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I definitely want to buy an al bike, no question about that. There is no question that Cannondale makes a nice aluminum frame, but I always feel like I am paying a premium for the Cannondale name (probably because I am...). More importantly, however, is that Cannondale does not really make a bike in the price range or component range I am looking for. I was hoping to get an Ultegra equipped bike but it is more important that I stay in the sub $2000 range (give or take). That gives me a couple of options, not many. They include:

Cannondale CAAD9 with 105 (As an aside, are the aluminum 'dales still made in the US)
Cervelo Soloist Team
Scott Speedster S10 (Ultegra)
I've looked at and tested offerings from other brands and have found that they don't have something in my range or I just didn't like what they had (ie. Trek, Specialized, Felt)

Any thoughts on which of these is the best value? I feel in many ways that the Cannondale is the best made frame and will hold up nicely. I like the feel and the handling, I just wish they just made a stock Ultegra frame. The Cervelo is also a nice feeling bike and I am intrigued by the aerodynamics and the science behind it, but I also recognize that it is not something I really need. The Scott intrigues me however. I am not at all familiar with their aluminum frames but I do know that their ultegra equipped speedster is much cheaper than if I upgraded a stock CAAD or built up my own with Ultegra. Although it doesn't look like the best made frame (pretty shoddy welds), the hydroformed front end looks pretty cool (although I can't image that a lot of the bumps and grooves are anything more than styling). Again, though, my lack of knowledge concerning the Scott aluminum concerns me, especially since the hydroformed aluminum is so thin I am afraid it will dent easily.

So any information on the Scott would be greatly appreciated as well as your comparisons of the three and thoughts on which is the better buy.


By the way.... this is a bike I plan to race on, I don't really care about comfort so please, no suggestions of aluminum/carbon mixes or the like.
 

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Well, I ride/race a Scott S20 with the hydroformed tubing and have nothing but good things to say about it. It's comfortable enough for 80+ mile rides/group rides and handles rough roads well enough.

The bottom bracket is stiff enough that even at my weight in the upper 180's to low 190's I don't get any appreciable bottom bracket flex or chain rubbing on the dérailleur. When I first purchased it I was in the 225 pound range and didn't notice any then either.

The bike is OK weight wise, but listed weights are a bit lower on the Cannondale. The do have a bit different fit though with the Cannondale having a lower head-tube so ride them before buying.

As far as denting goes...no issues there and I've ridden the bike very hard. It's not something I'm worried about on the Scott.

Overall...I like my Scott S20. The only real change has been the wheels on which I'm riding Neuvation M28 Aero 3's most of the time.
 

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I think they are coming out with a 2009 version of the CAAD9 with Ultegra. You may want to wait a bit. Go into the Cannondale forums to see the offerings.
 

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better than carbon for the crits. i think you can replace a caad for something like 650. whatever it is, much less that a carbon frame. aluminum is very durable regardless of what people say, just gotta treat it with common sense.

you lay down a carbon frame in a crit, it's probably done or you'll have to send it in. stage racing is different though. caad 9s look good, ride great and if you show up on one, they'll know you're there to race.
 

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Full aluminium Argon 18 Plutonium, in Australia where everything is more expensive. You can buy this bike with Shimano 105 for $1400AUD. I expect you can probably get an Ultegra equipped Plutonium for the same in US money. Even the Radon with carbon fibre stays could be in your budget.
 

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If you are going to get an aluminum frame and actually race, please get yourself a CAAD9 or a Team Soloist. the CAAD frames in particular are of excellent quality.

While i have nothing against Scott, the Speedster to me comes off as an aluminum bike in Scott's lineup just for the sake of having an aluminum bike.. like the trek 2.3 nothing really special or remarkable about them.

i own a CAAD9 and after trying the bikes of the my teamates ( 07' 555, 06' 5.9), i dont feel at all gimped by not having a carbon bike during a rr, crit, or a tt

good luck finding a good aluminum bike
 

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The CAAD 9 rides like it's on rails, and it's really not punishing on the rough roads becuase of the oval dropouts. Light and really fast.
 

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PigmyRacer said:
I definitely want to buy an al bike, no question about that. There is no question that Cannondale makes a nice aluminum frame, but I always feel like I am paying a premium for the Cannondale name (probably because I am...). More importantly, however, is that Cannondale does not really make a bike in the price range or component range I am looking for. I was hoping to get an Ultegra equipped bike but it is more important that I stay in the sub $2000 range (give or take). That gives me a couple of options, not many. They include:
You're not looking hard enough or trying enough to broker a deal. A year ago my friend got a CAAD 9 with ultegra and ultegra wheels for $1,500. He spans me and I am on a system six with dura ace.

