Cannondale Habit 5 Review: The Only Trail Bike You Need?

Cannondale Habit 5 Review: A Modern All-Rounder Trail Bike

Cannondale Habit 5
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Cannondale Habit 5 combines progressive, size-specific geometry, tunable suspension, and trustworthy components to give you a fun and flowy trail riding experience.

Cannondale was never afraid of testing the agreed-upon standards of the cycling industry, but they opted for a slightly different approach with Habit 5.

This is an all-new but surprisingly mainstream aluminum full-suspension 29er that doesn’t take too many risks. As a result, it offers unlimited fun, predictable handling, and a platform that any rider can thrive on.

Up-to-date components, size-specific geometry, tunable suspension, and modern graphics are just some of the features that stand out.

Below we break it down in more detail, so keep reading to see how it stacks up.


Cannondale Habit 5 Key specs

Cannondale Habit 5

Cannondale makes Habit 5 in women’s and men’s versions. The two are very much the same in terms of specs and the price tag. What’s different is the geometry and the approach to suspension.

This bike costs around $2,300 which is accessible to most riders out there who wish to commit to trail riding in a more serious way.

Here’s a breakdown of the specs you’ll get for that amount of money.

Best Use Mountain Biking
Bike Frame Material Aluminum
Frame SmartForm C1 Alloy
RockShox 35 Silver R, 140 mm
Rear Shock
RockShox Deluxe Select, DebonAir, adjustable rebound
Crankset RaceFace Ride Cinch, 30T
Bottom Bracket Race Face BSA
Shifters Shimano Deore M5100, 12-speed
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore M5100
Cassette Shimano Deore M5100, 11-51, 12-speed
Number of Gears 12
Brakes Tektro M275 hydraulic disc, 180/180 mm rotors
Brake Levers Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc
Rims WTB STX i23 TCS, Tubeless-ready
Front Hub Shimano MT400, 15 x 110 mm thru-axle
Rear Hub Shimano MT400 12 x 148 mm thru-axle
Tires Maxxis Ardent 2.4″, EXO casing, tubeless-ready
Handlebar Riser Bar
Stem Cannondale 3, 6061 Alloy, 31.8 mm, 0 deg.
Saddle Cannondale Ergo or Ergo Women’s
Headset 1-1/8 to 1-1/2 in., sealed angular contact bearings
Weight 33 lbs. 14.4 oz.
Gender Unisex & Women’s Available

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Light and Strong Aluminum Frame

Habit 5 frame

A lightweight and sturdy SmartForm C1 frame lies at the heart of Cannondale Habit 5. As we’ve mentioned above, Habit 5 is available in women-specific and unisex versions, which pretty much only differ in geometry.

This frameset is an interesting piece of engineering since Cannondale incorporated its signature Ai Offset drivetrain. It opens up the rear triangle to give you more tire clearance while maintaining short chainstays.

Habit 5 comes stock with 29″ WTB STX i23 TCS wheels and Maxxis Ardent 2.4″ tires. The only exception is the XS size that rolls on 27.5″ wheels. However, thanks to the unique design, you can easily swap between these two wheel sizes.

Other features that characterize this frame include room for one bottle, a rubber guard protecting the Race Face BSA 83 bottom bracket, and thru-axles front and back.

Talking about angles, Habit 5 is well-balanced with a 68° head tube angle and a 72.2° seat tube angle. The 429mm chainstays are pretty short and stay the same length in all sizes.

Therefore, this is a trail bike with agile and snappy handling, excelling on climbs and descents equally well.


Versatile RockShox Suspension

Cannondale habit 5 suspension

Cannondale Habit 5 would not be such a successful trail bike if it weren’t for its suspension technology. Namely, this bike comes with the so-called Proportional Response suspension design that changes the suspension layout depending on the frame size. This way, riders of all heights get the best possible suppleness and grip.

On top of that, Habit 5 also features a Reversible Chip technology that lets you alter the geometry. You can steepen the head tube angle by half a degree and raise the bottom bracket a few millimeters. It’s not much, but it lets you switch between 29″ and 27.5+ wheels.

Going into the nitty-gritty, Habit 5 boasts a RockShox 35 Silver R fork with 140mm of travel and a 51mm offset. On the back, it has a RockShox Deluxe Select DebonAir shock with an adjustable rebound. These are great mid-range components with plenty of travel, though the offset could be shorter, which would give the bike more sensitive steering.

