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Bikes with 26-inch wheels are increasingly rare on shop floors, but they’re still popular with some riders—especially the growing number of enduro racers who want lightweight XC-style bikes to zip up climbs, but need lots of suspension to blast down timed downhills. Cannondale targeted this Trigger 2 to those mountain bikers—many of whom live in Europe—and the remaining 26-inch holdouts in the United States. The company last week introduced a 29-inch version of bike, but we jumped on this 26-incher last fall and have been giving it a thorough test since.
The Trigger 2 is built around a stiff carbon frame with 120mm of rear travel. To minimize flex, Cannondale uses oversize 15mm axles in the shock linkage and main pivot. The linkage itself is a massively overbuilt affair, spanning the bike’s midsection like a giant strut. Despite the beefy tubes and stout pivots, the complete bike weighs just under 24 pounds, making it one of the lighter five-inch travel bikes we’ve tried.
Helping to shave weight is Cannondale’s new, 3-pound, 130mm Lefty PBR. The redesigned model uses a new bushing on the lower leg that helps increase stiffness as the fork moves deeper into its travel. The new version also ditches the dated boot in favor of a hard plastic stanchion guard that looks better and offers more protection. The fork felt supple on most terrain, and tracked true through corners. Despite a limited range of rebound damping, the front wheel stuck to the ground while rolling over rock gardens. The push-button platform damper located on top of the fork leg, worked well firming up the ride for long climbs.
Innovative components and frame elements—like the 3-pound Lefty fork and 15mm pivot axles—create a light, stiff bike.