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Reviews Cannondale CAAD 9 Tiagra Compact

Cannondale CAAD 9 Tiagra Compact

Cannondale, founded in the early 70s, is a well-established brand who pioneered aluminium bicycle frame technology in the mid ‘80s. The CAAD9 frameset is the next iteration of Cannondale’s award-winning welded aluminium frame design, which has built up a well-deserved reputation for its stiffness and light weight.

The spec of the Cannondale CAAD 9 Tiagra Compact is exactly as you’d expect from a bike in this price range. The ever-reliable Shimano Tiagra braking system and drivetrain is coupled with a smattering of decent own-brand components and some quality additions like the Fi’zi:k Pave saddle and Shimano WHR 500A wheelset. This mix of quality components makes the Cannondale a smooth operator but equally gives a robust feel out on the road. While it can’t rival the Planet X for build, this is a well-constructed entry-level road bike that provides better value for money than other well-established brands.

While the test bike came in a rather uninspiring paint job, options in full Team Liquigas colours are available if you find the stealth look too subtle.

It’s not often you get the opportunity to ride a bike with such aluminium-based heritage as a Cannondale CAAD (Cannondale Advanced Aluminium Design) so it’s easy to get excited about the latest incarnation of this pioneering frame design, the CAAD 9. It’s instantly clear that this is a design that’s been refined and refined. The result is a minimalistic, lightweight alloy frame with no excess material.

On the road, things get even better – this is one of the most responsive frames money can buy. The stiff aluminium construction transfers every single ounce of power you can muster through the Shimano Tiagra drivetrain and straight down into the unsuspecting asphalt below. If you’re looking for responsiveness and downright obedience this is one of the most compliant frames out there.

The CAAD 9 Tiagra, with its compact chainset, is an absolute dream on really steep climbs. Back down the other side it feels planted, sturdy and corners like a train, thanks to the incredible rigidity of the refined alloy frameset.

Cannondale’s Ultra carbon forks add a degree of dampening to the front end, which takes the edge off any road buzz you might encounter with an alloy unit. Although the ride is harder than most carbon models, the CAAD 9 frame provides a more comfortable ride than it has any right to given the unforgiving way it tears up the tarmac.

The CAAD 9’s spec is great value, with seamless shifting provided courtesy of Shimano’s Tiagra range. The Fi’zi:k saddle is a welcome relief from the own-brand saddles found on similarly priced bikes. That said, Cannondale’s reputation means you know their own bar and stem won’t let you down.

So there we have it, the Cannondale CAAD 9, one of the most thrilling and entertaining frames ever built? Possibly. Worth dishing out 1,000 hard-earned Great British pounds for? Definitely.

Contact : www.cannondale.com

Profile image of Matt Baird Matt Baird Editor of Cycling Plus magazine


Matt is a regular contributor to 220 Triathlon, having joined the magazine in 2008. He’s raced everything from super-sprint to Ironman, duathlons and off-road triathlons, and can regularly be seen on the roads and trails around Bristol. Matt is the author of Triathlon! from Aurum Press and is now the editor of Cycling Plus magazine.

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