Well in a very pleasant surprise Dad gave me his Canondale Six13 frame, he even built it up for me while Shauna and I were checking out Niagara Falls. Now for those of you who aren’t in the know, the Six13 was Canondale’s first foray into Carbon, they took an aluminum frame and chopped out the 3 main tubes and glued in carbon tubes. The Six13 was released in 2004 and used in the protour for a few years before Canondale eventually updated to a System Six, which had a complete carbon front end mated to a aluminum rear triangle. In 2010 the composite frames were discontinued so Canondale could focus on their Asian sourced full carbon frames.
So is the Six13 better than my CAAD 9?
My CAAD 9 was in serious need of overhaul, it had some wild squeaky sounds and wasn’t shifting well, I think Dad got tired of hearing it creak and moan when we rode so he loaned me the Six13. When he loaned me the bike it was outfitted with full carbon fork from Canondales endurance bike, the Synapse, 32 spoke box wheels, 25mm tires, and a setback Thompson seatpost, all parts that enhanced the smoothness of the ride.
The first time I rode it I remember tensing when I was going to be forced to ride over a rough section of road, to my surprise the bone rattling pavement didn’t feel that bad. I love my CAAD 9, but you learn to be prepared for bumps, the bike is so stiff they can launch you. The Six13 kept its wheels on the ground.
Over the next few rides I purposely hit bumps hard, now in the past I’ve said I didn’t believe that bikes made that much difference, but I could feel the machine under me soaking up the impacts. Dad claimed it was just the 25mm tires so I put my own harsher riding wheels on with 23s, and it was a bit rougher, but still seemed as if the bike was a sponge when I hit rough stuff.
So Dad gave me the frame and put my parts on it since he’s riding a sweet new Fuji. He kept the Synapse fork for the bike it actually belongs on, but left the rear derailuer. I’ve been using a Dura Ace 9 speed triple derailuer for 8 years and Dad diagnosed it was the cause of my shifting problems, it’s spring tension wasn’t even close to current 10 speed parts, it literally didn’t have enough power to pull the chain down.
So I took the bike out and first thing I noticed was it actually shifted right, wow its like they made these 10 speed parts to all work together. Next I slammed into some big bumps and was like, hmm, that wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite as good as it had been. There’s no doubt that the Six13 frame has a better ride then the CAAD 9 frame all things being equal, but it was the fork and seatpost that were giving the bike a super sweet ride.
Since I now had two frames to build up and only one seatpost, so I found a used Specialized FACT carbon with built on ZERTZ elastomer bump abosrber. Yes I am now one of those guys that buys gimmicky carbon parts for their bike.
I’m pleased to report the post was a nice edition to the Six13, I’m quite certain that it damped road vibrations noticeably and seemed to offer a bit of compliance.