I am partial to Cannondale and also to SRAM shifting. Looking at the 2014 SuperX models coming, I am torn between the Hi-Mod with Red 22 hydro disc brakes and the non Hi-Mod Force 22 with Avid BB7 Ultimate mechanical disc brakes. The first is of course a far bigger investment (In Euros anyway, I think it's almost twice as much). I am questioning the "value" of the bigger investment. Of course that's an evaluation which is very individual. Can you weigh in on how important these advantages are:
Hi-Mod vs. regular carbon (personally, I don't care about the weight advantage, but how about stiffness and other considerations)?
Red 22 drivetrain vs. Force 22 drivetrain (weight is really the only advantage of Red here; both are 11 speed, both use same Force level rear cassette, and Force now has yaw front derailleur. I don't see a big advantage here in terms of shifting if you separate the brake consideration, which is its own point of consideration)?
Red hydraulic discs vs. Avid BB7 Ultimate mech discs (I want wet stopping power; I trust that the mechanical setup provides ample stopping power -- and has for 10+ years, right. I am intrigued by the high tech, ultra good feel promised by the hydro setup)?
Hollowgram crank arms with FSA rings vs. entire FSA crank (no one knocks how great Hollowgram is; though it's not the top of the line, lightest, Hollowgram)?
Let me first qualify this by saying I haven't ridden a cannondale CX bike and use campy on my bike.
Don't go for Hi-mod carbon. The advantage is minimal versus the additional cost.
I would go for force over red unless you are a real weight stickler. Everything I hear is that if you are blindfolded you won't be able to tell a performance difference between the red and force.
I'd give hydraulic brakes the advantage over mechanical for performance as long as they stay working. My philosophy is that I don't want to be the person to buy something in the first model year as it's entirely possible all the kinks haven't been worked out yet. That would go double for cyclocross equipment. I would choose something I know would work (BB7s have been around forever) and would be easy to work on and cheap by comparison to replace WHEN it breaks (its CX). With hydraulics you also have special shifter levers so if you trash a shifter it's going to be more expensive to replace than a regular one.
Hollowgram cranks definitely win. FSA is just plan lower quality here. In fact I'd put most any crankset on my bike (sram, campy, shimano..) before an FSA.
"The BB's though... not really that good in my experience. I would go elsewhere for those."
Both have FSA BB30. Another reason why maybe it's not a slam dunk to go for "CDale's top of the line."
I have a third option which is to use some parts I have, including Rival shifters, Rival front and rear derailleurs, Rival rear cassette, carbon seatpost and carbon railed saddle, carbon stem and carbon handlebars (I don't race, so I don't fear using these) and build a bike. I would need a CX frame/fork (I want the clearance for 32-35 mm tires) that takes discs, a wheelset, a crankset and BB, and I would get SRAM's new 10-speed compatible hydro disc brakes--I think they come with shifters, so I wouldn't make use of the Rival shifters I have).