I'd been looking for a compact mini-velo or folder that would fit into my lifestyle for a fair while. I have a relatively small apartment, and don't like clutter. The apartment is in a 100 year old house with very narrow, tight staircases and so owning full sized bikes isn't much of an option. I've been looking for *1* bike (i'm an n=1 person) for a while that fits the following criteria:
1. Weather resistant. I.E. disc brakes, corrosion resistant frame, internal gear hubs, etc, because i'm OCD over rust and squeaky parts
2. Tough = fun
3. Effective for urban riding and commuting
Cannondale makes the Hooligan in a bunch of different configurations, and in North America they sell 2. There's a version which has an 8 speed derailleur based drivetrain, slightly lower parts spec, and a more mundane normal bicycle fork at a lower price point,
And a 3 speed internal gear hub variant with some nicer parts, much more emphasis on style (in a good or bad way, depending on your tastes!), and a rigid lefty fork which is very Cannondale in the traditional sense = )
Opting for the internal gear hub this time around, I went with the Hooligan 3. And opting for what I personally believe to be a slight show of taste, I went for the bike in black. Honestly C'dale, the white one is pretty gaudy, IMO. Seriously bad. Proof?
I think its okay. So how does the white one look?
Well, I think it looks like a train wreck. Your mileage may vary.
So here's my short term review of the Cannondale Hooligan 3 in black.
Where can you buy one?: I Purchased mine as a special order through Bow Cycle in Calgary, AB. Available through Crack-n-fail dealers, although it isn't a bicycle that is commonly carried on the show floor directly.
How much $?: $1100 MSRP Canadian for the Hooligan 3, likely less in the U.S. The Hooligan 8 derailleur version was quoted to me as being $799 MSRP in Canada.
Some stats Can-O-Ale won't tell you for some reason: It weighs 24.9lbs stock, according to the digital bicycle scale at Bow Cycle.
A few extra goodies: It *is* rack and fender compatible, although not without some fussing. There's eyelets at the dropouts, but none up top. Fitting a front fender means going with one meant for a suspension fork, but it all seems to work out in the end.
All of those squigglies and all that writing on the frame? Well, on the Hooligan 3 in black, it's all reflective paint. Pretty snazzy, gives you a little more safety at night.
So how does it ride?
I'd describe the feel of the bike as reminding me a lot of my Dahon Mu SL. Very nimble, stable enough, and the stock equipment makes sure every little crack in the road goes right into your body as road shock = (
As it comes, it's pretty harsh to ride, but that's owing to the fact that its a stiff little bike with skinny little tires, hard grips and a relatively thin saddle. The 1.35" wide Schwalbe Kojaks really harsh up the ride quite a bit, I find. They're light and smooth, but they're not very comfortable to hit a pothole on, and given that they advertise this thing as being perfect for "long commutes on pothole filled streets", I find that a bit silly. What the Hooligan really needs is a set of big fat slicks like some Big Apples, and i'd personally recommend getting a pair. The frame should fit tires up to 2.35", after having witnessed a Hooligan with a pair of Big Apples in that size i'd say that's about the limit.
This bike *is* actually fun to do tricks on, too! Cannondale hypes it up as some kind of BMX for Chuck Norris to roundhouse kick people in the face with or something like that, I dunno. I mean, I wouldn't let Chuck near it, but maybe i'd let Bruce Willis whip it around the block a few times, because he's got the Yippie Kay-Yay. It shouldn't be confused with a true BMX, but i've been having a lot of fun hopping it around and playing around on some local trails, and it definitely has a sturdier than average frame and wheelset for an urban bike that should let the fun times roll.
Again, 1.35" Schwalbe Kojak tires are convenient for being fast and light and I normally like them, but in this instance, they suck. These tires aren't meant to be on a bicycle that you skid around on and hop. They're meant to be on ol' beardy's recumbent, or commuter dudes folder.
I-Motion 3 can be my new chum, because it shifts even when i'm pretending i'm captain hammer, and it doesn't feel like i'm trying to pedal an internal gear hub thats full of mud. I think that it could beat up that Sturmey Archer dude any day of the week, and its just as loud. clackclackclackclackclack... Thanks to this bit of equipment, riding is simple and fun!
Stopping is fine. I mean, they're BB5s. You aren't really getting the best, but they work pretty well, and you can do some fun skids on a moment's notice, which is fun, because I have some Schwalbe Kojaks to destroy.
