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When you’re investing in a new bike, you want to be sure that you’re buying from a brand you can trust. Both Specialized and Cannondale are well-known for creating top-of-the-line bike models. But is one of these brands really better than the other? We’ve broken down the most important information to help you decide.

FeatureFounding YearWarrantyComponents
#1. Specialized
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#2. Cannondale

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#1. Specialized

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Specialized is a company that makes a number of high-quality bike models across the entire price spectrum. The company’s offerings become most competitive when you get into the more expensive models. If you’re getting a bike from Specialized, you’ll find higher quality for the price point with the more expensive bikes than the cheaper 

You can find bikes of any price range and for any need here. There are cheap mountain bikes along with more expensive racing bikes for professionals. If you are a professional racer, Specialized tends to be top-of-the-line in terms of offering an aerodynamic and stiffer ride. For the average rider, the difference is negligible, but for the avid racer, it can mean the difference between losing and finishing in first place.

Specialized has been operating since 1972. The brand is US-based. All the research and development is completed at the US headquarters, while the bikes are manufactured in Taiwan.

Specialized bikes generally come with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty on the bike frame. The components may have different warranties, so it’s always worth checking the individual bike to see.

One Specialized bike currently on the market is the Turbo Levo. This is a mountain bike that improves upon the previous mountain bike designs offered by the company, making the frame slimmer, stiffer, and lighter. The range of the bike has been increased by forty percent when compared to previous models, and it also has a smooth and quiet motor.

Despite being a full-suspension mountain bike, the Levo is also light and capable. The slack geometry lets you ride low, so it’s easy to handle when you work with tough descents. On technical terrain, the bike handles like a dream. There’s a superior stiffness-to-weight ratio that means the bike stays under your control even despite the lightness.

The low center of gravity is especially important, as it will let you keep your balance on potentially dangerous trails. If you like to mountain bike over steep paths, the Levo is designed with everything you need to stay safe.

#2. Cannondale

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Like Specialized, Cannondale creates bikes that cover the entire spectrum of biking experience. Whether you’re a casual rider or an intensive professional, there’s a model that’s right for you. Also like Specialized, the most cutting-edge competition is in the higher priced bikes.

Cannondale is a Canadian company that was originally founded in 1971. In addition to creating their own bike models, they also create bike components for brands including Mongoose, Sugoi, Schwinn, and Charge. The components tend to be superior, especially when compared to Specialized bikes at a similar price point.

Cannondale also offers more upgrades than Specialized. If you prefer to have a highly customized bike, Cannondale is the brand for you.

One of the Cannondale bikes currently available is the Scalpel SE. This bike is made to be light, fast, and capable of ripping up the terrain. There’s a performance grip damper and a shock absorber to help on tough trails. In addition, the bike is equipped with twelve-speed hydro disc brakes, and the tires come both tubeless and ready to ride.

The bike doesn’t come with pedals, so you’ll need to choose a pair beforehand. It does come with nearly all the other equipment you need to get started right away, though.

Main Differences

The frames of both bikes are some of the best on the market, but there are also key differences between them. In the past, Cannondale was the lightest aluminum frame manufacturer on the market. These days, they still make cutting-edge designs, but the lightness of Specialized frames has a slight edge. Regardless of the company you pick, there are a range of carbon and aluminum frames available.

The Specialized frames are designed and prototyped in their California headquarters. The bikes themselves are produced in Taiwan. In the past, Cannondale manufactured their frames in Pennsylvania, but they have since also outsourced to Asia. Cannondale began making bikes with aluminum frames in 1983 to offer new options for touring bikes, and they later also began creating aluminum mountain bike frames.

The components used in the bikes vary. Sometimes the components will be made by the manufacturer. In other cases, you might get components made by companies like SRAM and Shimano. When you compare different bikes at the same price, one of the key things to look for is high quality components.

Both of the brands offer bikes across the entire pricing spectrum. However, the bikes at the lower end of the spectrum don’t tend to outperform those of other brands. If you’re looking for an affordable bike, it’s a good idea to comparison shop with other brands as well.

Specialized bikes tend to have a sleeker and more aesthetically pleasing design. By contrast, Cannondale bikes are often made to channel a more rugged energy. The aesthetics of the design don’t have an impact on performance, but you should take them into account since you want a bike you like to look at.

Final Thoughts

Both Specialized and Cannondale are high quality bike brands that create ideal biking experiences. The right one for you will depend on what you want when you’re comparing models at the same price point.

For avid racers and professionals, Specialized tends to lend an aerodynamic edge over the competition. Meanwhile, for those who prefer to have a lot of customization potential and upgrades, Cannondale is the more versatile brand.

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