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My New CAAD9-1 (and comparison to Synapse)

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

My New CAAD9-1 (and comparison to Synapse)

Old 09-19-10, 06:43 PM
  #1  
cooleric1234
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My New CAAD9-1 (and comparison to Synapse)

I just bought a CAAD9-1 the other day so I thought I'd share some pics and my observations. I'm not 100% sure I made the right decision so what better place to go for validation of buying a CAAD9 than bikeforums? (Yes, that was tongue-in-cheek).

First of all, I'm just a recreational cyclist, but I got a really good deal on this bike (under $2,000 out the door). Otherwise I wouldn't have gone this high end in components but this was the only 60 cm CAAD9 I could find within an hour of me. I've heard the CAAD10 may not be good for big guys (I'm 6'5" 190 lbs). These observations are from only one test ride so far, so I still need to dial in fit and some other things. I only had a bikesdirect aluminum road bike before so I deliberately tested two very different style bikes. First the pics, then my observations.

DSC01685 (Medium)..JPG DSC01688 (Medium)..JPG DSC01687 (Medium)..JPG

The thing that I liked about the CAAD9 is that it was incredibly responsive. It is very light (compared to what I'm used to) and also very stiff. The geometry was a better fit for me than the 61 cm Synapse. I really liked the Dura-Ace components. The brakes were terrible but having used Tektros I know that can be fixed with Kool Stop pads. The bike felt incredibly efficient, whenever I accelerated it responded right away. It wasn't the most comfortable though, I felt the stiffness. I did notice we had the saddle too high though after I got home.

I also test rode the Synapse Carbon 4. Unfortunately it's not exactly apples to apples because that bike has lower end components (especially wheels). I didn't think it would be quite as noticeable, but this was a much more comfortable ride. But I also noticed it wasn't as stiff. I don't know how to explain it but I thought I felt the lack of stiffness around the seatpost, where the traditional geometry top tube would have attached. This bike didn't accelerate nearly as fast, but I would suspect most of that is due to the extra weight than the geometry and materials?

Perhaps the most interesting observation came from my wife, who was waiting in the car. I test rode the CAAD9 first, then the Synapse. When I got back from the ride on on the Synapse my wife was like, "why did that one take so long?" I've observed that the problem isn't so much that relaxed geometry bikes are slow as much as they subconsciously make me want to go slow. If I were riding lots of centuries I'd go for the Synapse. I'll probably ride one century next year, but that's it. With small kids at home and work I can't go for as many long rides as I like, so I think the CAAD9 fits my style of climbs and shorter, harder rides better (although I don't race...yet).

I feel like the CAAD9 is more bike than I deserve but I figured in the worst case I could upgrade the frame (and sell the CAAD9 for a decent price) and have great components. I could probably sell the CAAD9 if I wanted to and cover most of the cost of a PedalForce frame, for instance.

One last question. Should I keep the 700x25 Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Slicks or swap out my 700x25 Gatorskins that are worn but still usable? I'm not buying new tires at the moment.
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Old 09-19-10, 06:44 PM
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Flip it.

And remove the spacers.

Haha...beat you to it!
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Old 09-19-10, 06:51 PM
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I wish I could find someone selling a 49CM CAAD9 frame!

The bike looks great. I think comparing the CAAD9 to the Synapse is a bit unfair. They're meant for two different things.
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Old 09-19-10, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cooleric1234 View Post

Perhaps the most interesting observation came from my wife, who was waiting in the car. I test rode the CAAD9 first, then the Synapse. When I got back from the ride on on the Synapse my wife was like, "why did that one take so long?" I've observed that the problem isn't so much that relaxed geometry bikes are slow as much as they subconsciously make me want to go slow. If I were riding lots of centuries I'd go for the Synapse. I'll probably ride one century next year, but that's it. With small kids at home and work I can't go for as many long rides as I like, so I think the CAAD9 fits my style of climbs and shorter, harder rides better (although I don't race...yet).

I feel like the CAAD9 is more bike than I deserve but I figured in the worst case I could upgrade the frame (and sell the CAAD9 for a decent price) and have great components. I could probably sell the CAAD9 if I wanted to and cover most of the cost of a PedalForce frame, for instance.



I don't know, if the bike handles to your liking and is equipped the way you want, AFAIK its not too much bike for you. Just because you don't drive 170 mph all the time, doesn't mean you can't utilize or enjoy the precision of a Porsche.
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Old 09-19-10, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackdays View Post
I wish I could find someone selling a 49CM CAAD9 frame!

The bike looks great. I think comparing the CAAD9 to the Synapse is a bit unfair. They're meant for two different things.
+1
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Old 09-19-10, 07:07 PM
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Awesome deal.
__________________
Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Are they talking about spectators feeding the cyclists? You know, like don't feed the bears?
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Old 09-19-10, 07:08 PM
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That CAAD9 is a sweet bike, You got a good deal for under 2k.
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Old 09-19-10, 07:10 PM
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Very nice bike.
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Old 09-19-10, 07:16 PM
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Nice bike. That saddle looks a little too far forward...could be an illusion though.
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Old 09-19-10, 07:17 PM
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SCHWEET FREAKING DEAL on the CAAD !!!!!!!!