Lastly, if you plan on riding in the rain, bunny hopping, or simply having a pair of pedals that last longer than a month or two, get rid of the Octupus pedals that come with the bike. They have poor grip, zero grip when wet, and the rubber on them is seemingly already wearing down. Octopus? More like Octosuck. At least they look pretty cool, and you can stick them onto corners to get the bike to stand up pretty easily.
Ride verdict? Nimble, fun, simple, but a bit harsh with the stock tires. Ditch those Octopus pedals if you want to have fun but don't want to slide off the bike and neuter / spay yourself. If thats your kind of fun, rock on!
The Hooligan has an adjustable stem, and a lot of room on that big seatpost. I could see this bike fitting a lot of people fairly well. I am 5'10" and find that the seatpost has quite a bit of room left, 6 inches or more still to the max. extension line on the post. Of course, if you were a giant, you'd look ridiculous on this bike, but I also think that I look ridiculous on this bike too, which is okay. I haven't done any professional measurements on the frame, but in particular saddle > bars feels fairly roomy to me. I feel like its good, but a rider with shorter arms would definitely be stretched out riding this thing. The included stem is fairly long though, and you could go with a shorter one if you had to. You can also drop the seatpost down into the frame a long way, allowing you to BMX-ify the Hooligan in order to do some stupid and potentially life threatening stuff on = )
I think it looks pretty sweet, like a space bike. If there were a bike that you could get cyber goths to ride on, it would be this bike.
The cranks can sit in the corner in shame though. The anodized red on them is pretty bad, and they aren't colour matched to the rest of the anodized components on the rest of the bike. Yes indeedy.
The chain is tensioned with an eccentric bottom bracket, and changing the rear tire is EXTREMELY easy compared to other IGH equipped bikes. There's no straightening the wheel in the frame, dealing with the wheel slipping around as you tighten it, and the SRAM hub disconnects from the shift cable as easily as a World of Warcraft addict disconnects from reality.
Again, despite them hyping it up as a bad-ass, they wussed out and threw some rack / fender mounting eyelets on, left the lefty open for a suspension fork fender and even added some reflective doodads. SHAME ON YOU, Cannon-fail. Shame on you. There are no braze ons for a handgun holster. Now, don't confuse this thing for a fully equipped touring bike with 10,000 braze ons for whatever on it, but its workable.
I personally believe that this thing has some real practical merit. I've managed to get it set up with some functional equipment, but it still has great potential for greatly silly antics, which I like.
Guilty. Guilty of being very hyped, but really just being a little old urban bike thats a little tougher.
Also guilty of being $1100, despite being equipped how a $700 normal bike would be, even here in expensive old Canada.
Also guilty of having really sucky pedals, and badly mismatched tires.
Ambiguously guilty of being just too damn weird looking.
All of that makes the evidence sound pretty damning. But really?
I LOVE THIS BIKE. Even if you don't get a lot of bike for the money, you get a lot of FUN FOR THE BIKE. At least i'm getting that, maybe you won't. In which case, it would be a bad deal, savvy?
If all you want is a compact bike, this isn't the one. You can buy a folder that weighs the same for a third of the price, and get something more compact.
But, if you want a bike to carry up to your tiny little tin can apartment and rip around in the great big world later on, actually have fun on, and maybe you're a closet cyber goth, then maybe this kind of thing is for you. Even if you're not a closet cyber goth. Its just the right blend of toy and tool for me, and it has thus far really been something that i've enjoyed a lot.
Obligatory non-scientific rating?!
Sure. 8 / 10
Downers? Minus 1 point for the tires, because they're really on the wrong bike, even if they are good tires in other instances. Minus 1 point because the octopus pedals are really the only genuine "all looks, no guts" this bike has to offer.
And the good. 4 points of pure simple fun. 2 points of practical design, which got lost along the way and somehow ended up here anyways. 1 point because I love the i-motion 3. 1 point because they tried really hard to make it snazzy, but only 1 point because the cranks are a bit off.
I like it a lot.
Here's mine as it stands now. Changed the bars to On One mary bars (which are also good!), added a rack and a front fender. The rack pretty much seems to double as a rear fender quite well. I'm also looking into the SRAM I-Motion 9, or possibly the upcoming Alfine 11. Me and this bike are going to have a lot of fun down the road!
(Lastly, those thumbnails are just these photos. I don't know why I can't delete those thumbnails. Damned thumbnails!)