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Just when you start to beleive one thing...(26 posts)

Just when you start to beleive one thing...Ian
Apr 5, 2001 6:19 PM
...something happens to completely change your mind. This time it was Cannondale's CADD 6 frame.

I started riding an aluminum road bike about five years ago. The frame was circa 92'-93' and for a long time I did not know any better. I got a part time job in a shop and got to test ride steel Serrota's and Ti Litespeed's. Then one day we got in a Trek 5200. I fell in love with carbon. I bought a 5200 not to long after that. I had that bike for a little less than a year before recently upgrading to a Look KG281. Carbon, IMHO, gave the best ride, then steel, then Ti and bringing up the rear, aluminum.

Well, I got to take a spin on a CADD 6 the other day. How in the hell did Cannondale get that bike to ride so smooth? I was touting the benefits of my KG281 over aluminum and someone gave me a CADD 6 to ride. I ate some crow that day and came away feeling very humbled.

Anyone else out there had the chance to ride this bike? I'm still a carbon man, but if you like aluminum, check out the CADD 6.
re: Review of the new CAAD6 in the latest issueTC
Apr 5, 2001 6:39 PM
of CycleSport. Shoes this black beauty chewing up the cobbles of the Tour of Flanders route. Good article, why on Earth he decided to run Conti SuperSupersonics on that route was a mystery to me.

By the size of that downtube on that CAAD6 I can see why it rides so smooth.

Great pics in the article too!!

Maybe it really IS the design over materials.shmoo
Apr 5, 2001 6:52 PM
Design, fit, material, components, weight, in that order, IMHO. Actually I think we can thank Intel and friends. Contemporary advances in design and tube manipulation have been facilitated by even faster advances in computer hardware, particularly processors and RAM.
Cycle Sports review is eye opening (for some)DG
Apr 5, 2001 8:14 PM
I am currently riding a Cannondale and am not at all surprised by Cyclesports's review. Who would have thought that the "jewel-like" cad6 would ride with assurance over the cobble stones of Tour of Flanders.

As the author says: "Cad6 a strange choice for Flanders? Not really; last year Saeco's Dario Pieri rode an earlier Cad4-framed version to second place behind Tchmil (who also rode an aluminum steed)."

"With a Dura-Ace groupset and Mavi Ksyrium wheels the overall effect is ultra-light but incredibly sturdy--which it needed to be as it was in for a battering on the splintered roads looming ahead."

"In recent years, Cannondale rider Cippolini has tried his luck o the cobbled roads at Ghent Wevelgem, but the northern Europen classics are not a priority for the likes of Saeco, which is a shame given Cannondale's propoensity for producing machines which take a novel approach to tackling the challenges of difficult terrain."

Also check out the recent cannondale review in procycling. There seems to be a convergence of views.

Many folks on this forum who diss Cannondale have most likely not ridden a Cad4 frame and above.

Having said that, the Cad6 is way out of my range and if I were to spend that kind of money I would rather buy a C-40.
Apr 6, 2001 6:43 AM
Why would you buy the C-40 instead? Just because of the name??? I'm just not tempted as the rest of you guys by the name alone. I have ridden one only once but I think you can get a better bike for a lot less the money. But of course I would rather drive a Porsch than a VW Bug
I want "blind" test rides for all these bikesET
Apr 6, 2001 7:36 AM
All we have to do is paint the frames. Even intentionally deceptive tests (it's all harmless anyway), where one bike is painted to look like another, would be interesting. I think at least some of the ooohs and ahhhs are because they know what they're riding.

