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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Acting on a nice test ride, an exceptional price (probably the real selling point for me), and some urging from forum members, I bought a Cannondale CAAD10 Ultegra a couple of weeks ago, and couldn't wait to really stretch my legs on it to see what it could do. I just started riding road bikes this year, and moved from a fairly decent loaner Giant OCR1 (circa about 2002-03) to the C'Dale, and while I'm realistic enough to know that a better bike isn't going to make a huge difference, I truly expected a better feel and slightly better performance. But the result has been...anything but better.

In my first few rides on the new bike, on the same routes I typically ride, the C'Dale has actually been 1-2 mph SLOWER on average, much slower on downhills, and an absolute bear on the hills. On the Giant, I could typically climb most hills in the area on the 42T center ring (on a triple) or the smaller 30T ring but one of the smaller cogs, while on the C'Dale, which has a compact double, I can't climb even the most mediocre of hills in the granny 34-25 gear. Hills that I could climb on the Giant with a larger gear, I find myself mashing at about 30-40 RPM or less in the smallest gear range, on the verge of blowing a knee out, and eventually just climbing off and pushing.

The C'Dale weighs in roughly 6 lbs. lighter than the Giant and has a more aero riding position, so it should, in theory, be better in every facet. I always heard moving to a lighter bike feels like a dream when climbing hills. Instead, it's been zero fun to ride and has me on the verge of dumping it in a closet and riding the old dinosaur. I'm at a loss for words. Is there any possibly explanation? I'm no bike mechanic by any means, but is there something on the bike I should be looking at? What could possibly make what should be a quick, fast bike, such a struggle?
 

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Being slower on the downhills is easily explained: the heavier the bike-rider combination, the faster it will roll downhill. Being slower on the uphills or on the flats on a "better" bike can have many reasons, with the different fit mentioned above probably being the most likely one. For example, someone going from a bar drop of 1 cm to a bar drop of 6 cm needs a few weeks of riding before all the muscles work again as they should.

But really, I wonder if you really are so much slower. Your "1-2 mph SLOWER on average" leads me to believe that you're basing your negative assessment on an average speed readout after a ride, or perhaps on just the mph numbers you see on your computer when you happen to look down on it. Unless you make several exactly timed runs over an identical course in identical weather conditions with both bikes, you really don't know by how much you're slower on the new bike, if at all.
 

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Do you use a bike computer? some of this is hard to determine while you are on the bike. It does sound like a fit issue so i would get that part handled asap.
 

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Man, I'm Awesome
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I would think this is a fit issue also. Since you said you are in a much more aero position you are probably using muscles on your legs you have never used before.

Double check your fit to make sure its right.
 

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I bought a Cannondale CAAD10 Ultegra a couple of weeks ago, and couldn't wait to really stretch my legs on it to see what it could do.
I think your problem is right there. First of all, a bike, any bike, can do exactly nothing. It's always you who has to do the doing. My feeling is that you expected great things, and now you're finding out that the difference the bike makes is minimal, which in reality was to be expected.

I am a bit at a loss to explain your struggles uphill. Psychology alone may not be enough to explain those findings. For that, your best bet really might be a different fit, unless it turns out that weather conditions were quite different when you were riding the new bike versus the old.

Other than that, going from a triple to a double crankset could mislead your perception as well. I wonder whether you're really comparing apples to apples when assessing your climbing ability between the different bikes. Maybe it's just that you really miss those lower gear ratios from the triple.
 

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It's probably a fit issue like one of the posters said. I had the same issue when I put together my litespeed, coming from a tcr advanced SL. After about a month, I gotuse to the slightly different position.
 

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...First of all, a bike, any bike, can do exactly nothing. It's always you who has to do the doing. My feeling is that you expected great things, and now you're finding out that the difference the bike makes is minimal, which in reality was to be expected...
That's hitting the nail on the head.

Transferring the measurements [like saddle height from the pedals] might help. Being properly fit to the new ride is necessary. But real changes... for better or worse... are the fault/credit of the motor.

