Is Cannondale Trail 5 Worth Buying? [Cannondale Trail 5 Review]

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Cannondale Trail 5

  • Price: $960
  • Category: Hardtail Mountain Bike
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Gear: 1×10
  • Tires: 29×2.25″

What we like about it: Durable aluminum frame with simple handling microSHIFT drivetrain, a great value in a sub-$1,000 bike.

What we don’t like about it: For some people, the foot pedal doesn’t fit.

Rating (4.7/5.0)


Cannondale Trail 5

Are you struggling with your first mountain bike? Don’t want to spend too much money at the beginning, but still need a bike that is pretty good in every way. If you are, then we’ve found a great XC mountain bike for you.

The Cannondale Trail 5 is perfect for the entry-level riders. We didn’t need to invest thousands of dollars in our new hobby right away. The bike is officially priced at just $960 and it offers us a terrific package. This includes different size tires, the much-vaunted SmartForm aluminum frame, and the upper mid-range microSHIFT descending X drivetrain microSHIFT descending X.

Many people choose it as their first bike, and why? Next, we break down the single-track and drop performance of this Cannondale Trail 5, as well as its key features and comparisons. If you’re interested, follow us!

Cannondale Trail 5 Single-Track Review

When we were choosing the routes for the Cannondale Trail 5, we needed to choose relatively easy singletrack, given that it’s a bike for beginners. So our team chose the relatively easy singletrack at BikePark Wales, the UK’s first full-size mountain bike park in the heart of the South Wales Valleys, which has terrain for riders of all abilities.

The gravel singletrack is a must for every beginner. The Cannondale Trail 5’s 29×2.25″ tires performed very well in the woods with lush trees and crisscrossing singletrack. The multi-directional knob-and-groove tread pattern clung strongly to the ground, providing me with strong support. The large spacing between the knobs allowed me to move through the mud without worrying about being hindered by the dirt.

In addition, the 73.5° seat tube angle also allows us to ride without soreness due to an unsuitable seating position. You may think, so it is so stable performance does it mean it will be more sluggish? Well, I have to tell you, it does not. With the microSHIFT Advent X drivetrain, we will be able to shift gears easily at any time. Thinking about when I first started riding, I tried to accelerate and the whirring wind blew past my ears, smooth and fluid, and this is my most memorable memory.

I’m sure you’ll understand how I feel when you ride the Cannondale Trail 5 to experience your speedy journey as well. In short, it’s worth getting your hands on and experiencing for yourself.

Cannondale Trail 5 Descending Review

Descent performance is also an integral part of a mountain bike review. After our review, the Cannondale Trail 5 passed our test.

First of all, it has SR Suntour XCM shock forks with 100mm of travel, internal coil springs, and hydraulic cable actuation to quickly absorb shock bumps as we descend. And we remained firmly seated on the bike without any worries. The micro-suspension also made our descent smoother with its clever design.

The AdventX shifter was also very accommodating to our speed. The Cannondale Trail 5 68° head tube angle gives beginners confidence on downhill descents. Especially after you get used to it quickly, it provides super stable handling.

Turning is something that requires repeated practice for beginners. But you don’t have to worry, the Cannondale Trail 5’s WTB Ranger Comp tires have a consistent grip at every turn. This will make it easier for us all to handle similar problems.

Main Features


Cannondale Trail 5

We all know that Cannondale has always had its frame construction technology and it will provide the most suitable frame material for each bike.

On this Cannondale Trail 5, a SmartForm C3 alloy frame is used, providing extremely precise wall thickness distribution and tube shapes. This allows the material to be concentrated where it is needed to maximize stiffness and strength. At the same time, there is no excess weight in every part of the structure. This is superior to other similar products.

And, the SAVE micro-suspension provides a smoother, more reliable ride thanks to the flex area built into the rear triangle of the frame.

In addition, this bike uses StraightShot internal cable routing. The shifter and lift bar cables run cleanly through the StraightShot window in the downtube, and the rear brake is secured to the outside of the frame. The internal cable routing gives the Cannondale Trail 5 a clean overall look that is also easy for us to maintain.

By the way, you don’t have to worry about running out of water during the ride, because there are two water bottle mounting holes installed in its frame for us.


Novices are not able to balance well at the beginning, which often leads to losing balance and falling downhill. However, the Cannondale Trail 5’s relatively slack 68° head tube angle creates exceptionally stable handling so that novices can get up to speed quickly. This also significantly reduces the likelihood of falling.

Not only that, the 114.8cm wheelbase can help newbies to balance the stability and flexibility of the bike well. This is very friendly for novice riders who are not quite technical in riding yet. And the 73.5° seat tube angle also allows the rider to maintain comfort while riding. In my opinion, the geometry of the Cannondale Trail 5 is exactly what a novice trail rider would expect!

