Cannondale Moto2 2008 160mm Trail Bike

Pro Reviews

Cannondale Moto2 2008

Review by Sharon Bader

The Cannondale Moto replaces the Prophet MX bike for 2008 as their foray into the 160mm “Big Mountain” class. This lighter, stronger all mountain bike is built to climb with no compromise in descending. With their new Hatchet Drive and carbon frame this bike is stiff, plush and light. First impressions of this bike suggests a big heavy and unresponsive ride. The oversized carbon tubes, busy main triangle and burly rear triangle follows Cannondale’s legacy of innovation. Once on this bike the great standover and nice settling of the suspension puts you in control. A capable if not snappy climber, the suspension falls into its world when you start heading downhill.

Non Drive side view of the red accented Moto2.

The Bike

Currently available only in carbon, the Medium Moto2 was tested. The weight and stiffness of this svelte 30lb freeride machine is achieved using a carbon monocoque design, alloy linkage plates, and asymmetric carbon rear triangle. Using seven bladders to create the frame rather then the traditional four is a testament to Cannondale’s innovation. A 12mm Maxle rear dropout also aids in stiffening the rear end of this single pivot bike.

While some may gasp at the use of carbon for a freeride bike, suspension stresses on the frame are mitigated by the “Hatchet Drive”. Attaching the shock via the “Hatchet” at the dual pronged downtube disperses stress between the 1.5inch headtube and the extra carbon fiber sheet that runs along the length of the downtube to the bottom bracket. Dubbed Cannondale’s Force Dispersion Technology as the bike travels through its suspension, shock forces move through the links into the down tube in a dispersed manner. The Hatchet Drive design also reduces stiction in the shock creating smoother suspension performance.

The headtube boasts a 66.6mm outer diameter dubbed the DIABLO which stiffens the front end to facilitate steering precision. Additionally two carbon sheets sandwich Cannondale’s unified HOT BOX bottom bracket laterally to absorb the torsional pedaling stresses in this area. The shock attached directly to the rear triangle allows for further weight reduction. The lower shock placement on the frame also adds to the stability of this platform. The main pivot location above and ahead of the bottom bracket creates an ideal pedaling platform by neutralizing the pedaling forces on the suspension and allows the suspension to absorb the terrain more efficiently.

Hotbox design and carbon brackets aid in the stiffness of the Bottom Bracket area. – Images courtesy of Cannondale

The Moto has a falling rate of suspension allowing the suspension to get softer as it goes through its travel thus utilizing the full 160mm of suspension. The final few inches of suspension are countered by the air in the shock to prevent harsh bottoming out.

The low standover (30in), higher bottom bracket height (14.2in), shorter chain stays (16.5in) creates a nimble bike on technical terrain.

The Bike
The Front
The Rear
The Components
The Ride

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About the author: Sharon Bader

I am 5’9″, weigh 154lbs. I have been riding since 1991. I started on a classic XC hard tail but have moved with technology and now ride a Pivot Mach 5.7 for XC, a Trek Session for DH and a Pivot Firebird and Knolly Endorphin for freeriding/shore/technical XC riding.

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  • Chick_Jerkin' says:

    Excellent review, Sharon. I always look forward to reviews from you and/or Lee, both of you have great experience, top riding skills, and write very well. Thanks.

  • Tony says:

    I love those action shots. Good stuff.

  • Vader says:

    Great review Sharon. I know the air shocks are tailored for the frames, but will a coil shock fit?

  • Brodiegrrl says:

    Hey Barry!

    I’m sure the DHX coil will fit, but it won’t be ‘tuned’ for it.

    check your pm’s!

  • Mike Bowman says:

    Such a Sick bike. Handles the big stuff so well and perfect for the diablo freeride park or Northstar Live Wire. Still climbs admirably well. A 30lb bike and you can throw anything at it, sign me up.

  • chris says:

    sick bike ! is it for sale ?

  • Erik, BERGEN , Norway says:

    Just bought my first full suspension bike this august and landed on the Moto 2 and just have to say its great . Easy to drag along anywhere . Easy to handle . Nice equipment , especially the brakes (Magura Louise w/ 8″ rotor in front , they could stop a bus ! Definetly the best 5 grand I´ve ever spent .

  • Zura says:

    hi men!
    i am zura from little georgia,i live with i have CURTIS dh bike,but i brouk fork…
    please help me:i want buy new fork.i realy need from150mm and hight.thank you foward
    my skype is dhzura
    i hope you can do something 🙂

  • André says:

    How much exactly does the complete bike weight?

  • kopaczus says:

    My scale shows 14.45kg for the european Moto Carbon 2, size medium, specced as the one in catalogue, with pedals and everything.

  • steve says:

    i’ve been riding Mtb’s for over twenty years on and off, managed to get my hands on a moto2 large frame…what can i say one of the best bikes i’ve ridden in a long time, going up and down ttf’s like a pro…it’s more bike than me ;-D it’l take a long time for the smiles to disappear

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