Prior to departure for the Eurobike show at Friedrichshafen in southern Germany; an impromptu preview of the new Cannondale bikes for 2011 at its Poole HQ.
The top news is that the long-running Cannondale Advanced Aluminium Design (CAAD) series of aluminium road frames gets an update at the top end with the introduction of a CAAD 10 frame that the engineers have managed to fettle a further 200g from, bringing it down to 1,100g or so.
Our top pick is the red Shimano 105-equipped model for £1,300 but there will also be a choice of Dura-Ace for £2,500 or Ultegra for £1,900.
More significant to most, though, will be a relaunch of the previously trend-setting CAAD 8 frame built up into three different complete bike models all under £1,000. Evidently, Cannondale has regretted not having some more popularly priced models — amazing to think that CAAD 8 was the top professional model not so many years ago.
Cannondale is obviously taking the cyclo-cross racing category very seriously and genuine fanatics of mud and suffering will doubtless be interested in the exciting new carbon-fibre SuperX 950g frame, which built up with the best parts will cost £3,500.
We also feel that the new aluminium version, called CAADX, built up either with Shimano Tiagra parts for £900 or with 105 for £1,000 will be popular in the burgeoning commuting market, although the shinier, pricier CAADX 5 model certainly could be raced. The clue to Cannondale’s intention is that the bikes come with every conceivable fitting for racks and mudguards.
As far away from sensible commuter bikes as it’s possible to get, unless you count Ivan Basso’s Giro d’Italia-winning machine as a work bike, are the developments in the glamorous carbon-fibre part of the Cannondale range.
The 900g SuperSix HI-Mod we already knew about, but the slightly more realistic model for us is last year’s Six Carbon model, now re-engineered and redesignated Super Six with a 200g weight reduction to bring the frame to 1,050g. It incorporates all the clever shapes from the HI-Mod but without quite such high-modulus carbon and therefore less cost.
There are SuperSix models with Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupset but the one we’re yearning for is the version with the new Shimano 105 components for £1,800. This 2011 105-equipped SuperSix is the same price as the 2010 105 Six Carbon, which means a very nice frame upgrade for the same money!
New CAAD 10 has lost 230g to bring it down to 1,100g. Despite the weight loss, Cannondale claims to have retained the popular riding characteristics. Note the new straight seatstays which are a novelty after years of ‘hourglass’ shapes.