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Cannondale CAAD12 105 review

15 Jan 2018

The CAAD range has long been regarded as the peak of aluminium frame building, and the CAAD12 proves why

Cyclist Rating: 
Responsiveness; low weight; build quality
Minor build aggrievances; FSA chainrings rather than Shimano

While most manufacturers have moved their mid and high-end bikes to carbon, Cannondale is one of the few firms that has continued to develop and improve alloy frames with the CAAD (Cannondale Advanced Aluminium Design) range of bikes.

The latest model, the CAAD12, offers a frame shape that’s hard to believe is made from aluminium, with neat and subtle hydroforming at the joins, improving strength and stiffness and keeping the weight to a minimum.

Initial reactions when riding are positive, with lightning reactions and very little in the way of flex or sluggishness when sprinting.

Comfort is also good, and although it can’t match endurance machines for all-round balance or ultimate rear comfort, for a traditional road bike it certainly isn’t uncomfortable and despite the alloy frame - which can sometimes be harsh - the CAAD 12 is on a par with many carbon frames.

Comfy roads

Tyre clearance is reasonable, with space for 28mm tyres, but perhaps the quickest way of improving contact point comfort would be to change the thin bar tape for a slightly more cushioned option.

Buy the Cannondale CAAD12 105 from Cycle Store

The components used are good for the price, with mostly Shimano 105 matched to Cannondale’s own Si chainset and FSA chainrings, which can’t quite match Shimano’s shifting performance but win on weight.

The Mavic Aksium wheels are solid, reliable performers and although they are quite narrow compared to modern wheels, with many following the trend of increased width for decreased rolling resistance, Aksiums have proven themselves as an extremely reliable training wheel over the years.

While the CAAD12 frame can’t match the very lightest carbon frames for weight, it is still an impressive 1,100g claimed frame weight and at a very competitive price point. Overall bike weight is good with potential to upgrade components and drop further weight quite easily.

What really shines through with the CAAD12 is the geometry and ride appeal with fantastic handling at all times and especially on smooth, fast downhills where the ability to tackle technical sections with lots of sharp bends really shines through.

Buy the Cannondale CAAD12 105 from Cycle Store

Rating - 4.2/5


Cannondale CAAD12 105
Frame Smartform C1 Premium alloy,
SpeedSave BallisTec full carbon fork 
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano 105
Chainset Cannondale Si BB30, 52/36
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28
Bars Cannondale C3 alloy
Stem Cannondale C3 alloy
Seatpost Cannondale C3 alloy
Wheels Mavic Aksium, Mavic Yksion 25mm tyres
Saddle Selle Royal Seta S1
Weight 8.1kg (54cm)

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