Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra
I am looking to get into commuting to work. I mountainbike, but I don't think my dirt jump frame will make a good commuter. I have been looking at different bikes and really like the look of the '08 Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra. I also like that it is compatible with either knobbies or road tires since I have also been thinking about getting an XC mtb.
There aren't any recent reviews in the review section though. Does anyone have any firsthand experience with this bike and how it works as a commuter?
Are there any other bikes I should also look at?
Thanks in advance.
I have a 08' Bad Boy Ultra that I have been using as a commuter so I will give you some of my thoughts on the bike. Like you, I really was drawn to the "look" of the bike and because of that, disregarded some of the other models. I do live in Japan though where 95% of people ride around on what you would normally get at someplace like Walmart, so I didn't have the selection that you do in the US.
What I like:
-The black stealth look of the bike. Its just cool, and the reflective decals are very unique.
-The Caffine frame has been a solid performing hardtail for Cannondale for a while now.
-I like the 48/36/26 gearing, its a nice compromise between normal mountain bike
gearing and a road bike.
What I dislike:
-The Avid BB5's are really just worthless. I hated them, they are gone now.
-As far as 700c tires go, you are extremely limited on what you can fit on the bike.
The Headshok has a air valve that protrudes out of the bottom of the fork and limits
the tire clearance. I currently use Schwalbe Marathons in 700x32 and they barely fit.
When I say barely, I mean they have like 1mm clearance. Forget running anything
bigger than 700x32 and expect a lot in that size to not fit at all.
-You are paying a premium because of the Cannondale name, but you probably know
that. For the price, there are bikes with better components.
-The saddle and Welgo peddles both are awful, they went immediately.
-I really don't like the SRAM X7 derailleur. I have had a lot of problems with it. I have had less problems with Shimano XT.
Things I have changed and recommendations:
-Upgraded to 2008 Avid BB7s with Avid Speed Dial 7s levers. Braking power has
greatly increased and the SD Levers are cheep and the BB7's adjust well.
-Upgraded to a Thompson Setback seatpost and a Brooks B17. Big improvement.
-I use a Topeak MTX Rack made for disk brakes, it fits the frame perfectly and has worked out well.
-If you want fenders I would recommend Planet Bike's Speedex Fenders for 700c. They mount to the chainstay and the fork. Disk Brakes make traditional fenders all but impossible to work with.
While I do really like the bike, and I love its looks, it is by no means perfect. I have personally found that I really don't like 700c tires. At least not in size 32 or smaller. I am just too used to mountain bikes, and these things just don't appreciate you going off of curbs or jumping them. I think I would have been happier with a 29er where I could put any tire size on I please.
I have found that commuting daily is much harder on the bike then I ever was doing trails on the weekend. I am constantly having to tune the bike up, have had to true the wheels a few times for taking those curbs as well.
I have decided to put 26" wheels /w some slick tires on the bike and I am going to swap out drivetrain for a Rohloff. I am hoping it will be the trouble free low maintenance drivetrain I have read about. An expensive move, but this is basically my car. Got sick of the price of gas, which is even more expensive here so I sold the car. But, honestly you don't need a car in Japan.
If I had to do it over again, I would just buy a frame and build it into what I want.
I would love it if you could buy the Bad Boy Frame though, for its looks at least.
Hope this helps you decide. Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks for the response, extremely helpful!
I like my Ultra very much, however, anticipating some issues with my riding style I went ahead and bought some aggressive mountain bike wheels and tires. I like how light it is, the brakes are smooth and effective and the head shock is nice to. Really like the ease of adjustability for the head shock. For what you pay, it might be better to just build your own bike. On the other hand, a Cannondale has always been a nice US made product.
I built my own C'Dale BB Ultra over the past winter. Caffeine frame, Ultra Fatty DLR, XTR cranks, Sram XO twist shifters, XTR cassette and FD, XO RD, XT hubs, Mavic 700c rims, Thomson Masterpiece setback seatpost, Brooks champion Flyer saddle, Topeak Disc rack, Avid BB7s, Continental Contact 700cx28 tires, etc...I love this setup for commuting. What you are paying for in the Bad Boy from the factory is the frame. I found a frame/fork brand new in the box on ebay for less than half the price of the built bike, but the upgrades to components I included put me in the $2.5 k range for the bike. If I had to do it again, I probably would have just bought the bad boy and upgraded components as needed or as they wore out. No regrets though. I LOVE IT!!!!