Cannondale CAAD9 review
Ah the fabled, and yes it really is fabled at this point, Cannondale CAAD9. Sure it may be a bit biased to write a review on a bike I own but at the same time that makes me very qualified to do so. It wasn't without days of research on internet bike forums, blogs, and retail sites before I decided to drop my precious college coin on this aluminum master. I was looking for a “bang for the buck” bike. I wanted the most in terms of performance and, of course, looks for my money. At the price point I had in mind (about $1,500), and considering I wanted higher end components, it was either going to be a no named nude carbon frame from ebay or an aluminum frame from a highly respected manufacturer in the cycling industry.
Cannondale has been manufacturing aluminum bikes since 1983 in Bethel, Connecticut USA (until they recently got bought out by Dorel and moved manufacturing to Taichung to the dismay of some purists). They are known for their easily recognizable oversized and oval tubing, with one of my favorite features being the hourglass seatstays. All of these features are said to lend to reduced flex and added comfort. I can 100% vouch for the reduced flex aspect of the CAAD9. In fact this is one of the main reasons it has become a favorite among crit racers who are looking for a solid feel while diving into corners and sprinting for 15th place.I personally appreciate the stability while climbing and descending. Speaking of climbing, the weight of a 56cm frame comes in at around 2.8lbs and I have seen some impressive budget builds come in at the low 15lb range.
One of the only areas the CAAD9 gets knocked by other reviewers is in the comfort department. Lets face it, this is a bike that is meant for performance and racing. With that said, does it also mean an aluminum performance bike should be uncomfortable? Cannondale has invested much time into making an aluminum frame that can balance stiffness with comfort and this frame has proven both with plenty of victories in the Tour de France, the Giro, and many other world class races. I am a firm believer that the correct fit and contact components (tires, saddle, bars/tape, pedals) have a greater determination on overall ride comfort than frame material alone.
Overall I think it is safe to say the CAAD9 is definitely the best bike for the money for almost any sort of “performance” riding and let us not forget the immaculate looks with aluminum tubing that has been mitered, hand welded, and heat treated right here in the USA! Even though this bike may be marketed to the race ready rider, I find it suitable for an overall bike as it has seen me through some longer coastal rides.