The Mountain Bike Action wrecking crew gets asked all the time to suggest bikes at different price points. Our standard answer for riders looking in the $2000-and-
below range is to stick to a 27.5- or 29-inch-wheeled aluminum hardtail. The bike will have great components and will
probably hit the scale a bit below 30 pounds. Then something like the Cannondale Rush 29 2 comes along and totally
messes with our logic.
WHO IT IS MADE FOR?
The Cannondale Rush 29 2 is a short-travel, 29er, dual-suspension trailbike that offers the added comfort and
control of dual suspension without the savings-account-depleting price tag.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The frame is aluminum and looks way too good for the
bike’s price point. It is constructed using a double-pass-weld
technique that eliminates the need for touch-up putty and
paint-filled “smoothing” of a bike’s welds. Cannondale claims
their double-pass welding reduces stress risers (the weak link
of any frame design) so that Cannondale can produce lighter
frames that are still very durable.
The rear suspension swing link and all the hardware look
way too expensive to be on a bike of this price. The graphics
and the replaceable rear derailleur hanger reveal attention to
detail that any product manager would be proud of.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
You don’t expect too many extras in this price range,
but Cannondale gives you a remote-operated fork lockout,
The components that don’t stand out until you
ride the bike are the WTB/Cannondale Nine Line
tires. More about them in the ride report.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
The setup: The fork uses
a coil spring instead of air,
so except for a preload
dial, there is not a lot
of tuning to do. If you
are lighter or heavier
for your height, you
will need to look into
swapping to a lighter or
heavier spring. Set the
shock to 20 percent sag,
dial in your rebound
preference and you are
ready to go.
The fit: The Rush 29 2
does a nice job of centering
its rider. The front end is tall,
but swapping the spacer position from below to on top of
the stem and inverting the stem should get the bar height to
where a more aggressive rider would want it.
Shifting: We are spoiled by 1x11 and 2x10 drivetrains,
but there is something about the Rush 29 2’s 3x9 drivetrain
that brings back the good old days. New drivetrains work
great if you stay on top of cable adjustment and develop a
refined shifting technique. The 3x9 lets you get a little slop-
py without punishing you with missed shifts or a dropped
chain, and the rear derailleur has a version of Shimano’s
Shadow system to keep the chain from slapping around.
Moving out: The Rush 29 2’s drivetrain gives you plenty
of gearing options, so take your pick and hammer. You
are in for a surprise. Those Cannondale/WTB tires make
this bike come alive while pedaling along a trail or up a
climb. If you like pushing a bigger gear, increase the shock’s
compression damping (it doesn’t lock out the shock; it just
makes it firmer) and mash away.
Cornering: You don’t expect the tires, with their minimal knobs, to do a great job in the corners, but they do. The
bike has a light feel, and it is easy to forget you are rolling
on 29er wheels. You can change lines on a whim or hold
your line on fast sweepers. Nice.
Climbing: There’s no way around it. With the bike
weighing nearly 33 pounds, you are going to work hard
on the climbs. Still, the bike gives you fast-rolling wheels,
a reliable and wide-ratio drivetrain, and good suspension.
Climbing in or out of the saddle worked well.
Descending: The rear suspension has a progressive feel
and ramps up nicely at the end, taking the sting out of hard
hits and G-outs. The fork and shock produce a balanced
The $1840 Cannondale Rush 29 2
The Bike That Proved Us Wrong