Having not ridden the bikes in question, I still have my doubts and biases. Aluminum? Yuck! And it's worth pointing out something. The one who started this thread said he took it out for a "spin". No one's denying quality aluminum has its place, especially for shorter races, ascents, stages. But a "spin" and a 50-mile ride are two different things, and high weekly mileage is more telling than one 50-mile ride, i.e. there may be a cumulative beat-up-feeling effect that can't be easily felt on one ride, and certainly not on a spin. I wouldn't throw my carbon away just yet (but I gotta get it first :-)).
I want "blind" test rides for all these bikeschrisbaby
Apr 6, 2001 9:52 AM
cast aside those doubts and biases. I , too was sceptical of Aluminum, but now I have seen the light! Aluminum frames are designed with comfort and stiffness in mind these days. case in point - I bought a Giant TCR this year and I have felt very comfortable riding it. It does not at all feel harsh. And since it is an alloy it feels a lot more 'alive' than carbon ( I also have a carbon frame - which I do still love.) An earlier post suggested that it is no longer the material that matters, but, rather the geometry, fit, etc. I agree with that statement. The Bike manufacturers have been at this long enough to know the short-comings of all materials and have come up with solutions to these problems.
Just out of curiosity ...pmf
Apr 6, 2001 10:30 AM
Chrisbaby, but what are you comparing that Giant TCR to? What other bikes have you had experience riding? 15 minute parking lot rides don't count. It doesn't feel harsh compared to what? I keep hearing all these praises about how aluminium bikes are engineered for comfort and stiffness these days, but wonder from what perspective these claims are coming from.

10 years ago, I bought a Cannondale 3.0 frame. I thought it was great. As I purchased more bikes, I grew to hate it. It went from being my pride and joy to my dreaded commuter. I finally broke it. I wasn't sorry to see it go.
still biased; after all, I'm biased :-)ET
Apr 6, 2001 10:37 AM
Can I ask what carbon frame you have? Also, what kind of mileage are you doing?

Sometimes I think this all-frames-are-essentially-the-same argument is taken too far (after all, I'm biased :-)). There is no reason why all high-quality frames must essentially be the same. They're made out of different materials, after all. Obviously, aluminum frame builders will keep trying to push the comfort level of aluminum towards the others, but that doesn't mean that they'll get all the way there. Some might rather just buy the "there" instead. Also, one rider (e.g. tall and needing steep seat tube angle) might find aluminum better than another rider. But in general, aluminum is still thought of as harsh. You might claim it's unjustified. Perhaps. But remember Doug Sloan? Does real high mileage, loved his aluminum Bianchi until he discovered his C-40 was a lot more comfortable (although I wish he too had a "blind" test :-)).
Apr 6, 2001 10:44 AM
Here's what you do to quantify the buzz or 'feel' of a bike frame. Attach one of those seismograph type things, or some type of motion/vibration sensor, to the saddle and handlebars of various bikes, and then ride them over some rough pavement. Shouldn't that tell us something?

One thing I discovered, all bikes feel the same on smooth pavement. But, is that any suprise?

The Cad6 was taken on 100kms spin over the "bergs" ...DG
Apr 6, 2001 11:01 AM
and 12 climbs. If the bone-jarring cobbled roads of Tour of Flanders isn't a good test of a bike's comfort and handling characteristics, I don't know what is. This wasn't a spin around the parking lot.

The test rider has obviously ridden many different bikes (frame materials, brands etc) and has a good frame of reference, unlike most of us here who've hardly had the opportunity to ride more than 3 bikes for any extended period of time. So his praise for Cad6 wasn't made in a vaccum but in reference to his experiences with other top-of-the-line bikes in the market that he'd had the opportunity to ride. Also, the always-reliable Robert Millar's review of the Cad5 in Procycling resonates with my experience and the above review. All reviewers aren't smoking dope (especially when they are riding a cannondale).
Would be great, but can it actually be done?shmoo
Apr 6, 2001 11:28 AM
It would have to be some way other than just paint. The tube shapes and jointing is all too recognizable any more. And it should be that way. If they all looked the same, it would mean that at least some are improperly designed - that is, not using the materials and contemporary manufacturing practices to full potential. Identically paint a CAAD6, a OCLV, a Merlin, and a Calfee, and you'll still know which is which. I wonder if the tubes could somehow be masked so that you literally could not see the tube shapes, sizes, jointing, etc., while not artificially compromising the ride qualities because of the masking. It would be a very cool, and probably revealing experiment if a way could be figured out.
but...ooh ooh
Apr 6, 2001 7:49 AM
if that VW had the performance of the Porsche, then what? I think that is your point.
Apr 6, 2001 8:01 AM
and what if the VW did match the Porsche, but the conditions of ownership were that you must have it painted to say Huffy and you couldn't tell anyone what you have (with penalty of death for violations :-)). I'd bet most wouldn't take a C-40 at half price on those terms.
Good point - let's be real honestDog
Apr 6, 2001 10:09 AM
OK, let's be reeeal honest.

