If you were around cycling in the late 1980s, you may have heard of the name CADEX. The CADEX name was on advanced early carbon fiber road bikes and mountain bikes under the Giant brand name. Giant – yes, that Giant – needed an outlet for their coolest technology, and the Giant CADEX road bike was the first bike to use computer-aided design in its carbon fiber development process.
Fast forward a few decades and once again Giant needed an outlet for their coolest technology. Enter CADEX, a completely separate brand from Giant under the same umbrella. What is it? Here are CADEX’s words:
“CADEX is the pursuit of what many see as improbable, even impossible. It’s the discovery of a new material that produces faster wheels. The reinvention of the saddle for incomparable fit. The perfection of a tubeless tire that convinces pros to forgo tubulars. It’s deep research into the bike and rider in motion. CADEX is the pursuit and realization of an entirely new level of performance in cycling components.”
That’s a lot to go off of, and not all that much at the same time. I’ll explain a bit more later.
Giant officially relaunched CADEX after a multi-decade slumber during this year’s Tour de France, but CADEX wheels have been in the pro peloton since 2018. Astute observers may have noticed the #OVERACHIEVE hashtag on UCI Cycling teams like Team Sunweb or CCC Pro Team. And while some hypothesized that Giant’s new brand would be called Overachieve rather than CADEX, that hashtag tidily sums up CADEX’s product ethos.
All 42 and 65 rims are designed with a hookless bead, said to provide the best flow transition from the tire to the sidewall of the rim, resulting in reduced aerodynamic loss when compared to standard hook bead rims as well as greater durability. They feature a continuous carbon fiber structure enhancing overall durability while maintaining an aerodynamic shape and low weight. The carbon spokes are truable, directional to shave drag, and they mimic the shape of the blades on the Four-Spoke Aero TT wheel.
As you’d guess, the CADEX 42 is their lightweight wheel measuring in at a (you guessed it) 42 mm deep. Accompanying that depth is a 23 mm external width with a 19.4 mm internal width, which frankly isn’t the widest though the hookless bead design promises a smoother bead transition than a standard clincher design. The deeper CADEX 65 expands it to a more progressive 22mm inner width and 26mm external width, in line with the wheel’s aero intentions.
Giant didn’t only pay attention to the rim profile like other brands but instead built spokes and hubs that amplify its performance. Both wheelsets feature low friction hubs which aim to keep bearing tension isolated, custom carbon fiber spokes with the same aero profile as their Four Spoke Aero wheel, and Giant’s Dynamic Balanced Lacing (DBL). In essence, the hub and spokes interface with the rim with the goal of even tension when ridden rather than ideal tension when static and unloaded. Whether it makes a difference in the real-world is certainly up for debate, but every detail matters when building some of the best wheelsets on the market.
Both wheelsets are impressively light, with the CADEX 42 tubular rim brake version weighing at a quoted 1163 g, and the 42 Disc Tubeless brake model at a still-lithe 1327 grams. With a deeper rim profile and increased width, the Cadex 65 wheels manage to be lightweight as well; the 65 tubular rim brake model is quoted at 1367 grams, while the 65 Disc Tubeless wheelset is right at 1500 grams.
CADEX Boost Saddle
We’ll go over this saddle in-depth very soon, but the CADEX Boost is their entry into the super-popular snub-nose saddle competition. As one would guess, it is lightweight and features a carbon shell and rails.
There are two hallmarks to the Boost, and both lay in its construction. CADEX makes a big deal of its unique ETPU particles in the padding of the saddle, designed to mold to the rider’s sit bones to provide excellent support over a long ride. The other part of their formula lies in its carbon shell and rails. Together, the rails go from all the way in the back of the saddle to the front to offer just-right amounts of flex and vibration damping.
The CADEX Boost weighs in at a lithe 138 grams and is compatible with seatposts designed for round rails. It is offered in one size, with a 149mm width, 246mm length, and 44mm stack height. Again we’ll have a more in-depth review on this saddle when possible but early adopters have all said it is the best saddle they’ve ridden, men and women alike.
The CADEX Race Tubeless Tire is designed to work in conjunction with CADEX road bike wheels, including CADEX 42 and CADEX 65 Tubeless wheelsets. These new tires feature a silica-based rubber compound around a kevlar belt. They say that it improves ride quality without sacrificing rolling resistance akin to a tubular tire. We think these line up really nicely next to a Schwalbe Pro One TLE, a Continental GP 5000 TL, or the new Vittoria Corsa Speed TLR tubeless tires.
What’s the Deal?
Small brands that make big promises generally fall short of expectations, but CADEX is an anomaly as far as new companies go. Their relationship with Giant gives CADEX engineers immense resources to build truly advanced wheels, saddles, or whatever they might want to. But doing so meant they needed to invest phenomenal costs alongside a ton of risks associated with launching any new brand. So why bother?
CADEX is proving grounds for the largest carbon bicycle manufacturer in the world. Usually, the drawback to that is that the consumer is usually the beta tester, dealing with bugs until a new version comes out. But Giant’s experiences in carbon construction in myriad cycling disciplines lead us to be confident that these forward-thinking products are of exceptional quality and are some of the best pieces of kit that money can buy, clearly an effort of #overachieving.
We are proud to carry what we feel are the best products on the market, and CADEX joins those ranks. Come by our shops and check out what they have to offer.
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