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Old 03-10-05, 04:57 AM   #1
Kelton
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Cannondale and proprietary stuff

I'm looking for a single bike that can do lots of things fairly well (commuter, somewhat speedy road bike, converts to a real ATB) but I have a mechanical question.

The Cannondale Bad Boy Ultra looks like it fits the bill....and looks cool, too. However, it's got disc brakes (which I know nothing about) and that head shock.

I generally like to figure out how to fix things myself, but I've heard that the head shock is not something I would want to deal with. Well, that's OK I guess, but I am wondering if it's a reliable system....so that when I DO have to bring it in for repair, it's not terribly frequent. Also, I don't want a system that's so complicated, that I'll have to search around for a specific competent mechanic. I have heard that it works wonderfully, but the proprietary nature of it is of concern.

The brakes are mechanical discs. Do these require more attention than rim brakes?

Thanks for any input,
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Old 03-10-05, 05:17 AM   #2
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...I don't want a system that's so complicated, that I'll have to search around for a specific competent mechanic...
Kelton
You want to stay away from the Headshok. Unless you have a C'Dale dealer (or dealers) nearby with good wrenches.
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Old 03-10-05, 07:40 AM   #3
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I've been told by our best bike mechanic in the area (100 mile radius) that while their non-canondale shop will try to work on the Canondale headshock, most Canondale dealers will not and will send it to Canondale instead.

The only shop in the area that sells the more expensive bikes like Specialized, sends all their forks to the factory for work, even Fox which is mostly home maintainable/repairable.

Things are just getting more expensive in the cycle industry.

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Old 03-10-05, 07:48 AM   #4
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Surly Karate Monkey is my suggestion. Can be built as a 29" MTB or a 700c roadie which will take fatter tires. I would use Salsa Delgado Cross rims and lace them to your hub of choice (disc or not will be up to you). Then spec it out with a compact road double (50/34 or maybe change that big ring to something smaller depending on your terrain) and a MTB cassette and flat bars. This will give you some good on and off road gearing and the choice of either 29" MTB tires, CX tires or even 700X28 road tires. Would make a REALLY good all around bike. The Cross Check or another CX bike would also be a good choice for an all around bike.
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Old 03-10-05, 03:39 PM   #5
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I don't run disc brakes, but I have 2 Cannondales-both with Headshoks. I have never had an issue with my Headshoks. The one time I had any service done(by a Cannondale dealer) was to replace the spring/elastomer combo on my HT(wasn't stiff enough for my weight). That's it! In my experience, you'll never have to touch that Headshok unless something catastrophic happens or you want to upgrade internals. Maybe I've just been lucky....
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Old 03-10-05, 03:57 PM   #6
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Maybe I've just been lucky....
That would be my guess. To your continued good luck.
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Old 03-10-05, 05:03 PM   #7
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We took 'em apart. And put 'em back together right, even. Not saying that they're incredibly easy to work on, but overhauling any front end isn't going to be as easy as a derailleur adjustment.
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Old 03-10-05, 05:33 PM   #8
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the headshok's are the most simple forks out there in my opinion, however you can't work on them without the right tools. i have rebuilt plenty of cannondale forks with great success, but sometimes the problems are a little too difficult so we'll have to send them back to cannondale, which is a bit pricey, but you get a brand new (feeling) fork back. it's not very easy to mess up a headshok either, i've been abusing my lefty for a couple years without any troubles...
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Old 03-10-05, 08:35 PM   #9
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That would be my guess. To your continued good luck.
I knew I could count on your support, Raiyn! Cheers!

Now my frame'll probably fall apart this weekend....
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Old 03-10-05, 09:55 PM   #10
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Agreed that it's not a complicated fork, it just requires a special tool to take it apart. Guess what? Cannondale doesn't sell the tool to anyone except their dealers. To add to that, they are now requesting that the dealers DO NOT tear apart their forks and to just remove them and send them back to Cannondale for repair. They claim a liability issue. Even if you been trained to work on them (from years ago).

What mechanical discs are spec'd? Avid's or Hayes?

