Cannondale Rize Pro Review

Pro Reviews
Cannondale Rize One


I have been riding and enjoying the Cannondale Rize 1 for several months now, and I have gained intimate knowledge and experience from long term testing. The Rize is a new model replacing the Prophet series. But any comparisons to that previous model shouldn’t be made, as the Rize stands head and shoulders above it (and most other trail bikes). When writing about about how well a bike performs, it’s often best to define what the bike is built for, in the first place. The term trail bike itself is not readily defined. But as a light weight (it weighed 24.7 lbs on the official Mtbr office scale, without pedals) 130mm travel mountain bike, the Rize strikes an almost perfect balance between XC racer and All Mountain bomber.

Its light weight and efficient climbing means that you could race XC with it. Its 130mm of travel (front and rear) mean that you can still bomb most of the rockgardens and jumps that you can on a 150mm travel bike. And the Rize will handle any length of all day epic ride that you can throw at it. More details about just how it rides at the end of this article.

First Impressions

The first thing I noticed about this bike is that the finish on it is beautiful. The white finish with black and red highlights give it an elegant but racey look. And of course, the Lefty Max gets looks anywhere you go (if you are in to that sort of thing.) Even after the half dozen demo days and my rides on it, the bike still looks fresh.

The build kit is also quite solid, with CrossMax wheels, XT/XTR drivetrain, XTR brakes, RP23 rear shock, FSA carbon bars…..But it is the Hollowgram SL cranks and Left Max Carbon fork that stand out (full specs below).

The Hollowgram SL cranks are rumored to be the lightest cranks out, right now. I have not personally verified that, but even with the lightness, they are super stiff and efficient and they hold up to trail abuse.

I have to admit that this is my first time riding a Lefty, any Lefty, and this fork has a super plush feel and ride. At first I was concerned that the fork might be too plush, since it exhibited a lot of brake dive while tooling around the office. However, out on the trail, this was not a problem. The fork operates as smooth as the best of any conventional (two-legged) fork, but is much lighter. While riding, you forget that the fork is single sided, as the stiffness and tractability of it is spot on. The brake dive was not a problem on the trail and I never once went OTB (or felt like I was going to go OTB.) And the PBR feature (stands for Push Button Rebound….what else?) is very easy to use for locking out the fork.

From the Manufacturer:

“Looking for a premium play bike that eats other all-mountain rigs for breakfast? The Rize brings all-new metalforming technologies to the bike industry, creating a lighter, stiffer and plusher platform to enjoy the backcountry. Traditional Cannondale innovations, including Si-equipped head tubes and bottom bracket shells, make the Rize a dreamy ride. ”


    Stiffer, lighter and stronger: Cannondale introduced to the bicycle industry new metalforming technology on the Rize. The Backbone combines the BB30 shell, lower pivot, and double-butted seat tube into a 3D forged part.
    Cannondale’s designers choose materials to achieve a highly tuned ride. Example: The parts of the frame that receive compressive loads use aluminum. But where light weight and lateral stiffness count, carbon fiber is called to duty.
    Si has long been used on Cannondale’s bicycles, and the Rize is yet another example. Making machined headset cups integral to the frame eliminates unneeded parts; combining the stem and steerer also reduces the flex inherent in joining two separate pieces. The net result is a bike that weighs less, steers better, and allows cyclists to out-accelerate their riding partners.

Cannondale has a mini-site called The Lodge explaining all of the new features of the Rize (and Moto) here:

Click Here for Next Page

Next: Specs and Geometry>>    |   How Does the Rize Ride?>>

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About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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  • Dan Gerous says:

    I might be wrong but it looks like you have a pre-production alloy frame and not the lighter and stiffer carbon frame… (the headtube shape and cable guides of the front triangle gives it away).

  • Gregg says:

    Good eye there, Dan! Yes, it is indeed a pre-production frame. I was informed that the ride characteristics of this frame where pretty much identical. And it might account for the .3 lbs difference between our real world measurement, and the claimed weight of 24.4 lbs.

    The one thing that may be a factor, is that I was riding the SM frame, and the Cannondale rep said that the leverage ratio is not exactly the same for the small, as it is for the MD, LG, and XL. The difference should be minimal, though.

  • Dan Gerous says:

    I know my Cannondales… 🙂

    Now be carefull though, once used to a Lefty, it’s hard to accept riding standard two-legged forks, they then feel either heavy, flexy, sloppy or all of those at the same time.

  • ginsu says:

    Is there some reason the shock is mounted in that direction? It doesn’t actually make any sense as you are attaching the heavy side to the suspension resulting in an unnecessary increase in unsprung weight.

  • Wish I Were Riding says:

    Can you 650B it F&R?

  • indiefab says:

    “Is there some reason the shock is mounted in that direction? It doesn’t actually make any sense as you are attaching the heavy side to the suspension resulting in an unnecessary increase in unsprung weight.”

    The water bottle clearance on this small frame is already pretty poor. It would be even worse if the shock was flipped around. You might get away with it on a large frame. I’d use one of those carbon Arundel side-loader cages instead.

  • Gregg says:

    @Dan – Oh yes, it is all too easy for the uninitiated to pass the Lefty off as a fad or gimmick. That is, until you ride it. This Lefty is light, stiff, and tracks true.

    @ Wish I Were Riding – I’ve heard that you can even 29er the fork. For the rear, eyeballing the clearance, I’d say definitely NOT 29erable and probably not 650b either.

    In regards to the water bottle cage and clearance on the small frame, yeah, it is definitely a bit tight. But as you can see from the pix, I used a small water bottle all the time and easily got use to angling it in, just right.

