Cannondale CAAD8 105 review£999.00

The US company’s entry-level alloy frame

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Time was when Cannondale bikes carried a price premium. Not now. Since it moved manufacturing from Bedford, Pennsylvania to the Far East its pricing has become more competitive, and it claims the CAAD8 is the lightest frame in its class.

True, it has lost the lovely ultra-smooth welds that Cannondale’s US frames were famous for, but its construction quality is still first-rate. As, crucially, is the ride.

    Cannondale, along with Klein, was one of the pioneers of mass-market alloy road bikes back in the 1980s, and that long backstory is put to very good effect. That era’s down tube shifters are long gone, but the oversize down tube is present and correct – and larger than ever.

    But Cannondale hasn’t over-indulged itself on a diet of strange profile tubing, unlike a lot of manufacturers. The top tube is nearly horizontal and the profiles are predominantly round, though the seatstays are flattenened and much slimmer than they used to be, adding comfort, which – back in the day – wasn’t always a watchword for alloy bikes.

    Some other things have evolved over the last few decades, too, such as the Cannondale-developed BB30 bottom bracket, which serves to emphasise the CAAD 8’s super-sharp ride, in the saddle or out. It does mean a deviation from the Shimano 105 drivetrain to make way for an FSA chainset, but the rest of Shimano’s 11-speed setup works superbly. The combination of a compact 50/34 chainset and 11-28 cassette is pretty much ideal for the majority of riders – low enough to get you up most climbs but high enough to really crank those pedals.

    Typically for a bike at this price point, the CAAD 8 is hampered by so-so wheels, in this case from the Taiwanese company Maddux, but if you're looking for a first serious road bike, Cannondale's CAAD 8 is worth your attention. It’s fast and easily comfortable enough, while the carbon fork, oversize steerer, stem and bar create very confident handling.

    The overall weight is only a negligible 86g heavier than the Giant Defy 0, which is the benchmark for this kind of cash. And should your budget not stretch that far, the same excellent frame is available with Claris, Sora or Tiagra kit. Alloy isn't just for relics – it still has a future.

    Specification

    • Weight: 9.08kg (56cm)
    • Frame: 6061 alloy
    • Fork: Carbon
    • Gears: Shimano 105, 50/34, 11-28
    • Brakes: Tektro R741 Wheels Maddux rims, Formula hubs
    • Finishing kit: Cannondale stem, bar, 27.2mm seatpost and saddle, 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres

    This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

    Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
    • Age: 52
    • Height: 175cm / 5'9
    • Weight: 75kg /165lb
    • Waist: 33in
    • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
    • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
    • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
    • Location: Bath, UK

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