Ride report: Cannondale CAAD8 105

During 2012, I heard good things about the Cannondale CAAD8 on a reasonably regular basis. I had also been intrigued by the release of this new version of the CAAD8 frame as it featured some of the technology from the much lauded CAAD10 but at a lower price point and with less aggressive geometry. It was this article that first got me curious: http://road.cc/content/news/40388-sneak-peek-cannondale-2012-uk-range-launch-complete-overhaul-caad-8-super-six

A friend of mine bought one and last weekend we arranged to meet up and swap bikes so I could try it out.

The big news for 2013 for the CAAD8 is that in the UK it’s now possible to buy one from £599 through to £1,049 for the 105 equipped one. That’s a strong price range, so I was very interested to see how one rode. The 105 version in Black and Matt Silver looks particularly good to me.

Mike’s bike is a completely stock 2012 CAAD8 105 and all we swapped was seatposts/saddles and pedals. The ride was a good local training loop for me and featured a good mixture of terrain in just under 60km and just under 800m of climbing.

Last winter I rode nearly a thousand miles on a Trek 1.5 and before that I rode over 10,000km on a 2005 Specialized Allez Elite. It didn’t take me very long to really enjoy the CAAD8 – it was comfortable smooth, responsive and did everything well. It was a bike I felt at home on within a few kilometres. I never warmed to the Trek I owned, it’s a decent enough bike but I found I didn’t enjoy it enough to keep it for the long term – although I know owners who love them. I have a feeling that if I’d bought a CAAD8, I’d still be happily riding it. For me, Mike’s CAAD8 is the nicest aluminium framed bike I’ve ridden to date. Even on the stock wheels, which have taken some criticism in the reviews I’ve read – the bike performed well. Shimano 105 is one of my favourite groupsets and was a terrific match for the bike. The standard brakes were a bit disappointing but I did wonder if some pads like the KoolStop Salmons that I love would improve the braking.

I also can’t help but wonder how a £500 set of wheels might improve the bike further – so I may have to speak to Mike and try it again (unless Cannondale/CSG are listening and want to help out with a loan bike!)

Given how much I enjoyed the new 20 speed Tiagra on the Trek I had – I can imagine the £899 CAAD8 Tiagra being a very compelling buy. I’d personally still try to save the extra for 105 – but that’s just me.

All in all I liked the CAAD8 so much, I spent about 3 hours on Sunday evening Googling for prices and wondering who I knew that could get me a good deal. I thought it was a terrific bike.

The only big disappointment is that although it has mudguards/fender mounts – there isn’t enough room to fit full guards. If there had been, it would have been 10 out of 10. However guards like the Crud Roadracers and the SKS Raceblades will fit.

The CAAD8 is a great beginners bike, training bike, sportive bike and for a lot of us who don’t suit the more aggressive geometry of the CAAD10 – this is the better and cheaper buy.

You can find a good review on the Tiagra version of the bike here: http://road.cc/content/review/50515-cannondale-caad8-tiagra

And here: http://www.bicycling.com/node/59205

Cannondale have a video on the bike/frame here:

Thanks for reading