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Cannondale Bad Boy 1 Review

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - November 16, 2023   /  Cannondale, Hybrid Bikes, Reviews

2021 cannondale bad boy 1

Designed as an all-around fun run bicycle, Bad Boy 1 started its life as a mountain-bike-turned-hybrid, a style still continued today. Its rigid frame provides great stability in both smooth urban environments and off-road situations.

Below, we’ll highlight just exactly what you’re getting into with this burly, blackout hybrid.

Cannondale Bad Boy 1 Quick Specs

Cannondale’s Bad Boy 1 retails for just over $2,000, and the components really make us understand why:

  • Frame: SmartForm C1 Alloy
  • Fork: Lefty LightPipe Rigid
  • Tires: WTB Byway 650b x 40c
  • Crankset: Gates S150, Gates Belt Drive CDX sprocket 46t
  • Shifters: Shimano Alfine Rapidfire, 8-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano M396 hydraulic disc
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop Radius Elite
  • Gears: 8 internal
  • MSRP: $2,100

Find it on REI.com

What’s Good About the Bad Boy 1?

Cannondale Bad Boy 1 Black Paint Job

As an intermediate city bicycle, the Bad Boy 1 has been loaded up with endurance in mind. Here’s what makes this bike great both on and off the road.

Frame & Drivetrain

The SmartForm C1 alloy frame has a somewhat aggressive geometry for a hybrid-style bike and falls just around 24 lbs, which is pretty light for a hybrid-style bicycle. Because of this, it lends itself to speeding around city streets. Bad Boy 1 is quite rigid as well, which makes it very nimble and responsive.

An interesting (and smart) addition to the frame is a rubber “bumper strip” integrated into the top tube to avoid scratches between stops. The designers really went the extra mile in adopting this frame to urban environments.

Cannondale made the Gates Carbon Drive Belt stock on their Bad Boy 1, something we absolutely love. It provides an incredibly smooth pedaling experience and is super quiet. The internal hub has a fluid, smooth transition between gears, even when you’re standing up on the hardest hills.

These setups are hugely popular for being simple to adjust, as well as avoiding the greasy mess that can often accompany external shifters.

Internal Gearing

Technically the derailleur on the Bad Boy 1 doesn’t exist, as all switching is done internally. The Shimano Alfine does do a great job, providing 8 spaced-out gears that provide solid performance even on the sharpest of grades.

Tires & Brakes

Hybrid bikes are generally stocked with tires that are built for stability on all terrain types, and the Bad Boy 1 is no different. The WTB Byway 650×40 tires provide the best of both worlds’ scenario, with a smoother road styled tread combined with a broad, mountain bike size. These tires are also puncture-resistant, with an interior kevlar lining.

In recent years, disk brakes have made their way onto many urban commuter bikes due to their amazing stopping power. The Cannondale Bad Boy 1 comes equipped with Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes, which stop on a dime regardless of the weather conditions.

Comfortable Saddle

The Fabric Scoop Elite saddle is a great, award-winning design providing both comfort and stability. If ordered direct from Cannondale, these saddles are available in 3 distinct shapes.

Should You Buy It?

The Bad Boy 1 provides an awful lot of bang for your buck and is suited for a lot of different cycling disciplines.

While its price is a bit lofty for newcomers at $2,100, this is a stellar upgrade for individuals looking to upgrade from their current city cruiser. We’re really impressed with some of the thoughtful design touches included with this bike.

The seat post has integrated, rechargeable rear lights that have 8 hours of life per charge. Cannondale took this idea a step further, however, and integrated a glow strip along the front Lefty fork as well.

Even with the slightly more aggressive geometry, the Bad Boy 1 provides a comfortable ride, with big, chunky tires absorbing potholes and bumps. The broad front handlebars do a great job of making riders feel stable and secure.

If you’re looking for a bicycle that can fit a wide array of conditions, give the Bad Boy 1 a look. Its wide array of features make it an attractive mid-to-high level upgrade for serious cyclists everywhere. If you’re a pro-level rider with lofty ambitions every season, best to look for something with more gears and less weight.

Other Bad Boy Models

gates carbon belt drive

Bad Boy 1 is distinctive by the belt-drivetrain

  • Cannondale Bad Boy 1 – MSRP $2,100 (8-Speed Internal Gates Carbon belt drive)
  • Cannondale Bad Boy 2 – MSRP $1,600 (1×11-Speed Shimano 105 drivetrain)
  • Cannondale Bad Boy 3 – MSRP $950 (2×8 MicroShift drivetrain)

What they all share in common:

  • Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Cannondale’s top-shelf aluminum frame coupled with a lefty rigid fork
  • 650b (27.5″) wheels

Cannondale Bad Boy 1 Sizing

S – 5’1″ – 5’5″
M – 5’5″ – 5’9″
L – 5’9″ – 6’0″
XL – 6’0″ – 6’3″

Buy it on REI.com

About the Author

Sam Millers

Sam Millers is the guy behind Bikexchange.com. From the early days of three wheels to conquering challenging mountain trails, Sam's love for cycling knows no bounds. With a background in web development, Sam seamlessly combined two of his greatest passions – cycling and technology. As the creative force behind Bikexchange.com, he shares insightful stories, expert tips, and engaging content for fellow cycling enthusiasts. When he's not exploring new biking routes or tweaking website codes, Alex enjoys sipping on a post-ride espresso and planning his next cycling adventure. 

5 thoughts on “Cannondale Bad Boy 1 Review

  1. Akis says:

    As the rear derailleur is internal, it can be a fragile mechanism and any adjustments or repairs must be dealt by Cannondale authorized places only and should be costly, if not a total replacement of the part. Just thinking suspiciously.

    1. Anthony G. says:

      It’s not fragile, and any Shimano trained shop can adjust and maintain them. Alfine IGH are very common. I’ve been riding one for 12 years, all year round in rain, snow, heat and the most maintenance it needs is bringing into the shop for a dip once a year. Very robust mechanism, especially for the city.

  2. Jeff Schiff says:

    Wondering if I can use a stem riser on the BB1?

  3. david jensen says:

    what is the stock crank length for a size xl Bad Boy 1 . THANKS.

    1. Sam Millers says:


      The 46tooth belt-drive crank length is either 170mm or 175mm. We couldn’t find more specific information than that.

      The model used is: “46T Gates S150 Belt Drive CDX”

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