Components and Specifications

MicroSHIFT ADVENT X’s Drivetrain

Cannondale Trail 5 MicroSHIFT ADVENT X's Drivetrain

As an entry-level bike, but with the microSHIFT ADVENT X drivetrain, this seems like a surprise package for newbies. The rear chainstay and shifter allow for smooth shifting through 10 gears. This means you as a novice can have high performance and a wide range of speed regulation to overcome tricky obstacles on the road for newbies.

And, it adds microSHIFT’s proprietary Ratchet-and-pawl clutch with a larger pulley to protect our chain.

I think the combination of the Prowheel crank and microSHIFT drivetrain is fantastic and is one of the highlights of the Cannondale Trail 5. It gives everyone the best drivetrain in this price range.

Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc Brake

Cannondale Trail 5 Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc Brake

I believe that the stability of the bike comes first when a novice rider starts riding. When facing terrain you are not confident in, you need to stop safely and promptly.

This hydraulic Shimano MT200 is for entry-level riders to adjust the braking power. It’s rear-mounted for easy disassembly and maintenance, and it uses Shimano hydraulic mineral oil to provide reliable brake stability.

In addition, the 40% wide pad clearance reduces the clicking sound of the percussion pads, so that we don’t hear the harsh sound when braking suddenly. What’s more, the two-piston brake can ensure the bike remains smooth on muddy roads. Some may say that its two-piston design is not as good as the four-piston design. But for newbies who need to protect their safety in the beginning stage, this is perfectly enough.

WTB Ranger Comp Tires

Cannondale Trail 5 WTB Ranger Comp Tires

In the previous article, I repeatedly mentioned stability, so please don’t think I’m rambling. Because for every newbie who is just starting, you first have to get used to riding before you can go on to learn more difficult skills.

Tires are also an important component of bike stability. the WTB Ranger Comp’s tires feature the TCS (Tubeless Compatibility System), which virtually eliminates blowouts and reduces tire pressure. The multi-directional knob-and-slot tread pattern gives effective traction at all times. The huge spacing between knobs provides enough room for mud to be flung out of the tire without having to worry about the tire being covered in sticky mud. A large number of short knobs makes it a great traction option for hardtail bikes.

Other versions of Cannondale Trail

Cannondale Trail 5 with its superb stability and handling has become the first choice of many novices. And its price is not a burden for newbies either. However, to give you a clear idea, we have also reviewed and compared the bikes in the same series. Here, we have chosen the Cannondale Trail Women’s 5 and the Cannondale Trail SL 4.

Cannondale Trail Women’s 5

Cannondale Trail Women's 5

With a more detailed consideration of the crowd, Cannondale launched the Cannondale Trail Women’s 5. It’s a trail bike built for women, it’s sized more to fit a girl’s body shape so that she can have a more comfortable riding experience. I think the most attractive thing about this bike is its smart stem, you can fix your phone on it and create a dashboard to show the mileage and speed, etc through Cannondale APP. Also, it comes in Lavender color, a beautiful paint color. The other components are hardly different from Cannondale Trail 5, which is a good choice for girlfriends.

Cannondale Trail SL 4

If you can no longer be satisfied with an entry-level bike and want to upgrade your equipment, then the Cannondale Trail SL 4 is the bike for those who need to move up the ladder.

First of all, in the frame part, it has chosen the lighter and stronger SmartForm C 2 alloy, so you can ride it and start exploring higher speeds or tougher terrain.

Secondly, in the fork shock part, it chooses SR Suntour XCR-RL fork shocks. Based on the shock fork of Cannondale Trail 5, remote control and air spring are added, which can help us to reduce the impact more sensitively and also easy to handle and improve the stability.

Finally, its drivetrain is chosen from the Shimano Deore M5100, which offers a wider range of speed options with 2×11 speeds.

Even if you’re currently a novice, this Cannondale Trail SL 4 is still a good choice as you progress.

We have also reviewed other versions of Cannondale Trail 5, so stay tuned if you want to learn more.

Learn more: Is the Cannondale Trail 4 Worth Buying? [Cannondale Trail 4 Review]

Learn more: Ignite Your Passion For Mountain Trails – Cannondale Trail 7 Review

What we like about it

  • Lightweight and durable SmartForm C3 alloy frame
  • SR Suntour XCM Shock Front Fork
  • The microSHIFT Advent X 10-speed variable speed
  • SAVE Micro-Suspension
  • StraightShot internal cable routing
  • Super Value for Money

What we don’t like about it

  • Less speed range
  • Relative to some people do not fit the pedal


  • What is the frame material of the Cannondale Trail 5?

The Cannondale Trail 5’s frame material is SmartForm C3 Alloy.

  • What is the drivetrain of the Cannondale Trail 5?

The drivetrain of the Cannondale Trail 5 is the microSHIFT Advent X.

