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Cannondale Caad10 review a users opinion

I’ve been sporadic in posting these last few months.  Moving house, taking up my role as curate in a new church.  And riding my new Cannondale Caad10 aluminium frame.

I took the plunge with an aluminium, after swearing that I would buy a carbon fibre road bike.  Those who read what I wrote know that I was after a bike that I could pick up locally in Preston, an absolute beauty of a carbon frame.  The problem was, if anything should go wrong with the bike I couldn’t afford to have it sorted out should the bike builder have gone out of business.

So what swayed me in the end was that Wheelbase, the Cumbrian bike shop that boasted it was the biggest shop in the country, was friendly on the phone and would offer me a bike-fit included in the price of a new bike.  I was also hoping to get credit, but in the end I didn’t bother and just paid for it outright.

So what are my experiences?

Well I will be happily boasting over the lack of shortcomings over the next few weeks in detail, so here I am just going to give you an overview.

1) It’s as stiff a frame as you could want.  This means I am confident in standing on the pedals and there is no frame flex when I pull up on the pedals

2) I needed to adjust the shimano 105 gears last week – they were rubbing on the cassette. The key problem I tracked down in the end was badly adjusted derailleur.  Once I had slackened off the high and low setting slightly, the rub reduced as did the rattle.  I then tuned the indexing and after about 90 minutes, messing between the rear and fore gears, i was able to get something that I felt perfect…and tested it out next day.

3) I had read about frames on bikes humming.  And the day after the tuning I experienced it.  The chain was running silent, and the frame literally was humming underneath me through the delicate transmission of road noise!

4) Road vibration.  I have my tyres set at the maximum pressure, just because I prefer it that way, and yes I feel the bumps.  Up here around Clitheroe that’s not easy as the roads are mostly in a state once you get off the beaten track.  Softer pressures combat that however.

5) I should have bought a torque wrench!  I picked up some new Gore bike clothing (brilliant!), but hadn’t realised the precision that top end bikes are set up with.  You have to be careful with tightening bolts because you can distort the delicate components.  Each joint is marked on the bike on how much you should tighten it by – in Newton Metres (nM).  A few days ago I twisted my saddle and noticed it was a bit loose, but it didn’t go up and down, so I left it.  A couple of days later I was going over a particularly bad set of road bumps (potholes!) and I sank…in a most undignified manner.  I keep my multi-tool to hand so could adjust it there and then, but I have no idea if I have exceeded the 6 nM stated.  Am I damaging the bike?

6) My first experience of the transition from mountain bike to road bike was interesting.  I didn’t lean the road bike over far enough and nearly fell off!  You have to lean it to make it go round corners, not just turn the handle bars.  These bikes were built for going around longer bends, not Morzine mountain tracks.  Obviously.

7) I got Shimano 105 pedals because they were as basic as the Look brand, and cost effective.

I should explain that I have never ridden another road bike, but my experiences so far on the Caad are most satisfying.  Speed is on average 16mph at the moment over a couple of hours ride, over steep hills.  I am hoping to get that up.  Certainly there is enough in the compact cassette to allow me to spin up to something around 40 without too many problems, but I haven’t pushed it that far yet – not enough legs!

I was glad I got the bike fit – it meant I go the smallest frame available and could state that I wanted a racing set up, without me having to do any fiddling.  It took about an hour, and was well worth it.  Though now I have raised the saddle a bit I prefer it, though there are one or two pains I am experiencing so might have to lower it again!

Lastly, the compact chainset setup is quite sufficient.  I was undecided whether or not I wanted something a bit faster, knowing it would be harder on the legs.  In the end I went for the normal setup and it was the right decision.  On these hills (one or two arrows appear on many rides!) you need those lower gears.  Just spin faster on the flatter sections and get over it.  You will need the lower gears provided by a basic compact.  Also you don’t need a triple.  You can use all 10 of the gears of the cassette in either the higher or lower front chain-ring.

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