So i have two rides on the caad now. As expected most road bikes over 2k is pretty decent. I have always said that if you spend upwards of 2k you will be riding a pretty decent roadie. Yes, sure a 5k-10k bike might be better but we already know that it isn’t as big of a difference as say a $500 bike to a $2000 bike. So how did the caad10 a $700-800 frame do in the company of a $5000 frame? Let’s start wiht the positives first. Apart from a slightly twitchier or more agile ride geo felt pretty decent. I am still on a non set back post and waiting for my set back post to come in so the position isn’t really optimal but from what i could gather it was pretty good. Good aggressive position to really drive the bike under you. It felt like it had like a 1 degree steeper head angle or something. Felt like that vs slr01.
Stiffness wise i couldn’t tell the difference but a light weight like me isn’t really going to feel the difference any ways. It was sure under sprinting conditions and mid corner it held its line like a pro peloton grade bike should. So really it is everything you need to go fast on a road bike. Good geo, decent weight, and good stiffness. The big three.
Let’s move to the negatives. The frame might be known as a pretty smooth alloy frame but in the company of the SLR01 it is no match. Not even close. Nada. I mounted my set of ax with vittoria tubulars, previously my most supple wheelset. Riding it on the SLR01 was like riding a bike with 60psi. It was that smooth. The same wheelset on the caad10 felt harsher than my harshest and stiffest wheels, my reynolds. I was surprised how differently the wheels felt. I had to look down and check i wasn’t on some other set. To be fair i observed the harshness not just from a one contact point perspective but through all contact points. I knew that the thomson seatpost was stiff and that might have contributed to the harsher ride but i actively monitored my feet and also my hands. Through both these contact points it was just as harsh.
This harshness is felt through all road surfaces. Bigger bumps felt bigger and smaller bumps have a constant vibration to it that the SLR just did not exhibit. If you were to be anal you would say that on a badly surfaced road (and let’s admit the whole of freaking Sydney is a badly surfaced road) it would undoubtedly require more effort to be riding the bike. Where does this become most noticeable? When you are around the 80-90% threshold and you are really working it you notice that the odd bumps really seem to slow you down requiring you to put in extra effort to carry the same speed. Not only that i found the bumps through my feet made my feet numb weirdly. I know my right foot is bigger than my left and in my sidi’s they are a little tight but on the SLR it would start going numb around 80kmish into the ride. On the caad it was numb within 20-30kms.
There is also the other aspect of noise which ties together with the harshness to provide a complete picture. Alloy frame are definitely louder on the road. There are all sorts of noises that i have never heard before. Vibrations on bumpy rds and clangs on big bumps. This all ties into the whole “this feels a bit rough” feel. Silent bike it is not. There is a positive that comes out of these two negatives though and it is like say driving a dc2r. The fact that it raw makes it feel like you are going hard. It feels like you are working hard when you are not really working hard and it feels “sporty”. To be honest, in a crit race when you would be probably trying your best to kill yourself you would probably just ignore the slight bumpiness and whatever. It is probably the last thing you care about in the world. Also another thing to take into consideration is my weight. What is a bump for me effects 80-100kg guys very differently. I would definitely get shook up much more so then a heavier rider. If you are 80kg i would imagine this frame might ride very differently for you. It might even ride more positively vs the SLR01 which is known as a lighter riders dream but isn’t quite the super hot sprinting weapon.
So it sounds like i have bashed the Caad10 and to be honest this impression i am giving you now is probably going to be the most accurate. Humans are infinitely adaptable like i have said many times and to a certain extent todays ride vs yesterdays ride already feels different. Yesterday’s ride was like “i am riding my tubulars?” and today’s ride was like “yeah it’s bumpy” and i forsee in the next month or so it will be like “slr what? don’t remember, this feels about right for a road bike”. I have being spoilt by a top tier $5000 frame and of course it won’t ride like a $800 frame and let alone an alloy frame.
The caad doesn’t do a lot wrong and for some riders it doesn’t do anything wrong at all. I think i will just mount my 2kg fulcrum racing 7’s on the caad and whatever it. I like the way it looks very much though 🙂
PS :: sorry caad10 crew 😛
PPS :: tyre pressure remains the same on all my rides. 80psi front/90psi rear. I actively monitor tyre pressure before every ride.
PPPS :: i just read what i wrote again and it sounds like i am splitting hairs but to be honest once you step over the 2k mark, splitting hairs is all you will be doing.