Cannondale CAAD 9 105 Compact review

Cycling Weekly Verdict

If you want speed and efficiency then the Cannondale CAAD 9 105 Compact is a top choice. It is a true all-rounder. Certainly if you had a pair of ‘best’ wheels to slot in for special occasions, you could transform this bike into something even more impressive for racing.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Excellent frame

  • +

    Great value

  • +

    Good equipment

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Some welds not well finished

  • -

    Short stem may not suit everyone

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

With a quarter of a century of experience, Cannondale pretty much wrote the book on aluminium frames.

The CAAD frame has heritage, with the likes of Mario Cipollini involved in its evolution, and Grand Tour triumphs in its palmares after Cunego rode one to victory in the 2004 Giro. What was once a world-beating range topper is now available to you, just above entry-level pricing.

There was a phase in Cannondale’s history when its frames became overly stiff and harsh. The CAAD 9 came later, after the necessary tweaks, and from our previous tests, we think, became one of the best frames it has ever produced. Its lively feel makes your legs feel like they’re always on a good day as it surges forward from your input, but the harshness has gone.

You don’t feel beaten up by the Cannondale CAAD 9, yet it feels rock solid, as you accelerate or climb.

The sculpted seatstays play their part but mostly it’s a successful partnership of design and materials.

If we have one complaint, it’s that the welds look like someone has stuck chewing gum around the tube junctions. The super-smooth, almost fillet brazed, appearance of Cannondale’s frames has been lost, presumably to save some cost.

It’s business as usual with a collection of own-brand finishing kit, but that’s a Cannondale trait and has never been cause for concern. The quality is on the money, although a short stem may need exchanging. Fizik’s Arione saddle is top end, and a bonus on a bike of this price.

Cannondale has not let the level of spec drop below what the frame deserves.

Shimano 105 performs as good for 2009 as Dura-Ace a few years back, so it serves the bike well. For just another £299, you can have a full Ultegra-equipped version, which is absurd value.



FrameCAAD 9

ForkCannondale Ultra Carbon

Size range48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 and 63cm

Weight19.1lb (8.6kg)

GroupsetShimano 105



Gear ratios50/34 with 12-27 cassette

WheelsShimano RS10

TyresVittoria Zaffiro 700 x 23c

BarsCannondale C3

StemCannondale C4

SeatpostCannondale C3

SaddleFizik Arione

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