We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More...

Cannondale Trail 6 2020 Review

Jeff Balton

Cannondale Trail 6

Cannondale has released another entry-level mountain bike at a very tempting price. Cannondale Trail 6 comes from the Trail group of Cannondale’s mountain bicycles which vary in price quite a lot. The Trail 6, however, is one of the affordable models and is great if you are on a limited budget but still want to get a decent bike.

The Cannondale Trail 6 is a bike with a great money to value ratio!

This bike comes in two wheel-sizes, both 27.5” and 29ers, depending on the size of the frame you get. S comes with 27.5″ wheels, M, L, and XL come with 29ers. If your idea of a bicycle is a machine that can take you down some paved trails or take you on a fun smooth single-track, the Trail 6 will not disappoint you.

Cannondale Trail 6 (2020) Quick Specs

Cannondale Trail 6Quick Specs
Frame:Smart Form C3 Alloy
Fork:SR Suntour XCT 100mm (w/ lockout)
Gears:24 (3x8)
Wheel Sizes:27.5 / 29
Derailleurs:Shimano Acera & Altus
Weight:32 lbs
Brake type:Disc
Buy from:REI


Cannondale Trail 6 Main Features

Let’s go over some of the main features of Cannondale Trail 6 and see why this bike is a great choice if you do not want to splurge and buy too much bike, but still get decent components for your investment.


The Cannondale Trail 6 comes with a frame that is well balanced and produced of the improved C3 Alloy, that was reinforced and optimized for the trail. Cannondale boasts that their frame technology absorbs a lot of the vibrations from the road, making the ride as smooth as butter.

The frame is light and strong, double-welded, with a weight that is evenly distributed. Moreover, it’s good to know that this is the same frame that is fitted on some of the more expensive Trail models, so you get a lot for your money.

All seven Cannondale Trail bikes, both low-end and high-end models, use the same well-designed aluminum alloy frame.


Fork and Steering

The fork that Cannondale Trail 6 comes with is a Suntour XCT, 100mm, with coil springs. It has a preload option, as well as a hydraulic lockout feature that is remotely handled. A switch is fitted on the handlebar so you can engage or disengage the suspension at any time.

The suspension on Cannondale Trail 6 is responsive and it will work excellently for moderate trail rides and even take some reasonable beating.

The fork on the S-sized frame has a 42 mm offset, while the ones on the bigger models come with a 46 mm offset.

The ergonomics of Trail 6 are not too aggressive. Being that this is an entry-mid level bike, this is a good thing. The rider feels well-centered in the middle of the bike, so an amateur MTB rider will feel balanced and confident.

Related: Other mountain bike reviews

Drivetrain & Derailleurs

This bike is fitted with a Shimano 3×8 drivetrain which offers a great selection of gearing for trail rides. The chain that powers the drivetrain is a KMC X8, 8-speed, which is pretty standard at this price range. If you take care of it, clean it and lube it regularly, it will serve you well for a long time, like any other chain.

See on REI.com >
Cannondale Trail 6 derailleurs

Derailleurs will work, but they’re not the fanciest

The shifting system on the Trail 6 is pretty standard for this amount of money. It comes with a combination of Shimano Acera (rear) and Shimano Altus (front) derailleurs and Shimano Altus shifters.

While these are not state of the art parts, they are still a good choice for a bike intended for beginners. If you maintain them well and abuse them sparingly, you’ll get years of fun out of them.

Tires & Brakes

The tires that the Trail 6 runs on are WTB Ranger. Depending on the size of the frame that you choose and your preference, you can choose between the 27.5” and 29” diameter. Note that on the S-sized model, both tires are 2.25″ wide. On larger models, the front tire is 2.25″, whereas the rear one is 2.0″.

The tires have a micro-square thread so they give you lots of traction. The knobs are not too emphasized, so excessive traction will not slow you down too much on paved roads. However, due to low-profile knobs, it is questionable how they will perform in wet conditions.

The stopping power on Cannondale Trail 6 is well distributed and you will feel like you have a lot of control in your hands when you press the levers.

If you buy an MTB that can tackle some more serious terrain, like Trail 6 is, you expect it to have lots of stopping power as well. That’s exactly what you get with this Cannondale since it comes with Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes. 160mm rotors are fitted both on the front and on the rear wheel.