Could you be having a little buyers remorse? I am sure once the new bicycle has been adjusted... and you've adjusted to the new bike.... you'll love the lightness of your new Cannondale.
 

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I had the same problem when I got my CAAD10. I had been riding an old steel Fuji that somebody gave me (still do, love that bike) and I guess I had high expectations for the CAAD10 to be a wonderbike. I felt like I couldn't get any power from my pedal stroke. I adjusted the saddle height a couple of mm higher to the same height as the Fuji and there it was. Also, a friend loaned me a rear wheel after the stock RS10 wheel on the CAAD10 failed and was in the shop, what a difference. But adjusting the saddle height was what made it for me.
 

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Acting on a nice test ride...

In my first few rides on the new bike...
Please correct me if I'm wrong but I get the feeling you bought the new CDale without really test riding it enough to know how YOU felt on it.

I also agree with others that a proper fit may resolve your "fast bike" concerns.
 

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The only possibility that it has anything to do with the bike is if the tires are WAY worse on the new one. And that would only be a partial explaination. (that's assuming you have the gears you need, which you do unless these hills were like 20%).

Quote: "has a more aero riding position, so it should, in theory, be better in every facet."

That's probably part of your problem. If it were that simple everyone would be riding with their nose on the stem.
You need the optimal position for you. More aero doen't automatically mean faster.

Get out the tape measure, look at yourself in the mirror and find the differences. That, not the bike, is the cause of the majority of any change in performance.
 

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I'm noticing the same thing with the C40 I recently built - I'm faster on my old IF. So far I'm chalking it up to unfamiliarity (been a while since I rode Campy, etc). I expect those average speeds to creep up over the next month or so.
 

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Do you use a bike computer? some of this is hard to determine while you are on the bike. It does sound like a fit issue so i would get that part handled asap.
If you are basing the avg speed on a bike computer, make sure that the new computer (and the old one for that matter) are set up correctly for the size tires on the bike. If the computer is set to the default value, but that doesn't match your tires, that could be part of it right there.

I agree with all of the people that said it is likely a fit issue. That was my first thought after reading the OP.
 

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I have the same issue with my new all-carbon (plastic) bike and my old 531C. My guess is the inertia and momentum (from wheels) difference between the two. As I mostly ride on flat paths, any counter breeze stops me with my carbon. This may be psychological...I hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm a little delayed in response here To sum of some of the responses....

I'd like to say that the fitment by the salesman was more than eyeballing and raising the saddle, but that more or less sums it up. I'm 6'0 with about a 32-33" inseam, so I've always ridden 56's, was sized to a 56 by every shop I visited, and feel pretty comfortable on a 56. The previous bike was a 56, but had the old style adjustable stem in a "riser" configuration, so the bars were more out and up than most road bikes. It actually wasn't that comfortable, as I had to really reach to get to the hoods. It did feel better in the drops because I was stretched out further, but on the hoods, the CDale is a much better fit. The fit on the new bike isn't perfect, but it is in the ballpark.

I don't have a computer, but I do use Strava on my phone and compare the time splits on different sectors between the two bikes on the same routes/conditions. I could really feel the difference, so the numbers were more or less for confirmation of what I felt.

In talking with some other riders, they chalked it up to momentum on the heavier bike, although I'd think that would negate any need for a light bike. I guess it could be true on some small, rolling hills.

I wasn't sold on the triple of the other bike, it just happened to have that. The small cassette was only used once in a blue moon, so I essentially rode a double. In truth, I like the double more, but it's been a learning curve getting adjusted to shifting between the two cassettes more often. What's thrown me a curveball is that I could push the 42T cassette on most hills on the old bike, and found myself struggling with a 34T on the CDale. That's a pretty stark contrast in gearing.

It has the standard issue Mavic Aksion 23c tires on it. I don't know much road about tires, but I'd imagine they're not the most desirable of options.

Truth be told, it's an awesome bike with great parts that will last many years. But even being realistic and knowing a good bike isn't going to put me up on the same level as experienced riders on its own, I did expect a bit of an improved experience, and it really hasn't.
 
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