Cannondale CAAD Frame History?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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DC41
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by DC41

Does anyone have a summary of the evolution of the strengths and weaknesses of the CAAD series frames. Something along the lines of:

Strengths - Weaknesses
CAAD4
CAAD5
CAAD6
CAAD7
CAAD8
CAAD9

It seems they started with a stiff frame and gradually made it flexible as they removed weight, and then started to make it stiff again. But I'm not sure which frame is which.

Thanks!
Self-Proclaimed Resident Master Fattie - Vicious DC Slither

gogo
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by gogo

The first road frame from Cannondale was produced in 1983. It sold for $350 and included the frame and fork. The fork was steel with helical reinforcement ribs inside the steel steering tube. The frame was instantly recognized for the oversized down tube and enlarged head tube. The seat-stays and chain-stays were ovalized to reduce flex. Unlike steel frames, there were no lugs; the aluminum tubes were mitered, hand welded and then heat treated.
The first frames were available in two colors; red and white, and painted with DuPont Imron paint. Cannondale achieved the distinction and goal of becoming the first high volume producer of aluminum frames, at a time when only steel frames were mass produced and aluminum was hand made in low volumes.
Cannondale marketed subsequent frames with the CAAD designation (for "Cannondale Advanced Aluminum Design"). The CAAD4 model introduced S-bend aluminum seat stays for improved comfort. Optimo aluminum was developed in a partnership with Alcoa and was introduced to the market in 2002 with the CAAD7 road frame. The development process of the specific elements of the alloy took over 18 months, and Cannondale has exclusive use of this alloy in the bicycle industry.
Optimo aluminum is a 6000 series alloy that has superior properties to 6061, 6066, and 6069. Compared to 6061, Optimo's proprietary mix contains slightly more silicon and less magnesium, which results in higher ultimate tensile strength and higher elongation.

The current generation of Cannondale aluminum frame in the 2007 model year is known as CAAD9. CAAD9 is the continued evolution of Cannondale's welded aluminum frame design. CAAD 9 has reduced weight and increased stiffness over last year's CAAD8 design.

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannondale ... orporation )

teterider
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:42 am

by teterider

Well here is what I can reply with that you may already know.

All of these frames have the thin, bending seat stays for more comfort. The previous CAAD3 used straight seat stays.

CAAD4 had 1" standard headtube
CAAD5/6/7 had 1-1/8" integrated Campagnolo Hiddenset. They then started using some Ritchey headsets before going to FSA with CAAD8/9.
CAAD6 is identical to CAAD5 but uses different bottom bracket for their Hollowgram crank.

CAAD4/5/6 are made from 6000 series aluminum

CAAD7 was the first "Optimo" frame that I thought was 7000 series aluminum, but the post above written while I was doing this indicates otherwise. Probably because there are hundreds of mentions on the internet that it is 7000 series, but that doesn't mean they are right (seriously).
Cannondale also started changing the handling with the CAAD7 by going from a 43mm fork to a 45mm fork. Earlier frames had a nice neutral handling trait with about 59mm trail that I really liked, but made more "responsive" with the 43mm rake to give a 56mm trail. Frame angles remained similar. Part of this was for cost savings. They started using the exact same rake across all sizes and also stopped color matching forks.

Its possible that the CAAD5/6 are stiffer than CAAD4 with increased diameter headtube, but nothing that would be noticed. Actually all the frames are plenty stiff. Perhaps the only noticable difference would be going from a CAAD4 to a CAAD9, where real changes were made to increase stiffness.

Addition:
to add to Gogo's post, put this between "....made in low volumes" and
"Cannondale marketed...."

According to the Cannondale ad campaign, they were experimenting with carbon fiber, but then came out with the 3.0 series. This was their first major design change. The ad stated in the end, they found they could make an aluminum frame lighter, stiffer, and way cheaper than carbon fiber, which was probably very true at the time. This frame was distinctive with its cantilevered rear dropouts. They also added the aluminum sub-1 fork. The frame was offered in a "road race" version and a shorter wheelbase "criterium" version. This was followed up by the 2.8 series with some minor tweaks to reduce weight. They then went into the CAAD designation but early models only used one "A" (CAD).

