reviewed by Stuart Kernaghan
The concept of the bike quiver was borne out by the notion that there is no one bike light enough for big climbing days while still being capable of handling technical terrain and ripping up singletrack. Cannondale has made the bold claim that its OverMountain line of bikes is able to deliver on all counts. It backs up that statement with the incredibly capable Trigger 27.5 Carbon Team model.
Cannondale Trigger 27.5 Carbon Team
|Suspension||SuperMax 2.0 Carbon PBR 140 27.5 fork, Fox DYAD RT2 140 mm travel shock|
|Wheels||Mavic Crossmax SLR|
|Sizes||S, M, L, XL|
Cannondale offers the Trigger in both 27.5″ and 29″ wheel sizes, with five different configurations in the 27.5″ category. The test bike was loaded with Cannondale-specific technology, including a SuperMax Lefty fork with 140 mm of travel, BallisTec carbon frame, Attitude Adjust geometry, a dualmode Fox-built DYAD rear shock and the ECS-TC pivot system with 15-mm thru axles.
The Carbon Team is the second-highest model in the line. The bike has an impressive parts package: a SRAM X01 11-speed shifter, XX1 rear derailleur and an X01 10–42-tooth cassette. The wheels feature Mavic CrossMax SLR rims with Schwalbe Racing Ralph 27.5 x 2.25″ tires. Magura MT6 brakes with 180- and 160-mm rotors stop the bike. A RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post lets you adjust your saddle height on the fly. Weight for the XL Carbon Team was 26.8 lb., in the non-tubeless configuration (pedals included).
All of the technology in the world doesn’t mean much if it fails to improve the ride experience. Fortunately, the C-dale goods delivered in a big way when I hit the trails. The inverted dual-crown Lefty was the stiffest fork I’ve ridden in a long time. It tracked incredibly well through technical terrain, and was a welcome change to noodly forks that are spec’d on far too many trail bikes. The PopTop compression button made it easy to switch between firm and soft settings, and paired very well with the DYAD shock.
The DYAD combines the efficiency of short-travel air shocks with the comfort and plushness of long-travel coil shocks into one platform, rather than forcing riders to settle for one or the other. I used the handlebar-mounted lever to switch between the efficient 85-mm-travel Elevate mode and 140-mm Flow mode as I transitioned from climbing to singletrack or descending, and let the bike run. The longer-travel setting slackens the bike’s geometry, making it possible to descend with confidence on the same bike that just tackled steep climbs without the front end wandering or lifting up.
The longer-travel setting slackens the bike’s geometry, making it possible to descend with confidence on the same bike that just tackled steep climbs without the front end wandering or lifting up.
My regular test loop includes part of the 2014 BC Bike Race course, and it felt as if the Trigger was made for it. Sustained climbs and short uphill punches were a breeze thanks to the overall light weight and Elevate setting. The bike absolutely railed singletrack. I was able to flow through sections that had me dismounting in the past. It was also easy to pick sniper lines on descents thanks to the Lefty. This bike is one of the stiffest I’ve ridden in some time, and it felt laterally solid through all types of terrain.
The Trigger also had me re-evaluating my feelings about 27.5″ wheels: there were only a few occasions where the front wheel got hung up on trail debris that a 29er would have rolled through. The components package as a whole performed very well, although the Magura brakes did suffer from some pump up on extended descents. It would have also been nice to see a namebrand bar and stem on this level of bike, and some riders will want to swap out the stock tires for a beefier tread if they ride technical terrain on a regular basis. The quiver-killer title is a big one, but after spending some time on the Trigger Carbon Team, it’s fair to say that this bike comes awfully close.