Cannondale Trail 8 Review — Is it Worth Buying?

Cannondale Trail 8 Mountain Bike Review

The Cannondale Trail 8 stands out as Cannondale’s most affordable mountain bike option, catering to those seeking a thrilling ride amidst nature’s challenging trails.

Designed with contemporary advancements, this bike aims to introduce beginner cyclists to the exhilarating world of two-wheeled adventures.

Despite its modest price tag of $645, the Trail 8 ensures a remarkable riding experience, proving that it delivers exceptional value for every hard-earned dollar invested.

Let’s dig into more details about the Cannondale Trail 8 Mountain Bike…

Technical Specs: Cannondale Trail 8

Bike Name Cannondale Trail 8
Mountain Bike Type Trail
Frame SmartForm C3 alloy aluminum
Bike Suspension Front Suspension/Hardtail
Fork SR Suntour M3030
Fork Travel 75mm
Number of Gears 2×7
Brake Type Tektro Mechanical disc brakes
Tires 27.5 x 2.25 in.

29×2.25 in.

Price $645 (See at
Ratings 4.6/5

Cannondale Trail 8: Detailed Review

The Cannondale Trail 8 stands out as an exceptional mountain bike that seamlessly transitions into an ideal option for everyday commuting. Its remarkable features cater to the needs of novice riders, offering an affordable price point, reliable components, sturdy construction, and an aesthetically pleasing design.

While the Trail 8 boasts wide tires suitable for off-road adventures, it’s important to note that it is not designed for extreme trail rides and excessive abuse due to its entry-level components, which may not withstand prolonged exposure to such conditions.

One aspect consistently praised by Cannondale Trail 8 owners is its exceptional handling capabilities. Despite not being particularly lightweight or compact, its intelligently crafted geometry ensures nimble and efficient performance, whether on smooth pavement or challenging trails.

Also Read: 10 Best Budget Mountain Bikes Under $500

Furthermore, the availability of variable wheel sizes (27.5″ or 29″) allows riders to achieve the optimal fit for their preferences. Smaller individuals appreciate the ease of control provided by the smaller and lighter 27.5″ wheels, while taller riders can revel in the functional advantages offered by the larger, trailblazing 29-inch wheels.


The Cannondale Trail 8 stands out among its Trail counterparts with its exceptional construction centered around an ultralight yet robust SmartForm C3 aluminum frame. This frame has consistently demonstrated its durability and performance, gaining unwavering trust from riders.

One notable feature of this Mountain bike is its cleverly integrated internal derailleur cable routing, ensuring a clean and streamlined appearance. Additionally, the inclusion of two convenient water bottle mounts and rear rack mounts adds a touch of practicality to this remarkable model. The sophisticated gray paint job enhances its overall aesthetic appeal, effortlessly resembling a high-end hardtail, while the vibrant yellow color injects an exhilarating energy into its visual allure.

At the forefront, the Trail 8 boasts an impressive SR Suntour suspension fork, granting an ample 75 mm of travel for a smooth and controlled ride. Admittedly, this particular fork leans towards the heavier side due to its coil spring design. Nevertheless, when venturing off the beaten path and encountering challenging terrains, its presence becomes a source of gratitude, efficiently absorbing shocks and keeping the tires grounded in less-than-ideal conditions.

Additionally, the Trail 8 accommodates your hydration needs with two ingeniously designed water bottle mounting holes, ensuring you can quench your thirst on those long and adventurous journeys.


When it comes to the design of the Cannondale Trail 8, particular attention has been paid to its geometry, which caters to the essence of mountain biking and aligns seamlessly with the needs of novice riders.

To begin with, the 68° head tube angle imbues the bike with a sense of maturity, ensuring a more controlled descent, and offering a reassuring sensation when cruising at high speeds. Also, the 73.5° seat tube angle strikes a perfect balance, facilitating smoother pedaling during actual rides and enabling riders to maintain a comfortable upright position even during extended journeys.

