Cannondale CAAD12 Review

Cannondale CAAD12 Bike Review

Price

Between $1,700 and $2,099 - Available on REI.com

Pros​​​​

Lightweight, high quality components, great performance, excellent upgrade potential 

Cons

Tires wear and tear easily

Summary

If your idea of fun is taking your bike speed cycling or chasing 50+ odd people around a competitive track, then a CAAD12 may be the bike for you.

Our Rating

90/100

Manufacturer

The CAAD12 Red Etap, CAAD12 Disc Dura-Ace, CAAD12 Ultegra, CAAD12 Disc 105, and CAAD12 105 are all apart of the CAAD12 series.

The CAAD12 series is considered a racing bike model, which Cannondale promotes to cycling enthusiasts or entry-to-mid level experienced competitive racers. The bike is best suited for road cycling.

Tech Specs

FRAME SIZE: SM, MD, LG, and XL Sizes
BRAKE TYPE: Shimano 105 Brakes
SHIFTER: Shimano 105 Shifters
RIMS: Cannondale HoloGrams, Mavic Aksium WTS, RD 2.0
TIRES: Mavic Yksion Elite, Schwalbe Lugano, Schwalbe One, Vittorio Corsa
PRICE RANGE: $1,700 to $2,099

The CAAD12 is designed to provide a powerful, efficient ride to competitive cyclists or those training in that area of interest. It is best suited as a cycling bike. Functionally, the bike can be used on all surfaces, but the better benefits of its tire and additional components work at peak on roads.

As part of the CAAD12 series, CAAD12 bikes are considered to be for speed-lovers who like smooth handling. Cannondale indicates that their CAAD12 bikes offer “a quantum leap” in aluminum performance, mainly because the CAAD12 series has preserved the likeness of a high-end, carbon produced models in their aluminum design.

This makes the CAAD12 models very refined, sophisticated bikes that have to provide superior control and responsiveness to you, the rider. Whether you are riding over rough asphalt or cutting a tight turn, the bike is designed to preserve its stiff frame and absorb ground vibrations.

The CAAD12 series are all very similar, and all are competitive race bikes that are suited for cycling.

The CAAD10 weighs nearly between 25 and 27 pounds, is available in both men and women's selections, and widely considered an affordable option to more expensive race bikes.

Frame Size

The CAAD12 series features an assortment of different frames:

  • ​The CAAD12 Red Etap has a SmartFormed C2 alloy aluminum frame
  • ​The remainder of the CAAD12 series has a SmartFormed C1 premium alloy

​​These aluminum frames make a stiff, yet smooth and responsive riding frame, with superior handling ability. Also, the frame contains SAVE micro-suspension in the lightweight fork, which work to absorb shock, road vibration, increase handling, control, and enhances rider comfort.

Cannondale CAAD12 Review

In comparison to previous models like the CAAD9 and the CAAD10, the CAAD12 series places more of a focus on flat-out speed and rides smoother than its predecessors.

Cannondale offers the CAAD12 in SM, MD, LG, and XL.

Brake Type

The Cannondale CAAD 12 features Shimano 105 brakes. Many former riders have indicated that the Shimano brakes give them more control when stopping, and are responsive to sensitive braking.

Shifter

The CAAD12 series feature Shimano 105 shifters, which provide precise shifting through 22 combinations at the gear. The front and back derailleurs, brake levers, and rear cogs are also Shimano 105.

Shifter CAAD 12 Gears and Shifter

The Shimano brand is designed to work best with race bikes like the CAAD12. Users have commended the shift components for the effortless performance when riding.

Rims

The CAAD12 has a variety of different rims:

  • ​The CAAD12 Disc Dura-Ace and CAAD12 Red Etap has Cannondale HoloGrams
  • ​The CAAD12 Ultegra and CAAD12 105 carry Mavic Aksium WTS
  • ​The CAAD12 Disc 105 offers RD 2.0

​​​Tires

Additionally, the CAAD12 series also provides different operating tires:

  • ​The CAAD12 105 and the CAAD12 Ultegra have Mavic Yksion Elite tires, measuring 700 x 25c
  • ​The CAAD12 Disc 105 has Schwalbe Lugano, 700 x 25c
  • ​The CAAD12 Disc Dura-Ace has Schwalbe One, 700 x 25c
  • The CAAD12 Red Etap has Vittorio Corsa, 700 x 25c

​​​​All of these tires fold to maximize handling and bike speed. Each tire set is also made of high-quality grade materials and is designed with the latest tire technology for superior biking performance.

Are you considering becoming a cycling enthusiast? Or do you prefer an adrenaline rush with your bike rides? If your answer is yes, then the CAAD12 series can provide the thrills you seek from your bike. In contrast to CAAD10 owners, CAAD12 users hold their tires with the high regard due to their performance in actual riding environments and conditions.

Price Range

Cost is always one of the more subjective debates when concerning high-end bikes. The CAAD12 series is known for providing value at price tag lower than their competitors.

According to the Cannondale website, here are the MSRP prices of the vehicles:

  • ​CAAD12 105, $1,699.99
  • ​CAAD12 Disc 105, $1,949.99
  • ​CAAD12 Ultegra, $2,099.99
  • CAAD12 Disc Dura-Ace, $4,499.99
  • CAAD12 Red Etap, $5,199.99

​​​​​What We Like

The CAAD12 series are all finely constructed, honed bikes designed with rider comfort and speed in mind. It is lightweight, has superior ride performance, and several promising features: lightweight, great performance, and lots of upgrade potential when concerning the components.

With the CAAD12 series, Cannondale vastly succeeded our expectations, especially in:

Pros

  • ​Excellent bike performance
  • ​Reliable build
  • ​Fantastic quality
  • ​High-level components 
  • ​Stiff and responsive

​​​​​What We Don’t Like

Price is the most significant issue with the CAAD12 series; however, even that is nullified by the different versions of the bike.

Cons

  • ​Expensive
  • ​Tires wear-and-tear easily

​​Buying Advice

If your idea of fun is taking your bike speed cycling or chasing 50+ odd people around a competitive track, then a CAAD12 may be the bike for you.

Or, if you are seeking a responsive, strong bike that can minimize road vibrations.

But riders, we warned: The CAAD12 bikes are not for leisurely trips.

These are powerful machines that are meant to be pushed to their peak.

Conclusion

The Cannondale CAAD12 is a highly-competitive option in a crowded world of advanced racing bikes. So, if you are an amateur cyclist that's trying to select a bike that fits their needs, evaluate it regarding finances, the safety of bike, and heightened control.

The CAAD12 series offers interested parties a complete bike that’s ready to be pushed through the rugged outdoors. The Cannondale lightweight frames and components are high-tech standouts among the bikes, and they are intricate enough to rival, even best, carbon in aesthetic value and performance -- all within a price that fits you.

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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