Full Squish: Loving Cannondale’s ‘Bad Habit’ Mountain Bike

27.5+ tires and full suspension (including Cannondale’s strange signature fork) make for a beast of a bike.

Cannondale Bad Habit review

After testing for six months, the Cannondale Bad Habit 1 impressed with its reliability and confidence-inspiring handing. We put it through the paces for this review.


The Canondale Bad Habit 1 is a full-suspension 27.5+ bike. It soaks up bumps and rolls over obstacles with 3-inch-wide tires equipped with copious tread.

The aluminum frame and suspension make things rather plush. The downside of all this burly goodness comes in weight: It’s a heavy bike at about 32 pounds.

For months, I tested it over steep rocky trails on the Colorado front range (Apex, Dinosaur Ridge, Lair of the Bear), and even rode on some snow. I’ve loved every pedal stroke. It’s a great option for those looking for a good bike at a fair price. Read on for details.

Cannondale Bad Habit 1 Review

The Bad Habit is a mid-priced mountain bike ($3,200) with a smart selection of components. It’s a solid choice for the average cyclist who wants fuss-free performance.

It also comes in two carbon models ($5,500 and $4,800) and the $2,600 aluminum Bad Habit 2.

Cannondale Bad Habit 1 test

The first thing I noticed riding the Bad Habit were the burly 3″ tires. This thing grips the ground like a monster truck. Paired with a short 120mm-travel suspension and 68-degree head angle, I find the bike to be playfully quick, yet forgiving when rolling over obstacles.

The Lefty suspension “fork” will grab a ton of attention on the trail. I’ve had plenty of folks gawk in confusion when they see me come ripping along with what appears half my fork missing.

But it works well in this configuration. The fork locks out (not remote) for climbing with the push of a button that is easily reachable from the cockpit. You do have to take a hand off the bars, which is fine for me. This isn’t a race machine.

On climbs, I found the big tires and short wheelbase provide good traction. It’s easy to wheel around steep switchbacks and waterboards. I rode a mix of standing and sitting up a monster incline near Golden, and had little wheel spin, something I’ve faced on other bikes.

Cannondale Bad Habit 1 review

Descending is a blast, but this isn’t a “downhill” bike. While entirely capable on fast, techy downhills, the short travel and somewhat steep geometry could be over-gunned by aggressive riders. But for the average Colorado cyclist looking for fun descents with some braking included, the Bad Habit is capable.

Drive Train, Wheels, Brakes

The 1×11 drivetrain uses a reliable SRAM GX rear derailleur and shifters that needed very little adjustment over six months of riding. It runs Shimano Deore M615 hydraulic disc brakes. Again, not top of the line, but entirely functional for most after-work warriors.

It’s worth noting that SRAM GX is considered by many to be the best performance value on the market right now. It’s awesome. Our in-house expert said that running Shimano brakes is smart. This is an ideal build for value. I concur.

The WTB Scraper i45 27.5 rims are tubeless ready, a good thing when you’ll be spinning the all that rubber on the stock WTB Bridger, 27.5×3.0″ tires. It sets up tubeless easily with just Stans and some new valve stems.

For me, an average cyclist who enjoys riding technical terrain around Colorado’s front range, the build has proven reliable and fun for the retail price of $3,200. This puts it in a sweet spot for a lot of cyclists.

Weaknesses

Those big tires (which, when inflated, give a similar radius as a 29er), have a lot of mass. This requires a little extra oomph to get them rolling. So the Bad Habit isn’t as quick out of the gate as those with less rubber. Running them tubeless helps (and is needed), but this bike is still a little sluggish to accelerate.

This bike could use a dropper post. It comes without a quick-release on the seat post. You’ll want to add one if you ride in the mountains or plan to pull out the hex for every transition from climb to descent.

A dropper post, while a pricey addition, will make this bike oh-so-much fun.

Finally, given Cannondale’s penchant for one-of-a-kind design, you’ll likely be on your own when it comes to spare parts. It’s a bit tricky to fit this guy on a lot of bike racks. The oversized tires and non-standard fork just don’t always work easily in every rack.

Verdict

Cannondale built a fun bike with Bad Habit 1. Riding it on everything from tricky technical trails to flowy singletrack, it’s been a blast. The bike is versatile, thanks to the mid-fat tires and full suspension. It even floats enough to handle sand and shallow or hard-packed snow.

For those looking for a mid-range mountain bike for post-work rides and weekend adventure, this is a solid, fun choice.

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Managing Editor Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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