Notably, the inclusion of 27.5″ tires on the smallest frame size enhances maneuverability for riders of smaller stature, granting them agile handling. Conversely, the larger frame comes equipped with 29″ tires, providing taller riders with enhanced speed capabilities.

Additionally, the standardized five-way height of 29.3cm (XS/SM) guarantees an optimal riding position, irrespective of the terrain—be it flat ground or elevated hills—while ensuring that pedaling efficiency remains unhindered.

In summary, the Cannondale Trail 8’s well-crafted geometry empowers beginners to conquer mountain trails with ease while also embracing the sheer joy of commuting on two wheels.


Cannondale Trail 8

The affordability of Trail 8, priced below $645, can be attributed to its utilization of entry-level components.

However, it is important to note that being entry-level does not equate to being subpar. These components are specifically designed to cater to novice cyclists and intermediate commuters who adopt a gentle approach to cycling.

Featuring a Shimano Altus derailleur at the front and a Shimano Tourney derailleur at the rear, the bike offers a total of 14 speeds. While some may perceive the 2×7 shifting system as intricate, the truth is that shifting gears becomes a breeze with a simple push of the controller. This user-friendly mechanism enhances the joy of riding on trails and gravel roads.

The Trail 8 proves to be an excellent choice for weekend adventures, casual commutes, and relaxed workouts. But, if your intentions involve pushing the bike beyond these purposes, you may find it lacking in terms of precision and durability.

Also Read: Cannondale Trail 5 Review — Best Beginner Mountain Bike?

Mechanical Disc Brakes

Cannondale Trail 8 brakes

The Cannondale Trail 8 stands out with its reliable Tektro mechanical disc brakes that may not boast extravagant features, but their exceptional performance and impressive stopping power surpasses that of traditional V-brakes.

With disc brakes, riders can enjoy optimal braking capability across diverse conditions, making them particularly crucial for those venturing into wet weather, snowy terrains, and muddy trails. By choosing this MTB, cyclists can confidently tackle any riding situation with the assurance of superior braking performance throughout their journey.

Wheels and Tires

Cannondale Trail 8 Mountain Bike

The robust wheels and rugged tires play a pivotal role in defining the Trail 8 bike’s exceptional qualities. These components provide unparalleled versatility, enabling the bike to conquer challenging off-road trails with ease.

Equipped with WTB Ranger Comp tires measuring 2.25″ in width, the bike showcases a perfect balance between functionality and adaptability. While the wheels may be slightly weighty, their unwavering durability ensures smooth navigation across various obstacles. With their pronounced tread patterns, the knobby tires offer an abundance of traction, guaranteeing a confident ride.

Moreover, the bike’s tubeless compatible design grants you the freedom to switch to a suitable vacuum tire at your convenience. Embracing this upgrade not only enhances puncture resistance but also reduces weight, thus optimizing your climbing and descending experiences. By embracing this innovative feature, you can confidently explore new terrains and unlock the bike’s true potential.

Front Suspension Fork

Cannondale Trail 8 Mountain Bike Review

The Cannondale Trail 8 stands out with its remarkable front suspension fork, offering a range of features at an affordable price point.

To begin with, the alloy SR Suntour M3030 fork boasts exceptional durability, enabling riders to embark on lengthier journeys without hesitation. Despite concerns about its slightly heavier weight potentially impacting riding efficiency, our firsthand experience during testing revealed no noticeable drawbacks in this regard.

At first glance, the 75mm travel distance may raise concerns regarding its damping capabilities. However, for aspiring mountain biking enthusiasts, this range proves sufficient to ensure a comfortable riding experience while gradually acquainting themselves with various bumps and irregularities on the trail. Consequently, riders gain the confidence to tackle more demanding terrains in future upgrades, making the Cannondale Trail 8 an ideal choice for those seeking progressive skill development.

Cannondale Trail 8: Frame Size Recommendation

The Cannondale Trail 8 stands out with its wide range of frame sizes, catering to riders of various heights and ensuring the perfect fit for every individual. With an impressive selection of 5 distinct frame sizes to choose from, this versatile bike guarantees a comfortable and tailored riding experience, irrespective of your stature.

