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  1. #1
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    Advice: Bargain CAAD-3 or hold out for carbon?

    I'm in the market for my first road bike, and I'm in a bit of a dilemma, since I have a great deal on hand that won't last.

    As a quick precursor, I've been riding for a little over a year, beginning on a hybrid and working up to an older road bike this season that I'm using on loan at the moment. I'm a novice at best, but I'm working toward a goal of being able to hang with the faster groups and perhaps do a little racing in the future. I don't have a lot of money to jump from bike to bike or spend money every year upgrading, but I do have the money to invest in a fairly good bike that will be all I need for years to come. Basically, I don't want to buy the wrong bike and want something else in a year.

    I discovered that a LBS has a leftover 2012 CAAD10 Ultegra that's marked down to $1,500 that I know is a great deal, however, because I ride on some fairly rough roads at times and have some ongoing prostate/pelvic issues (not caused by cycling), I felt from the get-go that investing in carbon would be better from a health and comfort standpoint, even if it is a bit overkill for a novice cyclist. I don't really need and have never considered a bike with Ultegra stuff, it just so happens this CAAD10-3 is what they've got left.

    So my dilemma is to consider this CAAD10, or hold out until winter when I might be able to score a leftover carbon frame bike under the roughly $2,000 limit I've set. Any opinions? I know there a lot of CAAD10 vs. SuperSix/other carbon frame discussions out there, but I feel the deal on the CAAD sort of changes the decision process.

  2. #2
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    Most would agree that a CAAD 10 will ride better than a budget carbon frame. Plus, you can mitigate most of the harshness of the road with good wheel and tire selection. If it were me, I'd go with the CAAD 10...

  3. #3
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    Advice: Bargain CAAD-3 or hold out for carbon?

    If you really think you want to race, the CAAD is a great choice. The right tires, bars and seatpost can make it ride just fine.
    Arguments among misinformed people do not constitute a "debate."
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guod View Post
    Most would agree that a CAAD 10 will ride better than a budget carbon frame. Plus, you can mitigate most of the harshness of the road with good wheel and tire selection. If it were me, I'd go with the CAAD 10...
    Wouldn't the cost of upgrading parts to accomplish this, which Fireform has mentioned as well, push the cost of this well beyond what it would've been just to buy a carbon bike in the first place? Not to mention, my wife would kill me if I told her I need to buy more things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fireform View Post
    If you really think you want to race, the CAAD is a great choice. The right tires, bars and seatpost can make it ride just fine.
    Of all the things I'd like to do with the bike, racing is probably at the bottom of the list. But I won't rule it out. Mainly looking to join some of the faster groups over long distance rides, maybe some of the local TT's that are purely for fun, and hopefully a century at some point. Right now, I'm on a 24-25lb. bike that isn't a perfect fit, so I'm limited in what I can do and who I can ride with.

    I'm a little competitive, so speed is important, but moreso comfort and durability. I need the bike I still won't regret buying five years from now.

  5. #5
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    I hear you about buying lots of parts for a new bike. But after a while you're going to buy tires no matter what. Put some 25 mm tires on the CAAD 10, which you can run at lower pressure, and the CAAD 10 will be just fine. I've ridden a CAAD 10 on an extended test ride - very nice ride, would be happy to own one. Cannot say the same for some carbon frames - some are great, but some are hardcore racing jackhammers, and will not meet your comfort requirement.

  6. #6
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    The CAAD will be fine. And as mentioned above, it will ride better than most lower-end carbon frames. Spend $75 on some new tires in 25mm, and run them at lower pressures (90f/100r) and you will get that ride pretty smooth. $1500 is a steal for that bike.

  7. #7
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    Well, I went and rode the CAAD tonight, along with a leftover 2012 SuperSix with SRAM on it, just for giggles.

    The CAAD is definitely a nice bike, and that all-black stealth look makes it look fast sitting still, but I wasn't completely sold on the feel. It's possible the (rather stiff) Prologo seat on it just didn't agree with me, but I wasn't perfectly comfortable on it. It did feel strong and stable and the power transfer was certainly there, but then again, coming from a heavy bike, anything that light is going to feel snappy.

    The SuperSix, on the other hand, was noticeably heavier (I actually picked them up, one in each hand, and could feel the difference), but for some reason, it just felt better overall. I didn't ride to over any rough terrain to get a feel for the energy absorption, it just felt like it accelerated better and was more powerful overall. They had a nice price on the SS ($1,600), but I shied away from it purely for the means of sticking with Shimano.

    So in essence, I left the LBS as unsure about it as when I arrived. Considering the price, it could be a good investment that would return quite a bit of its value down the road. Unfortunately, I've only ridden one road bike in my life aside from these two, so I don't know how to truly judge one on a few short sprints down the road and back. What to do?

  8. #8
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    I'm guessing - only a guess - you rode a SuperSix with SRAM Apex, and a different and somewhat heavier wheelset than the CAAD 10, thus the weight difference. Given that you liked the SuperSix more but want Shimano rather than SRAM, you might see if you can find a SuperSix with Shimano 105 left over from 2012. 105 will feel very similar to the Ultegra, just weighs a bit more. Lots of folks racing 105 - it's reliable and durable. I'd expect to pay a bit more for the 105 than the Apex, but not that much more. 2012 CAAD 10s with Ultegra going for $1899 in my area, 2012 SS with 105 going for $2099. So might be a bit less in your area, given that you saw the CAAD 10 for $1500.

