Born and bred single track since a young pup, I knew nothing of the world of road bikes. Owning mountain bikes to use as multipurpose vehicles indiscriminately on smooth roads and root-y trails. I didn’t know any better. I thought this worked. That a bikes a bike a bike.
After hearing of the brutal lack of efficiency a mountain bike supplies on the roads, I spent weeks researching new options. Hybrids, gravels, Cyclocross, road, adventure, mountain, hard tail, soft tail. A stupid amount of options. At the end I’ll post an encyclopedia of what these different options are for those who need to know. After determining my needs (I had a full suspension mountain bike), what I needed wasn’t a hybrid, but a stiff frame cyclocross that looked like a road bike but with thicker tires.
In comes the CAADX. My hunt for the perfect bike came to an end, there stood a CAADX 105 SE perched in the bike shop. Size 56 (fits like a glove) on sale due to inventory load. I deliberated. I didn’t want to spend more than $600 and here is a bike that costs more than twice that! Should I be fiscally smart and buy a cheaper bike? Or should I bite the bullet and buy the nicer bike? The addage rang true… you get what you pay for…
The setup on the CAADX 105 is on the higher end of the spectrum. Shimano 105 group set is a tried and true beast of reliability. Switching gears is buttery smooth, responsive, all the while maintaining the sturdy feeling of an old Volvo. From the moment you ride, you know whatever direction you point her in, she’ll take you there; fast and efficient. 2×11 setups offer a fine range of gears without compromising simplicity. At first I wanted to explore 1x systems on a Cyclocross, but am thankful there’s a 2x for the commuting.
This bikes aesthetics are love it or hate it. That anthracite color, when the light hits it right, is dynamite. A sexy enough bike, that you’ll fall in love with her confident poise of an F22 Fighter. Mount and take off.
The mechanical disk brakes are OK, but not superb. Even after the break in period the brakes feel a skosh mushy. What are you braking for though? This subscribes to Tazio Nuvolari’s mind set – you’re meant to go fast and forward, not slow down. Brakes? Who needs ’em?
Pedals and Driving
I opted for Specialized Benny’s. Seeming unorthodox at first to equip a competitors pedals to this new Cannondale machine, the lack of loyalty soon wore off for they pair together like cheese and wine. Smooth, efficient, flat, planted, and sticky. And no special shoes with clips to get around town. Love the non-clips setup. The included saddle is comfortable and sturdy.
Liquid smooth. The shifters are located in the brake levers of the RAM horns. You’ll shift up and down by pushing the lever left and right. Modern and intuitive.
She looks great, is well made, and you’ll love her a little more each time you ride.
When you’re in bottom gear, or top gear there is a little bit of rubbing from the chain. Natural and doesn’t hurt anything, but chain hiss is rarely desirable.
Hybrids – A bike with tires thinner than a mountain, but thicker than a road. Geometry designed to hit some dirt trails with a bit of slick stuff and bumps. You won’t want this on gnarly single track rocks and heavy roots (although you could). Would do fine as a light mountain and general purpose commuter.
Gravels – Hard framed bikes with thicker tires than a cyclocross. Heavier duty than cyclocross.
Cyclocross – Hard framed bikes with thicker than road, but thinner than gravel tires. Lighter than gravel and the perfect off and on road companion. Great commuter.
Road – Thin, light, and aerodynamic beasts that are meant to turn any road into an F1 track.
Mountain – Comes in a variety of flavors including thick as hell tires and full suspension. These guys are used for rocks, roots, awful bumpy terrain. Mountain bikes have come a long way since the 90s.
Hard tail – There is no suspension under your butt, but could have suspension in the head or fork.
Soft tail – Suspension under your butt. The most common for mountain bikes these days as your plowing over roots.
Disclaimer: this is a small soire into the world of bikes. For an industry around for 100s of years, there are so many tools in the arsenal of mechanically wheel’d objects.