rack.

There’s routing for a front dynamo and two options for mounting kickstands: one below the bottom bracket and one set into the chainstay (though strangely enough, the bike doesn’t come with one, despite the spec listing it).

Cable routing is clean, with neat, open-sided cable mounts. Up front, Cannondale’s classic Fatty Fork looks suitably purposeful, as well as offering generous clearances and provision for a front carrier.

Equipment: Good spec and particularly good attention to detail, but wheels are strange choice

This degree of thought extends to the spec list too. If the clean, tubular steel Racktime carrier looks like a Tubus, it’s because it’s actually made by Tubus. Avid Juicy 5 hydraulic disc brakes offer easy, powerful braking, while a Shimano drivetrain gets you back up to speed without any clunk or whirr.

We’ve saved the best till last. Okay, so the brushed aluminium mudguards aren’t quite as practical as SKSs, but they’re one of the few sets we’ve come across that actually add to the looks of a bike.

Hoops come courtesy of Speedcity from Mavic, a wheelset popular with mountain bikers converting their disc-specific bikes for road work. They’re not cheap, and are a little out of place on a bike like this.

They look the part, but we’d prefer to see a set of wheels with a classic three-cross design for easier maintenance, even if we imagine this bike appealing to those who’d entrust maintenance to their local bike shop. Still, Speedcities are stronger than they look, and we’ve been running a set for several years.

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