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  1. #1
    Just smang it. EpicSchwinn's Avatar
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    Older aluminum Cannondale road bikes?

    Hey there C&V!

    I've had this question in the back of my mind for a while and I thought you guys would be the ones to ask. I've always had a soft spot for the early-mid 90s aluminum Cannondale road bikes. Something about the oversized stays, rear dropouts, and those lugged steel forks just works for me. Does their quality and value match up to my appreciation for them aesthetically? I've heard all the buzz about aluminum having a harsh ride and being prone to failure. Would getting one this late in its life be asking for trouble?

    From what I've looked at in the old catalogs I'd be interested in something like an R2000, R900, R800, R700, or R600.

    I know these were a big range of values. R2000 got Dura Ace, R900 got Ultegra, and the rest got 105. What's a fair price to pay for any of those in decent condition? I'm decent mechanically so it wouldn't have to be perfect or anything.

    Thanks!!


  2. #2
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    I paid $175 for this '93 R600 with Shimano 105 about 18 months ago. I think the value depends on your market.



    I added the Brooks saddle, a larger rear cassette, long cage RD, and new tires.
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  3. #3
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    The quality was pretty top notch and I know lots of people who love them, personally I never really cared for them.

    Hey PastorBob is that gripshift OEM?
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SOLD, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  4. #4
    Just smang it. EpicSchwinn's Avatar
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    Lookin good! I'm looking to get back into geared bikes and these seem to be in that sweet spot where it's modern enough that you can find and upgrade parts but old enough that cheap used parts are plentiful.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    I ride a 90 Miyata 1400A, which is a bonded frame with a full Shimano105 group and to be honest, the ride is pretty darn good. If there is a difference between the way my Miyata rides compared to steel bikes I've ridden, the difference is pretty miniscule. Maybe slightly stiffer, but certainly nothing disconcerting or off-putting about it.

    I have heard though that Kleins run very stiff...
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I had an old r300 with the 3.0 frame and found it to be a real bone shaker, even with the steel fork. I came across an sr900 a few months later and didnt even bother riding it before selling it off.
    I think they look great and closer to a modern bike than any other 20 year old bike but the stiffness was just too much for me. I've sold three to eager buyers for 250-300

  7. #7
    aka: Dr. Cannondale rccardr's Avatar
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    Buy one and ride it, then decide. I don't find the ride harsh myself, but then I may be biased.


    Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...

  8. #8
    Senior Member jyl's Avatar
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    I bought a '92 R1000 with all Mavic drivetrain/brakes/headset/BB, which they did for one year and one model only, for $225 - but with shipping, $380. No bargain but it is the lightest bike I own.

    Last edited by jyl; 03-12-12 at 10:03 PM.

  9. #9
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    My 1995 T series with a uncrowned fork was -HARSH- unloaded. The 2008 has a much nicer ride.

    You may need to dip into the 80's to get the lugged fork.

  10. #10
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    I've got an '87 black lightning that I got from a friend for free. Needs the rear wheel trued and the front brake cable is sticking, but it rides like butter...for a while. It's like another appendage - you know what it's doing and where it's going at all times. It feels what you're doing and reacts appropriately. It handles like it's on rails, accelerates like none other, and would probably hang with modern bikes if I chose to ride in a group with it (and did with a bunch of C&V'ers a couple years ago), but after about 80 miles or so, when you need to have some stability and some upright-ness, it just isn't the bike to use...or perhaps I haven't ridden it enough to get used to doing distances on it.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Here's my chance to repost my '87 SR 400



    It's really a fun ride, and I do not find it harsh at all. (It does have a steel fork however and I guess that is half of the equation)
    - Auchen

  12. #12
    Ride Fast and Ride Safe! gioscinelli's Avatar
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    Here's my Cannondale Sport/Tour ST400 a 1984.

    85 Gios Professional-95 Cinelli SC-97 Merlin Extralight-85 Pinarello Record-06 Colnago C 50- 71 Peugeot PX 10-74 Peugeot Mixtie-73 Peugeot Mixtie

  13. #13
    Just smang it. EpicSchwinn's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info so far, everybody! Looks like these are solid quality and may not have depreciated as much as other road bikes of this age. I don't think the harsh ride would bother me too much. I don't do a whole lot of distance riding and I'm used to a bike with track geometry so an aggressive riding posture doesn't really bother me. Looks like I'll have to add these to my list of things to stalk on craigslist!

