Expert Review: Cannondale Treadwell 2 Ltd Bike
This review is my honest opinion of the bike, which i purchased with my own money in May of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bike, which i purchased with my own money in May of 2022.
The Cannondale Treadwell 2 Ltd is the best bike for anyone looking to add some fun to their daily commute. The frame creates a great balance of comfort and agility, allowing riders to zip through any terrain and look stylish doing it.
About the bike I own
- Model: 2022 Cannondale Treadwell Eq (same specs as the Treadwell 2, but with racks, fenders, and dynamo lighting)
- Build Kit: Microshift Advent 9 speed drivetrain with Tektro hydraulic brakes
- Wheel/Tire Size: 650b x 47 (27.5in x 1.85in)
- Frame Size: Medium
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Fork Material/Type: Aluminum
- Handlebar Type: 80mm riser bar with a sweet, BMX-inspired cross bar
- Height: 5’9”
- Weight: 180lbs
- Experience: 10 years of cycling experience
- When I bought it: May 2022
- Number of rides: Almost daily since May
- Type of road conditions ridden: Rain or shine with a healthy amount of gravel and rough pavement, occasional punchy climbs
- Where I’ve used it: Austin, Texas
How it performs
What I was looking for
I bought this bike to replace an old, steel mountain bike that was built similarly (racks, fenders, dynamo). That bike was just fine to ride, but I wanted something that I would be excited to get on and zip across town with—not to mention the cantilever brakes on my old bike just weren’t cutting it down the steep Austin hills or in the rain
Why I chose this gear
The BMX aesthetic of the bike is what really spoke to me the most. I’ve always wanted a daily commuter that was practical but could also be wheelied easily to spice my route up.
What I love about it
- Frame/Geometry: The slack seat tube and tall handlebar put my body in an upright posture. The relatively short wheelbase and the positioning of the saddle make this bike a blast to ride through the city, not to mention it wheelies really well. The aluminum frame is light and responsive, something longtime fans of Cannondale probably guessed.
- Fork: I had my doubts about an aluminum fork, as they have a reputation for feeling harsh. This bike overcomes that because the upright posture takes weight off my hands and the plush tire does the rest of the work to soak up the bumps.
- Wheels: The wheels have remained sturdy and true despite all the abuse I put them through. This includes e-braking wheelies straight to the front wheel, bunnyhopping with the racks loaded down, and rough gravel.
- Drivetrain: I’m a huge fan of the nine-speed Microshift Advent drivetrain. It has shifted reliably ever since building the bike out of the box, held up to all of my abuse, and the wide gear range is great for the steep hills around Austin.
- Cockpit: At 5’9”, the medium cockpit fit perfectly. I can ride with a comfy, upright posture without feeling like I’m reaching for the bars. Not to mention it’s one of the most stylish cockpits out there.
- Seatpost/Saddle: The stock saddle is wide and plush; a great choice for this bike. I just happen to be a Brooks snob, so I kept the C17 Cambium from my last commuter for this one.
- Tires: I opted to change the Maxxis DTR tires that come stock on this bike for the tougher Maxxis Refuse 47bs. The sidewall casing on the DTR is a bit thin, and I have a history of being pretty tough on my gear.
- Brakes: The Tektro Hydraulic brakes spec’d on this bike have been surprisingly reliable for such an affordable brake. I usually ride this bike with cargo, and usually with my front wheel in the air, and the brakes have worked flawlessly.
- Accessories: I opted for the EQ DLX model that includes a rack, fenders, and dynamo (front wheel generated) lighting. These are all features I demand out of a daily driver, as I usually have cargo with me, ride in all weather conditions, and have a bad habit of forgetting to charge (or bring) my lights. The standard Treadwell 2 will support all the same accessories for riders who only need one or two of those features. The LTD series also comes in the coolest finishes.
- Durability: I ride every bike like it’s a BMX bike, and this has been no exception. Despite my rough-riding tendencies, this bike has held up very well. I regularly check my rack hardware, and sometimes I’ll have to re-tighten it, but I’ve found this to be the case with every bike I use with racks.
- Adjustability: This bike is as easy to adjust as any other bike with standard bar, stem, and seatpost clamps. This means if I need a seatpost with more or less setback, or a different length stem, I won’t have to spend hours figuring out what’s compatible.
- Weight: My EQ DLX is a bit heavier than the rest of the lineup due to the racks and fenders. But the standard Treadwell 2s sit at a great weight compared to just about any comfort commuter.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Tires: I wish the rims were tubeless compatible. I prefer tubeless for commuting because if I get a puncture the sealant will keep me rolling, and if not I can plug the hole and move on. Changing a flat tube on a bike loaded down with cargo while knowing you're late to work can be pretty stressful.
- Bottom Bracket: In October, the plastic bottom bracket shell came a bit loose, causing a concerning creak when I pedaled. This was a quick and simple fix at my local bike shop, who suggested I could upgrade to a metal bottom bracket down the line if it became a regular issue.
- Pedals: The stock plastic pedals were a bit flimsy feeling and didn’t offer much grip. I changed them out for some parts-bin specials with metal pins. These are overkill for most but provide the grip I need.
Favorite moment with this my bike
The best memory I have on this bike is surpassing my longest wheelie record of three blocks. That was done on a hardtail mountain bike, so it felt pretty cool to go an extra block, with a basket up front, casually on the way to work.
Value for the money vs. other options
To me, this bike falls in a sub-category of commuter bikes that I think of as “cruiser-commuters.” These are bikes with no suspension, big tires, and an upright fit— but usually with a gear range to ride outside of just the neighborhood or boardwalk. Compared to just about every other cruiser-commuter on the market, the Treadwell has the snappiest handling. Considering this bike is priced in-line with most bikes from competitors, I felt it was an easy choice to make since I couldn’t find a similar bike that was as fun to ride. The closest bike to the Treadwell that I can think of is the Specialized Roll, but the slack seat tube on that frame makes it ride closer to the cruiser side of the spectrum.
The Treadwell reignites the 12-year-old kid in me every time I ride it to work, the grocery store, the bar, the river, and anywhere else I want to in town. I’m very impressed with this bike.