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What the difference: CAAD3 vs CAAD5(14 posts)

What the difference: CAAD3 vs CAAD5Serac
Mar 11, 2003 2:36 PM
So, I am considering having GVH bikes build up a Cannondale. But, I'm stuck: Do I go with the CAAD3 frame or the CAAD5 frame? The CAAD3 with ultegra runs about $200 less than an ultegra with CAAD5. So, whats the difference and is it worth the extra 200 for the CAAD5?

Thanks guys!
CAAD2? nm :-)DougSloan
Mar 11, 2003 2:38 PM
CAAD3 vs CAAD5ctisevn
Mar 11, 2003 2:50 PM
caad5 has s bend stays and more butting and "manipulation" in the down tube and head tube. so its lighter, stiffer and more vertically compliant. its been a couple years since I was up on cannondales so I might be forgetting something. the caad3 may have the s bend stays but theres definitely more going on with the downtube on the caad5. for 200 Id think it was worth it if it were me.
pretty significant...biknben
Mar 11, 2003 2:54 PM
Cadd3 frames are getty old now. C'dale has made many improvements since.

The Cadd5 has the following improvements over Cadd3:
-curved seat stays
-hidden/integrated headset
-externally butted head tube
-butted BB shell
-New fork (not sure about specific changes to the fork)

IMO, The upgrade is worth $200. My friend switched from the 3 to the 5 and said the 5 was noticeably smoother.

Also, consider that GVH's price includes the headset.
"S" seat stays and integrated headset... mainly...Akirasho
Mar 11, 2003 2:56 PM
... FWIW, I've got a couple of old 'Dales... an R2.8 and it's offspring, CAAD3.

The 2.8 is/was renowned for it's stiffness... and vertically incompliant ride (too stiff for some) and the CAAD3 addressed this somewhat with a redesign of the seat stays... thus too was the evolution of CAAD4 through CAAD7 (integrated headset and (optional) proprietary press fit bottom bracket along with redesigned frame and alloy (all the previous CAAD's used essentially the same planform and material).

My CAAD3 is a bit less harsh than the 2.8s (I actually like my 2.8 and ride it more than the CAAD3)... and I recently picked up a CAAD5 from Gary... but alas, I'm installing the fork and headset tonight... so no ride report.

FWIW part deux, the CAAD3 used to be Cannondale's flagship frame and I still feel it's worthy of any build... any component choice... if you wait a couple of years, the CAAD5 will be $200 less...

Be the bike.
State of the art Cannondale engineering advancementsFez
Mar 11, 2003 2:58 PM
Seriously, if you don't believe in the technology like s bend stays, there are practical differences between the 2.

caad3 has 1 inch steer tube and most had a threaded fork.

caad5 has 1 and 1/8 inch threadless carbon fork and an integrated headset.
CAAD 5eyebob
Mar 11, 2003 3:06 PM
There is no comparison. The curved seat stays of the CAAD 5 make a big difference in comfort. IF the price difference is eating at you, go with a CAAD 5 with a 105 set up. is a good website that will have more information for you.

I have both in my living room.fracisco
Mar 11, 2003 5:14 PM
The CAAD5 built with Ultegra feels quite a bit lighter than my CAAD3 built with 105. The CAAD5 rides smoother than the CAAD3. (I have a CAAD5 with carbon-steerer Slice fork.)

CAAD3 build: CAAD3 framset with carbon fork, Ultegra headset, Cannondale threaded stem/bars/seatpost/seat, 105, Mavic Cosmos wheels, Look pedals.

CAAD5 build: CAAD5 frameset with carbon steerer fork, Campy integrated hidden headset, 3TTT Forgie stem, 3TTT bars, American classic Al seatpost, Selle Italia Trans Am seat, Ultegra, Mavic OP w/Ultegra hubs, Look pedals.

I would spend the $200 for the CAAD5. Mine was built by GVH.
No comparison really. Get the CAAD 5Matno
Mar 11, 2003 5:28 PM
Unless you prefer a heavier, rougher ride. It's well worth the extra $. Period.
some more differences...russw19
Mar 11, 2003 11:55 PM
There really is a nominal weight difference. It's like 30 grams. The Cad 3 is noticably stiffer (read harsher if you are a light rider) than the Cad 5. The Cad Series evolution goes as follows, and I am only starting at the Cad3 not the 2.

