The Cannondale Bad Habit Carbon 2 combines floaty 27.5+ wheels with 120mm full suspension, resulting in a very fun and forgiving trail bike. This was my first long term exposure to a fully suspended plus bike, and I was initially skeptical about having both large volume tires and dual suspension. However, like adding butter to a peanut butter sandwich, it may seem excessive, but it totally works. And it’s a bad habit you should try. Here’s my full review with weights and specs…
Cannondale’s Bad Habit is the 27.5+ version of it’s popular Habit. The Bad Habit is offered in both carbon and aluminum frames, each with two build options that include either a Lefty (1) or a Rockshox (2) fork. The Bad Habit Carbon 2 tested ($4,799.99) comes spec’d with a 120mm RockShox Pike RC Boost, and comes in a dialed green color scheme that got a lot of positive comments. The asymmetric design links to a swooping and offset seattube, providing clearance for the 3’ tires and more gearing options. A sloping toptube integrates with the shock cleanly, and provides extra standover space.
There is a weight penalty for 27.5+ bikes, with all that rotating rubber and a wider frame. Considering this, the 30lb overall weight is respectable. The fatter tires also make a lot of noise on hardpack surfaces and they feel slower. So 27.5+ might not be the right setup for you if you’re all about long fireroad climbs and lactate thresholds. However, for clearing technical climbs, absorbing drops, and generally having a blast, I’m a fan of the mid-fat tires.
With a trusty 120mm Fox Float DPS and Fox Transfer IR dropper, the Bad Habit can get as rowdy as any good trail bike out there, especially with 3’ tires to further soften the terrain. Even with the bigger wheels, the ubiquitous SRAM Guide R brakes with 180mm rotors have good stopping power. My only complaint on the overall spec is the PressFit30 BB. While the PressFit lightens the bike, it developed an annoying creak. Irksome, but not a deal breaker. It was a quick fix to remove and clean the cranks and bearings, which resolved the issue (tip: you can use a standard Park crank puller – minus the center pin, and not buy the $50 Cannondale tool). And also take note that big tires and sloping toptubes can make transport on the car more challenging, but still doable.
The 1×11 SRAM X1 drivetrain and Cannondale Si crank and SpideRing (30t) had enough gearing for any climbs and shifted smoothly after several months of hard use. The floating front derailleur mount was interesting, but moot with a 1x setup. WTB Scraper i40 27.5″ wheels have held up well and were easily setup for tubeless (the test bike came with tubes). Schwalbe Nobby Nic SnakeSkin 3.0 tires served me well during summer dry conditions, but these lighter weight skins are thin, so tire plugs and copious amounts of Stan’s saved me on several rides. Cannondale supplies the remaining controls with their own headset, short 31.5mm stem, and mid-range 760mm bars.
Overall, the steeper head angle and big wheels made for a super fun ride. With the 68 degree head angle, I expected the bike to handle tight and twisty well, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s been the perfect match for my local New England rocky, un-flow trails. The 13.1” bb height meant fewer pedal strikes than lower hung bikes. And those big tires stuck to boulders like…well, like 3″ low pressure, soft rubber tires, on rough granite.
I was pleasantly surprised how predictable it was at higher speeds too. On trips to the flow trail meccas of Knoxville, TN and Kingdom Trails, VT, the Bad Habit 2 was happy at speeds my wife would not approve of. I’ll never forget flying down Barn Burner at Baker’s Creek in Knoxville, that deep rumbling buzz of the big tires, with intermittent silence from each of the many jumps. I’ll need to try a Lefty version of the bike to confirm, but it seems like the RockShox Pike and it’s shorter offset might help make the Bad Habit 2 a bit more stable at speed than the geometry numbers would suggest.
The only downside to floaty 27.5+ tires is the tendency for the front wheel to float laterally (aka washout) on slick corners. Where a narrower tire with more bite might be able to hold a little better. For me though, the benefits outweigh this side effect. I’d rather have the increased climbing traction, season extending winter riding, and general confidence that these big tires provide.
To my surfer friends, I’ve been calling the Bad Habit a “funbike”, equating it to funboards, which are mid-sized boards that are good for catching small waves but can still carve a turn. A 7’ do-it-all funboard is perfect for small New England surf. Similarly a “funbike” like the Bad Habit can handle just about any trail, maximizing fun on both old-school technical and destination flow trails.
In the end, I found the 120mm suspension and big volume tires to be a good match for my skill level (advanced-mediocre), and riding style (fun loving wimp). The Bad Habit easily handled the “big” 3 – 4ft drops I like to hit. The large tires took the edge off when the shocks bottomed out. This is the forgiving bit, it sucked up ledges and ill-planned rock gardens like a bike with more travel. I hit several of my local hairball descents faster than ever, knowing that if I took a bad line, I could lean back and bounce over just about anything.
Lately I’ve found myself taking the Bad Habit over to the trails where I grew up. Rocky but fast trails, flat pedals, stopping for dive in the quarry and a beer with friends. Great fun. And after the ride, a PB&J, with butter. That’s a fun day. And a fun bike.