Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra Review

Updated May 31, 2013
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Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra
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If you're looking for an entry-level road bike that's a good value, the aluminum-framed Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra is a great choice. Road.cc calls it one of the best bikes of the year thanks to its Shimano Tiagra 10-speed parts, a lightweight FSA Omega compact crank, carbon fork and vibration-reducing stays.

Performance

"Light and nimble." As the middle child in the CAAD8 family, the Tiagra chassis uses technologies now found on some top-of-the-line models, says Bicycling Magazine's buyer's guide. The bike's chainstays smooth out road vibrations without allowing too much lateral flex from the stiff, oversized BB30 bottom-bracket shell, the hollow tube that holds the pedal assembly bracket. A carbon fork makes steering precise and descents stable. There are mudguards on the frame and forks for winter and rain use, but no holes for mounting a rack.

ProsGood value frame, Precise steering, Comfortable on long ridesConsWheels are heavy

Iwein Dekoninck at Road.cc says the bike feels "light and nimble," and calls the Shimano Tiagra groupset "smooth as butter." The gearing particularly impresses him as being perfectly matched to the bike.

Comfort

Geometry similar to more expensive siblings. Although it's designed much like a race bike, the Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra has a slightly taller headtube to make the rider's position more relaxed and pedaling more efficient.

Dekoninck likes that the frame isolates him from much of the road buzz on uneven surfaces and finds the CAAD8 slightly more relaxed than a dedicated race bike, making it good for long rides. He adds that Cannondale's 2.5-mm suede bar-tape with gel backing has a "really pleasant feel and works really well, even when wet."

Durability

High-quality frame. Cannondale has been making aluminum frames for years, and that experience is evident in the construction quality of the CAAD8 Tiagra. Cannondale's Synapse Active Vibration Elimination (SAVE) seat stays provide bump and buzz absorption, but the wheels don't match the quality and performance of the frame. Dekoninck says new wheels and tires would really improve the CAAD8's overall performance; its stock equipment is a bit heavy for an otherwise light, carbon frame bike.

Customer Service

No mail order. Cannondale provides a lifetime warranty for the frame against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship. All other components are covered for one year from the date of original retail purchase.

Customer service gets mixed reviews in various cycling forums. While a few owners say service is top-notch, a number of user reviews indicate difficulty in getting a return call from the company. Others say, "Cannondale does not check their customer service e-mails."

Cannondale only sells its bikes directly through authorized retailers fully assembled and tuned. This means availability is limited to retailer locations; mail orders and Internet sales aren't an option. Cannondale says, "The sole exception is a U.S. retailer specifically authorized by Cannondale to sell only triathlon specific bicycles directly to customers in the U.S."

Our Sources

1. Bicycling Magazine

2012 Buyer's Guide: Entry-Level Road Bikes, Editors of Bicycling Magazine, Not dated

Editors present what they consider to be the best entry-level road bikes, placing the Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra in the No. 3 slot. Reviews are very brief without much criticism or ratings.

2. Road.cc

Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra, Iwein Dekoninck, Jan. 16, 2012

This British cycling website provides detailed, test-based reviews of road bikes based on a five-point scale. Several models are widely available in the U.S.; the Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra gets 4.5 stars out of 5.

3. Road.cc

Road.cc Bike of the Year, Mat Brett, Jan. 1, 2013

Road.cc editors pick their top 10 test bikes of 2012, placing the Cannondale CAAD8 Tiagra at No. 4. Brett calls it "a compelling package and great value to boot."