Pros: Excellent frame construction, solid wheels, Hutchinson tires.
Cons: Headshock service requires specialty tools only available at Cannondale dealerships.
Cannondale has been around since pretty much the dawn of the mountain bike world, so it stands to reason that they should know a thing or two about building bikes. When people think of the Cannondale brand, typically two things come to mind; top quality framesets, and the odd-looking but amazingly functional Headshok.
Perhaps the single feature that stands out most on the F400 is the Headshok P-Bone fork. What makes the Headshok such an incredibly fork is the fact that there is only one square-shaped stanchion, as opposed to two round ones found on most telescopic suspension forks. The advantage to the Headshok's design is that by replacing the round stanchions in the fork's lower with a rigid fork, it reduces the amount of lateral flex -- leaving you with a fork that not only supplies you with supple suspension, but also turns and handles like a rigid fork.
Another feature that separates the Headshok from other susupension forks is that Cannondale builds them with 88 needle bearings (22 on each of the side of the square stanchions). The bearings reduce the friction between the contact surfaces, creating smooth travel and unmatched longevity.
The F400 also comes with a great off-road component package with a Shimano XT rear derailleur and an LX front combined with SRAM's quasi-new Gemini trigger shifters. The Gemini's are a little hard to get used to, but have a much more ergonomic design than Shimano.
Also on the F400 is a very solid set of wheels. Underrated Cannondale Performance hubs and rims are bound together with DT 1.8 spokes and Hutchinson Mosquito tires.
Topping it all off is a comfy Selle Royal gel saddle that will let you enjoy hours of trails on your crisp new bicycle.