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Acquired a Cannondale F500i

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Acquired a Cannondale F500i

Old 03-30-21, 10:48 AM
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Acquired a Cannondale F500i

Curious to hear from anyone that's ridden the 90s-era C'dale F-series MTB, I've never ridden one, just the SR-series road bikes, nor any experience with the Indy C flavor of Rock Shox.

Picked this up from the regional Goodwill today, pretty sure it's a '97 F500i, it just so happens to be my size which is a miracle considering the last couple of bikes I picked up off them were Medium/Small sizes which I can't properly get into.

Looks pretty darn clean from about 15' away, but when you get up on it you realize there's quite a bit of rust remediation to carefully deal with, someone must've left it outside for a while. Some stuff will get tossed in the "rusty parts recycle bin" to never be used again (chain, freewheel). I suspect the rack and bottle cage hardware will be frozen. Grip shifts are cosmetically hosed.

I didn't need another project, but I do need a MTB/gravel bike that fits because the Fisher Marlin (M size) I picked up a few months back and restored isn't really working out well.










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Old 03-30-21, 11:44 AM
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Sweet find. What's going on between the bottom of the headtube and the top of the fork crown race? Seems like a large gap...
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Old 03-30-21, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bOsscO View Post
Sweet find. What's going on between the bottom of the headtube and the top of the fork crown race? Seems like a large gap...
Looks like someone's already solved the problem of getting an aftermarket fork in there.

I believe this originally came with a Headshok fork that required an oversized head tube, so to use a standard aftermarket 1 1/8" fork reducing spacers are required.
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Old 03-30-21, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by abshipp View Post
Looks like someone's already solved the problem of getting an aftermarket fork in there.

I believe this originally came with a Headshok fork that required an oversized head tube, so to use a standard aftermarket 1 1/8" fork reducing spacers are required.
F---ing brilliant!
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Old 03-30-21, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by abshipp View Post
Looks like someone's already solved the problem of getting an aftermarket fork in there.

I believe this originally came with a Headshok fork that required an oversized head tube, so to use a standard aftermarket 1 1/8" fork reducing spacers are required.
Cannondale solved the problem. The F500 came with color-matched Heashok.The F500i came with white Indy C.

The 1997 Cannondale catalog eludes to that bit (below). Although the catalog details show silver decal on the DT on the F500, seems the other '97 F500i I found lack the silver DT decal. Virtually all equipped specs for this one (and equipment date codes) point to 1997 manufacture date.

Looks like the Shimano BB-LP26 should be a real blast to repack if I wanted to keep it original, I'm sure it's dry as a bone.

I guess it's not quite 25 years old, so maybe some wouldn't call this vintage, but I noticed a few others in C&V have had one over the years. Don't want to debate that - I do look forward to getting this thing clean, getting it apart, and on a trail, just to see how it feels. Seems like a nice frame overall.

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Old 03-30-21, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
Cannondale solved the problem. The F500 came with color-matched Heashok.The F500i came with white Indy C.

The 1997 Cannondale catalog eludes to that bit (below). Although the catalog details show silver decal on the DT on the F500, seems the other '97 F500i I found lack the silver DT decal. Virtually all equipped specs for this one (and equipment date codes) point to 1997 manufacture date.

Looks like the Shimano BB-LP26 should be a real blast to repack if I wanted to keep it original, I'm sure it's dry as a bone.

I guess it's not quite 25 years old, so maybe some wouldn't call this vintage, but I noticed a few others in C&V have had one over the years. Don't want to debate that - I do look forward to getting this thing clean, getting it apart, and on a trail, just to see how it feels. Seems like a nice frame overall.
Oh that's great! Usually makes things easier when the OEM makes the adapter

I've never wanted to deal with a Headshok so a lot of these older Cannondale MTB frames have been tempting but I could never get myself to pull the trigger.

A fully rigid Delta-V is one I hope to get my hands on someday

Looking forward to seeing it cleaned up!
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Old 03-30-21, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by abshipp View Post

I've never wanted to deal with a Headshok so a lot of these older Cannondale MTB frames have been tempting but I could never get myself to pull the trigger.
As stupid as this will probably make me sound, if it'd had a Headshok, I wouldn't have bought it. I know some people really love that nostalgia, and maybe some people actually like them, but no thanks

Since I need to replace the freewheel and the SRT400 grip shifters are shot, I'm strongly considering converting to single thumbie on a 1x8 if the STX rear mech will support it, or maybe repurpose the Deore 9spd rear mech and going 1x9 if it won't. Won't be original, but it'll suit my riding style. Seems like the Altus crank is one of the weaker components on the bike.,

Anyway, thanks for the feedback y'all. I appreciate it.
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Old 03-30-21, 04:52 PM
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That is an interesting comment francophile . I have a co-worker that doesn't like Cannondale or at least their crazy forks because you have to go to a specialist to get parts or repair it. He thinks Cannondale kind of went off the deep end and started making proprietary things so that you'd have to come back to them.

I don't think that was their goal, but it didn't hurt either. I like the HeadShock or at least the design of it, however, I don't think I would ever spend the long cash that these things are going for. Same with Lefty forks.