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legs 11
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by legs 11

CAAD 4 had 1 1/8 fork

squirrel
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by squirrel

legs 11 wrote:CAAD 4 had 1 1/8 fork

My CAAD4 has 1" :wink:
Sorry for my english..

Steve K
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by Steve K

I think they went to 1 1/8" in 2001. My friend's Saeco CAAD4 is 1" where as my CAAD4 is 1 1/8".

MaestroXC
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by MaestroXC

DC41 wrote:CAAD4
CAAD5
CAAD6
CAAD7
CAAD8
CAAD9



The CAAD7 and CAAD8 introduced the bladed seatstays to lose weight from the previous round tubes, but retained the hourglass shape. Also, they went from a round downtube at the HT junction to a teardrop shaped one, supposedly to improve ride quality. The CAAD7 was the last aluminum frame available in the USA with the SI bottom bracket option; European CAAD8 SI bikes were available.

The CAAD9 went back to a round downtube at the HT junction, and also ovalized the top tube at the HT, dropping it down for a larger intersection, supposedly to improve stiffness.
Zealots beware.

2002SaecoReplica
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by 2002SaecoReplica

CAAD4 - Hourglass seat stays
CAAD5 - Integrated 1 1/8" headset
CAAD6 - Integrated Hollowgram crankset
CAAD7 - Teardrop shaped toptube, "optimo" tubing used.
CAAD8 - Bladed rear seatstays
CAAD9 - Seatstays from the system six. They are essentially the bladed CAAD8 stays moved a little wider apart. They beefed up the toptube, downtube, and seat tube to give it similar stiffness to the CAAD4/5/6.
- Zipp rims will break if you look at them too hard
- R-Sys wheels will spontaneously explode
- The ZG crankset will never, ever exist
- Everyone needs Lightweights, even if they're fat and old
- Parts actually made of metal are SO 10 years ago

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DC41
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by DC41

Thanks guys! That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for.
Self-Proclaimed Resident Master Fattie - Vicious DC Slither

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Tenbears10
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by Tenbears10

There seems to be quite a variation, my black lightning has CAAD7 and optimo frame stickers and yet has round seat stays not bladed. The downtube is teardrop at the HT junction and round at the bottom bracket and the top tube is round as far as I can see. On the cannondale archive http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/02/ce/model-2BL.html it states it has a CAAD6 frame but even in that photo you can see the CAAD7 sticker.

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divve
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by divve

CAAD7 always had round seat stays. The top tube is slightly tear dropped near the head tube. When you squeeze it between your fingers you can also see it deform slightly :lol:

EURO
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by EURO

This kind of thread with info all over the place makes me wish for a Wiki :)

Why don't you guys just head over to Wikipedia and update the Cannondale page?

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Curious George
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by Curious George

For those that have ridden a number of different models which did you like the best?
I have ridden a 4,5 and now have a 9. I think in sheer terms of package the 9 is the best, and the 4 the stiffest.

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alain
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by alain

I ride a CAAD3 frame from 1996. In size 58, the weight is 1320 gr. Not bad for a 11 years old frame. The bike is mounted with a 1' full carbon Mizuno Fiandre fork. Total weight is 7.150kg.
Titanium rules.

2002SaecoReplica
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by 2002SaecoReplica

Curious George wrote:For those that have ridden a number of different models which did you like the best?
I have ridden a 4,5 and now have a 9. I think in sheer terms of package the 9 is the best, and the 4 the stiffest.


I've had a 6,7,8, and now a 9. The 6 and the 9 are easily the stiffest but I contribute a lot of that to the SI cranks/BB in the 6 where as with the 9, they beefed to tubes where they needed to and shaved them where they didn't. I really loved that bike but it was a little on the heavy side(at least by todays standards). I love my 9 though and wish they would make it with a SI BB. My 9 is easily one of my favorite bikes I've ever ridden and a great race frame.

If C'dale would make a CAAD9 SI I'd be a really happy camper :D
- Zipp rims will break if you look at them too hard
- R-Sys wheels will spontaneously explode
- The ZG crankset will never, ever exist
- Everyone needs Lightweights, even if they're fat and old
- Parts actually made of metal are SO 10 years ago

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