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Cannondale Silk Tour or Silk Road questions

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Cannondale Silk Tour or Silk Road questions

Old 01-23-18, 08:51 AM
  #1  
masi61
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Cannondale Silk Tour or Silk Road questions

I’m thinking that these unique front suspension touring and road Cannondale vintage bikes are going to be in demand as time goes by.
I think they were only made for a few years (maybe 2000 and 2001?). When I saw them in the catalog back in the day, I wanted one. But my kids were little then and I already had 2 good road bikes at the time. Fast forward 18 years. Bikes built in Y2K are really approaching “classic & vintage” status. The world has changed, Cannondale was one of the last holdouts for Made in USA manufacturing. Designs and innovations have been tried. Some caught on, other ones were abandoned.

I purchased a Cannondale Silk Tour bike from Craigslist yesterday. It was one of those where the seller knew absolutely nothing about bikes types of sales. I checked it out in a rainy Wal-Mart parking lot. It appears to be a “large” as the top tube was 55 center to center and the 5 degree upward rise Headshok stem is 130mm. The seat tube I measured about 22” center to center.
The bike was heavier than I expected, weighing about 28# on my Park Tools scale. The bike did come with chrome half fenders and a kickstand. The handlebar tape, cable housings are shot. The tires which are Continental Town & Country (IIRC) look original and still usable with just the center tread visibly worn. They felt heavy to me despite looking like they might be good for another 18 years.

What is the question you ask? Well, do you concur that this should be considered a “classic” and worthy of adding to the herd or... do you see it more in the “clunker” category. With the passage of time, the promising Headshok (road version with 25mm of travel) seems cool but I was taken back by how HEAVY the front end feels. I have yet to figure out how to determine how to lock it out as the knob on the fork was hard to turn. The front end does bounce some when dropped. I guess I’M calling on the Made in USA Cannondale fans of this forum to weigh in on what I’ve got here.

Last edited by masi61; 01-23-18 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 01-23-18, 09:22 AM
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Besides weight penalties, suspension replacement bits can be hard to find as time goes by. I much prefer a vintage C-dale with a rigid fork that can handle voluminous tires like Panaracer Paselas.
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Old 01-23-18, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by oddjob2 View Post
Besides weight penalties, suspension replacement bits can be hard to find as time goes by. I much prefer a vintage C-dale with a rigid fork that can handle voluminous tires like Panaracer Paselas.
I’ve not even test ridden this one yet. I think I saw on eBay that there might be a head tube conversion kit to go from the Headshok with it’s complicated bearings to a 1-1/8” threadless headset.
I’m going to weigh out the wheels and tires. I have some 700x28 Michelin Dynamic tires that I picked up a while back for <10$ each that I think would save some weight. I like that this bike takes 135mm spacing in the rear with 700c rims. This to me opens up some options for more modern wheels with tubeless rims. But yeah, the ride feel of the fork and how heavy it feels will point me in the direction of where to go next.
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Old 01-23-18, 09:52 AM
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I share your fascination with these bikes, also the Cannondale MTBs with "Lefty" forks. Both are interesting footnotes to the evolution of bicycle design. I would enjoy owning one of each.

But I would not buy piles of them on speculation. Nor would I care to place any sizable wager on their future collectibility. Look at the Phil Wood disc brake and CHP pedal, the Softride beam, the 3-pulley Suntour derailleurs, suspension stems, and the Slingshot bikes with the cable downtube; all interesting deviations from the standards but none of which are highly collectible... Maybe in 100 years, but probably not in my lifetime.
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Old 01-23-18, 10:21 AM
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masi61
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Originally Posted by obrentharris View Post
I share your fascination with these bikes, also the Cannondale MTBs with "Lefty" forks. Both are interesting footnotes to the evolution of bicycle design. I would enjoy owning one of each.