The Cad 3 bikes were built to the specs of the Saeco Team. When Cannondale entered the European racing market they sat down with key members of the Saeco team to design improvments to their frames. Mario Cippolini was one of the people who's input they utilized. The Cad 3 introduced Cannondale's Power Pyramid Downtube. And it was designed to be lighter than Titanium frames on the market at that time. However it was also designed to be stiff, as per the requests of the Saeco members. Turns out it worked. It was actually too stiff for most of the US riders it is marketed to. So Cannondale next made the Cad 4 which added the hourglass bend chainstays to make the rear end a bit more compliant. They also eliminated the downtube shifter bosses and simply welded on cable stops instead, meaning you must use either STI or Ergopower levers. You can no longer use downtube shifters on Cad 4 frames. The Cad 5 added the integrated headset design. And depending on your model, either a full carbon slice fork, or an alloy steerer model. Either way it was a change from a Kestrel EMS fork to a Time fork. And it went to a 1 1/8" steerer as well for the full carbon fork. The Cad 6 debuted in the 2000 TDF and features the Slice Si crank-bottom bracket system. This frame will only accept a Cannondale bottom bracket and crank system until someone comes out with a conversion kit. (I have heard rumors that both FSA and Chris King have prototypes already for conversion kits, but I can not verify that.)The Cad 7 is the new Optimo tubing. I don't know the specifics as I no longer work for a Cannondale dealer, but I believe the Cad 7s are available in both the oversized Slice Si crank design, and a regular bottom bracket shell. The Team Issue and R5000 bikes both use the Si Hollowgram cranks, but the R3000 uses a standard Dura-Ace crank.

As for the opinions you are going to get regarding each frame, it depends on the type of ride you are looking for out of you next bike. If you like stiff bikes, get the Cad 3. I have heard that Cippolini refused to ride a Cad 4 or 5 because he liked the added stiffness of the 3. But if you are looking for a more compliant ride with the weight savings of aluminium, then go with the Cad 5. It should give a more compliant ride which some may say is smoother. From my expirience with these frames, I know several riders who rode both.. bigger riders and sprinters liked the Cad 3, but most guys under 180 prefered the Cad 5. I even know a rider who went so far as to claim he couldn't keep the rear wheel on the ground on his Cad 3 when he road over bumps. I personally have a Cad 3 and I loved it. It has since been retired for a stiffer Pinarello Paris.

But I would see if you can ride one of each first so you can decide for yourself and don't have to pick your next bike on some of our opinions.

Slice historyMatno
Mar 12, 2003 3:41 AM
The history of the Slice fork is pretty hard to follow. I finally emailed Cannondale and they said: "The first year for Slice forks most were produced by Time, a few were produced by Kestrel. Since then everything is Time."

Also, the switch from 1" to 1 1/8" was made in the middle of the CAAD4 line. Older CAAD4's have one, newer ones have 1.125". All CAAD5's have the larger size of course. The 1.125" CAAD 4's were technically "round 3" of that model since the first 1 inch CAAD4's had threaded forks. My CAAD4 has a 1" steel steerer (threadless) on a Time-made Slice fork.

As for the improvement in the newer forks, C'dale had this to say: "The full carbon forks are slightly lighter than your [steel steerer fork], theoretically they ride smoother.(could you tell the difference? maybe...) My personal
estimate is the added performance would not be worth the expense of the upgrade." Doesn't sound quite as positive as the website about how amazing they are!
Slice historyrussw19
Mar 12, 2003 4:13 PM
Interesting! I have a Caad 3 Saeco bike that came with a Slice fork. It's a Kestrel EMS fork. Steel threaded steerer. I thought they switched to Time as a result of a deal with them, Time, and the Saeco team. I had thought the switch was a sponsor deal with Saeco that also paid Cannondale to have them be the fork supplier over Kestrel.

Guess not, huh?

Thanks for the update!

re: What the difference: CAAD3 vs CAAD5jordan
Mar 12, 2003 4:35 PM
I own both the CAD3 and CAD4 w/ 1" forks.The difference in weight is indeed only about 30 gms. in the 60 cm size.I am 194 lbs and I must admit that I actually prefer the CAD3.The CAD4 seems less stable somehow.If you are a large rider riding a big size and prefer less problematic and cheaper 1" fork setups you won't go wrong with the bargain CAD3.The weld and paint quality and my CAD3 is slightly better than the CAD4.
re: What the difference: CAAD3 vs CAAD5russw19
Mar 12, 2003 7:40 PM
The 30 or so grams is from the removal of the downtube shifter bosses. The added material (which is mostly nominal) that is added to make the hourglass stays slightly longer is made up by the (mostly nominal) amount of material they machined away from the head tube and bottom bracket shell. But most people feel that because it has a higher number and is newer, it must be better. I liked the Caad 3 better too. It was stiffer. And like my earlier post said, riders like Cippolini liked it better too, but most US recreational riders thought it was too stiff. Go figure, give them what they want, a true pro quality racing bike, and they complain about the ride.