Let's face it, when we see riders on a sleek, shiny road bicycle, it makes us all want to run to the closest bicycle store and get one. When reality checks in, not all of us are suited for the crouched, forward riding position that a road bicycle demands. So what does one do when you want the aggression, performance and speed of a road bicycle, but with the option of a flat bar and heads-up posture? The Cannondale CAAD 8 Flat Bar 2 2016 comes with all that and more. Here is what we thought of this unique bicycle.
The Cannondale CAAD 8 road series are designed for race performance. The frame is extremely aggressive with the top tube being almost completely horizontal, giving you the maximum forward momentum possible during your ride. The Flat Bar uses the same frame and geometry of its drop bar siblings. The frame is well built and is one of the lightest alloy road bicycles in its class. It comprises of an Alloy 6061 frame, with Cannondale’s S.A.V.E (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) micro suspension technology, which does it’s part in insulating a bit of the feedback to the rider, while riding over bad roads or potholes.
Personally, it took some time getting used to the ergonomics and fit of this bicycle. Due to it’s super sharp racing geometry, the flat bar does not stop you from still transferring and maintaining a lot of your upper body weight to the front. It did put a bit of strain on our wrists while driving for longer durations. This being said, it is still a more upright, back-friendly posture compared to a Road bicycle with drop bars.
The design of the Cannondale CAAD 8 Flat Bar 2 is very practical and clean. The bicycle has a combination of round tube profiles with a few of the tubes being flatter and sleek. The bright lime green colour option that the CAAD 8 Flat Bar 2 2016 comes with, was a real eye catcher, and can be spotted from a mile away. The Cannondale decals and badging is accentuated with this colour.
The CAAD 8 Flat Bar comes with 16 Speed gears that are powered by the Shimano Claris 2400 drivetrain group set. The Claris group set worked really well on the ride, and its shifting was precise without any lag. Cannondale have used a Tange Cartridge for the bottom bracket, while the road/drop bar editions come with the company’s famed BB30 bottom bracket. Overall the response from the drivetrain was good, and it supported spirited, fast paced performance riding, a’ la a road bicycle.
The brakes used on the Cannondale CAAD 8 Flat Bar 2 are Shimano Claris 2400 Calipers. They worked quite well, and come with the advantage of having better control over the brake levers, compared to levers on the drop down bar, making braking more precise. The one clear advantage that the flat bar has over it’s drop down road variant, is that it gives you the performance and geometry of a race bred bicycle, while being nimble yet fairly forgiving in terms of handling. The bicycle is still very responsive due to the road focused fork angle and design. It is safe to say that it’s handling allows riders to enjoy road bicycle performance inside city limits, which require you to change direction often.
The Wheel size of this bicycle is 26”. It comes with 700 * 25c, Kenda Kriterium Endurance tires, that are fitted on to the Taiwanese made Maddux R3.0 Double wall rims (36H). While the tires have a reputation of longevity and decent puncture resistant capabilities, the rims were not the best, and we personally felt Cannondale could have done better in this department.
Ride quality on the Cannondale CAAD 8 Flat Bar 2 2016 was typical of a road bicycle. It was stiff and you could feel the feedback of most bumps on the road. The upright posture does help the body maintain a better ergonomic position to take the feedback from undulations during your ride. The tires and the well-built frame play their part in absorbing fair amount of road vibration and chatter. The saddle is a Cannondale Ergo, which is part of Cannondale’s road series saddles, designed to seat you in the best possible manner for performance, race creed riding.
If you are someone who is looking for a comfortable road bicycle variant with a flat handle bar, without willing to compromise on key road bicycle characteristics such as speed, agility and performance, the Cannondale CAAD 8 Flat bar 2 offers just that. We must warn you that the unique ergonomics (flat bar on a road bicycle) will take some getting used to, and it is best that one takes a long test ride to really understand the intricacies of this road bicycle variant.