For our blog this week we have the Cannondale CAAD8 review.  This road bike is used by one of the Trivelo team continuing our theme of real bike reviews from real cyclists.  The bike is a perfect second hand choice for anyone looking for a sensibly priced road bike.  We cover a review of the 2013 model but provide update on the latest 2020 equivalents for anyone looking at new.  If buying second hand then you should be looking at £150 for a well looked after model in this space.

Bike Manufacturer – Cannondale

Bike Model – CAAD8 Sora

Trivelo Score – 3/5

Price when purchased – £600

How long have you owned the bike – 6 years

Pros & Cons of the Cannondale CAAD8 Sora


  • Super reliable bike
  • Quality frame ripe for upgrade
  • Great finish on the frame


  • Wheels are heavy and let the bike down
  • Brakes are low quality and I have had to replace them after issues on a Sportive really affected my ride

My Road Bike History

My previous experience of road bikes was a racer bought for me for my 10th birthday.  Following this a second hand steel road bike I picked up on Gum Tree following a drunken bet to complete a triathlon.  Bought as a result of realising that my hefty and aged mountain bike wasn’t going to  cut it.  On arrival at transition for my first triathlon adventure I quickly realised this  bike business was serious.  My new road bike costing less than a decent lunch might not be up to the job.

First Impressions of the Cannondale CAAD8

Owner Review of CAAD8
Cannondale CAAD8 in action

I picked up my Cannondale and immediately loved it.  A gorgeous finishing kit on the frame with simple white paint job.  My knowledge  of the wealth of upgrades available had yet to become established. I commenced my love affair for road cycling fitting my bike with a set of pedals and venturing onto the road.

CAAD8 Bike overview

My bike was the entry level CAAD8 with aluminium frame and carbon forks.  The bike came with the Shimano Sora groupset all of which worked without fault and happily covered distances up to 100 miles.  The bike runs a triple on the front so makes hills pretty straight forward.  Compared to full carbon bikes it isn’t the lightest so you may find your carbon cousins smashing it on the hills.  The bike isn’t the most relaxed of geometry with no sloping sportive top tube and reasonably long as you consider sizing.  I tend to hover between a 58cm and 60cm frame depending on the manufacturer and on the CAAD8 it came up on a 58.  As an entry-level road bike it offers plenty of upgrade opportunity. There are three further models in the CAAD8 range above the SORA and we will provide more details later on these.  


Bike Specification

BrakesTektro R741
ShiftersShimano Sora
Wheelbase (cm)100
Top Tube (cm)57.5
Standover Height (cm)82.6
Bottom Bracket Height (cm)27
WheelsetMaddux rims, Formula hubs
Weight (Ib)20.98
SeatpostCannondale 27.2mm
Seat Angle73
Rear Tyre25mm Schwalbe Lugano
Head Angle73
Front Tyre25mm Schwalbe Lugano
Frame Material6061 aluminium
Frame size 58cm

CAAD Upgrades

The wheels were  an early candidate for an upgrade  being both pretty heavy and not with the finest set of bearings.  Over many evenings of drooling over bikes I continued to dabble with the prospect of upgrading the Shimano Sora groupset.  Looking at the 105 but ultimately decided the money was better spent on a new bike.

As well as upgrading the wheels to some Planet X deep rim tubs for races I upgraded the brakes to Shimano 105.  This followed the Tektra brakes failing on a Sportive and having to be disabled.

Pedals are a likely consideration for any bike upgrade. But are clipless pedals worth the upgrade? We compare clipless pedals and flat pedals with the science behind differences. If you have resisted using clipless pedals to date you should read this post to help you make the right decision for you.

Riding the CAAD8 Sora

The CAAD8  continued to  serve me well enough and ultimately fully carbon aero bikes came into the frame.  Using the bike in numerous Sportives and Triathlons it never let me down.  It continues to be my turbo partner to this date.  Only frustrations with the bike would be the odd corner cut by Cannondale such as wheels and brakes.  Using some cheaper components fitted to keep costs down.  In fairness the money has been spent on the frame.  Exactly where you would want and all sub £1000 bikes have to make some compromise.

Riding it the bike is quick through corners and pretty stable on a range of road qualities.  The off the shelf tyres provide reasonable all weather performance but merit an upgrade.  This continues to build on the confidence felt in corners.  Downhill the bike is pretty quick benefiting from some additional weight over a carbon frame.Uphill it is comfortable although not the quickest with power being lost through the triple.  Comparable speeds between this and a carbon bike are notable on uphill climbs but given price point is still good value.

Summary of the Cannondale CAAD8 review

As my first love it will always have a special place in my garage.  For the money it is a really great bike that I would thoroughly recommend.  If you love your bike let us know.  Share your review just this owner review of the Cannondale CAAD8 road bike.

Latest Cannondale entry level road bikes

Cannondale has replaced the CAAD8 with the Optimo range which now uses the Shimano Claris groupset in place of the Sora.  Colours have evolved from the modest white to a Lamborghini green but the heritage remains.  Cannondale still has the perfect first road bike for any cyclist to consider.

Next model up from the Cannondale Optimo Claris is the same frame with the upgraded Shimano Sora groupset.  The frame finishing on this is revised to the more modest white. Up a further step in the Optimo range is the Shimano Tiagra groupset.  Top of the range is the 105 fitted bike.  This is a marked improvement in the shifters and a direct cousin of the Dura-Ace range.  Pricing wise this gives you bikes ranging from £600 – £1000 depending on the groupset.

Buy the Cannondale CAAD Optimo Sora for £749.99 from Leisure Lake Bikes.  Currently demand is high for all sub £1000 bikes with limited stock available.  Leisure Lake Bikes had some sizes at time of writing this latest update (Noted : July 2020).

Alternatives to the Cannondale Optimo Claris

Merida Scultura road bike for £750

Read further reviews with our review of the Merida Reacto road bike

About the Author

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Categories: Road Bikes

Billy Ferguson

Having founded Trivelo in 2015 after many years competing in triathlon Billy continues to enjoy training and triathlon. Founder Billy is strongest in the water but continues to try and convince his body that he is an ultra runner.


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