You got enough bike there to grow into, modify what ever you want to, and still have one of the best al bikes on the market today, bar none.



And, most importantly, it looks REALLY GOOD!!!! enjoy.
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Old 09-19-10, 07:24 PM
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Your rear brake is open. But sweet bike. Gotta love that new bike feeling.

Last edited by Hummeth; 09-19-10 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 09-19-10, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tagaproject6 View Post
Nice bike. That saddle looks a little too far forward...could be an illusion though.
how can this be determined without seeing the pilot on the bike?
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Old 09-19-10, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Hummeth View Post
Your rear brake is open. But sweet bike. Gotta love that new bike feeling.
+1
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Old 09-19-10, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Hummeth View Post
Your rear brake is open.
Good catch, thanks a bunch! I had just swapped out the pads for Kool Stops and it looks like I forgot to close the brake.
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Old 09-19-10, 07:50 PM
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Oh, and I don't know what's up with my body proportions. As I said, I'm 6'5" and I have a cycling inseam of about 36 inches. I don't know if that's small for my height, or if I have a short femur or something. The saddle is all the way forward and I still do not meet the "knee over pedal spindle" guideline, I'm an inch or so behind it. One of my first purchases will be a zero setback rocker clamp style seatpost, I hear the one on the CAAD9 is pretty bad anyway, carbon wrapped. I know KOPS is just a guideline too, I was way back on my old bike but once I moved it forward I felt more power. In reality a steeper seat tube might work better for me but I don't see a problem with a no-setback seatpost.
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Old 09-19-10, 08:03 PM
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nice looking bike cooleric. I'm surprised the 60cm fit you. My husband just went through all this and he is 6'6" with a 36" inseam and he absolutely needed the 63cm Cannondale... no way he could fit the 60cm. But everyone is different. Enjoy the new bike
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Old 09-19-10, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by xqwisit View Post
nice looking bike cooleric. I'm surprised the 60cm fit you. My husband just went through all this and he is 6'6" with a 36" inseam and he absolutely needed the 63cm Cannondale... no way he could fit the 60cm. But everyone is different. Enjoy the new bike
Very true. I don't know if I have short arms or torso or something but even 60 cm is a slight stretch (but still a good fit). This is verified through experience too. The online calculators somewhat surprisingly agree (I don't usually trust those for us tall guys). Competitive Cyclist recommended a 60 cm bike, with a 585 mm top tube and a 110-120 mm stem. The Pedalforce calculation was really wacky. Something like a 565 mm top tube with a 130 mm stem? At any rate, as I mentioned the fit has been verified through experience also, which is most important. Although the 61 Synapse was more comfortable in terms of absorbing bumps and vibrations the top tube was too long for me.
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Old 09-19-10, 08:15 PM
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Oh, one more thing. The shop asked if I had any out of state residences. When we moved out of Ohio we didn't sell our house (good luck), we just started renting that. They entered that as the address and said they didn't have to charge sales tax. Sounds fishy to me. I asked my wife who has a Master's in Accountancy (Tax) and she said it should be point of purchase, not point of use. I don't enjoy paying taxes but it looks like for the sake of my integrity I'll have to go pay some tax. Bummer.
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Old 09-19-10, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackdays View Post
I wish I could find someone selling a 49CM CAAD9 frame!

The bike looks great. I think comparing the CAAD9 to the Synapse is a bit unfair. They're meant for two different things.
GTFU! just kidding!!!
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Old 09-19-10, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackdays View Post
I wish I could find someone selling a 49CM CAAD9 frame!
I've seen a couple in my area (lots of 52s!), but folks are short around these parts.
Want me to keep my eye out for you? Look at 28bike.com if you are keen.

EDIT - that would be a 48 I've seen here - they don't make a 49!

Last edited by JonnyHK; 09-19-10 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 09-19-10, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by adam_mac84 View Post
how can this be determined without seeing the pilot on the bike?
It can be determined by simply looking at the saddle and I was referring to the saddle, nothing more than that. Not the fit and how it relates to the "pilot".

Last edited by tagaproject6; 09-19-10 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 09-20-10, 05:41 AM
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Very nice bike. Congratulations!!

I am currently also debating should I get a Caad9 or a Synapse since I currently already ride a 2006 Caad8... decision decision
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Old 09-20-10, 05:46 AM
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If you are thinking CAAD9 better move quick as it's no longer made to make room for the even lighter CAAD10.
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Old 09-20-10, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by cooleric1234 View Post
Good catch, thanks a bunch! I had just swapped out the pads for Kool Stops and it looks like I forgot to close the brake.
Dura-Ace pads are very good, why swap?
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Old 09-20-10, 06:29 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by v70cat View Post
Dura-Ace pads are very good, why swap?
It's not full Dura-Ace. The brakes are Tektro R580 with the crappy Tektro pads. The crank is also not Dura-Ace, it's FSA SL-K Light (due to the whole BB30 thing).
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