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Images: Cannondale Bad Boy 8 close-up and dirty

Front side view

It’s been over a week now since I’ve had the pleasure of owning a Cannondale Bad Boy 8 in which time I’ve managed four in/out commutes to work, so 120 miles so far. I’d like to offer this brief short term review of the bike and follow it up with a longer term review, maybe in four months time once the bike has fully bedded in.

Compared to my previous commuter hack bike, a Kona Cinder Cone with skinny tyres, the Cannondale Bad Boy 8 was certainly a pleasant although not entirely unexpected change for the better.

First off the riding position is less slack than a traditional mountain bike yet a little more so than a road bike, so at first felt much more aggressive than I thought it would. I’m totally used to the new riding position now and find it very comfortable. The initial lack of any suspension made the Bad Boy feel a little twitchy at first, however it very quickly became evident just how stiff it is, all round. The power transfer to the rear wheel is phenomenal, allowing me to accelerate from traffic lights fast.

I still haven’t worked out how to remove the back wheel and disconnect the hub gear cable in case of rear p*. I’ll have to play with this a little. The front wheel is also a little awkward to remove as the front disk brake need to be partially removed to allow the unbolted wheel to slide off the Lefty spindle. This isn’t really a problem unless you need to regularly remove the wheel to transport the bike. In the case of punctures the wheel can stay on as is due to the lack of right fork blade.

The Shimano Alfine rear hub containing the gearing has worked without fail so far. It really does shift quickly, much more so than traditional gearing, almost instantaneously. The grinding and clanking noises coming from the hub are a little different and I think just need a little getting used to. From what I understand this eases off as the hub becomes ridden in. So far so good.

The only other comment I have at this point is about the handlebar grips, which look good but have already fallen apart. Despite being lock-on grips the grippy part is made from a tape, a little like tennis racket grip and has effectively come unravelled. I remedied this with a little glue, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

Finally, the tyres, Schwalbe Kojak Bad Boy Edition 622 x 28, are nice and fast with low rolling resistance. Awesome in the dry, OK in the wet, despite being completely slick. I’m still a little apprehensive about them in the wet.

I’ll follow up with a more detailed review at a later point. In the meantime here are a load of pictures of my Cannondale Bad Boy 8, 2009 model. Click the image for a larger version.

Do you ride a hub geared bike? If so I’d be interested in your thoughts on the pros and cons. Feedback below…

21 thoughts on “Images: Cannondale Bad Boy 8 close-up and dirty

  1. Hey Paul,

    Looking at buying one too, any problems with your ebb (crank) squeaking? Heard this can be an issue, hoping they’ve fixed it in the newer models.

    Havwe you changed the tires or still on the Kojaks, looking at putting marathon supreme on from the get go.
    Dave

    1. Hi Dave,

      I picked up on the issues with the EBB when I was researching the BB8, but to to date no problems after approx. 300 miles. So keeping my fingers crossed on this one although I suspect it’ll just need a good tightening up if it starts to slip.

      On the tyres I’m still running the Kojak’s which are pretty awesome in the dry but do make me a little nervous in the wet. I have had to fight with the rear end on occasion when it’s hit a manhole cover or similar. With winter looming I’m considering swapping over to Marathon’s myself.

      One thing I had to change pretty much straight away were the useless grips. Great for the first ride, but basically fell apart after that. I put my favourites on, Race Face Good n Evil’s. Love ’em.

      Apart from that she’s been riding very sweetly. Highly recommended, enjoy!

      Paul

  2. I got a 2009 BB08 a few weeks back and have recently started commuting. The EBB problem with the 08 model seems to have been eliminated as Ive had no trouble with it. Im with you on the Kojacks – thinking about swapping my front for a Conti 32mm sport contact, or possible swapping both tyres for Conti 28mm Grand Prix’s, though I have to say I havent had any problems with the slicks yet.

    Youre also OTM on the grips. Im gonna change mine as soon as I can. Im also thinking about taking an inch or two off the handlebars – theyre a bit wide. The brakes are a bit squeaky at the mo – do they bed in?

    All in all a great bike. Super fast, and the alfine is brilliant.

    1. Hi Droid, like you I haven’t yet experienced any problems with the EBB, so happy about that.

      The brakes do bed in after a while, I admit mine took quite a while to bed in but they’re deadly now so worth the wait. They also suffered from a bit of shake at first, but that’s also gone. I don’t think you can really go wrong with a set of Avid Juicy’s. I run Juicy 7’s on my full susser and they are lethal stoppers (in a good way). The 5’s are nice and reliable.

      Have fun.

  3. Hi Paul,

    I’m considering the BB8 – have you had any problems with the lefty; read that water can be an issue and rebuilds costly. Mine would unfortunately be left out to the elements during the day..

    Ben

    1. Hi Ben – I have the BB8 with rigid lefty which is incredibly stiff. Had no problems to date. Were you thinking about getting a suspension lefty? In which case I imagine the maintenance will obviously be more, however looking at their construction as long as they’re well sealed you shouldn’t have too many problems. Always worth servicing them annually. Keep checking those vulnerable areas and keep them greased to seal.

      Take care
      Paul

  4. Hi Paul,

    interesting post and nice photos. Thanks for that.