As a dealer for the price you want, within reason, and the worst they can say is no.
 

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Kudos to the scott crowd. I ride a speedster S10 with neuvation M28 aeros and michelin pro3 tires. The bike is plenty comfy on metric centuries and up and its more than fast enough. the climbing is stable and efficient and the decending is very stable at speeds over 45mph. I chose this over the cannondale caad9 frame and am glad I did. The other option was a specialized tarmac elite which is an amazing bike and I may have chosen it but I got way too good of a deal on the scott to pass up.
 

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I bought a CAAD9 frameset (w/headset) for my son on ebay for $400... awesome deal. I think the whole bike is only going to cost around $1100... I already had some parts, though. SRAM Force w/Fulcrum wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
velomonkey said:
You're not looking hard enough or trying enough to broker a deal. A year ago my friend got a CAAD 9 with ultegra and ultegra wheels for $1,500. He spans me and I am on a system six with dura ace.

As a dealer for the price you want, within reason, and the worst they can say is no.
No I don't think you get it. Cannondale does not make an ultegra equipped CAAD9 anymore. What your friend got was last years model so which doesn't help me very much.

I really like the Cannondale frame but I really would like the durability and superior performance of the ultegra components (please do not tell me that 105 is just as good, I'm just not interested in having the discussion). I just can't seem to find a well made bike with acceptable components.
 

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Why not just by a new or used frame on Ebay (like I did) and build it up with Ultegra/UltegraSL... or if you're really cool, use SRAM or Campy instead. In any case, you should be able to build something up for $1500-2000 with nicer parts. Here's the auction I did, with a buy-it-now of $400:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=330248088148&ssPageName=STRK:MEWN:IT&ih=014

Get a build-kit from GVHBikes.com and you'd be right around $1500-1700 for Rival/Ultegra... plus you can pick your wheels, cassette size, cranks (size & length) and just about anything else. I think they charge $75-100 to build it all up, if you don't want to do it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
MarvinK said:
Why not just by a new or used frame on Ebay (like I did) and build it up with Ultegra/UltegraSL... or if you're really cool, use SRAM or Campy instead. In any case, you should be able to build something up for $1500-2000 with nicer parts. Here's the auction I did, with a buy-it-now of $400:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=330248088148&ssPageName=STRK:MEWN:IT&ih=014

Get a build-kit from GVHBikes.com and you'd be right around $1500-1700 for Rival/Ultegra... plus you can pick your wheels, cassette size, cranks (size & length) and just about anything else. I think they charge $75-100 to build it all up, if you don't want to do it yourself.
To be very honest, I have several problems with that plan because I have tried and failed to follow that path.

1) I do not find buying frames over the internet. Why? Because any idiot can make a piece of garbage look like a perfectly good frame in perfectly good shape. I don't trust e_bay and I don't trust the sellers on it. I also have no interest in checking google everyday to see if they have a frame in my size thats in good shape. It is neither worth the trouble nor the potential risks to save relatively little money over buying the frameset from Cannondale.

2) GVH is great and it has the best prices by far, but they won't sell you a Shimano groupset unless you send them the frame, which I have absolutely no interest in doing.

What I would like to do in an ideal world is swap out some of the 105 components for ultegra or DA but profit margins for these shops are so thin that none of them are willing to do it. You simply can't go into a shop anymore and ask to swap out an ultegra crank for a 105 one and pay the difference because they are losing money by doing so.

Just as any aside, does anyone know how the finish holds up on the '08 Cannondales? How scratch resistant is it? Do scratches show?
 

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So why not get SRAM or Campy? Rival is lighter and cheaper than Ultegra--and you could even just swap out the shifters for Red and get the latest & greatest for pretty low prices.

If you're comfortable with GVH, email him and ask him if he can get any Cannondale frames. A few years ago he picked up a collection of CAAD5 frames and had them for very cheap. An email wouldn't hurt.

I think ebay is as safe as the shopper wants it to be... but it can be time consuming (although you could easily set up a search to automatically email you).
 

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I think you are a wise shopper...an aluminum bike will serve you as well as anything else and with the addition of Ultegra, you are sure to have an amazing ride that is affordable. I purchased a CAAD9 this year, after having spent a few months riding a SuperSix and Tarmac SL2. I won't BS you and tell you that a CAAD9 is a heavy hitter against the likes of these two bikes, it definitely serves well.

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=131060
Read through this thread; I think it'll answer a lot of questions you may have.

