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80s Touring Bike Dilemma

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80s Touring Bike Dilemma

Old 02-25-21, 09:08 AM
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80s Touring Bike Dilemma

I have my eye on a two different touring bikes. The 1st is a 1985 Panasonic Touring Deluxe, & the other is a Cannondale ST 500. They both fit, condition for each is probably an 8 out of 10, but because they have been sitting for decades will need a complete overhaul w/ all-new consumables, repack & re-grease, etc.
I've had a couple of Cannondale touring bikes pass through my hands over the years, but this would be my 1st Panasonic.
Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 02-25-21, 10:11 AM
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Frankly, the specs on the Panasonic look functional, but lower midrange at best. Not much brand "cache" with the Panasonic either.
What year is the Cannondale?
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Old 02-25-21, 12:22 PM
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I concur with nesteel .
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Old 02-25-21, 12:27 PM
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Which one will take the fattest tire? That is one of my criteria.
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Old 02-25-21, 12:39 PM
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To me it's always about the bones first. Very different ride characteristics between those two frames. Do you want a heavier skinny-tube steel frame with a more forgiving ride, or a lighter fat-tube aluminum frame with a less forgiving ride?

I think that's a more significant difference than anything that might be going on with the parts and such.

I jumped on the C'dale wagon early on, had matching twin R400/ST400 frames. Granted this was back in the day before we had nice light, supple clinchers, but the C'dales were a very different ride than the steel frames I'd been riding.
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Old 02-25-21, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by nesteel View Post
Frankly, the specs on the Panasonic look functional, but lower midrange at best. Not much brand "cache" with the Panasonic either.
What year is the Cannondale?
I think they are both circa 1985-86 & each came w/ 27" wheels & tires. Now if the Panasonic was a Pro Tour, the decision to grab the steel bike would be far easier.

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Old 02-25-21, 01:10 PM
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Are they both canti braked? I know different years of the ST series could be canti or sidepull. I had a sidepull version and would easily say it was just as supple as any steel bike I've ridden. I would prefer a canti version however.
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Old 02-25-21, 01:13 PM
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Light touring, small to medium frame size, there might not be much difference in ride. Loaded touring, medium to large frame size, Cannondale all the way. Heavily loaded steel-frame touring bikes of that era flexed excessively, handling poorly enough that riders quickly learned to avoid riding out of the saddle. Cannondale touring bikes were the first touring bikes whose rear wheel tracked the front wheel predictably, offering unprecedentedly confidence-inspiring handling.

See SpeedOfLite's thread from a month or so ago where he reproduced a Bicycling! magazine review of an early Cannondale touring bike. The reviewers were delighted with the ride and with the handling characteristics of the bike.
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Old 02-25-21, 01:23 PM
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Don't forget those era Cdales were half steel (the good half)
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Old 02-25-21, 02:18 PM
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OutnBack What did or didn't you like about your previous Cannondales?

I used to have an '83 ST-500 similar to the one reviewed in this loaded touring bike Road Test, which was a bit too rigid for my tastes. 35mm Marathons fit, though chainstay rub from an out of alignment wheel would be problematic, as the reviewer mentions.
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Old 02-25-21, 03:02 PM
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touring

If you are going to do some long distance riding it all comes down to how much do you weigh and how much weight will you be carrying.I have owned two 500s and own a Panasonic now.If youre skinny the Panasonic is a way smoother comfortable better ride. Even though thats a very stiff and strong frame ,If you are over 190 lbs. and going with lots of camping gear better pick the Cannondale.It will track better loaded.I rode tens of thousands of miles on a Cannondale and got use to that stiff aluminum ride but in my opinion the steel touring bikes are so much easier on my old bones .Noticeably Smoother.You go further , see more stuff, meet more people , have more fun.
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Old 02-25-21, 03:33 PM
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ST500 of that era used caliper brakes. With fenders, you might be able to get a 700cx35 tire on there if you don't want any clearance, but a 32 is more likely. Without could probably go to 38.
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Old 02-25-21, 05:29 PM
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The Touring Deluxes that I've dealt with can fit 700x38 (Panaracer Gravelking so true-to-size) tires and metal fenders, with room enough that it feels safe this way.

I bet it doesn't have mid-blade eyelets for a lowrider front rack, though. Still, I've found these to be very competent tourers. I know two people who very much enjoy theirs.
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Old 02-25-21, 05:49 PM
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Which paint color do you like better? Besides that you want the canti brakes and the steel bike will be a smoother ride.
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Old 02-25-21, 06:56 PM
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Those Panasonics are sweet, here’s one that belongs to an internet acquaintance:



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Old 02-25-21, 07:05 PM
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Which one looks better to you? That's important too.
I have an '86 Panasonic Pro Touring, an '84 Miyata 1000, and an '80 something Centurion Pro Tour 15, and they seem pretty equal quality wise.
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Old 02-25-21, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
Which one looks better to you? That's important too.
I have an '86 Panasonic Pro Touring, an '84 Miyata 1000, and an '80 something Centurion Pro Tour 15, and they seem pretty equal quality wise.
Yeah, for me there’s a point at which if the bikes are close enough in quality, and the lesser one can be brought up to par with component swaps, I’d always choose the one that I’ll be most happy with aesthetically in the long run.
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Old 02-25-21, 07:45 PM
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If you can't decide, just buy them both. That's my advice, not that it's worth anything..
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Old 02-25-21, 08:17 PM
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I agree with Hobbiano. If you can afford both, buy both. You'll soon know which one you can live without.
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Old 02-26-21, 12:36 AM
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If you plan on loaded touring I would strongly advise getting the one with cantilever brakes. I had an 86 C’dale ST400 with calipers and could never get it to stop well with the Rigida rims. I have a 90 ST400 and it has cantilevers and I love it. Handles a load superbly and I don’t find it any more harsh than my steel tourers.
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Old 02-26-21, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Light touring, small to medium frame size, there might not be much difference in ride. Loaded touring, medium to large frame size, Cannondale all the way. Heavily loaded steel-frame touring bikes of that era flexed excessively, handling poorly enough that riders quickly learned to avoid riding out of the saddle. Cannondale touring bikes were the first touring bikes whose rear wheel tracked the front wheel predictably, offering unprecedentedly confidence-inspiring handling.

See SpeedOfLite's thread from a month or so ago where he reproduced a Bicycling! magazine review of an early Cannondale touring bike. The reviewers were delighted with the ride and with the handling characteristics of the bike.

The rear did track the front nicely--but it was often hard to find a straight tube on the frame. The one in the bike shed is just as warped as it was in 1985.
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