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Cannondale horizontal rear dropouts?

Old 03-02-18, 08:00 PM
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Stev8del8
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Cannondale horizontal rear dropouts?

I purchased and am awaiting delivery of a '96 Cannondale R600 frameset. It has, what I would call, horizontal rear dropouts. Can anyone tell me the design philosophy behind this? I believe that '96 was the last year that Cannondale did this and it was only on the road models.


I suspect that this was done to stiffen the rear triangle. Did it work? Why did they stop?


Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to find a Cannondale frame in such good condition and am looking forward to riding it. I have a Cannondale road frame from the first year of production and, even though it is larger than I usually ride, I am impressed at it's quick and speedy performance. I'm looking forward to riding one that is my proper size.
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Old 03-02-18, 10:19 PM
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If it's the same 3.0 "crit" frame they were making in 1989 you're gonna have a great time on that bike.
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Old 03-02-18, 11:14 PM
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It isn't a particularly important feature. It doesn't really have any downsides, and the 3.0 and 2.8 frames were better riding than previous frames and had well designed geometry. I had a 3.0 for 25 years.
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Old 03-03-18, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
It isn't a particularly important feature. It doesn't really have any downsides, and the 3.0 and 2.8 frames were better riding than previous frames and had well designed geometry. I had a 3.0 for 25 years.
Why do you think they were better riding than the earlier ‘Dale frames? Just curious.
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Old 03-03-18, 07:33 AM
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@bikemig, I ride an '88 ST400 as my winter bike (fitted with fenders, rack, bag, and lights) and ride a '93 R600 2.8 the remainder of the year. Granted they are set up differently and the amount of clothing worn in the winter compared to the summer is very different. But I'd say that the biggest difference is in the weight, geometry and the wheel base.

The ST400 is solid, steady, great for long rides, and the bike I'd select for touring. The R600 is quick and nimble. If I want to ride a fast, vigorous, heart rate elevating, 25 miles, for solid exercise, this is the bike I select.

My 2 cents from a 60 year old perspective.
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Old 03-03-18, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
@bikemig, I ride an '88 ST400 as my winter bike (fitted with fenders, rack, bag, and lights) and ride a '93 R600 2.8 the remainder of the year. Granted they are set up differently and the amount of clothing worn in the winter compared to the summer is very different. But I'd say that the biggest difference is in the weight, geometry and the wheel base.

The ST400 is solid, steady, great for long rides, and the bike I'd select for touring. The R600 is quick and nimble. If I want to ride a fast, vigorous, heart rate elevating, 25 miles, for solid exercise, this is the bike I select.

My 2 cents from a 60 year old perspective.
Cool, I just picked up a '85 ST 400 that I need to rehab. The bike is all original and the parts are in fine shape so the bike won't need much more than an overhaul, new tires, new contact points. I may or may not get rid of the 1/2 step gearing on the bike (50/45 chainrings, 13-34 6 speed freewheel). It's clearly a low mileage bike as the original parts are in fine shape, even the wheels. I picked it up more as a long distance machine; I like the 3 water bottle braze ons for longer rides and useful braze ons.
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Old 03-03-18, 08:11 AM
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While the cantilever dropout contributed to a marginally lighter and stiffer rear triangle, the practical aspect was that it made it easier to grab the hub's quick release lever for a wheel change during a race. Earlier 'Dales had a quite busy dropout junction with the thicker stays and you had to ensure the lever was positioned below the stays so it would fully lock. This took a little more time and thought, which was critical in a competitive situation, Also, the style simplified and may have prompted the design and incorporation of a replaceable hanger.
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Old 03-03-18, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Why do you think they were better riding than the earlier ‘Dale frames? Just curious.
Comparing the race bikes between '88 and '89 when the 3.0 came out, the 3.0 had much thinner and less abusively stiff seatstays. The geometry didn't change, but they managed to make the rear end a little softer. Plus, they went to an aluminum fork in '89. The 3.0 frame was an effort to get drivetrain stiffness more from the oversized downtube and heavy chainstays instead of the whole frame.
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Old 03-08-18, 01:04 AM
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The Cannondale frame arrived today. It's a 2.8 with black/purple '96 R600 color scheme but no R600 on the top tube. It has a carbon fiber fork with a 1" steering tube and a Chris King headset. I'm pretty sure the headset is non stock. Could it be that this was purchased as a frameset and not a complete bicycle?


The down-tube is massive. I measured 55mm diameter at the bottom-bracket.


It will be built with bits from my Campy bit locker and a Chorus carbon fiber seat-post from E-bay. (Seems kind of silly, carbon fiber seat-post and Brooks B17. But hey, weight weenie with comfort.)


I'll include pictures when the English bottom bracket shows up and I finish the assembly.


Thanks folks for your comments.