If Avids, you'll probably love them. Hayes are a bit finicky to get right. I love Hayes hydraulics, but not a big fan of their mechanicals. (they're so-so). Avid's are easy to set-up, easy to maintain, and easy to adjust. Plus they work!!!!
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Old 03-10-05, 10:10 PM   #11
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To add to that, they are now requesting that the dealers DO NOT tear apart their forks and to just remove them and send them back to Cannondale for repair. They claim a liability issue. Even if you been trained to work on them (from years ago).
Hmm.. that's news to me, especially considering that cannondale just did a tech seminar this past summer and went into full detail of their old and new forks, and even sent us a whole batch of new tools... Seems strange, but less work for me!
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Old 03-10-05, 10:22 PM   #12
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Your shop must be pretty elaborate and extensive. Down here, most shops are smaller Mom and Pop type shops. The three Cannondale dealers in my area (worked in one of them-two shops/one owner) send their forks back. This was in a memo from C'Dale. Guess it's been two+ years now since I worked for a C'Dale dealer. Maybe the pendulum is swinging back the other way!

I'll shut up now!
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Old 03-11-05, 03:13 AM   #13
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The Headshok is a great piece of gear if you follow the maintenance schedule, which requires frequent servicing. Nothing too difficult, but if your Headshok goes bad, you're screwed. The headache and expense is not worth it. Granted, I have almost zero product support over here, but my bike has been sitting for months while I ponder what to do. The local Cannondale dealer has offered to ship the fork to the US for service. Oh, that should be cheap. Other than that, I'm happy with my 2nd Cannondale. Mechanical discs are easy to work on, don't let them scare you away.
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Old 03-11-05, 02:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
Agreed that it's not a complicated fork, it just requires a special tool to take it apart. Guess what? Cannondale doesn't sell the tool to anyone except their dealers. To add to that, they are now requesting that the dealers DO NOT tear apart their forks and to just remove them and send them back to Cannondale for repair. They claim a liability issue. Even if you been trained to work on them (from years ago).
Well, this has been several years ago, but my LBS then offered to order the tool for me(as in for my home shop). They already had one, being a Cannondale dealer, and it would've been around $80US from what I remember. I didn't want to pay for the tool when I'd probably only use it once or twice. Guess they don't do that anymore.

@Expatriate: Like I said, the only service my HT had was to replace the internals on my Headshok. The LBS never mentioned any scheduled service and this was 2-3 years after I bought the bike. I probably needed to RTFM. Maybe my Headshoks are so old they don't have as much to screw up on 'em?
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Old 03-11-05, 02:52 PM   #15
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@Expatriate: Like I said, the only service my HT had was to replace the internals on my Headshok. The LBS never mentioned any scheduled service and this was 2-3 years after I bought the bike. I probably needed to RTFM. Maybe my Headshoks are so old they don't have as much to screw up on 'em?
The manual says something like every 20 hours or 60 days to give it a bit of lube and a look. They make it sound much easier than it is. Mine failed suddenly.
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Old 03-11-05, 03:24 PM   #16
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Just for FYI, You might check this bike out.

http://www.rei.com/product/47841651....HP_CYCLING_TOC
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Old 03-11-05, 03:46 PM   #17
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My friend has the bad boy, and while I think it looks cool, and is a nice idea conceptually, I would not buy one. My friend regrets it as well. My take is this: If you look at the component spec, it is similar to bikes costing a little more than half as much. Essentially, it is a MTB frame with discs. Any disc MTB can accept 700c rims laced to MTB hubs, so you are not limited to the Bad boy. If you look at the geometry, it is like a MTB with a 1 degree steeper head tube angle. Again, you could accomplish the same thing by running an 80mm fork on a bike designed for 100mm. The headshock on my buddy's frame really bites. No way it compares with even a low end suspension fork by rock shox, manitou or marzoichi. Not only that, but it developed play after less than a 1000 km of road riding, and had to be repaired. The disc brakes that came on his bike were shimano mechanicals, and they do not perform well at all. They screech like a mother, and have unaccepable power, and modulation that is only slightly better than a set of cheap V's.
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Old 03-11-05, 04:26 PM   #18
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Well, there ya go! I have to admit, seems like Cannondale's quality has gone downhill somewhat over the past few years. When we still had a dealer here, the frame(and name) was most of the price combined with subpar parts, typically. Luck really might have a lot to do with it for me....
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Old 03-11-05, 05:33 PM   #19
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I think the Headshock to the Cannondale is like the Corvair is to the Chevrolet.
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Old 03-11-05, 06:03 PM   #20
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Ok, I'll think twice about dropping $1,300 on the Bad Boy Ultra. The bike shop also has a Specialized Sirrus in my size on sale....the original price is $950, but it's on sale at $800.
Here's the specialized link to that bike: http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkMode...j03up1n.j27010

