Since then, I have gone through a whole series of bikes - ranging from steel to carbon fibre and now to aluminium. Why downgrade - some might say. Carbon fibre has to be the best material for a bike correct? Well to a point yes. Carbon fibre bikes can be built to be both compliant for comfort(horizontally!) and stiff for responsiveness. It can be made light - oh yes. If you have ever held a carbon fibre frame in your hand you would swear it was all made out of cardboard - thats how light it would feel. However, I still wager that carbon fibre still cannot match the smoothness of a real good steel bike and the zippiness or zinginess (some call it sports car like feel) of a good aluminium bike.
Which brings me to the Cannondale CAAD10 - I have always wanted a Cannondale. Whats not to like about the name - "Cannondale" ;). But those things are expensive. A ready made Cannondale in Singapore will cost you easily USD2k if not more unless you manage to capture a late model variant like a CAAD8 or a CAAD9. But me - I wanted a CAAD10. After taking a few test rides - I just loved this Taiwan built CAAD10 frame (the older CAADs were supposedly handmade in the USA). It was light, it was smooth - relatively anyway and it was responsive.
After scoring a deal on the 'Bay, I bought this size 56 frame and built it up with a Deda cockpit (Deda Zero 100 stem and Deda Newton shallow bars) and seatpost (Deda Zero 100), a Selle Italia SLR (Update in Oct 2013 - I have since replaced this with a Fizik Arione) saddle, SRAM Force components (Update in Oct 2013 - SRAM BB30 bearings failed due to corrosion and replaced at 2200km :( ) and beautiful Campagnolo Eurus wheels. Frame weight was around 1.2kg and total build weight was around 7.5kg / 16.5lbs. I probably could have built the bike lighter by using weight weenie components and by using carbon wheelset but as this bike was meant to be a daily thrashabout bike, I decided to spec components that were tougher on it e.g. aluminium parts throughout. Frame specs-wise for my size 56 - it has a 56cm top tube and seat tube length, a "traditional" 73degree seatpost and head tube angle, a 80cm standover height.
How does it ride you might ask? She (bikes tend to be referred to as females gender-wise) feels very stiff, accelerates very easily and retains speed well. Turn in in corners with the Cannondale fork is very predictable and there is very little "jitteriness" in terms of controlling it. Compliance-wise, it is a harsher ride compared to carbon fibre or steel or titanium over rough roads. To tune the ride for more comfort, you might consider adding a carbon fibre seatpost and or cockpit and or wheels. For me, I just trust aluminium a lot more in terms of reliability in terms of components. I have had this baby for a year or more now and am looking for a change soon. Maybe back to steel again - we'll see how it goes.