Building on a Cannondale Frame
Last year, I bought a Cannondale road frame (Aluminum) that is a few years old off eBay. At that time, the only factor I considered was the size of the frame (50cm). Until now, I havent gotten around to building this frame because of lack of funds but now I would like to at least start acquiring information on all the things that I need to know in order to complete this project.
My questions / concerns are:
1. What component choices are limited by the size of the frame? I would imagine it to be wheels as only a certain size would fit the frame, but I do not know about cassette, deraileurs and other components.
2. I am not looking to build a very pricey machine, so I think I can be happy with a 8-speed. What are the choices for the groupsets? Which ones are upgradable and which ones aren't?
3. What price range am I looking at for a complete component set? For an example, my LBS quoted me $780 for a complete 105 groupset. Then I thought, if I am to spend so much money on just the parts, I might as well go ahead and get a new bike in that money.
I googled for some articles on how to build a road bike, but havent come across anything interesting yet, may be I am just not using the correct search keywords.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys and gals.
Current Ride: Trek 3500
Last edited by crypticlineage; 05-19-07 at 09:45 PM.
Wheel size is dictated by the fork/frame and can't be easily changed. Other than that any component will be fittable to the frame, which though a bit small, should not be a problem for any groupo you want to use. You have just discovered the rebuilders conundrum. Bike parts are not quite as bad as auto parts but close. The 8spd stuff is all now low end (new) or take offs and hasn't been priced up all that much over prices of 5yrs ago. 9spd stuff is drifting down the group ladder as well, it is still available but you have to hunt and Shimano doesn't make it easy. I had that problem last fall when I looked for 9spd Campy brifters and couldnt come up with any and settled for 10spd. For practical purposes the lower end groups are quite satisfactory if you want 8spd. As to used, der take a loong time to wear out and asl long as not trashed in a crash are easily recycled. Brifters (Shimano) do have a definite lifespan and the R brifter especially gets questionable after 8-10kmiles. I have had 4 brifters fail at mileages from 2kmi to more typical 9k to 11kmi. Small frames may limit the size of the water bottle you can mount as 24-27oz waspneck configuration bottles are too long to fit in the frame. You might check around LBS or the local bike clubs for swap sites and see what discarded 8spd equipment is floating around but practically speaking you might be better off looking at 9spd as the difference in price is minimal and they would be more common now 7yrs into the 9spd era. Nashbar and Performance have both recently sold 9spd 105 brifters with cables and housing sets for $140-150. This is as low as it gets for new. Cassettes are up 50% in price over the last 3yrs, upper level cranks have nearly doubled, and der are up about 50% also. Cranks are about the most competitive area and secondary market suppliers mean a good set of cranks and BB can be had for under $150. Chains are up a little but not as much. For a comparison, 9spd Ultegra brifter sets were sold for $150 in the '01 time frame drifting upto 190-200 til the advent of 10spds when over about 18mo they practically disappeared. A set of 10spd Ultegra brifters will run $280.
What it boils down to is you don't have much choice any more for 8spd, you are 4-5 levels down from Dura Ace for anything new and 9spd is drifting in that direction. DA is gone, Ultegra going, 105 is around if you hunt. Shimano still makes this stuff (except maybe the DA) but it is not available in the LBS market. A look at the stock in a bike shop with a lot of road bikes in the $300-500 range will show these are 8 and 9 speed groupos. Walmart bikes are 7 or 8spd (but the whole bike is less than $100 so you won't want to go there!!?). The groups are still around for manufacturers but not in the aftermarket at least at an acceptable price. You have the frame, you have to decide whether you want to spend as much or more than an equivalent new bike to build it up. The groupo is just the start: bar, stem, saddle wheels, tires, tubes, pedals, seat post..... www.parktool.com has an extensive 'repair' section that covers most of what you need to know to build a bike. www.sheldonbrown.com has a lot of info and some interesting essays as well. Some of it is dated (early '80s columns from Bicycling Mag for instance) but a lot is fresh, and much is timeless.