Cannondale Capo review£799.00

A solid street singlespeed, but a fixie option would be nice

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Cannondale's Capo is a traffic-jam-busting road singlespeed built to take round-town abuse. With excellent brakes, solid wheels and handling that's reassuring but not twitchy, it's a street machine par excellence. It can be set up as a fixie for the adventurous, but Cannondale have chosen to play safe with its out-of-the-box spec.

The Capo comes with a freewheel on a flip-flop hub rather than a fixed sprocket but its horizontal dropouts, absence of cable stops and steep angles mean that it's essentially a rider-friendly track bike ready for road use.

The freewheel also makes the Capo far more accessible, allowing anyone to jump aboard without tackling the steep learning curve of riding fixed.

Frame

As singlespeed/fixies are usually second bikes at best, manufacturers tend to equip them sensibly rather than sensationally. To this end, Cannondale have chosen an Optimo CAAD 5 alloy tubeset for the Capo. It's still a great tubeset, though, and gives you a responsive frame with loads of upgrade potential.

The carbon Slice Ultra fork matches the frame well - strong and direct without being too harsh.

Track inspiration runs to the lack of cable stops resulting in the rear brake outer being zip-tied to the frame - not the neatest of solutions and you need to add an extra tie to stop the housing rattling against the frame.

A tidier solution, and one we'd recommend, would be to lose the rear brake altogether. Swap the freewheel for a fixed sprocket and then let the front brake and your legs take care of braking duties.

Equipment

As you'd expect from a bike built for practicality, the equipment spec isn't electrifying. The frame is the high point, with componentry that gets the job done rather than deliver a performance advantage. This means you get a lot of Cannondale branded kit, the best of which are the dual pivot Theta brakes with accompanying Tektro levers. If you do decide to remove the rear brake, the front Theta has plenty of smooth, reliable power.

The Velo saddle is fine for town but too soft and unsupportive for big miles. Cost saving is in evidence with the faux-carbon seatpost.

The 32-holed Mach1 510 rims on Formula track hubs are certainly built to take the potholes. They're by no means light but are well suited to heavy town use, as are the Hutchinson Top Speed foldable tyres. The strength of the wheels is a virtue around town but not so good for fast handling.

While the freewheel is a good starting point for anyone wishing to venture into fixed wheel riding, it's a shame that a fixed sprocket isn't supplied with the bike. The rear flip-flop hub is ready to accept a sprocket, but not supplying one might deter beginners from having a go at riding fixed.

Ride

The Capo's ride is reassured rather than fast. The steep head angle makes it quick through the traffic but not terrifyingly twitchy. It's also easy to track stand at red lights.

Hopping up and down kerbs and weaving through traffic is where this bike is at, and the simple set-up and lack of things to go wrong should make it an incredibly reliable ride.

The Capo fills a gap in Cannondale's range and die-hard 'Dale fans will appreciate its presence, but you can find a very nice boutique fixie for the same money.

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