The Cannondale Trigger is a sleeper in the Cannondale range. It's overshadowed by its more famous siblings, the Scalpel and the Jekyll, which reside at the more extreme ends of the mountain bike spectrum. It has been revised for 2018, and with a little bit less travel, and looks very much like the little brother of the more enduro focused Jekyll. It features the same 27.5" wheels, suspension design, and Gemini rear shock with two riding modes. But the Trigger has a very different attitude and is very much its own bike.
The Trigger, overall, feels much snappier and more responsive than its bigger brother. The headtube is only 1 degree steeper at 66°, but somehow the bike completely lacks that lazy, floppy steering feel that big bikes tend to have.
The chainstays are short at 420mm, and this lends itself to a bike that feels ready to manual, pop, and change direction in an instant. It has 145mm of travel in the back and a 150mm Fox 34 up front, enough for when it’s time to buckle down and rip straight through rough terrain.
The Trigger was a revelation for me. I never would have considered it before riding it, since I’m the type of guy who instantly assumes that the biggest bike possible is best suited to my downhill ambitions. After riding it, I realized that the Trigger was a bike that I could live with day after day. No matter the trail, it never feels cumbersome or slow. It climbs immensely better than a bigger travel bike and feels almost as capable when descending.
With the Hustle and Flow modes for the Gemini, I never feel like I had too much bike, something I often feel on big travel bikes. I can engage Hustle mode, which shortens the travel to 115mm and increases progression, and the Trigger feels almost as efficient as an XC bike. When opened back up into Flow mode the 145mm of travel is more than enough for everything except for maybe the most extreme downhill trails. The Trigger sits in that magic goldilocks zone of being just right for most riding which, if we're honest, is what most riders really need.
The SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain gives you plenty of range for hours of peddling and big days in the saddle.
The Trigger isn’t the lightest bike (my test bike weighed just a tick over 30 lbs) but it hides it well and, if you’re reasonably fit, it never actually feels that heavy when riding. If I were to pick a bike for one of my long high alpine singletrack rides here in Colorado, I would probably pick the Trigger over an XC or enduro bike.
I would be interested in a 29er option in the future, but for now, the Trigger with 27.5 wheels tick all the right boxes. It’s a joy to ride, no matter the difficulty of the trail. It’s also probably one of my favorite bikes to hit jumps on. It really is a bike that aims to do it all, and it’s pretty successful. If you need one bike, a quiver killer machine, the Trigger deserves serious consideration.
Bruce is a writer who loves getting his bikes dirty, trying new tech, and riding tough trails that make him suffer for hours at a time.