But I would not buy piles of them on speculation. Nor would I care to place any sizable wager on their future collectibility. Look at the Phil Wood disc brake and CHP pedal, the Softride beam, the 3-pulley Suntour derailleurs, suspension stems, and the Slingshot bikes with the cable downtube; all interesting deviations from the standards but none of which are highly collectible... Maybe in 100 years, but probably not in my lifetime.
Brent
HaHa, yeah... I get it! Thanks for the reality check. The 2000 Cannondale catalog gave many, many Headshok equipped versions for practically every genre of bike that existed then. I noticed that the PDF Headshok manual that I brought up has a firmly worded warning that attempting to ride the Silk Road or Silk Tour off road would not only void the warranty but also “possibly lead to serious injury or even death”! Jeeze !! One gets the feeling that Cannondale places all their chips in and ultimately lost with the whole Headshok gamble. With that said, I suspect that these might occupy a niche and actually be in demand somewhat. As a mechanically curious roadie biker, I really find certain hybrid spec bikes to be very customizable. Many people buy these bikes and park them in their garage - just using them on the bike path and not caring what kind of cantilevers, V-brakes, 135 mm hubs, 700c rims that could be retrofitted. Personally - I DO! As a classic and vintage road person I spent years riding 6/7 speed bikes with limited braking and gearing options. The limited options made me have to develop increased resourcefulness in order to keep my older road bikes relevant.

This platform comes with many features that could be optimized and are 2018 relevant for a variety of purposes such as touring or commuting.

Last edited by masi61; 01-23-18 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 01-23-18, 05:39 PM
  #6  
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What's the point of riding a bike with front suspension with 28mm tires? Lots and lots of drop bar bikes that can fit 45mm tires nowadays, without the weight, complexity, and problem-proneness of Headshok. Plus the brake dive on Headshok bikes is insane.
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Old 01-23-18, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
What's the point of riding a bike with front suspension with 28mm tires? Lots and lots of drop bar bikes that can fit 45mm tires nowadays, without the weight, complexity, and problem-proneness of Headshok. Plus the brake dive on Headshok bikes is insane.
From the get go (and I have not even ridden this bike yet) - I can tell that that stock tires are clunkers.
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Old 01-23-18, 06:04 PM
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The cannondale headset is almost never an issue with those, it's the fork internals. The Cannondale headset actually has less parts than any other headset I can think of, no compression ring or top cap/pre load assembly. The fork is press fit into the bearings, nothing to adjust ever until it needs new bearings, kinda the Phil hub of headsets.

The short travel forks on the road/cross/touring models actually seem much more durable than the MTB ones, never saw many issues with them. The lockout not functioning is very common though, that's the first thing to go almost every time.
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Old 01-23-18, 06:25 PM
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masi61, Thinking back to when the Headshock was in production, I couldn't help think that it answered an unasked question. There is a little weight savings, but not much. Now-a-days I think they're a neat niche interest... I wouldn't mind one in the 'fleet'.

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Old 01-23-18, 07:34 PM
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First time owner experience -acquired 2017, a 1998 H300 (hybrid) Silk Path road drop conversion. Headshokee with on the fly lockout, believe its 45mm of travel. Picked it up from the original owner, needed some basic service and fresh rubber, pads. Installed Conti Speedsomething tires 700 x 43c. Bike is now near new condition. I'm riding it hard and thru the winter, mostly road and some single track rough trail fun. LOVE IT!

I recall they were quite a bargain when new, but now getting difficult to find. I have $150 into it as shown. Has quick detach mudguards, funky design Cannondale bar bag. Pogo seatpost and the saddle has to go. Thinking of C17 Brooks.

[IMG]DSC_2395 by carrera247, on Flickr[/IMG]

[IMG]DSC_2403 by carrera247, on Flickr[/IMG]

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[IMG]DSC_2402 by carrera247, on Flickr[/IMG]

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Old 01-23-18, 07:40 PM
  #11  
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I had a Silk Road. I really thought it was a gimmick when I bought it. Once I rode it, it was really nice, nicer than other Cannondales I have owned.I didn't need it, so it moved on.

I had a customer for a touring bike I was selling (the same size), I told him, "you've got to ride this bike". So he did. He loved it too.
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Old 01-23-18, 08:12 PM
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Earlier on the C&V forum I started a Q&A about the forks. Someone suggested its best to not use the lockout, so thats the rule I've decided to follow. I figure at worst and if it failed, would simply replace with the slug and make it rigid. We've had some cold temps dropping in the 0 to +10 range, fork functioned normal as any other day.

