REVIEW: Cannondale Bad Boy 1: A Unique Urban Commuter Bike

Review of Cannondale Bad Boy 1: A Unique Take on Urban Commuting

cannondale bad boy 1 hybrid bike
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A swift urban commuter specced with logical components. Bad Boy 1 seems to be the perfect bike for shredding city streets if you have comfort, reliability, and performance in mind.

The Bad Boy is no new addition to the Cannondale lineup but although the model has been around for over 25 years. It is one of the most modern and up-to-date urban bikes available.

The sleek looks of the Bad Boy 1 match its nimble handling and it does not hold back when you push and weave it through traffic on its 27.5″ wheels.



Cannondale Bad Boy 4 Suspension
Cannondale and its lefty fork

The SmartForm C1 alloy frame is light and stiff to prevent power from being lost. Thanks to the heat-treating process used in manufacturing, it is also strong enough to deal with repeated hammering through potholes or cobblestone streets. Cannondale is so sure of the frame’s strength and durability that it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cannondale has used its OPI technology for the Bad Boy Frame. OPI stands for “One-Piece-Integrated” and means that the top-tube and down-tube are made from one piece of material with a headset welded on. This reduces the number of parts needed to construct the frame, as well as the amount of welding needed. Overall weight is therefore reduced.

On top of the high performance, the frame on Cannondale Bad Boy 1 looks really good as well!

Ever leaned your bike against something only to find you have scratched the paintwork? Cannondale has added a protective strip to the top tube to help prevent this from happening.




The head-turning and stylish lefty fork makes an appearance on the Bad Boy. Only having one arm reduces weight but there is no compromise on strength when it comes to this fork. Made from sturdy alloy, it will put up with the same abuse that you throw at the frame.

It does feel a bit strange the first time that you ride on a lefty fork. Looking at it, you feel like the bike is not supported on the right-hand side and will tip over. Once you start looking at the road ahead, however, you forget this. Cannondale has spent many years developing their lefty forks so you don’t have to worry about stiffness or strength.



Cannondale Bad Boy 1 tires

Cannondale Urban hubs are laced to double-wall, 32 hole Bad Boy rims. The 27.5″ size keeps you rolling fast and easily over bumps. The WTB Byway, 650b x 40mm tires will give you grip in both wet and dry conditions. Lean over as far as you dare in the corners!



Shifting on Bad Boy 1 is taken care of by Shimano Alfine Rapidfire integrated rear hub derailleur. It offers a total of 8 gears with minimal fuss when it comes to maintenance.

Cleaning and lubricating the drivetrain is a thing of the past with Cannondale Bad Boy’s carbon belt setup.

As a matter of fact, this bike does not even have a chain. It has a Gates Carbon Drive belt that will last you for thousands of miles and you won’t have to clean it or lube it even once!



At some point, you will have to stop or slow down.

Cannondale has you covered with a pair of Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes. As opposed to rim brakes, disc brakes are kept away from road dirt and grime, keeping them cleaner and maintaining their power. You will have powerful braking power at your fingertips to stop you in time for red lights or slow you down in heavy traffic.

Hydraulic disc brakes are much better than mechanical disc brakes because you can control the amount of braking power more precisely.

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Stem, Handlebar & Saddle

Cannondale provides a short integrated sandwich stem and 720mm wide handlebar. The combination gives you fast and confident steering control while lock-on grips keep your hands in place. 720mm may seem wide for an urban handlebar, but you will find the width comfortable. Paired with the short stem, the steering remains snappy.

The saddle on the Cannondale Bad Boy 1 comes with an integrated LED light which is USB rechargeable. Therefore, you will always be noticed at night.


What Can I Expect?

The Bad Boy 1 is a fantastic urban and commuting bike that will not cause you to break the bank too much. The components chosen are of fantastic quality and will keep working for a long time even with daily use.

The frame and fork play an important role in the overall feel of a bike. Cannondale has designed a frame that will put you in a low riding position with weight planted on the front wheel. This position will help you ride fast and aggressively through the streets if you so choose, but may not be comfortable over long distances. After all, this is an urban and commuting bike and not intended for long tours.Cannondale Bad Boy 1 Drivetrain

The alloy chosen for the frame is not as light as carbon but costs far less and is still more than strong enough to put up with rough city streets. The OPI technology used by Cannondale helps keep the weight down. On top of this, the frame looks really good!

Bad Boy 1 is the most expensive model in the Bad Boy line, but it’s well worth the price as it comes with the best specs.

The strong double-wall wheels have also been specced to withstand the rigors of city riding.

To lower costs, Cannondale has used many of their own brand components to finish the Bad Boy 1. There are certainly lighter and more desirable components available but by cheaply producing a range of their own, Cannondale avoids the costs involved in sourcing, testing and purchasing high-end versions.


Other Models – Bad Boy 2 & Bad Boy 3

Apart from Cannondale Bad Boy 1, there are two other models that you can choose: Bad Boy 2 and Bad Boy 3. These are cheaper models for those who do not want to spend too much money on their commuter bike. However, they still offer great components and good value for your money.

  • Bad Boy 2 costs $1,600 and has many similarities with BB 1. However, they have some crucial differences as well. This model has the same lefty fork, but does not come with integrated rear hub shifting or a carbon belt. Instead, it has a 1×11 Shimano 105 drivetrain.
  • Bad Boy 3 is the cheapest of the three with a price tag of $950. It’s intended for entry lever riders or casual commuters and recreational cyclists. It has a lefty fork, a 3×9 Shimano Altus drivetrain, and mechanical disc brakes. If you want to spend as little money as possible and drive a Bad Boy model, the number 3 is for you.


Bottom Line

The Cannondale Bad Boy 1 is a fantastic urban bike for commuters who desire reliability and ease-of-use. The components have been carefully chosen to provide the performance you need at the price you can afford. This is more preferable than being pushed into paying extra for more expensive parts that will not give you any noticeable advantages. The hydraulic disc brakes and integrated rear hub shifting will make your life easier and your rides safer and more efficient. So Bad Boy 1 might not be the bike for you if you love frequently tampering with your bicycle.

All three Bad Boy models do a fantastic job on commutes, fitness rides, or casual day-trips.

In case you think this bike is overkill for you, you should also consider Bad Boy 2 and Bad Boy 3. They are cheaper than Bad Boy 1 but still have decent components and Cannondale’s reliability.

If you are looking for an affordable and high-quality bike to shred around your city and get you to and from work at speed, then Bad Boy 1 will serve you well!

See All Bad Boy Models on REI











  • 650b wheels
  • Double walled rims
  • Lefty fork
  • Protective strip on top tube
  • Disc brakes


  • No suspension
  • Mechanical brakes