Cannondale CAAD 12 Disc 105 Review

Long live aluminium. A review of the Cannondale CAAD 12 Disc 105.

Bicycling Staff |

Long live aluminium. A review of the Cannondale CAAD 12 Disc 105.

Cannondale CAAD 12 Disc
Cannondale CAAD 12 Disc

Cannondale CAAD12 Disc 105 Review

Despite most manufacturers picking carbon over aluminium as the material of choice for their racing frames, Cannondale have stuck to their guns and continued to develop and improve their CAAD range of performance frames. The CAAD 12 (which replaces the CAAD 10) shares almost identical geometry to Cannondale’s flagship carbon SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod frames, making it a thoroughbred racer.

Bicycling rode the Ultegra-specced CAAD 12 Disc late last year and were blown away by the bike’s overall capability. It simply did everything well. The ride was so enticing that we voted to celebrate aluminium (in a world dominated by carbon), awarding it our Bike of the Year accolade.

For the Bike Buyer’s Guide we opted to put the lower-specced, Shimano 105-equipped CAAD 12 to through its paces and see if it too would be a pleasure to ride – and critically, how it would handle at race pace.

With the Ultegra and 105 models sharing identical frames, it became a battle of the build kits – would the lower spec make a difference to handling and ride quality?

Although discs are taking their time penetrating our market (they’re best suited to monster Alpine or Pyrenean descents), I’m becoming more and more of a fan. This CAAD 12 features a Shimano IceTech brakeset paired to 160mm rotors that allowed for feathering to manoeuvre through the group, but also proved completely reliable when needing to stop abruptly for a mischievous taxi or pedestrian.

Shimano have employed their technological trickle-down to great effect – the 105 is no longer a ‘fun-rider’ groupset, but a precise, great-value option for aspiring racers. If we were to turn this into a proper race machine (to really get the most out of the CAAD 12 chassis), we’d upgrade the wheelset to something a bit lighter and faster – although for a bike at the sub-R30k mark, the wheels supplied are not to be scoffed at.

With its razor-sharp handling and aggressive geometry, twinned with a bulletproof build kit, the CAAD 12 Disc 105 punches above its price weight.

Cannondale CAAD 12 Disc 105
Cannondale CAAD 12 Disc 105

Price: R28 000


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