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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, so I am having a little bit of a conundrum involving the purchase of a new bike. I went to my lbs and had a look at some cannondales. I am stuck between a caad9-5 and a six-5. The six has slightly more relaxed geometry than the caad9, carbon stays, an ultegra rear derailleur and of course costs $400 Canadian (325 in USD) more. The salesperson tried to convince me that it was DEFINATELY worth the extra cash and cited all of the benefits of the carbon. I test rode the six-5 but they didn’t have a caad9 in my size (surprise, surprise) so I couldn’t make a direct comparison. Has anyone compared the 2 bikes? I’m pretty sure I will get one these bikes but does anyone have any other suggestions for this price range ($1500-2000)?

My background:
-finishing the end of a varsity swimming career and will probably start doing triathlons within the next couple years
-will use this bike mostly for commuting to work in the summer (50km round trip) and maybe a few crits
-right now i race mtb (current ride is stumpjumper pro) this will be my first road bike
-I don’t mind a harsher ride but it might become an issue with having to ride my bike every day to work
 

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duh...
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ask your salesman which frame fits you better... be sure to note the look on his/her face
 

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Cannondale has pushed the envelope and really maximized the design of their CAAD series bikes. They have however adopted carbon-aluminum as well as full carbon bike designs. I truly believe the CAAD bikes are EXTREMELY well made and perfect for crit racing especially. They are VERY stiff and designed to transfer every newton of force from your feet to the back wheel.
That said, you are concerned for long haul daily bike rides. I personally have not ridden these hybrid aluminum-carbon bikes, so I cannot say much about them. However, it does come at a premium of $300 US. I personally think that you should save your money and upgrade the wheels either when you make the deal or down the road when you're ready.

Things you can do to soften your aluminum ride (I posted questions about this and got a lot of good feedback), are padded/gel handlebar tape, and suprising to me, most of all was changing tires. I have upgraded literally everything on my bike to the point where I have 2 bikes now. After upgrading the handlebars and seatpost to carbon, the wheels to a lighter wheel, and finally the tires, the best upgrade from a comfort standpoint and best bang for my buck (aside from saddle) would be the tires. I personally used stan's tubeless conversion kit and put hutchinson fusion 2 tubeless tires on my bike and it has made a world of difference. On my second bike, I have replaced the tires with Continental 4000s (the s is very important), and the ride is truly more compliant and comfortable. Many suggest going to 25 size tire from 23's for the same reasons, and with minimal to no decrease in speed. Use the search function and look up softening an aluminum ride.

By the way, I ride 20 miles/day, 40+ on weekends.

That's my 2 cents. I'm sure others will recommend getting carbon seat stays, which would not be unreasonable if it does feel better, I just don't know.
 

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Take my advice with a grain of salt, because I'm not a big C'dale fan, nor do I like aluminum or materials mix bikes. In your price range, I think you could do much better. However, I will say that if either of these models fit (thus, you're comfortable on them), that's no small thing.

A better choice, (IMHO) would be the Specialized Tarmac Elite (discounted at around $2K). From what I could tell, the geo between the C'dales and Tarmac is similar, so fit and handling should be as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yah, I have been trying to find info online about the difference between the cannondales and it seems like its still up in the air. A similar debate is the six13 vs the caad9. It seems like a bit of a come on by cannondale to move people away from the caad9 and on to atleast a partially carbon bike. If i were to pick now i would go for the caad9.
However, the shop i was at today doesn't sell specialized but next week i am going to a shop that sell both brands (its also the same shop that i bought my mtb at so i trust them). I've seen an 08 look 555 with nice ultegra build advertised at $2200, which is over budget but a great deal at another shop. Cervelo has the s1 but again its a little pricey. Theres no scott dealership around so no cr1 for me. Do i have any other options?
 

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PJ352 said:
Take my advice with a grain of salt, because I'm not a big C'dale fan, nor do I like aluminum or materials mix bikes. In your price range, I think you could do much better. However, I will say that if either of these models fit (thus, you're comfortable on them), that's no small thing.

A better choice, (IMHO) would be the Specialized Tarmac Elite (discounted at around $2K). From what I could tell, the geo between the C'dales and Tarmac is similar, so fit and handling should be as well.
I'm sorry, but how is comparing the CAAD9-5 (MSRP $1399 - http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/09/cusa/model-9RA95D_9RA95C.html) to a Tarmac Elite (MSRP $2200 - http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?sid=09Tarmac&eid=115) fair?
 

