Bike of the week 9: 2010 Cannondale RZ 120 2

Here’s a little history lesson on where the RZ 120 comes from. A few years ago Cannondale had the race-winning 110mm travel Rush marathon bike and the versatile 140mm travel Prophet all-mountain bike. These were very successful bikes in each category. In 2009, the Prophet was discontinued and replaced by the all-new Rize with 130mm travel. It became one of the best “do everything” mountain bikes.

With the Rize came a number of trend-setting features and technologies, the most notable being the 3D forged backbone of the bike. By eliminating welds on the seat tube and suspension pivots by making it out of one piece of aluminum, Cannondale increased lateral (side to side) stiffness while reducing weight resulting in a more efficient, better handling bike. As you can see in the picture, the BB shell and lower pivot are not welded to the tube, while the down tube is welded on. The strength and stiffness from the 3D forging process makes it so that pivot does not need to be overweight for the desired performance.

An overlooked feature on the Rize was the integrated headset cups. Using the System Integration headset with the Lefty fork, the bearings sit directly in the frame, rather than into cups pressed into the frame, not unlike the BB30 crank system Cannondale pioneered many years ago. Stiffer, lighter, stronger, simpler… the essence of System Integration. This integrated technology is now featured on the 2010 Super Six, Cannondale’s award-winning full carbon racing road bike.

Cannondale also departed from the simple single-pivot suspension design of the Prophet and Rush by adding a rocker bar (still fundamentally a single pivot) to the Rize to better manage the suspension for the rider. This allows the first portion of suspension travel to be very supple and the bike just eats up small bumps for speed and control. The middle portion of travel is firmer for a solid pedaling platform so climbing is predictable and efficient. The last bit of travel ramps up, making it more difficult to bottom out, giving an invincible feeling while descending. All of this combines to make an incredible do everything bike.

Here we are in 2010. Cannondale split the Rize with 130mm travel into two new series, the RZ 120 and RZ 140. Both models feature all the new technology and features from the 2009 model, while making each bike a little more specific. The 120 replaces the classic Rush and the 140 takes the all-mountain category to a new level. While these two bikes are built on the same technology and platform, they are very different bikes. The geometry on the 120 lends itself to incredible climbing efficiency while the 140 is a master at coming down the mountain with great control. Both bikes are super versatile for all of the excellent trails we have here in Utah, but there is a model to match your personal riding style.

The RZ 120 2 in particular is the best value in the 120 line this year. All that technology and performance you need in the frame is matched to the all-new OPI (one piece integrated) Lefty Ultra PBR fork. This is another big deal for another post (but here’s some info on Cannondale’s site). Basically, they took that 3D forging technology to the next level by creating the Lefty upper and lower each out of one piece of aluminum for stiffness and weight savings. This model includes the easily adjustable PBR damping cartridge with easy access lockout. You get a solid SRAM parts kit, Avid hydraulic brakes, BB30 crankset, Fox rear shock, all coming in at just $3200.

We know this is going to be a hot bike for this year and we have the entire RZ 120 and RZ 140 series in stock. Come take a look and a test ride today and feel the difference.

Take a look at the color options and full specs on

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