First Look Reveiw : Pete’s Cannondale Habit LT 2.

Pete takes the all-new Cannondale Habit in its LT 2 configuration out for its maiden voyage to see what it can do.

One down from the top of the range, the Cannondale Habit LT 2 offers an awful lot of bike for your buck. Pete gives his opening thoughts on the big yellow machine.

Photos by Pete Scullion.

Key features:

  • Rockshox Lyrik Base 150mm fork
  • Rockshox Super Deluxe Select shock
  • Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drive
  • Shimano SLX 4-piston brakes
  • WTB ST i30 TCS rims on Shimano MT400 hubs
  • Cannondale DownLow dropper
  • £3,500.00 RRP
  • Cannondale.com

The new Cannondale Habit LT2 is based around their SmartForm C1 alloy frame, combining their Proportional Response suspension and geometry. This is essentially size-specific geometry, including an increase in chainstay length for the LG and XL sizes, as well as size-specific kinematics, designed to keep the rider centred.

Compared to the Habit, the Habit LT has a slacker head angle, aimed at providing better control on rowdier trails, and the build kit reflects this as well. Damping is handled by a Rockshox Lyrik Base, with the rear shock a Super Deluxe Select unit. Drive train is handled by Shimano’s twelve speed SLX and XT components, with 4-pot SLX anchors keeping things under control. Wheels are WTB rims on Shimano Centrelock hubs, and they roll on a front Minion DHF EXO and a rear Dissector EXO+. Finishing kit is Cannondale’s own, including their DownLow dropper, completed with Fabric saddle and grips.

Geometry

The Cannondale Habit LT2 is available in XS, SM, MD, LG and XL.

Reach on the Medium (tested here) is 450mm with a seat tube 400mm long. Head angle is 64.7 degrees combined with an effective seat tube angle of 77.1 degrees. Chainstays are 435mm and the Medium wheelbase is 1204mm.

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Opening moves

As ever, setup started with getting the dampers set, and with both the Rockshox units being at the low end of the scale, this was straightforward enough. Use the handy sag guide on the shock to show 30%, ask the same of the Lyriks. I’m not sure why Rockshox have dropped the sag markings off their forks, it was a pretty handy feature.

After winding in the Shimano levers to suit, and dragging them down the hills to heat-cycle the pads, we were ready for the first hot laps to see what the big yellow machine could do. I headed to the setup trail that has a bit of everything as ever.

Almost immediately, the bike feet right. Sizing feels spot on for me in a size Medium and I didn’t have to change much beyond the lever position and angle. Always a good sign. The rear wheel grip is excellent and the back end takes the chatter and big hits well even when fitted with the entry-level damper.

Whilst it’s happy to rally through the chunder with a fair bit of composure, there’s also some amount of pop and play to the yellow big-wheeler. The front end comes up without having to consider much rear weight shift, without feeling twitchy at speed. This balance isn’t always an easy one to find when it comes to bike design.

When pushing on, the stamped Shimano rotors do feel like they’re not getting the heat out of the system, and the Dissector does like to only go in a straight line when locked, both easy changes though, so it’s not the end of the World. The forks on this particular bike are doing more than anything to hamstring the forward momentum. The Lyrik Base forks feel unrefined even compared to their Select brethren which is a shame when the rear shock is performing so well. Upgrading the damper isn’t expensive though, so again, not the end of the world.

Once I am confident of the Habit LT’s limits, this bike is going to be a flyer. Rarely have I had such speed in the opening rides, so it’s a very good indicator of the Habit’s potential. It’s also great to see bikes that aren’t going to require you to remortgage your house offering some serious performance.

You can check out the Cannondale Habit LT 2 over on their website here.


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