2016 Cannondale CAAD12 Black Inc.
Cannondale's brilliant CAAD12 Black Inc. is a sleeper at the starting line. Its looks may be understated, but beneath that stealthy paint job beats the heart of an unbridled racing machine. Cannondale's masterfully engineered SmartFormed aluminum frame is light, stiff, and ready to sprint away from the pack. Its BB30 bottom bracket and scalloped seat tube make it blindingly efficient for maximum power transfer and excellent acceleration, while the flattened SPEED SAVE stays and tapered carbon SPEED SAVE fork create a ride that's fast and smooth, so you can ride stronger, longer. When a frame has this much podium potential you have to have components to match. Mavic Ksyrium Pro wheels absolutely fly up the climbs, Mavic Yksion tires sail through the turns, and the Pro Tour-proven Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain with Cannondale's own Hollowgram SiSL2 crank offers blisteringly fast shifting. Dura-Ace caliper brakes provide stop-on-a-dime braking power with excellent feel and modulation. Cannondale's own ultra-light cockpit components are the icing on the cake, while a sleek Fizik saddle provides a supportive perch from which you can plan your next attack off the front.
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I've been riding a 2015 CAAD10 for just over a year, so my aluminum bar has been set high already. When I heard about the new CAAD12's upcoming release, I immediately wondered if the engineers at Cannondale could top themselves.... They did. I rode the 10 and 12 back to back over the same 48 mile route and the difference is clear. The CAAD12 soaks up the road imperfections far better than the CAAD10 which was great in its day. The power transfer through the cranks seems more immediate and direct with the SISL2 on the 12. Standing to climb I could notice the nearly 2 pound difference in weight (sub-15 pound for my 54cm bike--with pedals!). The Dura-Ace internal-routed mech derailleur shifts instantly and the spidering shifting is equally effortless up or down. I've used Praxis Works Leva Time as my reference for front shifting and SISL2 edged it out for chainring shifting ease. Overall, if you aren't a carbon frame snob, and if you want THE BEST ALUMINUM BIKE EVER, the CAAD12 Black Inc is it. Ride one, race one or train on one, you'll thank yourself for it. Solid, stiff, durable, fast, compliant, no-excuses, retro-chic, Dura-Ace spec?... GET YOURS!