Jul 28, 2023
Cannondale Bad Boy 2 review
Super-stylish urban hybrid with distinctive Lefty fork This competition is
Super-stylish urban hybrid with distinctive Lefty fork
This competition is now closed
By Simon Withers
Published: April 25, 2023 at 9:00 am
Cannondale's Bad Boy has been around since the tail end of the last century. The 2023 Bad Boy consists of a three-bike range, each with 27.5in wheels and Cannondale's Lefty monoblade fork.
The Bad Boy is a hybrid bike described by Cannondale as the ‘ultimate urban ride’ with a ‘traffic-slaying performance’ for ‘leisurely rides on urban streets’.
That combination of qualities should make the Bad Boy a viable option as a commuter bike too.
When the bike was delivered, I still had to fit the front wheel. Never having worked on a Lefty, I was initially slightly concerned, mainly because of my legendary sausage-fingered mechanical skills. However, it was a doddle even for me.
You simply undo the bolts attaching the disc brake to the fork mount, move the brake aside and slide the wheel on to the axle, tighten the axle hex bolt, reinstall the disc brake and it's done.
It took another minute to ease out the rubbing disc rotor and all was fine and dandy.
If you’re concerned about a fork with just one blade, then have a look at your car or a 40-tonne truck – or 400 tonnes of Jumbo Jet. What do you see? Just an axle fixed at one end to what is effectively a monoblade.
This Bad Boy doesn't come with a rack or mudguards, but it does have all the fittings so you can choose your own.
It also has integrated lighting, and being Cannondale, this is as distinctive as the Lefty. The Lefty fork contains a front light – a vertical LED strip running its full length.
There's a switch at the top to control it, which sits in a removable cylinder that contains the rechargeable battery.
The seatpost is from the Korean company LightSKIN and contains five rear-facing red LEDs, controlled by one of the LEDs that doubles as a switch.
They’re powered by a rechargeable battery in the seatpost, but you have to remove the seatpost to charge it, which doesn't seem the easiest solution.
However, it charges in around three hours and the LEDs seem bright enough to run as your sole rear light with a choice of steady and three flashing/pulsing modes.
The front light is more of a be-seen-by light rather than one to illuminate your path on unlit routes.
The gears are from the Taiwanese company Microshift, whose products we’re seeing more and more of at the moment – and for good reason. They’re well-priced, work well and they’re available, which isn't the case with some Shimano kit.
The Bad Boy doesn't, in fact, live up to its name because its road manners are actually very good. It's composed and comfortable and its one-to-one ratio bottom gear is pretty low.
The bike's light weight means it can really bomb down hills.
You won't be getting into much of an aero tuck, but you can hit some pretty high speeds while retaining good control, and the braking was impeccable every time. There's bags of braking power, backed up by smooth, progressive control.
While this Bad Boy is part of Cannondale's Urban range, it's pretty good off-road too, down partly to the WTB Byway 650b x 40c gravel tyres. This should make it suitable for some light gravel riding.
The tyres have a smooth central strip for reduced rolling resistance on tarmac, with small diamond-shaped knobs giving way to larger knobs away from the centre for greater grip on gravel and muddy towpaths.
In spite of its 31.6mm-diameter seatpost, I found the bike suitably comfortable.
The thick rubber strips along each side of the top tube, to protect it from scratches, are a nice touch.
I had great fun on the Bad Boy 2, although if I was parting with my own money I’d consider the lower-spec Bad Boy 3.
It ditches the lights and you have an 8-speed setup, but this has a slightly lower 30×31 bottom gear, and you still get hydraulic disc brakes.
Simon Withers is a freelance cycling writer and bike tester. He has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the 1980s. Simon has ridden and raced almost every type of bike over the years and has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2,900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He's been testing bikes and working for BikeRadar and Cycling Plus in various capacities for two decades. Simon has ridden and reviewed countless bikes and products, and specialises in affordable road bikes, gravel bikes and cycling kit, helping riders understand what's really worth their hard-earned money.❚