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Not another Black Lightning Thread...

Old 07-13-14, 10:46 PM
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ThirdCog
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Not another Black Lightning Thread...

I told myself I wouldn't start yet another Black Lightning love fest thread, as I'm sure the bowels of the forums hold so many already. Sorry...I apologize for this, but I can't stay off of this bike.

I was out of town on vacation, and rather than be relaxed, I found myself digging around on craigslist in the area. Having been a runner for a couple years, I wanted to drag a bike into the mix. Last bikes I rode were in grade school days...except for the Specialized hybrid I just purchased a month and a half ago to roll around on (and that I'm selling now). That hybrid, and a couple short spins on a few road bikes gave me the itch to get my hands on a road bike. Probably typical.

Anyway, there I am on vacation with the family and I run across a Cannondale Black Lightning on Craigslist....like many others have. Photos weren't very large or clear and luckily the forums here helped me gain some knowledge related to this bike. I nearly passed it up, but kept thinking about it for a couple of days and decided to try to catch the owner on my way out of town in a crazy move to buy this thing. This would be my first road bike. (I've just enjoyed reading oldsCOOL's thread about vintage Cannondale crit frame bikes...funny to end up with this bike as my first road bike.)

Without the entire story, which is interesting - to me, anyway - I drive an hour and a half out of the route home to go see this thing. The owner (who might even be a forum member here, actually) turned out to be an incredibly nice fellow with a number of great bikes and maintained this one very well. For the purists, no, it's not all original. I know, there goes all my cred.

Frame looked like it had never been ridden, as if off the shop floor new yesterday. He had converted the DTs to RSX ...brifters and RD...different cassette/gears. The seat post and saddle are non-original, as are the stem, handlebars, tape, and chain.

That said, he also provided the original cassette/gears and the original sprint RD as well as the DT hardware, all of which looks to have hardly ever been used. Crazy.

I believe the Wolber rims are original, perhaps, y'all would know best....the hubs say Sansin. (Take it easy, I'm still learning)

I will post up better pics for any BL lovers/haters.

While I won't make any purist friends as I don't plan to convert this to an original setup, I do plan to make the first order of business the URGENT replacement of the short stem that came with the bike. It's a nice quill stem, but super short for me. I will say, I'd do ridiculous things for a Black Lightning correct stem, which was longer anyway, and surely looked hip with the script along the side. Anyone ever see those pop up? No? I suppose I'll have to go with nitto or something of similar variety, yes? Going to change that bar tape also, back to black for sure.

Everything seems to have been incredibly well-maintained. I hope to keep this up. It laughs at me as a weak engine - wants to go. Period. Now I understand what some of these terms mean when you guys refer to handling. This thing responds to even a slight squint of a single eye lid. Hello criterium series.

1988. January, in fact. Checked the serial number. 56cm.

Seeing a few of you who've squeezed in newer/modern wheelsets into the 126mm OLD on these BL's makes me want to try that, to keep the Wolbers preserved.

Then again...heck, I'll just ride them into dust. Screw it.

Last edited by ThirdCog; 08-16-14 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 07-14-14, 02:26 AM
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ThirdCog, Congrats on the find. The RSX bits would've been an inexpensive gateway to integrated levers and are pretty robust. It looks like the RD is for a triple, BTW. There appears to be enough slack in the shifter cables to accommodate a longer stem. The rear brake's housing maybe a little short, it's hard for me to tell from the photo.

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Old 07-14-14, 04:11 AM
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Oh heck YEAH!!

Rock that CRITter!

Did I miss reading what you paid? I have yet to see a BL on CL. That's what pushed me into building one. You will love riding that thing.

Thank you for the mention and it's good to have inspired another. Welcome to posting and the wonderful world of the Criterium Series!
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Old 07-14-14, 05:19 AM
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Very nice. Welcome to the club.

A longer stem will quiet down the ride, and while original stems are impossible to find, you can get a nice black one and put a BL decal on it (I have a decal if you'd like it). Or find a good Nitto and have it powder coated black.

I know fit is different for everyone, but you might want to consider moving the angle of those bars down a tad.