In general, this bike meets and exceeds our expectations for the money, which is how most beginner and intermediate trail riders will feel about it.


Solid Mid-Range Components

Habit 5 groupset

Cannondale equipped Habit 5 with up-to-date mid-range components in the drivetrain area.

It sports the latest generation Shimano Deore 12-speed rear derailleur, along with shifters from the same group. The cassette gives you an 11-51T gear range, coupled with a 30T chainring on the front.

These are solid parts that will make any intermediate rider happy. The drivetrain gives you enough gears to storm flowy trails and pedal more efficiently.

On top of that, Habit 5 also has a TranzX dropper post that moves the saddle out of your way when the time comes to descend. You also get a pair of Tektro M275 hydraulic disc brakes with 180/180 mm rotors that lend plenty of stopping power but require some breaking in before they can show their full potential.

Interested in more similar bikes? Take a look at our overview of the Habit series to find the best one for your needs.


Other Models

  • Habit Waves – MSRP $3,300 – Aluminum frame with SRAM SX Eagle components, G2 R hydraulic disc brakes, and RockShox suspension.
  • Habit 4 – MSRP $3,000 – Aluminum frame with SX Eagle components, Shimano MT200 brakes, and Maxxis 29″ x 2.5″/2.4″ tires.
  • Carbon SE – MSRP $4,750 – RockShox Lyrik Select Plus fork and Super Deluxe Select Plus RT shock, with SRAM Code R brakes, and SRAM GX Eagle components.
  • Carbon 1 – MSRP $5,500 – New SRAM GX Eagle groupset with SRAM G2 RSC brakes, and a RockShox Pike Select+ fork.
  • Habit Carbon 2 – MSRP $4,200 – Shimano XT/SLX 12-speed drivetrain combined with SLX 4-piston brakes and WTB ST i25 TCS tubeless-ready rims.
  • Habit Carbon 3 – This model comes with a SRAM GX/NX Eagle drivetrain, Stan’s NoTubes ARCH S1 rims, and SRAM Guide R hydraulic disc brakes.



Cannondale Habit is an excellent introductory aluminum trail bike. It’s ideal for amateur riders and enthusiasts who are still learning the ropes of trail riding. Habit has some downsides, but overall it delivers excellent components for the money and performs well in the real world.

Cannondale Habit 5 weighs around 33 lbs. 14.4 oz. That’s not extremely lightweight by any means, but that’s not a big surprise as this is an aluminum bike with rather heavy wheels and mid-range components. Regardless of the weight, it still offers a great bang for the buck.

Cannondale Habit is a purebred trail mountain bike. This is a versatile MTB that can navigate different types of trails, including flowy routes and rough singletracks. It can also climb and descend decently well thanks to its versatile geometry and quality suspension.

Cannondale’s mountain bikes can cost anywhere between $500 and $15,000. This is one of the biggest bicycle brands in the world, so their selection of mountain bikes is huge. Moreover, Cannondale makes both aluminum and carbon bikes, which also greatly affects the price.

Cannondale is a big brand with a long tradition and loads of experience in bike making. This brand’s name stands for quality, reliability, and high performance. Every Cannondale bike is worth the money, though you’re paying a bit for good marketing and strong branding as well.


Final Verdict

Cannondale Habit 5 is not perfect. It’s a $2,300 mid-range trail bike, so it makes sense that it has some imperfections. However, you shouldn’t focus on them too much, because they are far from dealbreakers. suggested

Habit 5 is a well-rounded full-suspension trail machine that feels pretty good when pedaling, climbing, descending, going fast and slow. Sure, the brakes could be a bit better, the dropper post could have a bit more travel, and the fork could benefit from a shorter offset.

However, the suspension itself is exquisite, the Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain is faultless, and the geometry is on point.

So if you want an affordable banger that you can abuse and have fun with on different types of trails, you should not shy away from Cannondale Habit 5.

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Cannondale Habit 5 Women's Bike - 2021










Geometry and Handling



  • Progressive geometry
  • Solid aluminum frame
  • Up-to-date Deore components
  • Adjustable suspension
  • Clearance for 29"/27.5+ wheels


  • Long offset fork
  • Short dropper post

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