Cannondale Trail 5 Bike: A Mountain Bike for Beginners

People tend to buy cheaper things if they want to start a new hobby because they’re still wavering on whether they truly want to do that hobby or not. It’s the same case with mountain riding, beginners are likely to buy cheaper bikes even if the features are simple. That’s why Cannondale Trail 5 bike would be a good choice for starters.

Part 1: A Review

Cannondale Trail 5 is one of the hardtail bike series released by a US brand that already established itself over 20 years, Cannondale. This bike can be considered as a bike with a cheap price because the range price is about $900 – $1000. With the ‘ little money ’ that you need to have to buy this bike, Trail 5 already offers you enough features and components so you can ride it comfortably.

Perhaps this bike isn’t really that ‘wow’ compared to other bikes with so many sophisticated technologies. But considering the Cannondale Trail 5 price, it’s enough for people who want to start biking and gaining skills. As stated on the website, Cannondale is confident that this mountain bike is built to ignite a passion for the trail. Designed for the mountains and ready for any conditions and terrains. But is it true? Let’s check the advantages, disadvantages, and reviews of this bike!

buy cannondale trail 5

Part 2: Advantages and Disadvantages

Based on people’s reviews of this bike, basically, it’s worth the price, but there are some features that actually could be improved. There are positive and negative sides to this bike that you need to know before buying it. Especially as a new rider.

There are few good reasons to get this bike. First, of course Cannondale Trail 5 price. It’s below $1000 and you’ll get many great things from this bike, such as hydraulic brake, SAVE micro-suspension, and SmartForm C3 alloy frame. Second, This bike also has nice geometry depending on what’s your priority. It has a reasonable and comfortable head angle for mountain biking. Having light wheels with 29” as the size gives you a fast ride for your biking experience. Good looking and have 2 options of colors (for 2021) are also the pluses from this bike.

As it stated before, reviewers think that it would be good to improve some features of the bike. There are some minuses of this bike, for example the external cable and geometry. Having external or internal cable is actually not really important for some people. If you’re not bothered by the external cable, then go for it. For the geometry, the angle is too narrow for some people because the seat tube is way too tall and with an uncut post. Even though Cannondale Trail 5’s wheels are light, it’s not beefy. So it probably will be hard for you to biking in mud or wet terrain.

Pros: Good looking, smooth-riding frame; fast, floaty tyres on relatively light wheels

Cons: Needs a cockpit change for fast-reacting control; skinny-axle cranks sap power punch; numb and uncommunicative brakes

Part 3: Frame and Items

For a bike under $1000, Cannondale Trail 5 used a great frame which is durable SmartForm C3 Alloy frame with 700 cm as the size. The material of the frame is aluminum, so this bike gives you a light frame that is nice to ride. Honestly, SmartForm as whole itself already delivers incredibly proper wall thickness distribution and tube shapes. It concentrates the material, exactly where needed to maximize stiffness and strength, while shaving every last extraneous gram from the structure. So, basically having this from a ‘not-so-expensive’ bike is really worth it.

As for the items of this bike, they have many parts of the bike that you can improve. For example you can change the pedals if you don’t like the plastic pedals. You can also switch to a wider handlebar because the size is only 720mm which it’s maybe too short for some people. Changing the stem also could be done to get a better performance from the bike.

Part 4: Main features of Cannondale Trail 5

If you’re afraid to buy Cannondale Trail 5 because of the price range and fear of not meeting your expectation, then this explanation about the main features (that Cannodale are proud of) could give you the idea of the bike :

  • Durable and light SmartForm C3 alloy frame delivers an exceptionally lightweight, efficient and smooth ride. It’s one of the best frames in the mountain bike category.
  • SR Suntour XCM fork offers 100 mm of travel with smooth suspension. Not really good for extreme drops, but still good for an entry level biker.
  • SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Eliminator)  micro-suspension which offers a smooth and controlled ride.
  • Slack 68° head angle creates exceptionally stable handling, so you can ride with confidence. But the angle depends on what kind of position you like while biking.
  • MicroSHIFT Advent X rear derailleur and shifter deliver smooth shifting through all 10 gears, but shifter ergonomics might not suit some riders.
  • Reliable Shimano hydraulic disc brakes provide great stopping power and control. As usual hydraulic brakes are a must for a good bike.
  • Quick-release wheels, so it’s easy to change tires for the bike.
  • StraightShot internal cable routing for shifting and dropper post cables in the down tube makes for clean lines and easy maintenance.

Part 5: Riding Experience and Recommendation

Basically, the explanations above are the compilation experiences of some reviewers with this bike. Most riders share their riding experience of this bike as “good enough for beginners, but need some adjustment”. For a new rider that is still learning and has a limited budget, Cannondale Trail 5 is more than enough. It’s just once you get used to mountain riding, you will realize that there are some missing from the bike. Just like what it’s explained before, there are some features that need to be improved such as the pedals, handlebar, stem, and so on. But also there are some parts of the bikes that are not really good and can’t be improved, such as geometry and wheels.

Part 6: Other models

Cannondale mountain bikes have several hardtail trail bikes beside Trail 5 that you might like. There are also some model bikes from other brands that have similar vibes, features and components from Cannondale Trail 5. Here are the other models:

  • Cannondale Trail 6
  • Cannondale Trail Women’s 6
  • Cannondale Trail 7
  • Cannondale Trail 8
  • Moosejaw Kona Fire Mountain
  • Moosejaw Kona Mahuna
  • Jenson Overdrive 291 Bike

Part 7: Specification


Weight 32.6 lbs

Platform  Trail

Model Name Trail 5

Model Code C26501M


Frame SmartForm C3 Alloy, SAVE, 1-1/8″ headtube, post mount disc, StraightShot internal cable routing, dropper post compatible, BSA-73

Fork SR Suntour XCM, 100mm, coil, 42mm offset (27.5″) 46mm offset (29″)

Headset Semi-Integrated, 1-1/8″


Rear Derailleur microSHIFT Advent X

Shifters microSHIFT Advent X, 10-Speed

Chain KMC X10, 10-speed

Crank Prowheel, Charm 30T

Rear Cogs microSHIFT, 11-48T, 10-speed

Bottom Bracket Sealed bearing cartridge, square taper


Brakes Tektro M275 hydraulic disc, 160/160mm rotors

Brake Levers Tektro hydraulic disc


Rims WTB SX19, 32h

Front Hub Shimano HBTX 505

Rear Hub Shimano FHTX505

Spokes Stainless Steel, 14g

Tires WTB Ranger Comp, 29×2.25″ (27.5×2.25″ – XS, SM), DNA Compound

Tire Size 2.25

Wheel Size 29

Front Tire WTB Ranger Comp, 29×2.25″ (27.5×2.25″ – XS, SM), DNA Compound

Rear Tire WTB Ranger Comp, 29×2.25″ (27.5×2.25″ – XS, SM), DNA Compound


Handlebar Cannondale Riser, 6061 Alloy, 25mm rise, 8° sweep, 6° rise, 720mm

Stem 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 7°

Grips Cannondale Dual-Density

Saddle Cannondale Stage 3

Seatpost Cannondale 3, 6061 Alloy, 31.6 x 350mm (XS – SM), 400mm (MD-XL)

Part 8: Closing

For beginners who set a price limit for their first bike, Cannondale Trail 5 is really recommended. Even though there are some ‘bad’ parts of this bike, those don’t really impact you for learning mountain biking. The features are good enough with such a price. So, should you buy Cannondale Trail 5 or not? If you’re happy with the advantages and don’t really care about the minuses, then go for it! You can still upgrade it if you want some performance improvements from the bike.