    Btw, everybody who posted their c'dales - they all look great! Esp. this one, rccardr:
    Quote Originally Posted by rccardr View Post

  14. #14
    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    I had a 89 R600 with the Aluminum fork. Very harsh ride and I was use to my DD Touring Cannondale. I now have a 98 R300 with a Carbon fork, one of the best riders I have. The Carbon fork made all the difference in the world.
    You cant have a signature unless it fits in this box

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    ES, Durability of an aluminum frame is just fine, much better than some suggest. As long as there is no frame damage you're good to go, as with any older frame regardless of material.

    If you're tall you may want to look at the early ST. They make for an attractive large framed bike and with their caliper brakes look more roadie than tourer (like rccardr's white bike in post #8). If you want a stable, yet quick handling bike then look at one with crit geometry.

    Large diameter tubed aluminum frames such as the Cannondale and Klein are stiff, but not harsh. They were made to race or tour, where stiffness is a virtue.

    My '89 CR300 (crit frameset model). Crashed, bashed and scarred:
    2011 bike updates 005.jpg

    Brad

  16. #16
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    I have a 1988 SR500, it looks like new, I bought it off of eBay maybe 2 years ago, been a fun bike to ride, Now if I was looking again I would go with a ST model, a little more relaxed frame, but Cannondale made some really nice bikes, looks and feels like a step above the other offerings.

    I like what Rccadr does on his rebuilds, he puts together some beautiful machines.
    Phil P.
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  17. #17
    aka: Dr. Cannondale rccardr's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words. Got three more in the pipeline:
    * A 56cm 88 SR in the same red as the one above, with Shimano 600 Tricolor 8 speed and Shimano 500 wheels, white saddle, cable housing and bar tape.
    * A 56cm 89 SR in black with Shimano 105 9 speed with D-A downtube shifters and Shimano 500 wheels (got a great deal on two new pairs of these over the winter), black saddle, cable housing and bar tape. I think I have enough 5600 series 105 stuff in black and a new pair of Tektro black R200L levers (pre-ergo style) to make it kind of an updated Black Lightning. Even have one more BL chainstay decal.
    * A 23" 88 ST in black for my personal 2012 stable. DA seatpost, 3TTT stem, Cinelli bars, Ultegra hubs laced to Open Pro rims, polished 5600 RD/FD and new 5700 brifters, so a 10 speed (12/27) triple. Truvativ crankset and since it's a 110 BCD I may replace the 52/42 rings with 50/34 and have a 50/34/30 'compact triple'. Tektro 539 caliper brakes, black cable housing and bar wrap and a new Regal black saddle. Then I'm going to go look for some hills and a long weekend.

    Anybody looking for a 23" ST frame, 60cm SR frame or 58cm SR frame? I have one of each. At least.
    Hard at work in the Secret Underground Laboratory...

  18. #18
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickey85 View Post
    I've got an '87 black lightning that I got from a friend for free. Needs the rear wheel trued and the front brake cable is sticking, but it rides like butter...for a while. It's like another appendage - you know what it's doing and where it's going at all times. It feels what you're doing and reacts appropriately. It handles like it's on rails, accelerates like none other, and would probably hang with modern bikes if I chose to ride in a group with it (and did with a bunch of C&V'ers a couple years ago), but after about 80 miles or so, when you need to have some stability and some upright-ness, it just isn't the bike to use...or perhaps I haven't ridden it enough to get used to doing distances on it.
    That's my dream bike. I want one and bad. Probably later this summer. '87 is the year. Nice bike!
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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  19. #19
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    OldsCOOL, having done some research on them, I like these frames a lot better than the later ones with the rear dropouts sticking out behind the triangle. These are the more "normal" looking frames. And it has all the original black and gold Suntour Spirit stuff, along with the Wolber rims. Good stuff. Actually, I really want to get it on the road this year...Right now I've got it with yellow cables and yellow-treaded Continental Ultra-Sports...think I'm going to go all black this summer with Kenda Kaliente tires I have on my Nishiki Modulus...

