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Cannondale CAAD12 Review

Jeff Balton

Cannondale CAAD12 Disc 105 2019 review

What is it that you should be looking for in a good road bike? Lightweight, good frame ergonomics and worthy components are definitely on the list. Well, in that case, the Cannondale CAAD12 105 is more than a good road bike. It checks all of these categories and more.

Cannondale is one of the rare bike brands that has stuck with aluminum frames for their mid and high-end range bikes and is still developing and improving their alloys. This has allowed them to produce bikes of great quality, at competitive prices.

State of the art Cannondale aluminum frame combined with a carbon fork makes Cannondale CAAD12 105 have the ultimate weight-performance ratio.

The Cannondale CAAD12 105 is no exception to this rule since compared to many carbon bikes, it offers similar performances, but you won’t have to pay through the nose.

Cannondale CAAD12 105 Key Specifications

The key specifications of the Cannondale CAAD12 105 prove us that Cannondale has built this bike with speed in mind. This is achieved by its light speed, but quality components as well, as we will see soon.

Number of Gears22
Frame MaterialAluminum Frame + Carbon Fork
SuspensionNo suspension
BrakesRim brakes
Quality ClassMid-to-high range Shimano 105


Cannondale CAAD12 105 Main Features

Cannondale CAAD12 Key FeaturesWhat is it that you should be paying attention to when deciding whether a bike is good enough for you? The frame, drivetrain, derailleurs, brakes, and tires definitely play an important role. These are all categories where Cannondale CAAD12 105 excels, as we will see shortly.


Aluminum frames are one area where Cannondale shows their tradition and expertise the most. They have years of experience in building aluminum frames, which more than shows on this Cannondale CAAD12 105. The frame is made of SmartForm C2 Alloy which is known to be very light, but also very responsive on the road.

You will have no problem descending quickly and taking sharp turns since this frame will feel like an extension of your body. The frame comes in only one color – grey. However, we love this minimalistic look since it makes the CAAD12 105 look very elegant and serious.


Even though Cannondale is dedicated to their high-performance aluminum frames, that does not mean that they are stuck in their ways. They have recognized the benefits of carbon features on road bikes and have chosen carbon for their fork material.

This fork is a standard equipment on Cannondale CAAD road models and that’s a great solution. It soaks up the imperfections of the road and additionally reduces weight. Moreover, it looks really mean and looks definitely matter for many cyclists out there.


The drivetrain is a true road combination and the most popular one among roadies. Two rings in front and 11 in the back make for 22 fast speeds that will probably give you an edge in racing or in group training. The crankset is a combination of 36 and 52 teeth, while the cassette has a range of 11-28 teeth. However, if you live in a hilly area, Cannondale also offers a crankset with a combination of 34/50 cogs, which will make it a little bit easier for you to conquer those local hills.


Cannondale CAAD12 DerailleursThe Cannondale CAAD12 105, as the name implies, comes equipped with Shimano 105 rear and front derailleurs. This component group is Shimano’s mid-range option and is fitted on most Cannondale road bikes in this range. However, they are the choice that you will have if you opt for some other brand as well.


The tires that Cannondale chose for the CAAD12 105 are Mavic Yksion Elite. They are known as super durable and flexible tires that perform well in all conditions. The tire width is 25mm which is known to have the most benefits compared to 18 and 23mm. You will get a narrow enough contact patch with the road, but still be able to tamper with the pressure when the roads are rough or slippery.


The brakes you will see on Cannondale CAAD12 105 are rim brakes, which can have positive and negative sides. Rim brakes are as trustworthy as disc brakes in dry weather, so if you ride in an area with good weather, they will be great for you. On top of that, disc brakes are usually heavier and less aerodynamics, so you will benefit from that as well. However, rim brakes do not perform quite as well as disc brakes in wet conditions, so you will probably miss them during the rainy months.


