Street style from the Bad Boy range of hybrid bikes by Cannondale

By: Stephen Tern

The Cannondale Bad Boy range of hybrid bikes - style icons if ever there were. With their matt black livery and mean good looks they emphatically look the part, but can they deliver on the claims?
In the beginning, hybrid bikes were the outcome of making use of mountain bike ideas to road bike frames, to create a go-anywhere machine equally suitable for off- and on-road riding.
By starting with a mountain bike and making it more road-friendly, Cannondale have produced the Bad Boy. The giveaways are the 26" wheels, wide tyres and disc brakes.
How then do the various versions compare?
There are some general features throughout. Hand built 6061 aluminium frames, finished in a classy matt black are common to all. The front forks can all be fitted with disc brakes.
The frame and the forks are designed in such a manner as to be able to take either 26" or 700mm wheels. Cannondale emphasise that it is their intention that wheels can be chosen to suit the type of riding you want to do.
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. The bike has V-brakes, but the design will allow disc brakes to be retro-fitted later on if you so decide. The drivetrain uses basic Shimano components, giving 27 gears. The tyres are a very wide 50mm, but are semi-slick to give good low rolling resistance on the road. This bike should do anything a good hybrid ought to.
Changes to the brake system are the only difference in the Bad Boy Al. The Tektro disc brakes are better for off-road riding as they remain free of the mud, and give all-round higher braking force. This upgrade seems good value for money.
The Bad Boy Deore is the next model up the range and features gear components upgraded to Shimano Deore. You should get smoother changing between the 27 gears with these mechanisms. The bike features narrower rims and tyres, at 35mm. Still wide enough for the bridlepaths but a bit faster on the road. The rest of the specs are the same as the Al.
The R-SLX is the next up theCannondale Bad Boy range. A further upgrade to Shimano SLX gear mechs affords still improved performance. You only get 18 gears though as the chainset is a double rather than the triple fitted to the lower models. Together with a key change to the wheels, from 26" to 700mm, shows that this is a bike aimed more at on-road performance. Frame, fork, disc brakes etc are unchanged.
The Bad Boy Ultra is the top of the range. The only alteration from the R-SLX is in the front suspension. 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. Otherwise, with 700mm road wheels, 18 gears from the SLX drivetrain, Tektro disc brakes and the rest, it's the same as the R-SLX. The Bad Boy Ultra must be the last thing in street riding.
The Cannondale Bad Boy range looks to have a bike for everybody. Even at the more modest end of the range, the quality is apparent. However, the pricier models 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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