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Cannondale-What's the truth?


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Help me out chaps, I’m looking for the truth.

I’ve followed the development of the Cannondale dirt bike for what must be three years now. Two years ago they had an importer lined up here in the U.K. and if the bike was good, I was ready to part with the cash. As we now know, the first bikes were riddled with problems, and none found their way to the U.K.

The importer deal fell through and I bought a KTM 400 exc.

It now looks like they’ll be here early next year.

The E440R

1. Is it quiet?

2. Does it have strong smooth power?

3. Does it like to carve the inside line?

4. Is it light? (Cannondale claim 113Kg (249lbs) dry, which if true would make it about the same as my KTM.)

5. Does it now have a “get me home” facility if the battery runs low?

6. Is it a pleasure to work on?

7. Is it worth £1700 ($2500) more than a KTM 450? (An E440R costs £6890 (approx $10300) here.

I really want to like the Cannondale, but every magazine article that I’ve read has answered “no” to all the above questions. It also concerns me that Cannondale don’t seem very forthcoming with magazine test bikes. I know magazines can be biased, but I would have thought the American ones would have been biased towards the Cannondale. Everything I read about the KTM 400 exc proved to be pretty accurate.

I know the people on this forum are likely to favour their own bike, (just like every other forum) but I would really appreciate some honest answers.

01 KTM 400 exc (Current bike)

91 KDX 200 (owned for 10 years)

87 Fantic 305 trials

87 KTM 250 mx

85 KTM 250 mx

84 KTM 125 mx

82 KTM 495 mx

79 KTM 250 mx

75 Suzuki ts250

Honda C70

Honda C50

Raliegh Wisp

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I have owned my E 440 for almost a month now these are my opinions to your questions.

1. it is not what I would call quiet but it is not obnoxiously loud. It is a touch louder than a KTM.

2.This is the good part. The power is awesome it is linear with try it to believe it throttle response. It can also be altered via different maps.

3.yes it carves the inside line. The bike is narrow so you can move around very comfortably. If you are a tall person the bike will fit you a lot better than a KTM. It also has very good brakes.

4. It weighs the same as a KTM but feels lighter because of the way fuel is carried.

5. No there is no get me home facility but I am no more afraid of a battery issue than I am an ignition problem on any other bike.

6. Some things suck to work on other things are easy. I would say it is a push in this category.

7.Component wise, yes performance wise I don't thinks so. Mine was $1300 less than a KTM. With a six speed the KTM has more top speed. The Cannondale has more potential in the suspension. I like the Cannondales power & delivery better.It really will depend on dealer support. It took a while for dealers to get up to speed in the U.S. I imagine the same thing will happen in your neck of the woods. I like my bike and am already looking forward to an 04 if they make as much progress by then as they have made to this point. Hopefully 450 cc's 10 pounds lighter and a six speed.

Remember if you don't have a supportive dealer I would shy away.

Harrymoto posts his comparisons to a KTM here and on cannondaler.com check it out.

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I cannot stress enough that a VERY GOOD & INFORMED dealer is a must. I also can't stress enough how EASY a bike the E440 is to ride, this is my first serious moto (I have a long Mtn. Bike history), that said I think I know the basic handling skills. My bike with STOCK settings & springs is truely "Point & Shoot" (I'm 6'5" and 210 lbs.). I don't know if it's just my inexperience but I'd say the bike pulls damn well - doesn't rip my arms off but I can lug 3rd to nearly a crawl, point, twist and it pulls right out of the hole (guys is it just me???). That's just an honest description of my time with my Dale. I've never been stranded, haven't needed any parts, just lot's of 🙂:D :D. I only hope you have a quality, dedicated dealer in the UK so you and others can enjoy similar experiences...Good Luck

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$2500 more? and you are a British guy? There is no way I would buy it if I were you. I think the bike is better than a KTM, but just a little. Better handling, better components, better tunability with the EFI, but just a little in each category.

In terms of price/performance, the KTM is a better deal for you. If you like Techno-trickery, the 'dale outshines the KTM by a long way. If you are an American, Nationalism should find it's way to your checkbook. The bike rocks, but in the US it costs the same or even less than the KTM. $2500 more, (that's about 33% more) I just don't see it. It's too bad, you'd love the bike!

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Muckspreader said:

> Help me out chaps, I’m looking for the truth.

The truth will set you free! *giggle*

> The E440R

> 1. Is it quiet?

Good Lord no. It's not really any louder than many of the current RFS bikes, but to me they are all HORRIBLY loud. Shhhhh...Less sound = More ground.

> 2. Does it have strong smooth power?

It has any type of power you want. And all with the use of software and a keyboard, instead of jets, wrenches and different pipes. As delivered it is very smooth, while still be authoritive. There is no mistaking that you are on a race bike.

> 3. Does it like to carve the inside line?

Where I ride there is usually only one line... But it turns very well, is extremely stable, and very confidence inspiring. The really neat thing about this to me is that I have only just begun to dial this puppy in.

