The CAAD13 was launched in 2019, with Cannondale completely revamping the platform to bring it in line with the latest trends – its features focused on comfort, aero and practicality.
Where the CAAD12 had a more traditional diamond frame design, the CAAD13 frameset strongly resembles Cannondale’s ultra-modern SuperSix EVO carbon race bike.
The CAAD13’s dropped seatstays create a smaller rear triangle for stiffness and allow for greater flex through the seatpost and seat tube, hence improving rider comfort over the CAAD12.
Cannondale also borrowed some aero features from its flagship, with the CAAD13 sporting truncated aerofoil tube profiles, for a claimed drag reduction of “up to” 30 per cent over its predecessor.
Tyre clearances have grown to accommodate wide 30mm tyres front and rear, and there are bosses for proper mudguards too, with an optional bolt-on seatstay bridge taking care of the upper mount at the back.
While a number of brands have reverted to threaded bottom brackets, citing greater practicality, Cannondale is sticking doggedly with its signature BB30A press fit.
The semi-internal cable routing is pleasingly straightforward, however, while the cockpit setup is standard, with no proprietary parts or complex integration.
Aesthetics are highly subjective, but to my eyes the CAAD13’s frameset looks a little cheap because of the paint job.
I don’t mind the undisguised welds – there’s an appealing honesty to not concealing a frame’s metallic nature – but the colour scheme is flat.
The CAAD13 Disc’s geometry presents no particular surprises.
You might be thrown by the slacker head angles (between 70.9 and 71.2 degrees) across the four smallest sizes, but these are balanced by a larger fork offset, producing near-constant trail figures across the range (around 58mm), so handling should be pretty consistent – and it’s excellent.
This 54cm bike has 384mm of reach and 555mm of stack – pretty standard race-bike numbers without being excessively aggressive.
Cannondale gives you a full 105 groupset aside from the cranks, which are Cannondale’s own but appear to come from the FSA stable.
While groupset-matching items warm the cockles of my heart, I quite like the look of these and have no complaints about the shifting performance of their chainrings.
The CAAD13 has mid-compact gearing with a 52/36 and 11-30 cassette, but the choice of a medium-cage GS 105 rear derailleur means fitting a larger cassette for steep climbs is an option.
The generic-looking Cannondale-branded wheels are usefully wide with 19mm internal rims, but they sadly can’t be converted to tubeless. A Prologo saddle aside, the finishing kit is all in-house.
On paper, the CAAD13 Disc 105 is heavy and averagely-specced for the money, but that all melts away when you’re in the saddle.
Shimano 105 performs as well as ever and the shifting feels particularly good on the CAAD13, likely thanks to that simple cable routing.
Having said that, the CAAD13 feels lively with an almost springy quality under pedalling that makes you feel fast and strong. As a result, and in spite of its not inconsiderable heft, the Cannondale is a highly effective and very enjoyable climber.
In fact, it’s a brilliant all-round performer, with accurate handling and a remarkably smooth ride that shames many more expensive carbon bikes.
I’m not convinced the CAAD13 Disc looks like a bike that costs well over £2,000, but the ride is so good I’m not sure it matters.
The CAAD13 isn’t just one of the best aluminium road bikes out there – it’s a bloody good bike, full stop.
I wish it came with nicer wheels and had pretty paint, but it rides brilliantly out-of-the-box regardless.
If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to spend an extra £500 on the carbon equivalent, I’d strongly consider opting for the CAAD13, and putting the spare cash towards a better wheelset.
Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105 geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74.3||74.1||73.7||73.3||72.9||72.5||72.1|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.9||71.2||71.2||71.2||73||73||73||73|
|Seat tube (mm)||404||442||481||519||540||562||583||604|
|Top tube (mm)||510||520||530||546||562||578||594||611|
|Head tube (mm)||94||114||130||154||164||188||209||230|
|Fork offset (mm)||55||55||55||55||45||45||45||45|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||79||74||74||72||72||69||69||69|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||263||268||268||271||271||273||273||273|
How we tested
We put four of the best aluminium road bikes you can buy right now to the test on our local road loops and testing grounds.
The Cannondale, Kinesis and Bowman all come with disc brakes and are priced between £2,000 and £3,000, while the Specialized has a much smaller price tag and a spec that includes rim brakes.
Also on test
- Specialized Allez Sport: £999 / US$1,200 / €1,109
- Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105: £2,250 / US$2,300 / AU$3,499 / €2,299
- Kinesis Aithein Disc: £2,680
- Bowman Palace 3 Ultegra R8000 Disc: £2,750
|Price||AUD $3499.00EUR €2299.00GBP £2250.00USD $2300.00|
|Available sizes||48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 60cm|
|Tyres||Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick 700x25mm|
|Stem||Cannondale 3 alloy|
|Seatpost||HollowGram 27 KNØT alloy|
|Saddle||Prologo Nago RS STN|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano 105|
|Handlebar||Cannondale 3 alloy|
|Brakes||Shimano 105 hydraulic disc|
|Front derailleur||Shimano 105|
|Frame||SmartForm C1 premium alloy|
|Cranks||Cannondale 1, 52/36|
|Cassette||Shimano 105 11-30|
|Wheels||Cannondale RD 2.0 on Formula hubs|