Last edited by Stev8del8; 03-12-18 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 03-08-18, 09:07 AM
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I have always been a chrome fork and polished aluminum Campy type of guy. I must admit that a carbon fork and seat-post has my interest. I wonder how it would look with all black and carbon Chorus bits. I do happen to have a new set of black Record hubs.


Oh, my God! You don't suppose I'm warming to the idea of a 4 arm crank?
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Old 03-10-18, 12:19 PM
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There certainly isn't much clearance between the Record dual pivot rear brake caliper and a 25mm GP 4Season tire. This frame was definitely not designed for a rear rack and fenders.
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Old 03-10-18, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Stev8del8 View Post
There certainly isn't much clearance between the Record dual pivot rear brake caliper and a 25mm GP 4Season tire. This frame was definitely not designed for a rear rack and fenders.
No bike with short reach brakes was designed for fenders. But at least it will take 25s - many newer bikes will not.

Last edited by Kontact; 03-10-18 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 03-11-18, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Stev8del8 View Post
The Cannondale frame arrived today. It's a 2.8 with black/purple '96 R600 color scheme but no R600 on the top tube. It has a carbon fiber fork with a 1" steering tube and a Chris King headset. I'm pretty sure the headset is non stock. Could it be that this was purchased as a frameset and not a complete bicycle?

The down-tube is massive. I measured 55cm at the bottom-bracket.
There was a 'frame trade-in' program through Cannondale dealers in 1996, maybe in to 1997. You could get a significant discount on a new 'Dale frameset if you brought in your old (any brand) frame when you ordered it.

My CAAD-3 MTB would have been an F-1000 if it had been a complete bike, but because I bought it as a frame/fork, it has no model badging, just the Cannondale branding and CAAD-3 logo.

Those big, thin-wall tubes were/are what make 'Dales ride the way they do, plus they're incredibly well-finished for 'mass-market' bikes. The tubes are huge by '90s standards, (the DT on my F-xxx mics out at 58mm) they're still pretty beefy alongside the modern hydroformed stuff.
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Old 04-04-18, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Stev8del8 View Post
The Cannondale frame arrived today. It's a 2.8 with black/purple '96 R600 color scheme but no R600 on the top tube.
I just got my bike a couple days ago, and this is my exact frame. This frame looks so great, and someone along the line added yellow tires and bottle cages to go with the accents. I'll probably finish the job with yellow bar tape when I upgrade the downtube shifters to STI.
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Old 04-05-18, 07:32 AM
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That is a gorgeous frame, yes? Mine has a couple of "character dings" but is otherwise perfect.


I haven't yet been able to get out on the road, but will very soon.
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Old 04-05-18, 10:04 PM
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I've been riding older Cannondales since 1986. My understanding is that the change to the rear triangle was the result of the Klein lawsuit. Cannondale won every part of the suit except the oval seat stays because the oval design was attributed to Klein. At least that is what I was told.

I bought my 1988 Criterium from a shop that was blowing out all the unsold old Cannondale frames for $100 with a steel fork. Needless to say it was a steal and I snatched one up. For me the ride with the steel fork wasn't harsh and have put thousands of miles on those bikes.

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Old 04-06-18, 08:49 AM
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Back to the original post, I don't think those are what you would call horizontal dropouts. They're verticals, but are cantilevered out beyond the rear triangle.

Horizontal dropouts suggest adjustable wheelbase, verticals are not adjustable.
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Old 04-06-18, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Back to the original post, I don't think those are what you would call horizontal dropouts. They're verticals, but are cantilevered out beyond the rear triangle.

Horizontal dropouts suggest adjustable wheelbase, verticals are not adjustable.
This.

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Old 04-06-18, 06:44 PM
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Just curious -were these frames ultra stiff? Stiffer than the 531 and Columbus frames of the day?
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Old 04-07-18, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89 View Post
Just curious -were these frames ultra stiff? Stiffer than the 531 and Columbus frames of the day?
Short answer is yes in regards to BB stiffness, not so much elsewhere IME.

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Old 04-08-18, 02:25 AM
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+2 for BB stiffness. They were nice and racy everywhere else--never rode a harsh one. I had a 3.0 frame that could be quite tame.
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Old 04-08-18, 04:11 PM
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The 3.0 frame had much lighter seatstays and an aluminum fork, which made those frames ride softer than the previous models which generally have a harsh riding reputation.
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Old 04-08-18, 08:26 PM
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I have one of the first Cannondale road frames, with steel fork. Curiously, the rear spacing fits a 130mm hub. I didn't think that it road any more harshly than a good SL frame, even with 23mm tires. Maybe it's just me, but I think that the Cannondale frame went faster with less effort.


Thanks, gugie, I just didn't know what else to call it.

Last edited by Stev8del8; 04-08-18 at 09:25 PM.
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