I have been doing a bit of research on upgrading my current ride and have stumbled across a lot of reviews on the CAAD9, mentioning that this bike has one of the best frames on the market. Is this really the case? I have never ridden a full carbon bike and my current bike (Merida 905-20 Road race) is a alu/carbon mix, would this bike be a substantial upgrade.

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The CAAD9 is an aluminium frame, no carbon in it. Cannondale have been doing Al frames longer than just about anyone else so they know a thing or two. Would this be an up grade from your current ride? Depends on what it is you are looking to change. Weight and geometry are pretty easy things to measure, how the bike handles and rides is something far more subjective. And just because it has no carbon in it (apart from the fork) does not make it a lesser frame, it's more about what you do with materials than what the materials are.
This being the case, the aluminium alloy CAAD9 is the go if you want an aluminium bike.

If harshness transmitted from road vibration thru aluminium alloy irritates your back, then perhaps carbon or steel is a better option. I have no idea how buzzy a CAAD9 is tho, much depends on the design too, as James wrote.
IMO - Cannondale seem very overpriced in Au compared to other brands.
CAAD 9 is a bit of a modern classic... one of the few mass produced bikes on sale that I think in a few years time people will look back and describe as a classic.

Good things about CAAD 9:
Feel stiff to most riders
Well made
Predictable and neutral handling (makes them well like for crit riders etc)
Crashable i.e less stuff to bust when you go down (which can happen)

Without knowing what sort of riding you do it's hard to recommend any bike but certainly I think the reputation of CAAD 9 is well earned.
I think I misread your question... Having both sold and owned Cannondales over a period of some years (still got my '97 Saeco team replica road bike) I think they are about as good as you are going to get in an aluminium frame. It seems they are still being made in the US (correct me if wrong here folks) which would account for a price higher than a taiwanese/chinese frame, historically they have manufactured and designed in the same place to allow them much faster turnaround when prototyping and developing the frames. I cannot comment on the Merida as I have never laid eyes on one - is the carbon on the frame or is it fork/components you are referring to?
When I get around to buying a new bike the CAAD9 would be high on my list.
Yes, i guess the question was related to the quality of the aluminium frame. The merida has a carbon fork and weighs around 9.5 kgs fully laden (saddle bag, bottle cages, lights, pump, pedals). I predominately use the bike for commuting and weekend rides.
This article and a few others, say that Cannondale will move its manufacturing (or most of it) to Taiwan in 2010. Maybe that does not apply to currently available bikes, but in the near future......?
It's true.. they are moving offshore for CAAD.

In regards to quality we certainly have no specific evidence that this will mean a drop in quality, in fact often the opposite
I suspect that this would be an upgrade to my current ride, although dropping $5K on a alu bike does seem a little steep, I could get a nice low end colnago/pinarello for the same money. Does anyone know the weight of this bike in it's stock form?
You could always buy a secondhand one...




Note this is Alex from RIDE's bike...

http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bikes/show/100126474-cannondale-cann...
That is a cool bike for $2400!

That said, with a fulcrum zero wheelset i wonder if it was designed as some sort of experiment to create the most uncomfortable bike possible? At least on anything but the smoothest tarmac. Maybe add some 20mm vittoria evo open corsa cx tires at 160psi and you'd have the perfect 'princess and the pea' bike!
Thanks Kylie I was of the same opinion either go high end carbon or none at all and using for commuting if I drop the bike and snap the carbon then the cost to repair vs alu is a big difference, I have seen a CAAD9-1 with dura ace for $4.5K which is tempting I will take it for a test ride.

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