First Ride: Cannondale CAAD13

Anew from the forge


Cannondale forged their name in the aluminum game over 30 years ago. Renowned for making aluminum frames in America that became popular across the globe. The CAAD model has been the entry-level road bike from the Connecticut based brand for over a decade. 

Although no longer making frames in America, the Cannondale offers many competitively priced builds in a market of inflated prices. For new roadies, the CAAD line has highlighted many of the features a carbon race frame boasts but at a more attainable price. A short wheelbase gave the CAAD quick handling and the aluminum frame was engineered for near-maximum stiffness and the durability to continue after a crash.

Cannondale’s latest CAAD release follows in-line with the complete modernization the road side of the brand has seen over the couple years. Drawing from the aero and handling benefits of the SystemSix (RBA November 2018) the traditional alloy race rig has been updated to make it a worthy all-rounder. Instead of the traditional geometry and lines that Cannondale has used for years, the CAAD13 takes on an updated design that is more capable, aero and ready to handle the modern road scene than previous iterations.


Riding the CAAD13 we immediately noticed many differences in the updated designs while others not so much. The biggest difference is the updated ride quality. While the CAAD12 and 10 were seemingly created with all-out performance in mind, the CAAD13 has an increased level of “comfort”. Meaning the ride is much smoother, more predictable and easier to control. This doesn’t mean the frame isn’t as stiff but instead of having mainly the frame absorb vibrations, the job is shifted to the 28mm Vittoria rubber and lowered SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) seat stays. The new ride characteristics fall-in-line with the same updates applied to Cannondale’s other road frames.  

Cornering and Descending on the CAAD13 is noticeably different than the CAAD12. Instead of the ultra-responsive feel of the 12, the 13 handles much more predictably giving it a more confident feel in tight and unknown corners. The 28mm tires provide increased grip over the 25mm tires on the 12 and the longer wheelbase helps the bike hold its line.

During out of the saddle efforts while climbing or sprinting, the bike feels less responsive than the previous less compliant CAADs. The semi-compact chainrings keep the gearing better suited for racers rather than beginners and the 11-30 cassette makes the climbs friendlier.


  • Cannondale’s work horse CAAD redone 
  • Smoother doesn’t mean slower
  • Designed for modern road riding


Cannondale’s SAVE design technology was used to engineer compliance into the lowered rear triangle.

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