Cannondale CAAD13 Road Bike
A first look at this advanced aluminium build
Ably brushing aside any long-held superstitions about unlucky numbers, the new Cannondale CAAD13 Road Bike is the culmination of 40 years worth of the brand’s aluminium bike building technology. Billed as a radical upgrade from anything that has come before in the CAAD family, this race-ready design has all the credentials for being the best alloy machine that Cannondale has ever made, more than capable of giving full-carbon bikes in the bunch a serious run for their money. With aluminium being the 13th element in the periodic table, it’s as if the planets have aligned to make something that really raises the game for aluminium bikes.
Side-by-side with the previous CAAD12 disc model there are a few striking differences with this newer sibling. Most obviously the seat stays have been dropped lower down the seat tube, allowing for greater compliance and post flex to improve comfort over rough roads. Look closer and you’ll notice mudguard mounts on the fork, greater flexibility for mounting water bottles and an integrated seat post binder, so it’s practical whilst maintaining a cleaner, sleeker look.
Calling upon all their experience and material manipulation skills, Cannondale have crafted the 6069 aluminium frame to mirror the truncated airfoil tubing profiles of the carbon SuperSix EVO, resulting in up to a 30% reduction in drag compared to traditional tube shapes. With the integrated design of the frame, fork and seatpost further cleansing the profile of clutter that might otherwise catch the wind, the result is not only aerodynamically improved but aesthetically advanced as well. Should you only need one water bottle, for crits or short, intense rides, then the new ‘low’ mount positions your drink out of the wind, improving airflow around the frame.
Comfortable, Capable, Functional
You can’t deliver performance without comfort, at least not for long periods, so the additional flex from the dropped seat stays helps to relieve stress from uneven roads, absorbing vibrations that would otherwise travel into your body and facilitate the onset of fatigue. The frame allows for a tyre width up to 30mm (28mm for the rim brake version) that again enhances road feel, comfort and control, and if you are looking for a bike that will carry you through all four seasons, the new mudguard mounts can be called upon when the weather deteriorates.
Geometry and Performance
Adopting the same updated geometry as the SuperSix EVO (a slightly taller stack and shorter reach) delivers an improved fit for more riders and immediately feels ready to race. And since the construction carefully distributes material for optimal stiffness, weight is still kept impressively low, so the handling feels responsive, precise and predictable. Front and rear speed release thru axles on the disc brake version (rim brake models have standard quick release) add to the stiffness and instantaneous power transfer - perfect for driving hard out of corners on the crit circuit.
There was a time when aluminium was said to be a more prized possession than gold. There might not be alchemy at play here, but with the CAAD13, Cannondale have taken the most abundant metal on earth and created something quite special. Something that is more than capable of holding its own on race day against full carbon bikes yet durable enough to withstand the rigours of all-year riding. Here the number 13 is far from something to be feared, no, the CAAD13 is a bike upon which to be fearless.
Cannondale CAAD13 Range