Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 6

Pros:

  • Good all round frame

Cons:

  • Cheap and nasty groupset

Product:

Cannondale CAAD8 2300

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£599.99

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This is Cannondale’s entry-level road bike. It’s right at the foot of a giddying range that tops out with the SuperSix EVO, which is over 12 times more expensive.



Intended to be a first step on that heady route to the very pinnacle of road cycling, the CAAD8 is, according to Cannondale, “designed to turn people into cyclists”.



Cannondale has three decades of experience with aluminium tubing to draw on, so the CAAD8 certainly ought to be able to live up to the US firm’s claims. Furthermore, Cannondale says it actually shares its tubeset shaping with the SuperSix EVO.



To make it novice friendly, it has a slightly longer head tube than its pricy carbon cousin for a more upright rider position, and the head tube is also machined externally to save a few grams – Cannondale says its weight ?is class-leading.



The CAAD8 frame and its Shimano 2300 groupset ought to have a lot in common, both of them being budget versions of something much more expensive and desirable but benefiting from the same technology. However, whereas the CAAD8 makes a good fist of being a ‘proper’ road frame, the 2300 components look and feel cheap and nasty.



The shifters have plastic thumb paddles for the upshifts that can’t be reached from the drops. If that’s not silly enough, they are placed just so that when you grip the hoods, they rub the knuckles of your thumbs. Even Sora, Shimano’s bottom ‘series’ groupset doesn’t have these any more. The shifters rattle annoyingly too, and a couple of times the right-hand downshift/brake lever stuck at the limit of its sweep during a shift.

Back to basics

The rest of it is OK if you don’t mind basic eight-speed and an old-fashioned square-taper bottom bracket. The wheels are heavy and contribute to the general feeling of unwieldiness about the CAAD8 2300.



For another £100 the CAAD8 comes with the new version of Sora and for another £200 on top of that it gets 10-speed Shimano Tiagra (though unfortunately the same wheels) and I would suggest that’s where the groupset begins to match the frame’s performance.

Verdict

To sum up, the CAAD8 2300 is a good frame let down by a groupset that has limitations even for novices. The advertised metamorphosis worked in reverse for me – it turned me from a cyclist into a jaded person with sore thumbs.

Full Specification

Supplier:
www.cannondale.com
Weight:
9.52kg

Size Tested:
56
Size Range:
48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61cm

Frame:
6061 aluminium

  • Scouserat

    I recently bought one of these bikes to do to the london to brighton bike ride on as the bike I had hoped to do it on was not back from the sprayers, the bike was in the secondhand section of the shop and the only reason I bought it was that it fitted me. When I took the bike out I soon noticed that the downshifters do rub your on your thumbs, but they did not seem to be a hinderance at all as I can still use them from the lower part part of the bars. Having only ridden custom made bikes in the past I found this bike to be quick nimble in traffic, and ok the groupset is shimano but it seemed to work quite well (I am biased towards campag).
    The wheels where missmatched but seeing as I am getting back into cycling I am not at a level to notice this much, I was a bit taken aback by the compact chainset as I am used to the more old fashioned 42/53 chainsets.
    Only issue I had was on the day of the london to brighton I stripped a thread on the chainwheel crank, the shop I bought it from replaced the whole chasinset. The bike worked well on the uphills and on the downhills, I like the bike but will consider swapping the groupset eventually if I decide to keep the bike. I have been out for several rides and now and the bike handles lovely, I am happy with the bike even if ti was secondhand.

  • Tony Benstead

    I have had my caad8 105 for 3 years now and think it is a lovely bike. Have upgraded the wheels to Easton circuits with Velomax hubs. Bought them barely used for less than half price, they accelerate and climb very well. Need all the help I can get at my age, 64, may upgrade the seatpost to a full carbon Specialized for a bit more comfort, is it 27mm? dont know. Anyway its all the bike I need, cruise comfortably at 18 mph and have done about 8thousand miles on it so far, barring tyres and tubes the only expense I have had is a new gear cable. Would recommend this bike unreservedly. good value for money.

  • Daren

    Raced my son’s caad 8 Tiagra and your comments are spot on. The wheels are dreadful – I upgraded his to my Ksyrium Elites, but the frame is truly excellent. Tiagra is a fine groupset, but the FSA BB30 bottom bracket gave us the widely reported creaking issues before a regreasing. Fit is on the large size – I’m 179cm and ride the 54, and the head tube is very long, which means I have a slammed stem (a first!). The white frame is a nightmare to clean. But is is a great package for first time racing. Just fit better wheels.

  • Matthew trohear

    I have the caad 8 105 and its great, I just upgraded the wheels to shimano ultegra 6700s and its made a big difference in climbing etc.
    I had 2300 on my old bike (cheap claud butler) and I agree it was awful up to the 105.
    I would recommend the caad 8 105 and I have seen it for £1050 bargain!

  • Robert Bowman

    Agreed. Yes, 2300 is terrible, but you’re getting /that/ frame.

    Brilliant machine for starters, much room for upgrade. Wonder about road cycling … get CAAD8 2300 … have it one season … get the bug … love road cycling …

    Over winter, upgrade to (at least) 10 sp Tiagra (~ 290) and Fulcrum Racing 5 (~ 185) wheels. 600 + 290 + 185 = 1075, just 175 more than buying CAAD8 Tiagra to start with but you get better wheels for 10 cheaper and a 2300 groupset to sell on ebay for 50 or so. Oh, and the fun and experience of performing your first groupset transplant.

    Bike.sorted for a good few years.

  • Aziraphael

    Agreed. This review is biased to rider preference.

    From Cycling Weekly’s own article on the new Claris groupset:
    “In response to the growing number of entry-level road bikes being sold, Shimano has launched its newest groupset – Claris, also know as 2400. Claris takes over from 2300 componentry, currently the go-to components for bike manufacturers looking to hit shop floors with road bikes below £600. ”

    Please note: CURRENTLY THE GO-TO COMPONENTS FOR BIKE MANUFACTURERS
    Please note: ROAD BIKES BELOW £600

    How, pray tell, can an essentially ‘industry standard’ groupset at a given price point be responsible for a bike at that pricepoint being slated in this way?

    …and I thought Cycling Weekly did serious product reviewing.

  • Andy Powell

    Seems unfair.

    If this was in a group test it would have blown everything else away at this price. For £600 you cant expect Ultegra and it genuinely represents great value for money. If approx £600 is your budget then seriously consider this bike.