The design itself is simple enough. A square with roller bearings. But getting it rebuilt??? $$$.

So, good find. The best of all possible outcomes. The frame and wheels look great. It should turn out to be a fun ride when you are done.
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Old 03-30-21, 05:33 PM
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I have a 95 M1000 with rigid pepperoni fork and a 99 F1000 with Headshok Fatty SL. I just had the Headshok serviced; re-installing it required some home-made tooling this time around, the first time it did not. It rides really nice once up and running. The high maintenance and odd parts make it a bad choice for an only bike. Most of my bikes are steel but a nice Cannondale is good to have. Basically, the frames were pretty unique and well finished but the parts were steaming garbage for their price points.
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Old 03-30-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk View Post
Basically, the frames were pretty unique and well finished but the parts were steaming garbage for their price points.
I kinda got that vibe when looking everything over today. Odd mish-mash, Altus crank, Alivio front mech, STX rear mech, SRAM grip shift, Dia Compe cantis with Tektro levers, they didn't bother with any cohesion, less the CODA bits.

The core frame looks great, wishbone seat stay and all. I don't know a lot about the Indy C fork. I'm thinking going with a rigid 1-1/8 fork, convert from canti to linear brakes, CF 680mm flat bar, 1x9 drivetrain w/thumbie could make a solid gravel bike. Would like to consider swapping the crank but they're so damn expensive these days it's a put-off. If nothing else, linear brakes, BF 680mm flat bar, improved mechs and shifters would be enough to get it more-modern.

I guess we'll see where it goes. I'd like to have something done by the time the trees stop trying to inseminate everyone's heads.
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Old 09-14-21, 09:55 AM
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Nice Bike!! I recently picked up up a set of Tiagra 10sp rapid fire shifters to use for an upright bar conversion for my Ultegra 10 x 3 equipped bike. These are nice shifters, solid metal build and they work a treat. Even if you don't need the front shifter (since it sounds like you are going with a 1 by setup) a pair can be had for a reasonable cost and you can throw the front in the parts bin for a rainy day

Good luck with the build, would love to come across something like that!
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Old 09-14-21, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sandstrom View Post
Nice Bike!! I recently picked up up a set of Tiagra 10sp rapid fire shifters to use for an upright bar conversion for my Ultegra 10 x 3 equipped bike. These are nice shifters, solid metal build and they work a treat. Even if you don't need the front shifter (since it sounds like you are going with a 1 by setup) a pair can be had for a reasonable cost and you can throw the front in the parts bin for a rainy day

Good luck with the build, would love to come across something like that!
Thanks for the tip. What's the SL-### part number on that, out of curiosity, I'd love to dig up more info? Disregard! Ended up going with M6000 non-window units. Got RH 10s one, need to find LH 2/3s one! Got some tires while at it too.

I've had some movement on this bike during the last week, finally. It's been fully washed down, I've started carefully cleaning up the only rust I could find, at the bottle and rack bosses.

One possible direction became a little clearer as of yesterday afternoon when I got this Deore XT chainset. I already have a Deore RD-M591 long cage rear (I think supports 9s/10s) and RD-M590 which supports 3x10. Looks like 1x10, 2x10 or 3x10 are all viable directions now. Latter seems like overkill but I like the idea of 1x considering no front mech, less cockpit clutter, etc.

I posted over in the Bicycle Mechanics forum for some Octalink advice (link) so I can maybe finalize my direction. Ultimately, I'm only lacking tires and either a suitable 8/9/10 rear freehub body to swap on my RM40, a rear complete 8/9/10 rear hub to lace in, or a complete wheelset. Ideally, I'd love to find someone with an RM40-8 complete hub, looks like it may be a direct freehub swap, only the flange position seems to differ.

Ideal goal moving forward is one of these two, possibly with one being an intermediate step to the other.
.
  • Go with a 1x10 / 1x11 setup ... I see at least the RM4050 and T3000 hubs support up to 11s using MTV freewheels (like CS-M5100-11)
  • Aim for an interim 2x9 / 2x10 setup to ride while exploring options for a suitable secondary rear wheel, rear mech, rear cassette to support the above 1x
I think I'll probably go with the latter of those, since all I lack to get there is shift levers and some attention to the rear wheel. We'll see!
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Old 09-16-21, 06:36 AM
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I suspect you'll find riding it that the frame has a harsh feel similar to my same age rockhopper, ie fairly stiff and jarring, so tire and pressure choice makes a lot of difference. Ive used mine for all kinds of riding on all kinds of tires, including winter riding with studded tires, and learned early on to watch tire pressures for the less harsh thing.

on the plus side, I've even toured with it and the frame handles a rear load only very well thanks to the stiff frame. Cdale touring frames are similar in ride feel, with the stout rear end.
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Old 09-16-21, 07:03 AM
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Ps what sort of tires are you thinking of going with?
I'd go with something that has a nice flexible sidewall, will be appreciated.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Ps what sort of tires are you thinking of going with?
I'd go with something that has a nice flexible sidewall, will be appreciated.
First, thanks for the input on ride quality. My expectations aren't high. I personally like more-rigid riding, and if I don't like the way it handles, I'll polish up and swap some old parts back on, then try another frame. I will say, I had a Fisher before this that just wasn't rigid enough, it pissed me off. Even after rebuilding the fork with new seals/wipes/oil, at highest setting it seemed too soft for me. I'm not downhilling on this Cdale, at worst large gravel and roots.