> 4. Is it light? (Cannondale claim 113Kg (249lbs) dry, > which if true would make it about the same as my KTM.)

Others have answered this more accurately than I can. It is heavier than my old 300 EXC, but not by a whole lot. It carries its weight well. Low and centered. The only time I am aware of the weight is after I've dropped it and am picking it up. But then again in that situation I used to whine about the weight of my sons 80. *lol*

> 5. Does it now have a “get me home” facility if the > battery runs low?

I remember hearing, reading, something about the bike either does now, or will in the future, hold enough of a charge to wake the ECU up and run the engine even if the E-start doesn't want to work because of low voltage. Anyone? Am I dreaming? You can bump start the bike going down a hill, I've done it. BUT! You have to hit the green button to wake up ECU first or it won't do anything. However, as was said earlier, I'm no more afraid of this than any other ignition related failure on any other bike. I've had mine miles and milea and miles from the truck and didn't bat an eye.

> 6. Is it a pleasure to work on?

Yes and no. It's easy to do the simple things. Services are a breeze. Changing the plug is an amazing pain in the butt. Valve adjustments require engine removal, but removing the engine is almost as easy as accessing the inspection caps on my old XR's. To me it's wash. I don't dread going down to the shop to turn wrenches on it though.

> 7. Is it worth £1700 ($2500) more than a KTM 450? (An > E440R costs £6890 (approx $10300) here.

*sigh* Probably not. Which is said. Why that much of a price differance? Import tarriffs?

> I really want to like the Cannondale, but every magazine > article that I’ve read has answered “no” to all the above > questions. It also concerns me that Cannondale don’t seem > very forthcoming with magazine test bikes. I know > magazines can be biased, but I would have thought the > American ones would have been biased towards the > Cannondale. Everything I read about the KTM 400 exc > proved to be pretty accurate.

After DIRT RIDER magazine voted it bike of the year before it was readily avaialble, then the fiascos that followed with bikes and the few tests that were done I don't blame Cannondale for being a bit leary of the press. For the most part they are drival anyway.

I just read the other day where Gary Jones won 4 out of 4 motos on an '03 X440 at the Vet World Champiionships recently. Three months from now we will probably be reading something about that, and in all liklihood it will be favorable. (duh?) There were a few 'Dales at the Elsinore GP that did well, and a 'Dale rider won his class in the GNCC's this year. The ball is rolling. As time goes on you will be hearing more and more about them.

It's funny though, I had a CRF450 customer yesterday telling me that he really liked the 'Dales and would have considered getting one but didn't because no Pro MX'ers are riding them in the nationals. He felt that was a sign that the bikes were unreliable. Said that he felt lke if a bike could stand up under the abuse of a pro mx'er it would be fine for him.

*sigh*

I asked him if he thought that team Honda was using bone stock CRF's. If he thought that they weren't maticulously set up and full of works parts. Then I asked him if he thought he would ever dish out the punishment that a rider at that level would give a bike.

"uhhhh"

Thats what I thought.

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Thanks for all the replies.

The consensus would seem to be that the cannondale could be the best choice for some, and the worst choice for others (the technophobe for example). It perhaps hasn’t raised the bar to a whole new level, but given it a new and interesting slant.

I’m going to take your advice and keep my cash under the mattress for a while longer. Maybe, when my bed gets so lumpy that I can’t sleep, I’ll have enough money for a Cannondale.

I just want to be a little more precise on the price difference.

A new KTM 450 exc costs £5265 ($8108)

This is made up of a net price of £4481 ($6901) plus v.a.t. (17.5% sales tax).

Therefore, a Cannondale E440R in the U.K. would cost £5864 ($9031) plus v.a.t. @ 17.5% £1026 ($1580) making a grand total of £6890 ($10611)

I have used an exchange rate of 1.54 US dollars to the Pound sterling.

Maybe Cannondale are hoping Europe will clear their dept for them. Lol.

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17.5% sales tax!?!?!?!?! Good Lord!!!! I'll quit complaining now about our sales tax here in NC going up to 7%...

Just 'cause I'm curious and have no knowledge about this kind of thing, would it be advantagous to buy one in the states and have it shipped? I mean the dealer issue is still there and all, but it seems that the retail price is more than what it should be, then that high sales tax to boot.

I have no idea what it would cost to ship a bike overseas, or if import taffifs or whatever would be involved. Just curious.

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Bruce, I think about 120 coutries have a high VAT like that including Canada. I saw a proposal out of Yale that would do away w/personal income tax and add a VAt about that high. Same revenues , 100million less returns to process. It'll never happen here though although it's more equitable and can actually be worked as opposed to our current system. 🙂

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although it's more equitable

Well, I don't know about that. It sure would be simpler than our current tax code, but so is Quantum Physics.

Value Added Taxes in place of Income Tax of differing rates would be very regressive, I don't know how they deal with this in the UK (uhhh, socialized services like medicine???), but for that reason it doesn't have much of a chance here in the US of ever being used to that extent.

Good Lord why am I talking about Tax Policy on a dirt bike board? Must be the beer talkin'.

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