Perhaps, I'll mention this bike on another thread because I am no longer asking a "mechanics" question. Still, if anyone cares to offer input about that Sirrus, I'm all ears!

Thanks for the REI link, too. I love the split pea color! Do you think a novice mechanic can assemble that thing correctly? (I'm not sure how it comes shipped...is it totally in pieces?)

Kelton
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Old 03-11-05, 06:37 PM   #21
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I think the Headshock to the Cannondale is like the Corvair is to the Chevrolet.
Not quite though. A properly working Headshok is a good piece of machinery. A Corvair will never be anything more than just a piece. My Cannondale was built from scratch for $3,500 (someone else's money, not mine ) and has performed flawlessly for several years now. Other than the Headshok, I've never had any problems. This is my 2nd one, and I bought one for my brother, which he had no problems with either. Nothing compares to the Headshok for stiffness, but that comes at a price. Oh well. I've still got my titanium tandem.
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Old 03-11-05, 09:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelton
Ok, I'll think twice about dropping $1,300 on the Bad Boy Ultra. The bike shop also has a Specialized Sirrus in my size on sale....the original price is $950, but it's on sale at $800.
Here's the specialized link to that bike: http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkMode...j03up1n.j27010

Perhaps, I'll mention this bike on another thread because I am no longer asking a "mechanics" question. Still, if anyone cares to offer input about that Sirrus, I'm all ears!

Thanks for the REI link, too. I love the split pea color! Do you think a novice mechanic can assemble that thing correctly? (I'm not sure how it comes shipped...is it totally in pieces?)

Kelton
Kelton, have you checked the specialized crossroads xc pro?
It's basically the same as the badboy ultra except it costs $100 less and has a standard fork with a lockout.
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Old 03-12-05, 12:49 AM   #23
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Not quite though. A properly working Headshok is a good piece of machinery. A Corvair will never be anything more than just a piece. My Cannondale was built from scratch for $3,500 (someone else's money, not mine ) and has performed flawlessly for several years now. Other than the Headshok, I've never had any problems. This is my 2nd one, and I bought one for my brother, which he had no problems with either. Nothing compares to the Headshok for stiffness, but that comes at a price. Oh well. I've still got my titanium tandem.

I think it all boils down to personal experience and, as long as you're not taking these opinions as gospel, these posts amount to decent, albeit free, advice. The Headshok's stiffness is what I love about it. So I don't have that much travel and I can't rebuild my own suspension. I ride mine over the same stuff my buddy's 100mm fork takes on and I don't have any problems keepin' up. If you get used to your ride and have it dialed in well, you're gonna be fine on it and, at the very least, have fun.
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Old 03-12-05, 11:33 AM   #24
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I saw a cannondale ultra badboy a couple of nights ago. It looks beautiful... flat black, No labels anywhere except the bottom of the down tube and some cool reflective stickers that are kinda dark until light hits em on the seat stays and chain stays. It had sram shifters and derails. The fork also had a lockout. Nice looking ride.
Someone mentioned building up a surly...... I do know from experience that it can be pretty expensive to build up a bike yourself... I picked up the perfect stumpjumper frame and am turning it into a touring bike. I had to buy everything EXCEPT the wheels/tires and the handlebars/shifters/brake levers. I have about 700 into the parts alone .... hope the wife doesn't see this post LOL. So I have over 800 into a 96 stumpjumper... yeah it's nice, all XT, with an avid front disk, snf rverything is brand spanking new but I still have over 800 into a 96 stumpjumper LOL
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Old 03-13-05, 02:56 AM   #25
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I still have over 800 into a 96 stumpjumper LOL
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I've got close to a G in a 99 Hardrock so don't sweat it.
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