Regarding comparing the CAAD9 to many other aluminum bikes in that price range, I don't think you can. Cannondale is truly an anomaly in that they build quality aluminum frames. You pay a premium, yes...but you also get what you pay for. Unlike the likes of many other aluminum bikes, the CAAD9 is not harsh...it is about as compliant as I would like any bike, and with the exception on the Cannondale Slice Ultra fork, it is stiff as all hell...in the right places. I am going to soon upgrade to a Reynolds Ouzo Pro to gain some desired front end stiffness; notice how I said desired and not needed. The CAAD9 front end is stiff, I am just spoiled and picky.

For 2009, Cannondale will have a CAAD9 available for under $900; a Sora/Tiagra build. I'd suggest, get a CAAD9 5 or better, depending on what comes out for 2009, and enjoy the bike as is...upgrade as you go. I think you will gain a greater appreciation for your CAAD9.

The only other aluminum bike I might consider, but not really, is the 2009 Specialized Allez. For starters, with the void free welds and the matte black paint job, it looks nearly identical to the Tarmac SL2...Way Cool! It is supposed to be about as stiff as the Tarmac SL and still offer acceptable ride quality. All in all, I think it will be another forgettable aluminum frame to be a place holder for a budget bike, but it looks sweet!

I love my CAAD9 about as much as one could love a road bike; I wouldn't trade her for any other bike on the market. At this point, I think I have exchanged and upgraded most every component on the bike, but what would you expect from a bike that retails for $1200?

At the end of the day, you are going to buy the bike you can afford and like best, so go test ride them all and see what you like...I'd be shocked if you didn't love the CAAD9! I think it is the only bike in its class that isn't a budget built frame...a few years ago, the CAAD9 was their premier elite race bike. Oh, by the way...yes, all CAAD9 frames are made in the USA. I think the only aluminum Cannondale frames that are not are the entry level F-series hardtails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
mylesofsmyles said:
I think you are a wise shopper...an aluminum bike will serve you as well as anything else and with the addition of Ultegra, you are sure to have an amazing ride that is affordable. I purchased a CAAD9 this year, after having spent a few months riding a SuperSix and Tarmac SL2. I won't BS you and tell you that a CAAD9 is a heavy hitter against the likes of these two bikes, it definitely serves well.

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=131060
Read through this thread; I think it'll answer a lot of questions you may have.

Regarding comparing the CAAD9 to many other aluminum bikes in that price range, I don't think you can. Cannondale is truly an anomaly in that they build quality aluminum frames. You pay a premium, yes...but you also get what you pay for. Unlike the likes of many other aluminum bikes, the CAAD9 is not harsh...it is about as compliant as I would like any bike, and with the exception on the Cannondale Slice Ultra fork, it is stiff as all hell...in the right places. I am going to soon upgrade to a Reynolds Ouzo Pro to gain some desired front end stiffness; notice how I said desired and not needed. The CAAD9 front end is stiff, I am just spoiled and picky.

For 2009, Cannondale will have a CAAD9 available for under $900; a Sora/Tiagra build. I'd suggest, get a CAAD9 5 or better, depending on what comes out for 2009, and enjoy the bike as is...upgrade as you go. I think you will gain a greater appreciation for your CAAD9.

The only other aluminum bike I might consider, but not really, is the 2009 Specialized Allez. For starters, with the void free welds and the matte black paint job, it looks nearly identical to the Tarmac SL2...Way Cool! It is supposed to be about as stiff as the Tarmac SL and still offer acceptable ride quality. All in all, I think it will be another forgettable aluminum frame to be a place holder for a budget bike, but it looks sweet!

I love my CAAD9 about as much as one could love a road bike; I wouldn't trade her for any other bike on the market. At this point, I think I have exchanged and upgraded most every component on the bike, but what would you expect from a bike that retails for $1200?

At the end of the day, you are going to buy the bike you can afford and like best, so go test ride them all and see what you like...I'd be shocked if you didn't love the CAAD9! I think it is the only bike in its class that isn't a budget built frame...a few years ago, the CAAD9 was their premier elite race bike. Oh, by the way...yes, all CAAD9 frames are made in the USA. I think the only aluminum Cannondale frames that are not are the entry level F-series hardtails.
Now, just out of curiosity, did you pay retail on the components you put on immediately before you took it home? Did the shop swap out the components and you payed the difference? Did you get any sort of discount?

If I could just swap out some of the unacceptable 105 components (ie. shifters and crank) for ultegra and only pay the difference (instead of having to outright buy the components) I would be home free.
 
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