By Justin Steiner
The Cadent, along with its female counterpart the Alysa, make up the “Performance Hybrid” portion of Raleigh’s on-road lineup. These bikes fit squarely between Raleigh’s road bikes and their more casual, more comfy, less sporty hybrids.
The Cadent line offers two internally-geared bikes, and four derailleur drivetrain bikes varying in price from $460 to $1,050, while the Alysa lineup offers one internally geared bike and three externally geared bikes ranging from $460 to $770.
These bikes are perfectly suited to both casual road riding and commuting alike, nicely balancing a sporting attitude with functional features such as fender mounts and mounts for a rear rack. The I11 model I rode at Interbike featured the new internally geared eleven-speed Alfine rear hub reviewed in issue #13. This versatile and bombproof hub teamed with the Alfine hydraulic disc brakes would make for a stellar all-weather commuting package. MSRP is $1,650.
Commuting through the Las Vegas underbelly aboard the Cadent was a swift and positive experience. Handling is snappy without being too quick, with the flat handlebar offering positive control and a comfortably relaxed riding position. Over rough pavement, the carbon fiber fork provided a touch of vibration damping, while being plenty stiff when hard on the brakes. The aluminum frame offers a lively ride without being harsh, thanks in part to great tire spec. Vittoria’s Randonneur tires in a 700x32c size offer great ride quality and flat protection without weighing a ton.
I was highly impressed with the Alfine 11 hub’s shifting and performance. Shifts were quick and smooth, and as a bonus the trigger shifter now upshifts and downshifts in the same direction as a derailleur equipped bike and allows for multiple shifts up or down.
My one personal quibble stems from the narrow-ish handlebar. I know it’s fashionable to run narrow bars these days, and it’s easier to split lanes that way, but I’d personally swap it for something a bit wider. Simply my preference, YMMV.
Set up with full-coverage fenders and a rear rack, either of the internally geared bikes would make excellent year-round high-speed commuting rigs. Those looking for a solid and affordable bike for sporting weekend roads rides and charity events might consider the externally geared options for their lighter weight and increased performance. Either way, it’s hard to argue with such a solid line of bicycles.