Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Cannondale EVO, CAAD-12, and stack-reach geometry

I heard at the Tour of California that the new Cannondale Evo is basically done, and I further read there's a new version of the CAAD10 which will be called the ... drumroll.... CAAD12. So what about the CAAD11? The answer is they're skipping the CAAD11 to make room for that to be used for the lower-level version of the new bike. If it's like the Evo and CAAD10 the two bikes will be very similar except for that the Evo bike is carbon and the CAAD is aluminum.

I've ridden very few bikes (I always say I want to test bikes but it's surprisingly hard to make time to do this). The Evo is the 2nd to last bike I've test ridden (the latest was the Parlee ESX, the name supposedly short for "Essex". Yeah. Right). Anyway, Evo was a [i]very[/i] nice bike: the handling was spot-on, it felt good, there seemed to be no penalty for its stiffness, and it went against the fatty tube syndrome which had been in full fashion at the time it came out. Fatty tube is alive and well in the Trek Emonda, but I don't like it: it seems overkill for any but the most powerful riders and flaunts wind resistance. Just going to narrower tubes helps there, as well as looking better to my aesthetic.

So what changes do I expect for the new Cannondale?

One obvious potential change is some tube shaping in the style of the Cervelo RCA/R5. Scott did something similar with their Addict, following the Foil which was more overtly aerodynamically tuned. But the Addict took the approach of "we're going to focus on weight, stiffness, comfort, and (new for the Addict) tire clearance but if we can make it more aero we can". Even with this approach, not compromising too much in the other areas, you can make a big difference. The same was true earlier with Cervelo. They have the S-series for aero weenies but that doesn't mean you ignore aerodynamics in the R series.

Another Cervelo thing is stack-reach geometry. Stack-reach design means you start with a stack-reach chart, typically a smooth line or curve, and design bike dimensions to fit on the curve. The traditional approach is to focus on top tube length, then do ad hoc adjustments to head tube length, head tube angle, and seat tube angle to make the top tube length work. But since these changes are typically done un-smoothly, the result can be a rather strange looking stack-reach progression. Here's how Cannondale "stacks up" against some other designs:


You can see all the other bikes here, including of course Cervelo, follow relatively smooth stack-reach curves, while the Cannondale curve is a mess.

So who cares? Indeed, if a given size happens to fit, you care only about that stack-reach. Nobody forces anyone except a sponsored rider to choose a given bike line. Suppose a shoe company sold a shoe and the size 42 tended to run wide but the size 44 ran narrow. Well, you go into the shoe store and try on your size and if it doesn't fit, you try someone else's shoe. Would it be better if both 42 and 44 ran narrow? It would make things simpler, but you happen to have size 42 wide feet that wouldn't do you any favors. But stack-reach design does make sense and I wouldn't be surprised to see Cervelo go there.

Then there's disc brake design Yadda yadda. Call me carmudgeon. Discs are more expensive, heavier, more complicated, and require a stiffer and heavier fork and a heavier front wheel. So I don't care about disc brake designs. My brakes work well enough to send me flying over the bars and I can't brake harder than that.

So these two factors: semi-aero design, and stack-reach geometry, would both show a lot of Cervelo influence. And Cannondale recently hired Damon Rinard from Cervelo. Damon was formerly at Trek around the time they came out with the latest Madone, another stack-reach design with aero emphasis. So if Damon Rinard has any influence I expect Cannondale to follow this path, unless they're too tied to their traditional sizes.


JoeOxfordCT said...

Googled into your post looking for info on the CAAD12. Any more info on the build, spec, or prices? :)

djconnel said...

Nothing yet! Interestingly the UCI published it's latest report on approved frames and forks and I still see no recent approvals for Cannondale. They have one more chance, end of June, to get into the Tour. That seems like it's cutting it terribly close if they're going to commit to supplying Garmin-Cannondale with bikes for the race.

On the other hand there are new bikes posted for Trek (the Madone 9) and Scott (F02, which is presumably the successor to the F01, which became known as the Foil).

JoeOxfordCT said...

Trek's new aluminum Emonda looks very nice but no disc brake option. Won't buy another road bike without hydraulic disc.... Want to be able to buy aftermarket wheels that I can use into the future. Hoping for a CAAD12 with an Ultegra hydraulic disc spec....I know the 2015 have a Rival HD disc spec but I much prefer the Shimano hydraulic groups..

Martin Rojko said...

Same here.Hope Cannondale will include ultegra disc in the new lineup.

Lokto said...

With the latest 2016 SuperSix EVO HM, the STR is finally sorted. Not as linear as the other brands, but at least more reasonable.

Size 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 63
S 51.6 52.6 53.6 55.1 56.7 58.4 60.3 62.6
R 36.9 37.5 38.1 38.7 39.3 39.9 40.5 41.1
STR 1.40 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.44 1.46 1.49 1.52