The Cannondale Bad Boy range - bikes just packed with street style

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 certainly look the part, but can they deliver on the promises?
The philosophy behind hybrid bikes is more often than not to make use of 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 giveaways are the 26" wheels, wide tyres and disc brakes.
What are the variations and similarities of the different models?
Some features appear right through the range. Hand built 6061 aluminium frames, finished in a stylish matt black are general to all. All carry front forks which will take disc brakes.
The frame and the forks are designed in such a way as to be able to carry either 26" or 700mm wheels. So you can swap your wheels at a later date if you want to alter your riding style.
The rims are all black, fitted with Bad Boy tyres specially designed by Schwalbe. All carry the same flat hybrid handlebar. So all Bad Boy bikes have this great distinctive look.
The Al V26 is the entry-level model of the range. 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 do anything a good hybrid ought to.
Changes to the brake system are the only difference in the Bad Boy Al. Tektro discs give you the benefit of somewhat greater stopping force and will keep the braking surfaces out of the mud when going off the beaten track. This is a valuable upgrade if you can afford it.
The Bad Boy Deore is the next model in the range and has superior Shimano Deore gear components. Smoother, more consistent changing but still 27 gears. The bike features narrower rims and tyres, at 35mm. Still with sufficient width to cope with modest off-road terrain, 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. Better gear performance should result from the upgrade to Shimano SLX components. You only get 18 gears though as the chainset is a double rather than the triple fitted to the lower models. So this is possibly a bike emphasising on-road speed, the move reinforced by the other major change with this model, from 26" to 700mm wheels with 28mm tyres. Frame, fork, disc brakes etc are unchanged.
The Bad Boy Ultra is the top of the range. The only change from the R-SLX is in the front fork. The Stealth SL Headshock from Cannondale is a less complicated and lighter option 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. In all other respects, it's identical to the R-SLX. The Ultra looks to be the ultimate street machine.
So whatever you want from a hybrid bike, theCannondale Bad Boy range looks to have an option for you. Don't dismiss the more basic versions, there appears to be value right through 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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