Hi! Two firsts this weekend.
Last Sunday I picked up a 2011 Cannondale CAADX 105 (58cm). I was attracted to this bike as a lower-cost, back-up bike to my prized road bike. Key features are a useful combination of front and rear eyelets and the new 105 components. Plus, there's NOT A HINT OF RED in the conservative-yet-attractive color scheme (brushed Al frame with black fork, rims and bars).
The only upgrade thus far is a Specialized Toupe 143mm saddle. The cheap stock saddle was unrideable for me.
On my usual mid-week 22 mi road loop, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't seem to give up too much speed to my cherished Seven. The CAADX is really fun to ride -- and I haven't even dialed in my position yet! Today I even rode it on a typical 40mi weekend loop so that my riding buddy could check it out. My poor Seven is feeling neglected. I actually prefer the bend on the Cannondale bars to my ergo bend Seven bars.
Anyway, yesterday I experienced my first CX race, after much trepidation. IT WAS A BLAST!!! OK, it was only 4B, and I hadn't tried a remount until during the race. But I didn't finish last despite my 48 yrs probably making me the oldest guy in my race. I found the bike handled very well in the dry conditions with the stock tires. Indeed, I was surprised to learn how easily I could navigate the course, and I had confidence passing in turns.
However, although the stock Tektro brakes seemed perfect on the fairly flat course (Psychocross in Chicago suburban Wauconda), I find the braking inadequate for urban commuting. The stock cantis aren't nearly quick enough to help avoid getting doored in heavy traffic. Instead, I intend to get a TRP CX 9 for the front -- maybe even another for the rear. (See VeloNews for a recent review of CX 9 front with TRP Euro Mag rear.)
BOTTOM LINE: Attractive and fun all-arounder bike at a decent price ($1400). With the exception of the saddle, the bike is very rideable right out of the box. It's comfortable as a road bike that I will not fear riding in snow/salt conditions that otherwise would force me to ride my DA Seven bike on the trainer. Eyelets make for a practical bike, and the new 105 shifters are an important asset relative to other bikes in price range. And for a cross newbie, this bike is fun and capable.
I'm very pleased with this bike and definitely recommend it.