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RoadBikeVirgin said:
I'm sorry, but how is comparing the CAAD9-5 (MSRP $1399 - http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/09/cusa/model-9RA95D_9RA95C.html) to a Tarmac Elite (MSRP $2200 - http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?sid=09Tarmac&eid=115) fair?
I wasn't comparing those two bikes. I was responding to the OP's statement:
I’m pretty sure I will get one these bikes but does anyone have any other suggestions for this price range ($1500-2000)?
Thus, my suggestion to give the Tarmac Elite a look.
 

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supercyclerider said:
Yah, I have been trying to find info online about the difference between the cannondales and it seems like its still up in the air. A similar debate is the six13 vs the caad9. It seems like a bit of a come on by cannondale to move people away from the caad9 and on to atleast a partially carbon bike. If i were to pick now i would go for the caad9.
However, the shop i was at today doesn't sell specialized but next week i am going to a shop that sell both brands (its also the same shop that i bought my mtb at so i trust them). I've seen an 08 look 555 with nice ultegra build advertised at $2200, which is over budget but a great deal at another shop. Cervelo has the s1 but again its a little pricey. Theres no scott dealership around so no cr1 for me. Do i have any other options?
You don't say what other bikes shops are nearby, but Trek has the Madone 4.5, Jamis has the Xenith Comp, Felt has the Z45... lots of choices in the $1,500 - $2,000 price range.
 

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PJ352 said:
I wasn't comparing those two bikes. I was responding to the OP's statement:
I’m pretty sure I will get one these bikes but does anyone have any other suggestions for this price range ($1500-2000)?
Thus, my suggestion to give the Tarmac Elite a look.
I stand corrected :) Are there really still closeout Elites laying around?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
keep them coming!

There is Jamis dealer nearby so I will check it out. No felt nearby. Im not a huge fan of trek and the 4.5 was priced at around $2300 i think. If im going to go over budget it would have to be for a very good deal ie. the 555. I'm open to suggestions. Just spit them out and I will look into them!
 

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RoadBikeVirgin said:
I stand corrected :) Are there really still closeout Elites laying around?
My LBS regularly discounts Specialized bikes/ framesets about 16%, so the price I quoted was for an '09 Elite. Granted, this isn't a given, because two other shops don't discount at all. It pays to shop around.
 

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supercyclerider said:
There is Jamis dealer nearby so I will check it out. No felt nearby. Im not a huge fan of trek and the 4.5 was priced at around $2300 i think. If im going to go over budget it would have to be for a very good deal ie. the 555. I'm open to suggestions. Just spit them out and I will look into them!
I share your views re: the Trek, but offered it because it's in your price range. If you're looking at Jamis, also check out their steel bikes like the Quest.

I suggest test riding the 555 before commiting to it, but that holds true for the other choices as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
another day another dealer

I went to another dealer today, kinda by accident (20 min spring shakedown ride turned into a half century of climbing on a knobby tired mtb). Anyways, the shop offered giants and treks. I believe those 2 bike brands are one in the same and I dislike both of them. But the salesman had me look a few bikes. The first being a TCR A0 from 08 . I know its a mixed material bike but it has the great sram rival group and it was on sale at $2100. I was told since it has been on the floor for a while I could probably have it out the door for $2000. The second bike was a TCR composite 2 from 06. This bike seems like a real winner: full carbon frame, ultegra and i took it for a short spin and it felt great!! The best part was that it was "on sale" for $2300 but since its been kicking around for 3 years i could have it out the door (with a decent set of pedals!!) for $2000. I really liked the sales guy and the store stands behind their products. I'm sure there are a lot of Giant haters out there (I was one) but its hard to argue about the great deal on these bikes. One more thing, I talked to my tri geek buddy today and he loved the idea of me buying a c'dale caad9. He went on to rave about how great caad bikes are and how he wishes he could ride one again. He said all of this dispite his sponsorship with specialized. Thoughts?
 