    I am thinking about getting a BB8 as well. Can you tell me what frame size you got and how tall you are? Would help me reg. sizing decision.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Michael – Glad the post is useful to you. The sizing was an issue I was very conscious of when buying this bike as it was going to be used very often for long commuting journeys, so comfort and fit was an important factor.

      Before I bought via the Halfords ride to work scheme, I cheekily went to a branch of Evans and test rode a couple to check for sizing. Doing so really did reassure me of several things. First, the fit was right, and second the feel and handling of the bike as well as it’s speed and gear changing features. The test ride reassured me of all these things. I’d thoroughly recommend you test ride for yourself!

      I’m 5 ft 8 inches high and I went for the Medium. Enjoy, Paul

      1. Thanks for your reply Paul. I decided to wait until I get the chance to stop by a proper bike store. Better than getting a good deal on a bike that is not the right size.

  5. Hi – great review. We have BB disc 09, grips went in the first week, followed by the mechanical disc brakes for lx set up. Interested in a BB8 via ride to work as my girlfriend now uses the BB disc for her daily commute. Do the gears take a bit of getting used to? Do they offer enough range for hill etc?

    Re the kojaks, awesome tyre, DON’T try off road – I did!!!!

    1. Hi Phil – Thanks for your comments. With respect to the gears for me, yes they too a little while to get used to, but not ling at all. In terms of how they work, they’re very smooth and shift very quickly. The range was a concern to me also, but the gearing covers all my needs both for climbing and for speed. Steep hills I can climb with another gear in reserve and at the other end of the scale I’ve achieved speeds of 65km/h going downhill in top gear. Although the legs were spinning fast there was a little more there.

      Yes, the Kojaks are great tyres, I’m still riding them through the winter and as of yet haven’t experienced a single “p”, probably through luck than anything else… but you’re right, I wouldn’t even think of taking them anywhere that isn’t tarmac.

      Take care – Paul

    1. Hi Phil – It certainly does, for the rear at least. A little tricky on the front I suspect due to the nature of the single bladed fork. Personally, I use Crud Roadracers, http://www.crudproducts.com/products/roadracer, although to be honest, whilst they’re excellent mudguards, I wouldn’t recommend them for this bike as they’re not intended for tyres wider than 25mm. The Kojaks are 28mm, so brush a little every now and then. Good luck.

  6. Hey Paul,

    Thats it. I am buying one too!
    I was pretty smitten with it, but after reading this I need to get it.

    After reading the Cannondale website, as well as several other blogs, I still have two questions.
    Does the Lefty support someone hefty? I weigh about 226 lbs and worry if the fork can handle that.

    Also, my (very limited) experience with in-hub gears is that there always is increased resistance within. Have you noticed this?

    Cheers for your feedback!
    Edward

    1. Hi Edward,

      With respect to the lefty, that’s really a question for Canondale, although I would say the fork is pretty hefty and as long as you’re not going to be throwing it up and down curbs and stairs, should be fine, but best you get that from the horses mouth.

      On the hub gear, I’d say that yes, I do sense a little added resistance, but then I haven’t touched the setup since I took collection of the bike last summer. I probably need to give it a service to make sure it’s running as smoothly as it can do. Really happy with hub gear though.

      Have fun
      Paul

  7. Paul,

    I’ve been pondering over one of these for ages and when I realised my employer does the R2W scheme as well I pondered no longer…. popped into Evans yesterday and ordered this for a test ride. Requested a Trek 7.7FX and a Specialized Sirrus Expert too just to get a comparison.

    As it stands…. the only real issue against purchasing this bike is a lack of mudguards that fit. I did look at those Roadracers you mentioned so if they fit…. problem solved.

    Apart from that, do you find any issues with the additional weight of the Alfine? I’ve never experienced a hub gear system but the additional weight keeps getting mentioned.

    Hand grips aside…. any other issues? Oh…. and as I’ll be using it to commute about 12 miles each way…. any advice on shoes and (locking?) pedals?

    Thanks, Sid

    1. Hi Sid,

      I must admit, I did get a set of Roadracer guards but only managed to successfully attach the read guard which was effective despite being a little tight for space. Roadracers are designed for tyres up to 23 mm wide, Kojaks are 25 mm but worked fine.

      My intention was to adapt the front guard to fit the Lefty fork. In the end I simply didn’t get around to doing it.

      Having used the bike in wet conditions the rear guard was well worth the investment. Whilst the lack of front guard meant wetter feet than normal, the dry rear was way more important.

      You could always go for the mtb styled Crudcatcher guards which would fit front and back with minimal effort. I do however prefer the more discrete styling of the Roadracers.

      I’m sure there are other options available and wonder if Cannondale have themselves designed a specific guard for the lefty. Worth checking out.

      In terms of weight, the rear end of the bike certainly weighs in heavier than you might expect. For me personally this doesn’t present a problem. The bike as far as I’m concerned isn’t going to be used for racing, just commuting, so reliability is my priority. The weight doesn’t seem to have any adverse effect when riding other than uphill slogs, but then again I’m not sure it’s my fitness that’s in question here.

      With respect to lock, get the best one you can afford. Note the difference between locks that are designed to be simple deterrents against theft versus those more expensive locks designed to be secure

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