For many the CAAD12 has been THE aluminium bike of choice for almost all styles of riding especially when wanting to go fast. Stiff, light and responsive it is seriously impressive for ‘just’ an aluminium-framed bike. The CAAD12 pretty much had it all including the exclusive CW 10/10 and a place in our coveted Editors Choice last year. But whereas you could forgive Cannondale for resting on its laurels and only bring about cosmetic changes to the CAAD12, the aluminium expert has only gone and put the cat among the pigeons with a radically revamped CAAD (Cannondale Advanced Aluminium Design) platform – the CAAD13. Cannondale promises the new CAAD13 is going to be faster, more comfortable and more capable than anything that has gone before.
One look is all you need to see that the CAAD13 is completely different from any other aluminium bike Cannondale has created before. It has almost completely eschewed the classic, round tubed and traditional double triangle shaping of the encumbent CAAD12. Like the new SuperSix EVO, it has been endowed with more aero characteristics and a different frame profile.
Bringing the CAAD into the aero-age
The team responsible for the shaping and development of the SuperSix EVO have also had a big hand in the design of the CAAD13 with almost every tube being radically altered from the previous version. The SmartForm C1 aluminium alloy frame uses the same 6069 alloy as the previous CAAD12 but utilises truncated airfoil shaping to reduce drag. Proven in testing to reduce drag by up to 30 per cent over pure round tubing this airfoil shaping can most obviously be seen in the CAAD13’s down tube and seat tube areas. Here the D shaping has led Cannondale to employ a shaped carbon seatpost for the first time in its aluminium history.
If there was one area in which the old CAAD12 could be faulted it was comfort. The traditional design and inherently stiff nature of aluminium meant the CAAD12 could be pretty unforgiving. For the CAAD13 there has been a plethora of changes to bring about an altogether more comfortable ride experience, the most radical of which is the adoption of a dropped seatstay rear triangle. This is bound to divide opinion, especially among fans of the traditional shaping of the old CAAD machines, but it has been done for very valid reasons. Dropped stays are more comfortable thanks to their ability to flex more than a traditional stay arrangement. Not only does Cannondale state that this arrangement produces a more compliant ride experience it also proves to be more aerodynamic, offering a smaller target for the wind around the rear wheel.
On top of the obvious differences, tyre clearances have been increased to allow a 30mm tyre to fit comfortably within the fork and stays of the disc version. Rim brake models are restricted to 28mm rubber, however, due to brake positioning.
Another section of Cannondale tech brought over from the SuperSix EVO is the KNØT27 carbon seatpost. Designed to bring more compliance than any previous versions it adds more comfort to the ride. This is further enhance by switching to an internal seatpost clamp that also helps create a more seamless, integrated look to the CAAD13.
The CAAD13 mimics the geometry of the SuperSix EVO in every way. Just as it has done with that bike, Cannondale has shortened the reach a smidge on the CAAD13 and increased the stack height. Cannondale will ship all models with a generous 30mm of spacers under the stem plus the large conical headset cover, allowing bike shops and riders to tweak the fit according to how it’s going to be used. Cut the steerer and slam the stem for an aggressive crit racing weapon or leave high for all-day comfort.
The new CAAD13 will also be available in sizes from 44cm-62cm to enable most riders to fit a model.
Five main models complete the CAAD13 line-up plus female-specific versions for both 105 rim brake and 105 Disc models. Most models are also available in an alternative colour scheme.
CAAD13 Disc Force eTap AXS, £3,999.99
CAAD13 Disc Ultegra, £1,999.99
CAAD13 Ultegra, £1,583.33
CAAD Disc 105, £1,583.33
CAAD13 105, £1,333.33
Expect to see all models available and in store at Cannondale dealers almost immediately.