Cannondale CAAD10-5 Update

With Hurricane Sandy putting the smack down on the northeast right now, I thought it would be a good time for a long term review of Mia’s road bike.  Her 48cm 2011 Cannondale CAAD10-5.

Hands down, the # 1 search term that draws people to On & Off Rhodes is CAAD10.  Every time I look at the stats page, it shows up as one of the search terms.  It is no surprise that people are interested in this bike, it really is one sweet ride and is only made better by it’s price point.

Mia’s 48cm Cannondale CAAD10-5

We purchased Mia’s 2011 CAAD10-5 from Rhino Bike Works in Plymouth, NH last year.  So Mia now has two full seasons of riding on this bike.  She came off a 2006 Specialized Dolce custom built by me with Veloce 9 speed.  It was a decent riding bike, but can’t keep up with this bike at all.

The stock bike came with Shimano RS10 wheels.  Not a bad set of wheels, but not really all that special either.  We upgraded Mia’s wheels to a set of Spinergy Xaero Lite at the start of this riding season.  Those wheels easily dropped 3/4 of a pound off her bike.

Spinergy Xaero Lite Wheelsest

The only other upgrades have been a few  minor things.  An FSA K-Force seatpost to get a tad more setback and Selle Italia Diva saddle to replace the stock Prologo.  Seats are such a personal preference and with the choice of this saddle, it required a 25mm setback post to get Mia to her desired position.

Selle Italia Diva Saddle
FSA K-Force 25mm setback seatpost

Mia’s not a racer, but she does enjoy going for a long ride.  When she went to test ride bikes she went with a Trek Madone 3.1 and a Cannondale Carbon Synapse to compare against the aluminum of her Dolce and the CAAD10 she was interested in.

I tried not to influence  her decision too much, just let her ride them and choose which one she wanted.  The Trek and CAAD10 both had 105 on them and the Synapse had Tiagra.  She preferred the shifter feel on the 105 group over the Tiagra.

The surprising part to both of us was that the Synapse and Trek both felt very similar to her Dolce.  Propbably attributable to the fact that they are “lower end” carbon bikes.  She loved the snap and response of the CAAD10 though.  I’ll be the first to admit I thought she’d like the carbon bikes better.  Since Mia doesn’t race, she wasn’t looking for a rocket ship or criterium bike.  But after a couple miles of test riding each of them on a hill, some flats and downhill, she choose the CAAD10.

Don’t let anyone tell you that aluminum will  beat you up now a days.  Maybe in the “old days”, but Cannondale really have perfected the art of aluminum design.  We’ve done back to back 70+ mile days a couple times and Mia doesn’t feel beat up at all.  A true testament to how far Cannondale has come.  My first race bike was a Cannondale Criterium 3.0 and that thing beat the living daylights out of me after rides longer than 40 miles.

The only other upgrades planned for this bike are either an Ultegra or FSA carbon compact crankset and definitely an upgrade to Ultegra (or Dura Ace if I can get them cheap enough) brake calipers.  The stock brakes stop you, but they really are not all that great.  The lever feel is kind of dead and the modulation is lackluster.

So in closing, if you are looking for a great riding bike at well under $2,000 this would be a good place to start.  Carbon frames in this price range are far from the top end models that the big companies sell, and Cannondale really has upped the game with their aluminum skills.

One final thought….

I never figured myself for a Cannondale Guy, but we now have 3 between the 2 of us.    Besides the CAAD10 we also have Mia’s F5 and my Rush mountain bikes.

We also own Cannondale mountain bikes

Thanks for reading.


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