I've also been leaving it out in the cold rather than bring it in overnight and thawing. Less chance of condensation and working over the tubes and susp. guts. Learned that years ago by having snowmobiles and the affect on suspensions.

Haven't weighed this hybrid but it feels on the heavier side of middle twenty's lbs. Guessing 28 lbs?? The ally tubes are likely thicker than the Dale road race bikes. Sez CAD2 whatever that means, made in the good ole USA. It doesn't feel slow, though its not one I'd want to ride and keep up with others on roadie type. No racer of course, never intended as such but seems very well made, mid almost lower end components but for my needs is perfect.

Feel confident I'll keep this one around, great bike for guest too. Have two different stems that are a quick swap out, though specific and exclusive size to the fork tube of Cannondale. Noticed they are pricey on the used market, I lucked out for the shorty needed for this road drop conversion.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:17 AM
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I like my Headshok bike (F-1000) I've had it for a long time. In the early '90s, suspension forks were heavy, and added weight, the Headshok is lighter and stiffer than contemporary hardware like the MAG-21, and the original Manitou. Biggest constraint is that you can't get more than about 80mm of travel out of the design, without getting the front end too tall for good handling.

You've probably got a coil-sprung fork so weather won't make much difference. I dunno about leaving it out, though. The fork moves up and down on 4 paired sets of needle-roller bearings inside the headset, so make sure the boot it sealed up good and tight. The bearings seizing are what packed in my first fork. Granted, it was on a porch, pretty much unused for a year or two.

CAAD stands for Cannondale Advanced Aluminum Design, and the higher the number, the higher end the frame.
It's not used on the current bikes, but became the name for the CAAD series road racers; I think they're up to CAAD 12 or 13 now. The oversized tubes looked pretty exotic back in the day, but everyone does that now. My F-1000 was (is) a pretty hardcore XC bike; it doesn't get a second look on the bike rack these days.

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Old 01-24-18, 08:39 AM
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This bike looks like it was in a garage but not outdoors. Having 25mm of front travel would be more than enough for me. I’m going to tinker with the lockout knob to see if I can get it to lock out. The 35mm wide hybrid wheels with their heavy tires are going to be checked out. A used set of 29er wheels with 135 rear spacing, quick release hubs, rim brake (not disc) cassette hubs and possibly tubeless tires with a mild gravel but mostly road tread - seems like could make this bike more relevant today. But for now I just need to tune up and run what is on there.
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Old 01-24-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
My F-1000 was (is) a pretty hardcore XC bike; it doesn't get a second look on the bike rack these days.
I would give it a second look if I saw it the bike rack. But then again I like these goofy Headshoc bikes, I own two after all.
Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
I recall they were quite a bargain when new, but now getting difficult to find. I have $150 into it as shown. Has quick detach mudguards, funky design Cannondale bar bag. Pogo seatpost and the saddle has to go. Thinking of C17 Brooks.
I have a sister bike to this one with the same bag and seat post. Rotate the bag mount forward to level it out so it looks better. The flap flips up too and has a map pocket built into it. A Brooks B17 would right at home on it too.

My Headshoc bikes can be seen in the Vintage Cannondale thread here and here.

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Old 01-24-18, 02:22 PM
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The hubs on these are Coda “performance” 36 spoke with Mavic 517 rims (700c). They look quite worthy of holding up for bike camping.

The tires are Continental Top Touring 2000. They are 35mm wide, 70 psi max.

Edit: the rims are Mavic T519, not 517 which are 26”.

Edit #2: I just found the perfect rims to be built up into XTR hubs that this bike is just begging for: Velocity “Quill” machined sidewall. These look like they would accept wide tires, can be run tubeless and would be quite a bit lighter than the stock Mavic T519’s.

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Old 06-13-18, 01:34 AM
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Gravel with a silk Road?

Hey all, recently crashed on my 97 Silk Road 500 and messed up the rear wheel. So my plan is to get as big a tire and wheel set I can, upgrade the drops (also damaged in crash) and then maybe replace/upgrade the 3x7 RSX group and use as my winter/gravel bike.
any thoughts as to tire width? Or what group to change to?

Thanks!
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