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  1. #1
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    1985 Cannondale SR900 Project

    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:

    IMG_20110620_163359.jpg

    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!

    IMG_20110620_163813.jpg
    Shifter boss damage, fig. 1.

    IMG_20110620_163826.jpg
    Shifter boss damage, fig. 2. Shimano 600 rear shifter visible.

    IMG_20110616_135928.jpg
    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!

    IMG_20110620_163502.jpg
    Shimano 600 crankset. She cleans up good! Specialized 53T large chainring, Sugino 75 38T small chainring.

    IMG_20110620_163528.jpg
    Campy headset, SR Royal quill stem, Kusuki handlebars. Stem's too short for me, as you can see by where the "max" line is.

    IMG_20110620_163742.jpg
    Shimano 600 shifter set. The other shifter's just fine, but is waiting until I figure out how to fix that boss.

    IMG_20110620_163600.jpg
    Mavic MA-40 rims on Dura-Ace hubs.

    IMG_20110620_163708.jpg
    Front view. Shimano RX100 brakes and levers with Super SLR. Rixen Kaul Klickfix system visible for attaching front basket.

    IMG_20110620_163550.jpg
    Front fork and Dura-Ace hub.

    IMG_20110620_163655.jpg
    Rear view. Shimano RX100 brakes with Super SLR. Look at the size of those tubes, baby!

    IMG_20110620_163451.jpg
    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!

    1. Fix front shifter boss.
    2. Upgrade rear derailleur and freewheel. Don't know yet with what.
    3. Replace stem with proper-sized one! Don't know yet with what.
    4. Install rear rack (for carrying beer, natch).
    5. Repaint SKS Raceblade fenders white. (Those arrived from eBay in the nick of time–on the morning of a giant thunderstorm!)
    6. 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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Is the riveted boss threaded all the way through ? (probably). If so, the good boss could be used as an anchor to use the replaceable boss on the broken side. Let me know, and I can send you the parts for the broken side.
    Last edited by Homebrew01; 06-20-11 at 06:47 PM.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  3. #3
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Yep threaded all the way through. If you need it, the last kit I bought was from Mikes Bikes, part #A095A for 2" downtube. Drill out the rivets and remove the boss and residual rivet pieces from the downtube (through the headset or BB).

    I would go ahead regrease everything but that's just me.

    A Nitto Technomic stem should get you the height you need, try Tree Fort Bikes for that.. I just received a new one from them along with a set of Noodle bars for my Trek project.

    You'll need to oversize the P-clamps and bend them a little to fit around the seat stays since they are oval and oversized for the rear rack.

    Enjoy it.
    1984 Cannondale ST
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  4. #4
    aka: Dr. Cannondale rccardr's Avatar
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    I have a tall technomic- practically new. PM me if interested or e-mail to rccardr@cox.net.

    I'd advise you to repack the hubs and BB. Grease dries out. Cable and housing replacement is easy and inexpensive and you'll be amazed at the improvement in brake and shifting quality.
    Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...

  5. #5
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    Oversized p-clamps are on the way, as are new bearings. I'll check out the stem and boss recommendations!

  6. #6
    Senior Member OrangeOkie's Avatar
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    Proverbs 6:6-11 - 6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

  7. #7
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    @OrangeOkie - Yup, exactly how I found out this was the '85 SR900 and not the '86 SR800 (the only two bikes in those years to come in white/ebony with that old Cannondale font). The '85 is the one with a triangle pattern at the top of the fork, as opposed to the upside-down 'U' on the '86. I spent perhaps a little too much time looking at vintagecannondale.com (-:

  8. #8
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    @Homebrew01 - Thanks for the offer. If Cannondale hadn't been able to pull through (and they were so hard to get ahold of I thought that might be the case!) I would have definitely hit you up for the boss. LBS just called yesterday and said that the rep was messing up but finally sent the 2" boss. Heading in today to check it out. It's probably better this way than trying to drill out the old boss myself...I don't have the right tools in my tiny apartment.

    @rccardr - I am indeed interested in the Nitto. I've been trying to figure out for the life of me what the right stem height + stem length should be for me anyway, but hopefully I'll figure that out by the time I hit 50 posts and can PM. Some literature I came across says that the front hub should be obscured by the handlebars when you're in the drops...does that sound right?

  9. #9
    aka: Dr. Cannondale rccardr's Avatar
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    No problemo, you can e-mail me directly at rccardr@cox.net

    The right stem height is what's right for YOU.
    Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...

  10. #10
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    reducedfataoreo, The front axle is to be obscured by the handlebar tops when your hands are on the hoods. This is only the starting point and may not be correct for you.

    Brad

  11. #11
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    Hoods always seemed a better starting place to me, so thanks for the confirmation!

    Quick update: the boss and front derailleur are back in action, and rear rack is installed. Pics coming soon.

    In your opinions, is it worth it to change the rear derailleur from the Shimano Light Action that's on there now to a Shimano 600 7-speed? If I installed a 600 RD, that would make the entire drivetrain 600 tricolor, but if the quality difference is negligible, I'll keep it as is.