    Truly though, best deal I ever got - a free Black Lightning
    1951 Raleigh Lenton Sports
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  20. #20
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    ES, Durability of an aluminum frame is just fine, much better than some suggest. As long as there is no frame damage you're good to go, as with any older frame regardless of material.

    If you're tall you may want to look at the early ST. They make for an attractive large framed bike and with their caliper brakes look more roadie than tourer (like rccardr's white bike in post #8). If you want a stable, yet quick handling bike then look at one with crit geometry.

    Large diameter tubed aluminum frames such as the Cannondale and Klein are stiff, but not harsh. They were made to race or tour, where stiffness is a virtue.

    My '89 CR300 (crit frameset model). Crashed, bashed and scarred:
    2011 bike updates 005.jpg

    Brad
    You call that scarred? Geez, wait 'til I finish my ST build and post it...half the black paint's chipped off, but I'm keeping it that way as a theft deterrent (I'll treat it nicely, but make it look like it's crap).

    EpicSchwinn, I'd say yes, quality and value does live up to your aesthetic appreciation for them. The two '85 frames I have (one SR and one ST) are rock solid...the 80s models had nice over-sized seat stays that seem bomb-proof. They may have fiddled with that design through the 90s, but I'm no frame expert.

    Proper tire inflation and size will help mitigate any harshness, but you probably already know that. I have a rattler of a time going down 9th avenue pothole hell if I'm up to 120 psi and 23C, but at 110 or 100 with thicker tires it's no problem. Slap a threaded carbon fork on there for even more mitigation.

    Because they're so stiff, these frames really jump like horses out of the gate when you drop the hammer. Pretty cool feeling.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    reducedfatoreo, Looking forward to your ST's photos. The crit bike just passes the six yard visual.

    As far as frames go, the SR and 3.0 are mostly the same. The 3.0 series changed to a butted seat tube and cantilevered seat stays. The 2.8 series road frame introduced tapered and butted top and down tubes and became the foundation for all of Cannondale's later aluminum road frames.

    The ST and the 3.0 touring series frames differ only in the seat tube. The later touring frames were more 2.8/CAAD like.

    Brad

  22. #22
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    I have a mid-80's Cannondale road bike that I've been looking to get rid of since I don't ride it. I found this link in looking up what the value is. They are great bikes albeit a bit of a harsh ride. Mine is white with old Dura-Ace components and downtube shifters. Since it sounds like there is a market for these I'll have to get it listed.

  23. #23
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    EpicSchwinn, I have a friend who is a semi-flipper and he got one of those early Cannondale bikes. I can ask him if he is wanting to sell it. I forgot the group it has though, but it was a lighter blue.

    I will let you know.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    I would say the aesthetics of the Cannondales with their welded construction and oversized tubes are an "aquired taste" People that grew up more with lugged steel bikes are not as big fans of them as much as the next generation of cyclists that were just raring to go forward to a different style/design of bicycle, without the lugs, pantographing, drillium, chrome," traditional/old world" paintjob and graphics and all that other stuff that was prevalent in the 70's and early 80's.
    I was one of those who had a bit of a hard time appreciating the Cannondales. Even now, I still prefer a lugged frame with not so oversized tubes, whether they be steel, aluminum or CF.

    Chombi

  25. #25
    Senior Member LVRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
    Here's my chance to repost my '87 SR 400



    It's really a fun ride, and I do not find it harsh at all. (It does have a steel fork however and I guess that is half of the equation)
    I had this exact bike. Rode the hell out of it for two decades. I did find the ride a bit harsh, it would actually resonate at certain frequencies/speeds. I sold it to a friend who still rides it a few times aweek. I remember the welds were very clean and sanded beautifully. I now ride a late 90s Fondriest steel frame, Deddacchi tubing. It's almost as stiff and a lot more comfortable. Would I like to have that '87 Cannondale back? Definitely!
    "Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep it moving"- Albert Einstein

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