Related: Hybrid: Cannondale Quick Series Overview

Saddle and Pedals

Not much can be said about both the saddle and the pedals. They are pretty much standard models across most Cannondale bikes in this price range. People who rode the bike and reviewed it didn’t complain about the saddle but this is an individual thing. The pedals are Cannondale Platform, flat pedals as it is clear from their name. They are great for beginners. However, if you prefer clipless pedals, you can easily fit the bike with a pair.

Cannondale Trail 1
Cannondale Trail 5
Cannondale Trail 7


Do We Recommend it?

cannondale Trail 6 considerationsYes!

The Trail category of Cannondale’s mountain bicycles has a wide range of models that suit different types of rides.

The strongest points on Trail 6 are definitely its frame and its brakes, which have shown to be quite durable and to perform well under stress. The fact that the fork has a remote lockout option is a big plus on the trail as well.

If you are a beginner on the trail, but you plan to stick with it, Cannondale Trail 6 will serve you quite well.

After some time, if your riding becomes more serious, you might want to invest in better derailleurs and some knobbier tires, if you ride in muddy conditions a lot of the time. However, these are pretty standard upgrades on most trail bikes.

Therefore, as you can see, Cannondale has built another decent bike and offers it at an attractive price. If you are just entering the trail life, definitely give this model a try. If you are a more experienced rider, though, check out some of the more advanced Cannondale Trail models instead.

Related: Cannondale Trail 5


Get From REI.com >

Cannondale Trail 6 (2020)













  • Exceptional frame
  • Reliable hydraulic disc brakes
  • Remote lockout feature


  • Lower end derailleurs

This Article Has 18 Comments

  • Sergio says:

    How does this bike compare to the Trek Marlin 6? Which would you recommend?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Marlin 6 and Trail 6 are very similar bikes. You won’t go wrong whichever you choose. Personally, I’d go for Cannondale because of slightly better brakes and components. On the other hand, Trek has a 2x drivetrain. You have to decide what your priorities are. 🙂

  • Oscar says:

    How would you guys compare the 2020 model vs a 2014 and what would be your top price for a new 2014 model ?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Oscar, Cannnondale Trail 6 from 2014 is discontinued and cannot be found new anymore, only used. The technology has come a long way since then, so the 2020 model is quite ahead in terms of performance, precision, and durability. 🙂

  • Joe says:

    Jeff, can you compare these two and tell me if one is a better purchase/value?
    2020 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 1x VS 2020 Cannondale Trail 6

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Joe, I think Cannondale Trail 6 is a better choice. You get a similar fork with both, similar hydraulic brakes, yet Trail 6 has a lot more gears and costs much less. It’s your call, depending on what your priorities are 🙂

  • A says:

    I have a 2018 Trail 1 – fantastic bike, but want to go tubeless.

    What size tires can (should) I fit front and rear? Riding in the rocky granite around the valley around Phoenix in Arizona

    • Jeff Balton says:

      I believe you could fit it with a 2.3″ tire. But you can send Cannondale an email and ask for their opinion as well.

  • christ leung says:

    hey i have a trail 6. what can u do to upgrade it?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      In my opinion, swapping the derailleurs and the fork would make the biggest difference to your ride.

  • Cr1 says:

    which bike is better Cannondale Trail 5 or Trail 6? New to this MTB world 🙂

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Both are great bikes, but Trail 5 has slightly better specs. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you won’t be wrong even if you buy the Trail 6. 🙂

  • Cosmin says:

    Hello, trail 2 would be a better option? I am kind of new in this world and I am not sure about the components of the bike. Thank you!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Cosmin,

      Yes, in terms of components, Trail 2 is the better choice. However, depending on what you’re looking for, Trail 6 offers great bang for the buck as well.

  • Narasimhan S says:

    Pros and cons of Cannondale trail 4 2017 & 2018 models

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Trail 4 is an affordable bike with a fantastic frame, fast tires, and decent Shimano components. The only downside is a slightly longer stem, but that can be easily swapped.


    cannondale trail 6 is big dream in my dreams not today but one day i will achieve ….

    • Jeff Balton says:

      It’s a fantastic bike for that price. Stay tuned for discounts which happen frequently. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Name *

Email *