Cannondale Caad8 105 or Specialized Tarmac Tiagra?

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Foyzy, 26 Jul 2012.

  1. Foyzy

    Foyzy Regular

    Hi all,

    I am looking into getting my first 'proper' road bike and have between £1,000 - £1,500 to spend. I am torn between two bikes - the aluminium Cannondale Caad 8 2012 with 105 groupset or the carbon Specialized tarmac 2012 with Tiagra groupset. They are priced £1,049 and £1,400 respectively.

    I guess the question is: is it better to get a good aluminium frame with a better (105) groupset, or for £350 more get a fully carbon bike with a lower spec (Tiagra) groupset? Would the overall bike weight actually work out about the same given these two factors? Which would be the better bike? I am going to be using this purely as a 'best bike' for long weekend rides / sportives and possibly some races.

    If anyone has ridden both of these bikes or has any opinions it would be good to hear them. I like the idea of getting a carbon bike but not if the better specced Caad will actually be a better ride. I would also have considered the Caad10 but unfortunately could not live with the awful team colours paint job!

    Thanks in advance
  2. jdtate101

    jdtate101 Ex-Fatman

    Boring Birmingham
    I personally would go for the CAAD8, as it's frame pedigree is very good and the 105 is a true workhorse groupset that will last many yrs. Cannondale Alu bikes tend to be light and comprable to carbon anyway, so I'd by the CAAD and use the remaining £300 to get a better set of wheels for it.
    smokeysmoo likes this.
  3. Sittingduck

    Sittingduck Guru

    I don't think I would want to spend £1400 on a bike with Tiagra. Not that there is anything much wrong with Tiagra but it seems a little pricey. I would test ride both and go with the one that feels right, if you're set on one of those 2 but on paper I would probably go for the Dale.
    smokeysmoo likes this.
  4. fossala

    fossala Veteran

    My boss got a 105 Tarmac in last years sale for 1200, could be worth waiting until sales (got from specialized concept store).
  5. +1 for the CAAD8, yes as a CAAD10 owner I am no doubt biased :blush: , BUT, I wholly agree with jdtate101 as regards the frame and groupset, and also with Sittingduck regarding the price of the Tiagra spec Spesh.

    I've always held the belief you buy the best frame you can, and the CAAD heritage is without dispute, then factor in the 105 and it's a no brainer IMO.

    FWIW my CAAD10 DA, (a different animal to the CAAD8 I know), is lighter than the two carbon fibre road bikes I used to own, and for bragging rights the CAAD was the last alu frame to win the TDF before the world went carbon crazy :thumbsup:
  6. billy1561

    billy1561 BB wrecker

    North west England
    I have a Cannondale Synapse which is a beautiful ride. 105 specced (last years) that was £1000 so for a touch more you could likely get this years. It is quite light, very responsive and the RS10 wheels have took every bump in the road even with my big arse on it.
    Also have a carbon bike which knocks spots off it but it's an unfair comparison as it was over 2k this year.
    For the choice you have selected it's the dale for me but if you have the extra cash take a look at the synapse its a superb piece of kit :hello:
  7. okeydokey79

    okeydokey79 Senior Member

    Sorry for butting in on post:shy: i am looking at n+1 at the moment , if choosing between 2 bikes around £1000 1 alu frame 1 carbon frame is there going be much difference in weight and feel of the bikes at this price range? it is better to get a good frame that will last and upgrade as parts wear out? and how do u know the difference in alu frames on how good they are?i know they all say codes etc on what make, as u can tell im bit confused on frames etc>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
  8. 400bhp

    400bhp Guru

    My understanding is there is so little difference between the Tiagra and 105 that it's not [realistically] worth the difference.

    I have a CAAD 9 and IMO I wouldn't spend £1049 on a CAAD8, regardless of groupset.

    Groupsets wear out before frames do.
  9. Sittingduck

    Sittingduck Guru

    If other reputable manufacturers are able to price their bikes with 105 or even more at a similar price point, then why would you be happy to pay the same for a cheaper groupset though? As I said, there's probably not that much noticeable difference between new style Tiagra and 105 (as they are both 10 spd, these days) but I think Specialized are taking the mickey...
  10. 400bhp

    400bhp Guru

    I don't understand your point regarding paying the same for a cheaper groupset?

    One is a carbon frame bike at £1400

    One is an aluminium frame at £1049.

    Very different bikes.
  11. Sittingduck

    Sittingduck Guru

    My point being that you can get a better and more expensive groupset for bikes costing less, than both.
  12. 400bhp

    400bhp Guru

    Still don't really understand your point?

    You can get a bike with a frame as good as an aluminium CAAD8 with a better groupset than 105 for less than £1050?

    You can get a bike with a frame as good as the specialized carbon with a better groupset than 105 for less than £1400?
  13. OP

    Foyzy Regular

    Thanks for the replies. Seems like opinions are split about Tiagra vs 105. I am leaning towards the Tarmac as I like the idea of a carbon bike. That's just it though - it's the idea that it will be better. There's not much point paying nearly £400 more for a bike that won't actually be any lighter as it has heavier Tiagra components, so it there a chance the Caad may actually be lighter? How do you think the two bikes will compare in terms of ride?
  14. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    If this was alu vs alu, or alu vs generic carbon I'd just boldly say, take the CAAD provided it fits right, but the Specialized is a very nice bike in its own right so the comparison is less approachable with a sledge hammer statement.

    IMO, as far as weight and "stiffness" go the frames are probably on par, the CAAD MAY be "better". The CAAD is very well regarded and is a refined beast that can rival most other brands carbon offerings at least up to the mid range of the scale in terms of weight and stiffness etc, even top end in some cases. It is one of, if not the lightest alu frame kicking around and is as light if not lighter than many carbon frames. BUT, being aluminium and notoriously very stiff, they can be less comfortable.

    I would advise riding both and seeing what you like best in terms of ride quality.

    As for groupset, well, I wouldnt concern myself too much. Ofc 105 is going to be marginally better and it is generally regarded as the go to groupset but if your budget forces you to choose better groupset or better frame, I would advise taking the better frame as you can and will replace bits of the groupset and finishing kit over time.

    For the record, whatever you buy it is going to be light, probably almost the same, unless you start throwing mad money at kit and being a proper weight weenie, then weight needn't be much of a concern, a few grams difference wont be noticeable when you get on it, what you ate for breakfast nullifies the difference.

    I ride a Cannondale CAAD9 with Tiagra and its a great bike, probably my favourite of my 3 bikes, I also own a full carbon Cannondale with 105 and an aluminium Cinelli bike.
  15. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Well-Known Member

    Barnsbury, London
    What can you get from Canyon for £1400?

    Quick look says 1600 EURO for an aluminium frame with campy Athena 11 speed. Or 1000 EURO for a 105 Alu frame. Could be good value when Merkel and Holland fall out :biggrin:
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