I've been living in NYC and commuting on my only bike, a 2001 C'dale R600 CAAD4 eBay find. (It was cheap because one of the brifters needed to be replaced). I fell in love with Cannondale aluminums, but was getting tired of having to carry everything on my back and being worried every time I locked up outside, so I started to look for a good commuter replacement. I'd seen a few old, thick-tubed C'dales locked up around the city that caught my eye, but I couldn't find any decals that told me the model number.
December 2010. We go to visit the in-laws in Marin County, north of SF, and there, while taking out the trash, I see this white beauty hanging in my father-in-law's garage:
I run back inside and ask him to tell me the model of the bike so I can start scouring Craigslist when I get back to NYC. Without missing a beat, he says to me in a low voice, "Just take this one."
I knew he used to be a big cyclist, going on nearly all the Solvang century rides and touring trips up in Puget sound on this very bike, so I asked him if he was serious. He replies that he hasn't ridden seriously in nearly a decade, and this bike has been hanging up for seven years without a ride. "It's the five year rule: if you don't use something for five years, it's time to give it away," he said. "You ship it, it's yours."
The winter was pretty dead, retail-wise, so it was strangely difficult to get a bike box from the local shops, but finally, about a month ago, the bike arrived in NYC.
I unpacked it, giddy as a five-year old on Christmas morning, and eager to work on it.
Sadly, the front derailleur's shifter boss snapped in transit. I thought I'd wrapped it up nicely, but I made the stupid mistake of leaving the shifters on the bosses. But on the bright side, I now have my number one priority on this project!
Shifter boss damage, fig. 1.
Shifter boss damage, fig. 2. Shimano 600 rear shifter visible.
Shifter boss damage, fig. 3.
I removed the front derailleur so I could at least start riding, and even with only the six lowest gears in usable condition it rides incredibly well. (The seventh gear works, but causes the chain to rub on the large chainring in front).
Here's the rest of the bike. Sorry for the crap cell-phone pictures!
Shimano 600 crankset. She cleans up good! Specialized 53T large chainring, Sugino 75 38T small chainring.
Campy headset, SR Royal quill stem, Kusuki handlebars. Stem's too short for me, as you can see by where the "max" line is.
Shimano 600 shifter set. The other shifter's just fine, but is waiting until I figure out how to fix that boss.
Mavic MA-40 rims on Dura-Ace hubs.
Front view. Shimano RX100 brakes and levers with Super SLR. Rixen Kaul Klickfix system visible for attaching front basket.
Front fork and Dura-Ace hub.
Rear view. Shimano RX100 brakes with Super SLR. Look at the size of those tubes, baby!
Shimano Light Action RD-L525 rear derailleur. Freewheel cogset unknown, 12-24T.
So as of right now I have made this checklist for myself. Anyone with recommendations or suggestions, feel free to speak up, as I do not know my vintage components well at all!
- Fix front shifter boss.
- Upgrade rear derailleur and freewheel. Don't know yet with what.
- Replace stem with proper-sized one! Don't know yet with what.
- Install rear rack (for carrying beer, natch).
- Repaint SKS Raceblade fenders white. (Those arrived from eBay in the nick of time–on the morning of a giant thunderstorm!)
- Replace cables, cable housing, handlebar tape.
I'm also wondering whether I should bother repacking the hubs and changing the bearings on a bike this old, and if I should do anything to check the bottom bracket/crankset. And last but not least, the headset is a little loose, so I may have to tighten that up when I get myself a longer stem.
I know it's a bit silly to ride what was in 1985 the consumer top-of-the-line racer as a "beater" commuter in 2011, but it's a much beefier ride than my R600 frankenbike, and so far it's handled the streets of New York incredibly well. I can't wait to take it out touring, too, once I get the rear rack installed.