Flow’s First Bite: Cannondale Habit Carbon SE

The not-so-minor details


Cannondale Habit Carbon SE








Gorgeous finish.
Clean and uncluttered.


Wheels and tyres not tubeless ready.

Cannondale need no introduction, these guys are legends in all areas of cycling. Their innovative nature may polarise potential buyers with their quirky designs but behind each unique element is a perfectly good explanation.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a new model from Cannondale so when we first heard of the trick new Habit we vowed to get on one as soon as possible, it looks like our type of thing.

Read for more on what the Habit is all about, where it fits in and our first impressions before we got it very dirty.

Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-2

[divider]What is it?[/divider]

Slotting in between the featherweight cross country dually – the Scalpel and the mid-travel Trigger, the Habit is an all-new 120mm dually with slightly more relaxed geometry than you’d expect. It’s rolling on 27.5″ wheels, 429mm chain stays and a with a lowly-slung tup tube it looks like a lot of fun straight away.

The ‘SE’ model we have on test is a bit of a half step towards a bigger bike, with a longer 130mm travel fork instead of a 120mm that the rest of the Habit range uses 120mm. This will lift the head angle out to a very trail-friendly 67.5 degrees (half a degree slacker than the regular Habit).

Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-31Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-17

The carbon front end joins an aluminium rear (carbon stays on the higher models) with a single pivot suspension design and a sweet little carbon moulded linkage, but take a closer look at the rear end and you’ll notice an absence of a suspension pivot near the rear hub. The ‘zero pivot stays’ rely on a certain amount of flex to make it all work, doing away with a pivot point and all the associated weight and moving parts.

[divider]The ‘Fork’.[/divider]

Let’s just call it a fork, the Lefty is probably the most striking element to any Cannondale, it’s single-sided design has been baffling onlookers sine the late 90s but there’s a bunch of very good reasons they are still around. The latest version ‘Lefty 2’ is on the Habit SE, with 130mm of air-sprung travel it is touted to be the best generation yet, with significant tweaks to the damper units aiming to increase the fork’s sensitivity and lively feel.

Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-24 Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-30

The dual crown fork weighs 1950g and slides up and down on a hybrid of needle roller bearings and bushes, eliminating any twisting or biding. For a more in depth breakdown of what makes the Lefty tick click through to the Cannondale link for more.

Our past experiences with the Lefty are a real mixed bag, while we can’t sing enough praise for the steering precision and lateral stiffness we have found some Leftys to feel a little heavy in the damper, with slow rebound and compression speeds. Let’s hope the new Lefty 2 has rectified some of this.

[divider]The Parts.[/divider]

First thing you’ll notice on the Habit is the seriously trick looking cranks. The Cannondale SI (System Integration) cranks use their Spidering SL setup, combining crank spider and chain ring into one unit. It makes for a light and clean looking crankset, and the low range 30 tooth narrow/wide chainring with no chain guide looks so damn good!

Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-14

A SRAM X1 drivetrain with the lovely Guide brakes will no doubt be great, and we’re always happy to see a KS LEV dropper post fitted as standard.

The WTB rims will need a conversion kit to make them tubeless, and you may get lucky with the Schwalbe Performance tyres but they aren’t too good at sealing up, perhaps the Evolution level Nobby Nics with the TLE (Tubeless Easy) casing would be a handy upgrade early on.

Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-12

So here we have the new Cannondale Habit Carbon SE, stay tuned for our full review very soon but for now here are some more pretty pictures of a very tidy looking bike.

Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-26Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-46

Cannondale Habit SE Flow Mountain Bike-50

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