Strengths: Lateral/BB Stiffness: 10/10, heck 11/10
Front End: 8/10 (bars are oddly shaped though)
Compliance: 7/10 (better than expected)
Weaknesses: Only personal preference, but I'm not a huge fan of SRAM components.
Wheels definitely need to be upgraded.
Here's the point - You buy this bike for the frame. The frame is a pure-bred racing machine. Stiff, aggressive, and much more durable than similar carbon frames. Plus, Cannondale offers a solid crash replacement policy. If you race, save yourself the overpriced, delicate carbon fiber stuff and buy this. You won't find a better race frame unless you get a Gaulzetti or Spooky at a great price.
For 2010 model.
Amazing. Simply amazing. Coming off of a much more expensive carbon frame, I'm astounded by the performance of the bike. Fastest acceleration I've ever felt in such a light bike. Cannondale really figured out something unique here - The rear triangle/BB is incredibly stiff and responsive, yet you don't get riveted off of the bike when you hit a pothole. It is not as compliant as a carbon frame of similar weight, but unless you are into touring that won't matter. The geometry will favor those with longer arms or torsos, and the head-tube angle makes it very nimble/quick to turn. Corners better than my Madone, perhaps better than the 08 Orbea Orca, too - Very confidence inspiring.
Not a fan of the stock bars, and will soon be swapping them for a Ritchey setup. Also don't really dig the Rival/Force setup or the Tektro brakes, so I swapped out to 7900 drive train and Bontrager brakes.
Wheels are sturdy, but heavy. Cannondale could have splurged on something in the 1700g range, but these are great training wheels for sure.
I race and train hard, and this bike seems up to the task. Plus, I'm not afraid of it exploding during a race.
Strengths: Frame (One of if not the best Aluminum frames available)
2010 Rival is amazing.
Handles like it's on rails.
Weaknesses: Wheels wheels and also the wheels. Ride them for a test ride if you want, then keep them for the trainer or give them to charity.
Frame is about as good of an aluminum frame as you can get. You can make the geometry work for you as fast or as comfortable as you want. I was going to build this frame with a RED group but after a test ride of the new Rival I decided to save a ton of money and leave it as is. The rival group is amazing. Shifts are crisp and clean. Doubletap system took one ride to get used to and I will never ride shimano again. The bike handles like it is on rails as long as you get rid of the stock wheels. Saddle is iffy (replaced with a Specialized team toupe) and bars as well (S-works ergo). I had some Dtswiss wheels built up with 465rim, 240 hub laced with aerolite spokes. If you are looking for a bike to ride comfortably on the long charity rides and also race your local crits this is the one. Switch out the wheels and you have a racer.
Strengths: Smooth as butter, not harsh for aluminum
SRAM Rival is great, far better than Ultegra
Very very light
Possibly likable saddle
Brakes seem grippy
SRAM ergonomics are nice on the hands, making it overall a very improved ride for those with difficulty getting comfortable
Nice glossy paint and a really nice design job from Cannondale
Weaknesses: Crappy Shimano RS10 wheels
A surprisingly awesome bike. Having ridden a Six13 (part carbon), I was really nervous about going back to all aluminum, thinking it would be harsh. It's smooth as butter, as least as smooth as my Six13 3 (Ultegra), and quite a bit lighter.
The SRAM components are awesome. The Double Tap takes about 1 minute to get used to as it's the same basic motion and is much crisper - it feels like a precise machine. The Rival group is lighter than my 2008 Ultegra and just works incredibly well.
One of the best features, to my mind, is the SRAM hood design. There is a slight bulb shape under the palm, so you feel like you're cupping the grip almost. I used to always get hand pain and numbness, poor circulation I guess - after 10 miles I'd have to lift one hand and let the blood flow back into it. The SRAM hoods were totally comfortable, I felt like I had better control of the bike, my hands didn't get numb (albeit over a shorter test ride) and I found I stayed on the hoods 90% of the time, where I usually spend 50% or more of the time on the tops.
The Kappa Prologo PAS seat is actually tolerable and some may even like it or use it as a backup - I found I liked it more than my old more padded Forte Classic saddle.
The Shimano RS-10 wheels, however, are totally crappy and I'm surprised Cannondale used them. I'm sure I'll have to replace them or they'll break as I am near 200lbs. The hubs have a cheap plastic feel.
The Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slick tires are soft slicks, nice rolling but I'm sure they'll puncture, will need to be replaced with tougher training tires almost immediately. I'll probably go back to the Maxxis Columbieres that were on my Six13.
So far the Tektro brakes feel really grippy and nice, another pleasant surprise.
I'll give it a 5 on value as compared to my same-priced Six13, as I think the Rival is worth more than the Ultegra, and the CAAD9 is nicer than the Six13 frame (at least in being lighter if not as smooth or smoother), but I'm annoyed at the cheap Shimano wheels and would consider that a bad value for $1799 - the same priced Six13 had Aksium wheels. And I'm not sure yet how good the Tektro brakes will turn out, better or worse than Ultegra - right now at brand new they feel at least as good.