  • DaGoat says:

    I’m not knocking it… it sounds like a great ride. And cost wise it does compare well. But my Spez Enduro SL S-Works weighs 28lbs but has 6″ of double crown fork, 25mm through axel and a 10mm bolt on rear. In other words it’s as solid as you can get for a trail bike and light weight. Ok, it weighs 3 lbs more and ok, it’s maybe more of a “rugged” Trail Bike, but I bet the front end handles with more confidence than the “lefty”. Again, not apples to apples and maybe they are different catagories, but from a guy that has riden a few bikes, I’d say the Enduro SL is worth a look when it comes to filling that Trail Bike Catagory in your stable. Other than that, cool looking ride!!!

  • Jride says:

    So…I just rec’d my Rize the first of December. I live in Park City, UT and ride mostly single track (not Whistler rugged by any means, lots of climbing and all single track. We do a ton of long rides, and that is what I prefer for racing as well. So…to the bike. With the above in mind, I feel this is the best true long ride trail/race bike on the market. Perfect for 24 hour races, 50’s and 100’s. I ride the XL and upgraded to the Mavic SLR wheel and dropped the rize in the bar to almost flat (didn’t change the ride too much at all). I’ve ridden it probably a dozen times and had the opportunity to race it in Arizona at the Dusk to Dawn event. The bike raced that course like a true XC bike, posted one of the fasted laps overall of the day on the first lap with it (5th one in). So I’m pretty quick to say this bike is easily the raciest 5″ bike I’ve ever ridden. My last long ride/race bike was a Yeti 575 – a premium bike in its own right. If you are a 24 hour, 50/100 mile racer and do the occasional weekend XC race – this is the bike for you.

  • Eric says:

    DaGoat –
    The Moto is a much better comparison to your Enduro than the Rize, and I might say the Moto Carbon 1 weighs in even lighter than an Enduro and has more travel, more suspension tuning, and a Maxle rear. No doubt the Enduro is an awesome ride, though. I was debating between the three previously mentioned bikes for some time but made the right choice for my riding style and got a Rize. It hands down rocks.

  • gregg says:

    We also have a very indepth review of the Cannondale Moto (2) here:

    Check it out!

  • Craig m says:

    It looks like an awsome bike and one thats still built in the USA!
    Huge kudos to Cannondale for keeping it american built!
    All my mt bikes for the 20 yrs have been built in the usa and my next one will be the same, shame on trek for shipping their work to tawian.
    The Lefty fork I’ll give it a go, cannondale is an inovator not a follower.
    Nice looking bike.

  • Jeff says:

    Nice Rize. I ride a 2007 Rush 3, and enjoy it. Put a few upgrades into it, and got it below 28 lbs for a size large. Thinking about upgrading to a carbon Lefty, and SLR’s or Easton XC 1’s. Then about 25.5 lbs. Any advice on those? Maybe I should just sell it and buy a higher-end Rize, which seems like a great all-around bike.
    I like ginsu’s idea of turning the rear shock around to reduce unsprung weight, like those inverted front forks, except no bending load here, just axial. I don’t use a water bottle. It appears to make sense, but is the rodend really the lightweight end? It appears to be, but what is attached to its hidden end buried inside the larger body? I don’t know the internals. I guess I could remove the shock and test that by handling it. Is the shock adversely affected if it points downward? Thanks….

  • Keith says:

    The Rize one is my 15th Cannondale to date. You don’t need a Moto to spank the Enduro, I’ve ridden both and the Rize is a hands down winner. I have a Large Rize one and the shock is on \the right way\ from the factory. My large (Aluminum)Rize one weighs 24 lbs even with SLR’s, 4Ti eggbeaters, and a Garmin Edge 705 (.33lbs)installed. climbs as well as any xc bike on the smooth stuff, and outclimbs them when you are doing actual mountain biking. Oh, the Lefty is second to none with it’s buttery smooth travel and zero flex. Full bike setup and review on user jekylljunkie. Jeff, I also own a Team Rush Carbon, sell you aluminum one and buy a Rize even if it’s aluminum there’s no comparison when the going gets rough.

  • brodiegrrl says:

    I have also previously reviewed the rize3 and I agree with many of your points.

    I found it to be an active solid climbing bike and a very plush capable descending bike.

    I was impressed with the stiffness and preciseness of the lefty.

    I was surprised at how well the Rendez tires performed in most xc applications. When I did a more ‘freeride’ ride I put a Kenda Nevegal on the back which was most helpful for longer steeper sustained braking.

    Having also reviewed the Moto and Enduro I found the rize to be a better climber, just as good descender considering only 5in vs 6in of travel.

    My only criticism was the high standover which was only a concern on more technical trails.

  • HoosierMTB says:

    can you tell me how cannondale rise 4 would compare to a gary fisher deluxe. I have been thinking about bitting the bullet and spend more money on a better bike.

  • Leon says:

    Hi MTBR and fans, well, am finally ready to get a dual susp. XC bike. Have looked at them all. I have an old Gary Fisher habit. My cromo framed GF is an amazing climber on smooth gound, due to being a hardtail. When you try to make a cromo frame look like an aluminum one it can`t help being super stiff. Hence the performance way beyond it`s pay scale. Age and other issues prompted the change in suspension needs. Our local huge bike store talked me into a test ride on a Rize 3. It took all of 1 block until i was riding like a deranged bike park escapee. The only thing i`d change is the clip- in pedals to platforms, oh and find a little more bite on the front brake. The bike worked like a well sorted racer, without the limitations of the real thing. Wait a min, the Rize IS the real thing. Or isn`t it? Will have to live with one to decide.

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