    I definitely want to change the cassette, as the gear ratio is a little too low right now for my typical commuting speed, and once I get to cadence I'm usually cross-chaining too much for my comfort. At least an 11T on the high gear, perhaps even 10T if I'm feeling adventurous. I'm finding a lot of Hyperglide cassettes on eBay that are 11-28, but I feel like 28T on the low end might be a little much...or am I just overthinking things?

    Last question for today: I'm on Sheldon Brown's Freewheel vs. Cassette Freehub page, and I'm thinking that these Dura Ace upgraded hubs are cassette freehubs. Am I right, or oh so wrong again?

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    reducedfatoreo, I'm prejudiced for the 600 group soI say put a 600 RD on it, but there'll be little practical difference. Now that you have the FD working I think you'll find the 52/53 large chainring plenty for your cassette. I run a 52/53T X 13T top on my road bikes and it's plenty for flat land riding. The two extreme gears are the least used followed by their respective runner ups, in other words you'll use the gears in the middle of the cassette most often. Ride for awhile and evaluate.

    Brad

  13. #13
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    Brad, that should be the case, right? When I first started road biking, my friend who got me into it gave me the advice of staying mostly in the small chainring in order to spin and keep the RPMs up. I guess I'm too used to staying mostly on the small ring with my 9-speed CAAD4, where it's easy to stay in the middle of the cassette because I have more gears to choose from. Today's commute was mostly on the large chainring until the headwind got a little too strong, but even so I feel like I'd be staying more in the middle of the cassette if I had an 11T instead of a 10T. When you only have 7 speeds that one cog makes much more of a difference than on a 9-speed!

    If it gives you any idea, for the past month without the FD I'd kept the chain on the small ring. About 85% of my riding was on the second smallest cog, and it would have been the smallest cog if the cross-chaining weren't so bad that it would rub on the large ring. Perhaps what I should have done instead was to keep the chain on the large ring and see how that felt, but I always feel like I'm dangerously close to mashing when I do that....

    You're absolutely right in that I should ride awhile and evaluate. I'll commute for a few weeks, and if I still feel like I'm cross-chaining at the end of July, then I'll know that it makes sense to bump the cassette down one tooth.

    EDIT: just realized that part of it probably has to do with the fact that my 9-speed is running a 42T small ring...
    Last edited by reducedfatoreo; 06-30-11 at 10:45 PM.

  14. #14
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    Clean and regrease everything.

  15. #15
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    I'd opt for the unscratched one.

    Brad

  17. #17
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    Anyone have a Nitto Technomic Deluxe 100-110 mm I could slap on this bike? the SR Royal has a height of 70, but the Deluxe would get me to where I need to be without the crazy height of the traditional Technomic.

  18. #18
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    Major setback today

    A cager cut me off today and I slid out into a pole. Frame seems to be ok, but the steel fork now has a lovely bend in it.





    So now what? Anyone know where I could get a replacement fork? I'd prefer the same Cannondale steel fork, and it'd even be nice to get front rack eyelets, but anything will do at this point, I guess. Sad day.
    Last edited by reducedfatoreo; 08-09-11 at 12:56 PM. Reason: ew. sorry for leaving blood on the fork!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Bummer. Buy a Nashbar carbon for $75 or so and paint it white. it might improve the ride.

    What size is the frame ? 56, or maybe 58 ?
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  20. #20
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    It's probably a 56, possibly a 58. No markings on the frame, and I haven't measured it yet, but it feels a tad smaller than my 58cm CAAD4.

    There's almost no info on this ebay monstrosity, but if it's the right size it maybe it'll be worth it just for the fork, and then strip and sell the rest back?

    But yeah, you think going with a Nashbar fork might be the best? The touring fork doesn't look bad, but I'm not sure if the rake and the brakes would be compatible.

  21. #21
    aka: Dr. Cannondale rccardr's Avatar
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    Virtually impossible to find a Cannondale fork, so either go with a replacement steel fork from Niagara (says it's for 27" wheels but fits a 700), or go the carbon threaded route.

    Many (not me) have tried it, all say they like it.

    Or, try one of the many available Paramount forks on eBay.
    Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...

  22. #22
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post
    It's probably a 56, possibly a 58. No markings on the frame, and I haven't measured it yet, but it feels a tad smaller than my 58cm CAAD4.

    There's almost no info on this ebay monstrosity, but if it's the right size it maybe it'll be worth it just for the fork, and then strip and sell the rest back?

    But yeah, you think going with a Nashbar fork might be the best? The touring fork doesn't look bad, but I'm not sure if the rake and the brakes would be compatible.
    It's much too small.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  23. #23
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    yeah, thought as much on the ebay beast. Thanks for the heads up on Niagara and Paramount.

  24. #24
    Senior Member chi-james's Avatar
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    Still looking for a fork? I have a 1987 sr500 (white), I think the size is 56cm... the paint is very chipped, but the fork is in otherwise good condition (pretty much looks like yours but without the dent). I love this bike and ride it a lot, but I'm more than likely going to "go threadless" on it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member chi-james's Avatar
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    oops, didn't realize this thread was almost 4 months old.

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