Cannondale Trail 4 review

Serious trail looks that don't cost a fortune

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
£650.00 RRP

Our review

Good looking, comfortable and fast but hits big bumps hard and feels twitchy on more technical trails
Buy if, You want a great frame at a value price and plan to use your bike off of the trails as well as on them
Pros: Good looking alloy SAVE frame that’s noticeably more comfortable than most at this price. Fast tyres and rack mounts make it a useful weekday workhorse and Shimano gears are dependably durable
Cons: Narrow bar, long stem, wooden feeling brakes and skinny tyres all undermine technical trail confidence. Straight steerer RockShox XC30 fork is adequate but certainly not amazing for the price
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Cannondale’s Trail 4 hardtail proves that you can get a boutique bike with serious trail head pose value without spending a fortune. Like most big global brands they’ve stuck with more conventional handling than some cutting edge homegrown options and they can’t quite compete on component comparison either.

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Obviously the real unchangeable heart of a bike’s character is its frame, not its components, and here the Trail 4 scores well.

It’s the same ‘optimised 6061 alloy’ chassis you get on the pricier Trail 1 and uses Cannondale’s signature big pipe architecture for a stiff mainframe but skinny, flattened SAVE rear stays to take the sting out of the trail before it gets to the saddle and your shorts.

At 13.56kg for a large it builds a decent weight bike for the price too, although a straight rather than tapered head tube limits potential better quality fork upgrade options.

RockShox XC30 fork and Nine Line tyres
RockShox XC30 fork and Nine Line tyres
Russell Burton

That said, the doggedly reliable RockShox XC30 fork is par for the course on most mid-range bikes and copes okay with blue and red trail terrain at lower speeds.

The 30mm legs and QR axle means it struggles to steer accurately under pressure or cope with bigger impacts though, particularly if the two coincide.

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The narrow 680mm wide bars, 100mm stem and relatively steep 70 degree head angle also make it twitchy and nervous when things get technical. Wooden-feeling Tektro brakes, plus skinny and slippery 27.5x2in WTB Nine Line tyres don’t help confidence either, but they are a bonus when it comes to cruising speed.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Trail 4
Brand Cannondale

Description Geometry base on size Large
Rear Derailleur Shimano Alivio
Top Tube (in) 24.8
Standover Height (in) 31.6
Seat Tube (in) 18.7
Chainstays (in) 17.1
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.4
Spoke Type Stainless Steel, 15g Black
Brake Levers Tektro Auriga Hydraulic
Stem Cannondale C4, 6061 Alloy
Shifters Shimano Alivio
Seatpost Cannondale C3, 6061 alloy, 27.2x350mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Cannondale Stage 3
Rear Tyre WTB NineLine, 27.5x2.0"
Rear Hub Alloy Disc, sealed, loose ball bearings
Pedals Cannondale Platform
Available Sizes XS S M L XL
Headset Type Tange Zstep
Head Angle 70
Handlebar Cannondale C4, 6061 alloy, 20mm rise, 680mm
Grips/Tape Cannondale Dual-Density
Front Tyre WTB NineLine, 27.5x2.0"
Front Hub Alloy Disc, sealed, loose ball bearings
Front Derailleur Shimano Altus, 31.8 clamp
Frame Material Trail, Optimized 6061 Alloy
Fork RockShox XC30 27.5", 100mm, PopLoc remote lockout
Cranks Shimano M391, Octalink, 44/32/22
Chain Shimano HG53, 9-speed
Cassette Sunrace, 11-34, 9-speed
Brakes Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc, 180/160mm
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB-ES25, Octalink
Wheelbase (in) 44.5