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I'm really not trying to burst your bubble here, but here are some things to consider. The deep discounts are being offered because the bikes aren't selling. That doesn't necessarily mean they're bad bikes, but there are reasons. In the case of the '06, consider that CF technology has advanced some in the three years since that bikes debut. For example, in '06 the specs for the top of the line Tarmac are now lower than their mid point offering in '09. So if I were the LBS owner, I'd be offering deep discounts on that bike as well.

None of this matters if, as you say, the bike felt great. I don't think you can get any better than that. I'm just trying to show you other factors to consider.

Regarding your friend and the Caad9. His opinions (and mine) are fine if they help you make a decision, but fact is this is going to be your bike, so go with your gut and get the bike that fits best and makes you want to ride. Take some time, though. Otherwise you might act on impulse, and that's not always good. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Don't worry about bursting my bubbles!! If I didn't want someone to offer a sugestion or to critique my approach, I would never have posted on the forum. The reason I started posting was to get other peoples opinions about the bikes they have owned/test road and their experiences with the product. I will listen to you or other rbr members because you have more experience with the world of road cycling. My buddy is one of the top jr triathletes in the world and was a member of the provincial cycling team so he knows he way around bikes. However, I do realize my bike is MY bike and it is entirely personal. The decision will be made over the course of a few weeks. I will look at the bikes 1 or 2 more times before i commit to anything. It's not like I am entirely new to buying a bike.

About the giant.... from my understanding and internet research it appears that the CF frame of the tcr is older version of the advanced tcr frame. Geometries are almost identical, material is identical some of the tube shapes are slightly different. Components of the tcr composite 2 and the tcr advanced 1 are almost identical (both ultegra not the new ultegra sl). It seems like a good deal still. When I road the bike it felt both solid and compliant. I would go as far to say that it felt better than the c'dale six even though i couldnt make a direct comparison. I didnt try out the alliance and I'm not sold on the whole mixed material thing. It seems to be common place in my price range. Any thoughts or opinions on this? I also still need to try out a caad9 and a few more bikes (including a tarmac).
 

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I would take a look at the 09 Look 566. A great overall bike with SRAM rival. A little bit more than your original budget but worth a test ride at least.
 

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Clearly you are taking a methodical approach to this whole bike buying experience, which is a very good thing. I'm glad you took what I offered in context, but just wanted to clarify upfront that I wasn't bashing your choices if they didn't coincide with my views. I also wanted you to think about why the Giant's might be 'great deals'.

Giants are nice bikes, but you're right that we draw on our own experiences. That given, I've never really ridden a Giant that 'did it' for me. They either didn't fit very well, didin't feel solid or were overly stiff. But objectively speaking, I know they are quality bikes.

Yes, the trickle down effects of technology are prevalent in the bike industry, so it's no surprise that the '08 you're looking at is the equivalent of an earlier TCR Advanced. I kind of touched on this in my last post, mentioning it as a reason why earlier models are often discounted. I do agree with you, though that a full CF bike is superior to a materials mix, such as the Alliance. And BTW, while components do matter, I wouldn't let that sway me too much. The frameset is the heart of the bike and chances are you'll have IT far longer than (for example) a crankset or derailleur. Many bolts ons, in time, get replaced. Besides which, Ultegra in any finish is a quality, durable group.

Last thought. Once you've narrowed your choices some, take a few hours and go ride them (preferably with as much of your own cycling gear as possible). This way those last couple of rides and your impressions will be fresher in your mind than if you let days go by in between. Back to back is ideal, but not always possible. And include some rough spots along with climbing/ descending to get a better feel for the ride and handling of the bikes.
 

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I bought a Jamis Quest in mid March, and I am very happy. I was looking for a comfortable ride, and the steel frame has been amazing, especially for longer rides. The price for the components is great, and at just over 17lbs for a steel frame, pretty darn good. I consider it the best $1500 I've spent on outdoor gear.
 

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jpaynte said:
I bought a Jamis Quest in mid March, and I am very happy. I was looking for a comfortable ride, and the steel frame has been amazing, especially for longer rides. The price for the components is great, and at just over 17lbs for a steel frame, pretty darn good. I consider it the best $1500 I've spent on outdoor gear.
For sure the Quest is a nice bike, but Jamis claimed weight is 18.8 lbs., and manufacturers always err in their favor (lighter), so where are you getting 17 lbs. from?
 
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