  • What sizes does the Cannondale Trail 5 come in?
Size XS XL
Rider height 4’6″ – 5’3″ 5’0″ – 5’5″ 5’3″ – 5’8″ 5’7″ – 6’1″ 5’11”- 6’3″

Cannondale Trail 5 Specs


Frame SmartForm C3 Alloy, SAVE, 1-1/8″ headtube, post mount disc, StraightShot internal cable routing, dropper post compatible, BSA-73 BB Standard: BSA, 73mm, Threaded Colors: Graphite; Rally Red
Fork SR Suntour XCM, 100mm, coil, 42mm offset (27.5″) 46mm offset (29″)
Bottom Bracket Sealed bearing cartridge, square taper
Headset Semi-Integrated, 1-1/8″
Stem 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 7°
Handlebar Cannondale Riser, 6061 Alloy, 25mm rise, 8° sweep, 6° rise, 720mm
Saddle Cannondale Stage 3
Seatpost Cannondale 3, 6061 Alloy, 31.6 x 350mm (XS – SM), 400mm (MD-XL)
Pedals Cannondale Platform
Grips Cannondale Dual-Density


Rear Derailleur microSHIFT Advent X
Crank Prowheel, Charm 30T
Shifters microSHIFT Advent X, 10-Speed
Cassette microSHIFT, 11-48T, 10-speed
Chain KMC X10, 10-speed
Brakes Tektro M275 hydraulic disc, 160/160mm rotors
Brake Levers Tektro hydraulic disc


Rims WTB SX19, 32h
Spokes Stainless Steel, 14g
Front Hub Shimano HBTX 505
Rear Hub Shimano FHTX505
Tires WTB Ranger Comp, 29×2.25″ (27.5×2.25″ – XS, SM), DNA Compound


Comparison Table

Bicycles Price Drivetrain Brakes Tires Click view
Giant Talon 1 980 USD 1×10 speed Tektro HDC M275 Hydraulic Disc  29×2.4″Click view
Scott Aspect 940 1029 USD 2×9 speed Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc 29×2.4″  Click view
Kona Lava Dome 875 USD 1×9 speed Tektro HDM275 Hydraulic Disc 29×2.25″Click view
GT Avalanche Comp 1075 USD 1 × 10 speed Tektro HD-M275 Hydraulic Disc 27.5/29 x 2.25″Click view

Cannondale Trail 5 vs Giant Talon 1

2022 Giant Talon 1

This Giant Talon 1 is slightly more expensive than the Giant Talon 1 by $20, but they choose different brand configurations for the components.

The rear derailleur on the Giant Talon 1 is a Shimano Deore M5120, which provides consistent MTB shifting over rough terrain, and the brakes on the Giant Talon 1 are Tektro HDC M275 hydraulic disc brakes, which also feature a dual-piston design. Both bikes have components that are suitable for novice riders, but I prefer the Giant Talon 1 package. The balance of stability and flexibility makes it a better choice for novices.

Cannondale Trail 5 vs Scott Aspect 940

2022 Scott Aspect 940

The Scott Aspect 940 is also a $1000 entry-level mountain bike. At $1029, it’s a bit more expensive than the Cannondale Trail 5. But after our comparison review, the slightly higher price tag doesn’t make for a better experience than the Cannondale Trail 5. I think the main reason for this is the higher specs of the Groupset used in the Cannondale Trail 5.

The Scott Aspect 940 has a Shimano Alivio RD-M3100 rear derailleur. While it is also very stable, it is not as easy to shift as the Cannondale Trail 5. It may not be as suitable as the Cannondale Trail 5 in terms of dealing with novice bike learners.

Learn more : Is The Scott Scale 940 A Great Value Hardtail Bike? [Scott Scale 940 Review]

Cannondale Trail 5 vs Kona Lava Dome

2022 Kona Lava Dome

Both the Kona Lava Dome and the Cannondale Trail 5 have opted for the microSHIFT drivetrain. On the frame, the Kona Lava Dome is made of Kona 6061 aluminum buttress, which is very strong. The drivetrain is the same brand, but the Kona Lava Dome is a 1×9 speed and the Cannondale Trail 5 is a 1×10 speed. The Cannondale Trail 5 can provide us with a richer speed experience on our rides.

Of course, if you’re not concerned about the bike’s performance in terms of speed, then you can also consider the slightly cheaper Kona Lava Dome.

Learn more : Is Kona Lava Dome Worth Buying? – [Kona Lava Dome Review]

Cannondale Trail 5 vs GT Avalanche Comp

2022 GT Avalanche Comp

In this review, we found the GT Avalanche Comp, which has a performance that is hard to match with the Cannondale Trail 5. Moreover, the GT Avalanche Comp has a floating seat support to provide extra comfort for the rider. Such a novel frame design with a thoughtful seat is very striking.

However, this also makes it a bit more expensive than the Cannondale Trail 5. If you only need to go for some basic situations at the beginning, then I don’t think you need to spend more money on the bike. However, everyone’s situation is different and there will be people willing to pay for a novel design. If that’s the case, then you’re welcome to find out more about the GT Avalanche Comp.

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learn more:GT Avalanche Sport Review – Does It Tickle Your Fancy?

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