  9. #9
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    Well, what I found interesting was that the two bikes should be fairly similar in geometry, but in fact felt completely different. On the CAAD, the handlebars were just right (hands right on the hoods, not too long, not to short) and the seat was adjusted to the right height, and I felt like I was riding a bike where the seat was a whole foot too high. I was having to force my nether regions, if you get my drift, into the nose of the seat to ride it. It was actually painful to ride for just a couple minutes. The SS, on the other hand, actually had the seat higher than the CAAD was, and it felt perfect. My first thought was, maybe that's just how a race-minded bike is supposed to fit, but the Six wasn't near as uncomfortable.

    For the price, I really want to like the CAAD, and I'm not sure if its set up wrong, needs a different saddle, or what, but it didn't feel very homely at all.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guod View Post
    Most would agree that a CAAD 10 will ride better than a budget carbon frame. Plus, you can mitigate most of the harshness of the road with good wheel and tire selection. If it were me, I'd go with the CAAD 10...
    The Supersix is a budget carbon frame? Since when.
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  11. #11
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    Advice: Bargain CAAD-3 or hold out for carbon?

    Sounds like you weren't set up right at all. Did the shop try to get it right for you or just let you ride it as it sat?
    Arguments among misinformed people do not constitute a "debate."
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ph0enix View Post
    The Supersix is a budget carbon frame? Since when.
    Yep, you're right, it's not, but OP mentioned SuperSix after discussion of the budget carbon part. Certainly an upgrade from the carbon frames I was thinking about.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW84 View Post
    Well, what I found interesting was that the two bikes should be fairly similar in geometry, but in fact felt completely different. On the CAAD, the handlebars were just right (hands right on the hoods, not too long, not to short) and the seat was adjusted to the right height, and I felt like I was riding a bike where the seat was a whole foot too high. I was having to force my nether regions, if you get my drift, into the nose of the seat to ride it. It was actually painful to ride for just a couple minutes. The SS, on the other hand, actually had the seat higher than the CAAD was, and it felt perfect. My first thought was, maybe that's just how a race-minded bike is supposed to fit, but the Six wasn't near as uncomfortable.

    For the price, I really want to like the CAAD, and I'm not sure if its set up wrong, needs a different saddle, or what, but it didn't feel very homely at all.
    Agree with what Fireform says - don't think you were set up right on the CAAD. Pretty sure CAAD and SuperSix have identical geometry, so difference in how bikes felt in terms of set up, particular what you describe with saddle, is not specific to the bikes. My best guess - the saddle angle on CAAD was set with nose of saddle elevated from parallel to ground. Should be set parallel to ground, at least as a starting point, back of saddle to nose of saddle, with carpenter's level.

    From what you describe, shop sent you out the door with saddles set at different heights? That doesn't make a lot of sense, makes me think they didn't do as much as they could about setting up bikes to match you as an individual. I'd go back, ask them to set the bikes up identically, and specifically to check saddle angle on the CAAD. You may very well still decide you prefer the SS to the CAAD, but right now I'm not sure you know what the CAAD should feel like.

  14. #14
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    I went back to the LBS and asked them to stick the saddle I normally ride with on it and it was a very much improved ride. It may need a spacer or new stem to get the bars up maybe 1/4 to 1/2-inch to make it comfortable for long rides, but it rode nice as-is. The LBS is a mostly mail order and MTB/ BMX oriented, but they are a road bike dealer, just not incredibly helpful on fitting a road bike. There are other local shops I'd rather go to that have salesmen that actually ride road bikes, but those shops aren't offering can't-miss deals or discounts, so it's a trade-off.

    The bike I normally ride (which happens to be the only road bike I've ever been on) has one of Giant's older-style stems that's angled upward at nearly a 45 degree angle placing the handlebars up high and making it ride like a Cadillac (or so I've figured out, now). So no doubt when I hopped on this more modern, advanced race bike, the position was a bit of a physical shock.

    The SuperSix 105 definitely rode better, but at the best price I can find, it would put it about $550 more than the CAAD10 and well beyond my budget once I add shoes, pedals, bottle holders, etc. There's a Giant TCR 105 and Specialized Tarmac in town priced a little closer to the CAAD I'm going to try this weekend, but I think I'm sold on the CAAD at this point.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ph0enix View Post
    The Supersix is a budget carbon frame? Since when.
    It's not. Just meant that CAAD rides like a lower end carbon. Not that the SS is as such.

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    For budget reasons and my preference in LBS's, I'd narrowed the brand selection down to the Cannondales, Specialized, and Giant. Had the opportunity to test ride a lower end Specialized Tarmac and Roubaix (lower end meaning the 105 models around the $2,000 mark), along with a Giant TCR Composite and Defy Composite. The four of them rode nice and certainly dampened the ride well, but when you really got after it, they simply felt sloppy and slow in comparison to the CAAD10. I'm sold on it. Thanks for your advice everyone, much appreciated!

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