Part of the reason we ride what we do (some of us, sometimes) is so that others will note that we are not a total Fred and accept us into their group (er, paceline). The group I rode with in the last double had several C-40's, other Colnagos, and Merlins. Although there is absolutely no necessary connection between riding one and being a good rider, as anyone on the planet with the money can buy one, most would believe that if your priorities are such that you blow a wad of cash on one, you likely are a serious, competent rider, so 'come on in the group.'

Same thing applies to Merlins, Litespeeds, Calfee's etc. You can't tell me that a Merlin is significantly 'better' than an Airborne. You are, if you can honestly admit it, partly buying the name and what goes along with that.

That said, that's not the only reason for buying an expensive bike. Some of these expensive bikes have wonderful reputations and get great reviews. But, I must admit, I would not spend $3500 for a bike frame that said "Sears" on it, I don't care what it rides like.

It's all the same.....Lazy
Apr 6, 2001 11:02 AM
Ford or Chevy?
Campy or Shimano?
Colnago or Calfee?
Seven or Serotta?
Potato or Potatoe?
Lexus or Infiniti?
Sidi or Carnac?
Pearl or Garneau?
Mercedes or BMW?
Av's or Redwings?

None of these things suck (with the obvious exception of the Redwings and their close relative, the potatoe), it's just a matter of preference.

Same argument, different subject. It is fun though isn't it? :-)
definitely AvsJiggy
Apr 6, 2001 11:11 AM
Redwings DO suck... don't you hear all the fans at the Pepsi Center?
re: Just when you start to beleive one thing...LC
Apr 5, 2001 10:50 PM
Way back when Aluminum frames were just starting out they were actually too soft, so there must be a happy medium somewhere.
similar experience with 01 Cadd5 frameJohnG
Apr 6, 2001 5:30 AM
I'm VERY happy with the "feel" of my new cadd5 frame..... especially the rear end of the bike. All things being equal I would probably like to soften up the Slice fork just a bit but overall the frame/fork is VERY nice.

And this is comming from a former Dale "basher"! I.e. My circa 1997 Cadd2/3? frame was the biggest POS that I've ever ridden!

Caad3 and Caad4 are the same except for the seat stays and 40 grClaudio C.
Apr 6, 2001 6:54 AM
And some $$...gimmeaminute
Apr 6, 2001 8:04 AM
$$ is always a part of the next best thing.
Right..... LOL..... nmJohnG
Apr 6, 2001 11:17 AM
Well....grz mnky
Apr 6, 2001 9:10 AM
Now you have an appreciation for the short comings of the 5200. At the high end it's a bunch of tradeoffs. I had a similar expereince after riding a Ti Serotta - dropped my OCLV like a bad habit.
I can't say that I do...Ian
Apr 6, 2001 10:28 AM
...have an appreciation for the short comings of the 5200. I still would pick that bike over a CADD 6, or any other aluminum bike for that matter. I was very surprised and very impressed by the Cannondale, but I am still a carbon man. I did not get rid of the 5200 because I did not like it, I just wanted something new.
I can't say that I do...grz mnky
Apr 6, 2001 3:40 PM
I got rid of my 5200 b/c I no longer liked it.

Does the word "dead" mean anything to you?
I can't say that I do...Ian
Apr 6, 2001 5:51 PM
Just different opinions. I would never use the word dead. I always compared it to riding on a sheet of glass, very smooth.