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Old 05-23-17, 06:06 PM   #1
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Modernizing '87 Cannondale SR400 - Help!

Hi, I have been riding vintage bikes for several years, and though I have done most of all of the maintenance on them, I don't know the first thing when it comes to upgrading one. I have kept the original parts on just about every bike I have owned.

I am about to purchase a 1987 SR400 (Suntour Alpha 3000), and have also recently purchased a '99 R1000 that has all Shimano 105 (9-speed) components on it (downgraded from the original Ultegra components). What would it take to switch all of the Shimano components and the modern wheels over to the SR400?

- It seems that I might have issues using the Shimano 105 stuff with the current Suntour downtube shifters, correct? What are my options for this? Finding old Shimano 105 9-speed downtube shifter? Does that even exist? Anyway I can keep the Suntour shifters and use the 105 derailleurs?

- I have read that you cannot fit modern wheels into the old 1987 Cannondale frames. Does that mean there is no hope in using the Rolfs that are currently on my R1000? Would changing to a smaller cassette make it possible?

As you can probably tell, I am a total noob when it comes to upgrading, especially between modern and vintage parts. I have just always had a dream of having a Mint Green vintage Cannondale with modern components, and now that I am close to buying one, I am realizing that it might not be possible.

Pic of the R1000 in case it helps:

Last edited by chet90si; 05-23-17 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Mistake
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Old 05-23-17, 06:13 PM   #2
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Well you would basically take all the components off the R400, and then take all the components off the R1000 and put them on the R400 frame.

You need to swap bottom brackets as well. The Suntour shifters should come off the R400 frame leaving the shifter bosses that the cable housing stops from the R1000 will mount to.

Yes putting the wider spaced rear wheel 8+ speed wheels on a older frame can be problematic. Some guys do it but the dropouts are not parallel to each other or axle lock nuts and it can be a PIA to get the wheel out and in when you have a flat on the road.
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Old 05-23-17, 06:19 PM   #3
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It doesn't appear to be an issue putting a 130 hub on an SR frame. You only have to spread each dropout 2mm to put the wheel on. You can buy 9 speed Dura Ace downtube shifters. I have them on an '86 Trek 560. Or 10 speed DA shifters with a 10 speed cassette. They make both.

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Old 05-23-17, 06:29 PM   #4
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And why is this something you wish to do? What happens to the R1000?
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Old 05-23-17, 07:06 PM   #5
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Everything will swap over. The bar end shifters can be mounted on the bar ends OR the downtube if you want downtube shifters. Spreading the rear drops to accept the wider hub is no big deal at all, done it dozens of times.
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Old 05-23-17, 08:19 PM   #6
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Barney, my 1985 SR300, easily accepts 8/9/10 speed wheels. You can also use 10 speed DT shifters with your 9 speed 105 RD. This one has a 6500 RD being shifted by a set of 7900 DT shifters. The rest is 1055/1056 105 stuff.

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Old 05-23-17, 09:59 PM   #7
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Wow, lots of good information so far. Thanks, everyone! I do still have some questions, however:

- Why would I want 10-speed downtube shifters for a 9-speed cassette? Wouldn't that cause a mis-shift when I went I shifted into the 10th position? Any reason I can't just get 9-speed shifters?

- Technically, could I just swap the old 6-speed cassette onto the new wheel before I put it on the SR400, and find some old 6-speed 105 DT shifters? Or is my Shimano 105 rear derailleur only going to work as a 9 speed?

- If I go with less gears in the back, say I stick with the 6-speed cassette...would that reduce the amount that I would have to spread the rear drops? Also, I am assuming that the front fork would need to be spread as well? Is that something that I would want to have done professionally by a bike shop?

- Will I run into any issues swapping the bottom bracket and crankset in, or will it all just swap right over?

As for what happens to the R1000, that frame is pretty shot. Corrosion spots all over, a dent in the top tube, a frozen stem, etc. I got it for dirty cheap though, so if I can put these parts to good use, I will have gotten my money's worth. Here's a link to the thread about that bike: I made a bad purchase, is it salvageable? - '99 Cannondale R100
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Old 05-23-17, 11:15 PM   #8
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1) @BradH was saying that you can install 10-speed downtube shifters and it will work with your 9-speed era rear derailleur. Every SIS (made for indexing) Shimano RD from 6-speed to 10-speed (except Dura Ace 6-8 speed "7400" era) has the same cable pull rate/ratio of 1.7 (this is a very wonderful thing). Yes you would want to employ a 10-speed cassette, but your RD could be anything from a late-'80s 6- or 7-speed 105 RD to a 10-speed RD sold just a few years ago and it should work fine. [the lateral range of an old 6- or 7-speed RD may not swing an 8-10 speed cassette, but you'd have to try that out to prove it one way or another]

2) The 9-speed era 105 RD will shift a 6-speed cassette or freewheel (given that they are of same, standard spacing) using 6-speed downtube shifters.

3) If you are talking rear dropout spreading like 'cold setting' like on a steel frame (a permanent setting/widening), then a) you can't do that to aluminum b) it's not even necessary. If you are talking spreading as in when you go to pop in the rear wheel you have to slightly pry (with your thumbs on the dropouts, fingers on the hub+cogset pulling up/back to slot it in the dropouts) to get the rear wheel in, then yes, with a 130mm wide axle going into a 126mm wide space, you will have to. Effort will be minimal, the result will be just fine. Is there technically a risk? Sure. Are all old C'dale frames originally spaced at 126mm not always 126mm (aka wider)? Yes. I and a bunch of other guys have fit modern 130mm axles in those frames and been 100% fine.

4) Your front fork does not need to be spread. Unless it's a bike from the '60s or '70s (more or less), you're always going to have 100mm front spacing. It's been that way for 3+ decades (thankfully).

5) Zero issue swapping BBs. Cannondale didn't do anything funky. Standard bike industry offering of a BSA-threaded BB (1.370" x 24 TPI), especially as an American company. Your chainring and crank arm clearances should also be fine.

Bummer about your R1000, but glad the old rocket is getting even faster!

Last edited by RiddleOfSteel; 05-23-17 at 11:18 PM.
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