  • XS: 4’6″ – 5’2″ (27.5 inches)
  • S: 5’1″ – 5’4″ (27.5 inches)
  • M: 5’4″ – 5’8″ (29 inches)
  • L: 5’7″ – 6’0″ (29 inches)
  • XL: 6’0″ – 6’3″ (29 inches)

When faced with the dilemma of choosing between two sizes, it is advisable to opt for the smaller one—a departure from the conventional selection process for other bicycle brands.

The rationale behind this recommendation stems from the fact that larger bikes excel in accommodating extended rides, particularly those covering considerable distances. On the other hand, smaller mountain bikes shine when it comes to navigating off-road trails, offering superior maneuverability and handling capabilities.

Pros & Cons


  • Durable and Lightweight Frame: The SmartForm C3 aluminum frame not only ensures long-lasting performance but also provides a lightweight design, making it easy to lift and maneuver.
  • Enhanced Riding Comfort: Equipped with the SR Suntour M3030 shock fork featuring 75mm travel, this bike guarantees a smooth and comfortable riding experience, absorbing the impact of uneven terrains effortlessly.
  • Versatile Drivetrain: The microSHIFT M26L 2×7 drivetrain boasts dual sprocket cranks and a wide range of gear options, allowing you to effortlessly adapt to various types of terrain. Its abundance of interesting shifts ensures a seamless and enjoyable riding experience.
  • Reliable Braking System: With Tektro cable-actuated mechanical disc brakes, this mountain bike offers fast and responsive braking performance, ensuring your safety on the trails.
  • Affordable Price Point: This hardtail mountain bike not only delivers impressive features but also comes at an affordable price, providing excellent value for your money.


  • Limited Color Options: The product’s restriction to just two colors might not cater to the varied preferences and diverse needs of individuals.
  • Insufficient Fork Travel for Some: Certain users have expressed concerns about the fork travel being too short. However, this aspect is only relevant when tackling rugged terrains, as the fork travel proves adequate for general terrains.

Other versions of the Cannondale Trail 8 MTB

Cannondale Trail 8 Women’s Model

Cannondale Trail Women's 8

The Cannondale Trail 8 offers a women’s variant with notable distinctions from the unisex model, ensuring a tailored riding experience.

Foremost, the women’s version features a thoughtfully designed frame characterized by a slanted top-tube. This innovative frame geometry grants improved stand-over clearance, facilitating smoother mounting and dismounting for riders of shorter stature. It is worth mentioning that the frame sizes remain consistent across both versions, accommodating individual preferences.

Another noticeable contrast lies in the paintwork, with the women’s variant showcasing an enchanting gray/turquoise gradient. This visually appealing aesthetic exudes a distinct femininity, enhancing the overall appeal of the bicycle.

Interestingly, all components apart from the saddle remain identical between the two versions. The women’s model, however, showcases a specially crafted Cannondale Stage 2 Women’s saddle, tailored to provide optimal comfort and support for female riders.

In our assessment, selecting the women’s model primarily rests on personal preferences regarding paintwork and the need for enhanced stand-over clearance. Should the paintwork captivate your admiration or if you require greater ease in mounting and dismounting, the women’s variant proves a suitable choice.

However, in the absence of these factors, feel free to opt for the unisex model if it resonates better with your preferences or if it is the only available option, regardless of your gender or identity.

Verdict: Is Cannondale Trail 8 Worth the Money?

The answer is YES.

Trail 8 stands out as an excellent choice tailored for newcomers, leisurely riders, and those venturing into the world of trail biking for the first time.

If you find yourself belonging to any of these three categories, we are confident that this bike will meet your needs effortlessly. Moreover, this remarkable bicycle comes at an affordable price point below $700, making it even more enticing.

With its beginner-friendly features, Trail 8 surpasses expectations and offers a reliable solution for individuals seeking an uncomplicated means of transportation or an opportunity to relish the great outdoors. Its entry-level components not only meet but exceed the requirements of the average cyclist, ensuring a smooth journey from one destination to another.

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