On tires, I scored a good deal on a pair of Continental Mountain King (26 x 2.3). Seems Conti had a few viable options with the Mountain King, Cross King, Trail King, After reading around and looking at the weight, specs, sidewall, and tread of each, I settled on the MK over the others, although I was tempted to go TK. All are tubeless-ready, which I've no way to support at the moment. Nearly bought a set of Maxxis, EVO II? opted to save 30%, which I may later regret. Will see. The Conti tires support low inflation, I thought that would be the kicker.

Still need to nail down a wheelset though. I've got at least one line with a local BF'er for some mid-90s XTR M900s on Araya RM-400s. I'd prefer M950s or maybe M910s if staying in the 90s, TX610 or M590 if more modern, but at this point, I'd rather just put the wheelset topic behind me and casually hunt for another wheelset or new hubs to lace in later. I keep hitting walls at sites like ModernBike etc. - they'll have the front hub but no matching rear. Like, infallibly. Same w/shifters. Weird.

I've got several extra sets of NOS Forte Team linear brake levers and a used Avid 3 linear brake set, so I think that's the direction I'll end up going for stopping, ditching the cantis. I prefer linear over canti. Again, may update that later.
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Old 09-16-21, 05:14 PM
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I admit that I'm not really knowledgeable on mtb tires, do it a bit but really am a touring guy with a heavy dose of daily commuting, both going back 30 years+
My rockhopper might not take 2.3 in the rear, I just barely fit a 2.5 on the front but clearance to suspension fork bridge lower part was really close, to the point that accumulated snow and specifically road grit was wearing it away, so went back to 2.1 that I had kicking around.
So good luck with the chain stays and 2.3s.
re 26in wheels, I tour on another 26in bike and while the wheels are ok and working, I dinged a rim in Guatemala years back and really should get on finding some replacement rims, although probably could go 650 within reason tire wise.

have fun with this project
ps, I ride cantis, v brakes and mech discs and like/ can live with all three, but I agree, linears work well and are stronger than cantis. Cantis make life a bit easier for fenders sometimes, and soft pads like kool stop salmon certainly help the cantis.

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Old 09-22-21, 06:52 AM
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10s Deore shift lever arrived, new rubber also. Then, while digging in parts bins looking for a headset this AM, I came across a brand new, unopened set of Forte "Team" linear brakes, two 26" tubes, and a NOS pair of clip-in Shimano-compatible pedals I scored up with a gaggle of other stuff on eBay for $20 a couple years ago. Huh. Forgot I had those. Found a headset cap, bolt and star-fangled nut only to realize I lack my nut setting tool. Off to buy that ....

Parts pile slowly coming together. All-black stem on the way. Possible wheelset arriving this evening from a fellow BF'er. Doubt I'm sticking with the Deore crankset pictured, I scored some other 1x crank options (2pc) from an eBay'er north of ATL. SLX and two others, guess I'm going 1x10 after all. I didn't realize Modern Bike still hasn't shipped my order (8 days ago!) for bottom brackets, may as well cancel that one and recoup my $75 to reinvest on nut setter and a BB for the 2pc cranks. Project ever-changing ...

Maybe able to finish this before EOM at current rate it's coming together!!

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Old 09-22-21, 06:58 AM
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Crap. Just realized the lever they shipped is FRONT 2x/3x. I ordered REAR 10s. UGH. Good thing it was REI order. No questions-asked returns. Crazy.
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Old 09-24-21, 02:51 PM
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Scored a suitable 8/9/10 (thus M11?) wheelset from fellow BF'er wheatfly which will suit me well. Finished refurbing the extra wheelset he let me test with as a 'thanks', then rebuilt the Shimano M900 + Araya RM-400 wheelset targeted for the F500. Shy of some weirdness with the freehub locking up while flushing it, cone channels, and a flat spot on one rim, repack/true/tension went well.

I slapped the Conti 26x2.3 rubber on after. djb you may be right, and my measurements too loose. Looks awesome but easiest install was to deflate the rear, only <2mm clearance at the chainstay which isn't ideal. It could work, but yes, probably looking at chainstay wear. Ah well, can't blame a guy for hoping and dreaming. Looks like I'm stepping back to a 26x2.1 even though this looks freaking great IMO and I don't necessarily want to wrangle with tires again.

Drivetrain took a sudden turn to 1x11, possible future of 2x11 as a result of the hubset. It's looking like the freehub is 8/9/10 capable with ~135mm available, if what I'm reading is correct in Shimano's literature and online, mountain 11s freewheel (CS-M5100-11) will fit on Shimano's 8/9/10s freehubs with ~135 freehub bodies, but not the older 130mm 7s freehubs. Hopefully they're right, if not, I'm reassembling 3x7 with some SRAM twist shift crap and re-selling to fund another project that will handle 26x2.3 and 2x11 drivetrain!



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