The saddle is the roundoff of every bike and on Cannondale CAAD12 105 it is a good one. The Selle Royal Seta S1 that this bike is crowned with is a prime racing saddle that not many riders can have a complaint about.

As we mentioned, the Cannondale CAAD12 105 is an extremely good-looking bicycle and the Selle Royal saddle is one part of that. Racing saddles need some initial time before you can get used to them fully, but after that, you will surely enjoy every mile of your long-distance rides.

Cannondale CAAD12 105 Considerations

Cannondale CAAD12 considerationsIf you are on the lookout for a genuine road bike with high performance but looks are also important to you, then Cannondale CAAD12 105 with check all the boxes on your list. It’s another pinnacle of Cannondale’s craftsmanship and this is visible both at first glance and when you give the pedals a spin for the first time.

The Cannondale CAAD12 105 is as lightweight as many road bikes out there that are much more expensive and this is mostly due to the high-quality frame and the mean carbon fork. We just like everything about this bike.

It comes with rim brakes, but this can be a big advantage in some cases. Many riders avoid cycling in wet weather, so they do not have a need for disc brakes. If you are one of those sunshine-loving rides, you do not have to worry about anything. However, if you do not let the weather be a hindrance to your training, then you can easily upgrade to discs, or check out other models from Cannondale’s CAAD12 line.

The bottom line is that the Cannondale CAAD12 105 offers a lot for the money. You will have a fun ride, look good, and ride fast. What else can an average roadie ask for, apart from some shiny weather?

Points of Improvement for
Cannondale CAAD12 105
What we like about
Cannondale CAAD12 105
Rim brakes can be an issue in wet weatherCarbon fork
Cannondale SmartForm Aluminum Frame
Selle Royal Racing Saddle


Other Cannondale CAAD12 Models

In case you need a model that is cheaper or more expensive than this one, or you wish for one with disc brakes for the wet weather, Cannondale has thought about you as well. Check out the rest of the models from the Cannondale CAAD12 line of high-performance road bikes.

  • Other Bike ModelsCannondale CAAD12 Black Inc – This model has Cannondale’s Black Inc paint job reserved only for the best models. Apart from that, it also boasts Shimano Dura-Ace components and Hollowgram wheelset.
  • Cannondale CAAD12 Red eTap – This bike comes in a vibrant orange color and with SRAM’s Red eTap groupset, as well as with carbon wheelset.
  • Cannondale CAAD12 Dura-Ace – This model has the same components like the Black Inc model, minus the paint job. Apart from that, it rolls on Schwalbe One tires.
  • Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Ultegra – This model boasts a Shimano Ultegra groupset coupled with disc brakes and Mavic Aksium wheelset.
  • Cannondale CAAD12 Ultegra – It’s pretty much the same as the one above, the only difference being the rim brakes.
  • Cannondale CAAD12 disc 105 – The only difference from the one that we reviewed are the disc brakes.
  • Cannondale CAAD12 Tiagra – This is the cheapest model of all, with Tiagra groupset and Lugano tires.

Check the Other CAAD12 models on REI.com

Cannondale CAAD12 105











  • Carbon Fork
  • Great range of different models
  • Good saddle


  • Rim brakes

This Article Has 2 Comments

  • Dale says:

    I bought the caad12 105, about three months ago. Great bike! Hats off to Cannondale on this bike. However, I do have some disappointments. The main one being some components which came with the bike are not the components advertised by Cannondale. For instance, the saddle is prologo and tires are Victoria. Not sure if these items are the same in quality as those advertised. I just feel a customer should get the products advertised. I am look to purchase the super six evo, but concerned after spending my money, Cannondale will equip my purchase with whatever they feel. Come on guys, do right by your LOYAL customers.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Dale, that’s true, bike manufacturers sometimes change the components on their bikes. They usually write that when they advertise the bike. To avoid unpleasant surprises, make sure to contact the company and ask before you order. That’s how I do it. 🙂

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