The Cannondale Bad Boy range of hybrid bikes could hardly be more iconic. With their matt black livery and mean good looks they absolutely look the part, but can they deliver on the claims?
The philosophy behind hybrid bikes is usually to borrow ideas and components from the mountain bike world to turn a road bike into a go-anywhere machine just as at home on the journey to work and on towpaths and trails.
Cannondale have started from the other end - turning a mountain bike into a road-friendly machine - the Bad Boy. The 26" wheels with wide tyres and the disc brakes I think are evidence of this.
What is the make-up of the different models?
Some features appear right through the range. All have hand-constructed 6061 aluminium frames. the finish is a smart matt black with reflective logos and details. The front forks are likewise all aluminium with lugs for disc brakes.
The design of the frame and forks means that either 26" or 700mm wheels can be fitted. So you can swap your wheels at a later date if you want to alter your riding style.
All carry the same flat handlebars and run on black rims fitted with Schwalbe's custom Bad Boy tyres. So all Bad Boy bikes have this great distinctive look.
The entry-level model is the Bad Boy Al V26. V-brakes are fitted, as you might guess. But the fork has lugs that will take disc brakes if you decide to fit them later on. Fairly basic Shimano gear mechs give you 27 gears. The 50mm wide tyres look like they are from a mountain bike, but are semi-slick to keep the rolling resistance down. This bike should be able to operate in all terrains.
The Bad Boy Al is just the same with the exception of the brakes. The Tektro disc brakes are enhanced for off-road riding as they stay free of the mud, and give all-round higher braking power. This is a useful upgrade if you can afford it.
The Bad Boy Deore is the next model in the range and has enhanced Shimano Deore gear components. Still 27 gears, but should be more consistent and with smoother gear changing and selection. This model has narrower rims and 35 mm tyres. Should be quicker on the road, but still able to handle the grass and gravel. All the rest of the bike is the same as the Al 26.
Next up the Cannondale Bad Boy range is the R-SLX. Better gear performance should result from the upgrade to Shimano SLX components. Replacing the triple chainset with a double means that you now get only 18 gears. Together with a key change to the wheels, from 26" to 700mm, shows that this is a bike aimed more at on-road performance. All the other aspects are unchanged.
Top of the range is the Bad Boy Ultra. The only change from the R-SLX is in the front fork. The Stealth SL Headshock from Cannondale is a less complicated and lighter choice to a conventional suspension fork in that it has just a single shocker element above the fork legs. It's fitted with a lockout which you can engage for stability at speed. Other than the fork, it's unchanged from the R-SLX. The Bad Boy Ultra must be the last thing in street riding.
So whatever you want from a hybrid bike, theCannondale Bad Boy range looks to have an option for you. These are quality bikes, even at the modest end of the range. However, the pricier versions have features well worth finding the extra for.
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Steve Tern is a keen cyclist and contibutes extensively to online product review and information sites.
This review of the Cannondale Bad Boy range is one of many articles on bikes, cycling equipment and accessories that he has researched and written for Tern Cycling Reviews.
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