Did the PO also give you the original saddle? If so, guard it closely- they are worth quite a bit.
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Old 07-14-14, 06:41 AM
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NICE! I also found mine (1990) on Craigslist here on Long Island last year. I had been wanting one for quite a while to add to the collection, so I was thrilled that one was only about a 45 minute ride from my house. Turns out it came from California originally as did its owner, who kept it in beautiful condition. Sticker from the bike shop out there is still on the frame.
I've only replaced the saddle with a Specialized Body Geometry for a more comfortable ride. Other than that, it's a purists bike.

Oh, and yes, the Wolber rims are original to the bike....
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Old 07-14-14, 06:49 AM
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Attached is the 1990 Catalog page showing the SR500 Black Lightning...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
1990 Catalog Page.jpg (96.7 KB, 32 views)
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Old 07-14-14, 06:53 AM
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That bike is BA! Congrats on the find. And welcome...be careful, this place will have a direct effect on your bike count...
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Old 07-14-14, 07:25 AM
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Sweet BL! I love the look of these bikes, you'll enjoy it once you get it tweeked to fit perfectly. I just put a gold Sachs chain on mine and it looks loads better with it.
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Old 07-14-14, 07:38 AM
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Congrats on a nice find. A Black Lightning is the only bike that would make me try aluminum.
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Old 07-14-14, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
Congrats on a nice find. A Black Lightning is the only bike that would make me try aluminum.

I also have a 1990 Cannondale Criterium (with a carbon fiber fork) and a 1998 Fuji Team (with a carbon fiber fork). The rest of my bikes are steel, but I don't find anything that harsh about the aluminum frames. Maybe it's just me.....
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Old 07-14-14, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbikenewbike View Post
I also have a 1990 Cannondale Criterium (with a carbon fiber fork) and a 1998 Fuji Team (with a carbon fiber fork). The rest of my bikes are steel, but I don't find anything that harsh about the aluminum frames. Maybe it's just me.....
Agreed. My go-to bike for longer rides is a CAAD 9 with CF fork and bars. Not harsh at all and climbs like a mountain goat. (That's with 23mm Bontrager hard case Race Lites at 100 & 110psi). Al is a-okay by me.

Great score, ThirdCog. I'm sure you'll be more than pleased with your decision to pick it up. I'm surprised that it stayed available on CL for days. Enjoy!
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Old 07-14-14, 10:27 AM
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Nope, still not getting tired of those Black Lightning threads.

And you can find a long black quill stem on the big auction site for not too much money. Or possibly on the sale and trade subforums here.
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Old 07-14-14, 12:40 PM
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Niagara bike works has a great selection of black ano oldschool stuff. Check it out.
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Old 07-14-14, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
ThirdCog, Congrats on the find. The RSX bits would've been an inexpensive gateway to integrated levers and are pretty robust. It looks like the RD is for a triple, BTW. There appears to be enough slack in the shifter cables to accommodate a longer stem. The rear brake's housing maybe a little short, it's hard for me to tell from the photo.

Brad
Brad, thanks! Yeah, no complaints on the RSX, although as nice as the rest of the bike seems to be, it could be cool to have had it left as original, but as I rolled along today, I definitely felt better about the integration. I'm still making adjustments and figuring it out out there.
I am glad to said that about the rear brake's housing. I'm planning to tweak some things on the bike later, and will look into that.
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Old 07-14-14, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Oh heck YEAH!!

Rock that CRITter!

Did I miss reading what you paid? I have yet to see a BL on CL. That's what pushed me into building one. You will love riding that thing.

Thank you for the mention and it's good to have inspired another. Welcome to posting and the wonderful world of the Criterium Series!

Oh yes indeed. Just got back in from a short 13 miler on this thing, on crappy roads at that. Once again, the engine it has sucks....ha! Got to pay my road dues out there. At least I have a bike that makes me feel fast when I'm chewing on wind.

I'll probably bother you about some of your build on your bike via PM at some point. Apologies in advance. That thing is awesome.
Ah, and I dropped about 3 bills on this bike...maybe more than some here have for sure, but for my first road bike, it helped with my weak starting budget. Gets me out there.
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Old 07-14-14, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Very nice. Welcome to the club.

A longer stem will quiet down the ride, and while original stems are impossible to find, you can get a nice black one and put a BL decal on it (I have a decal if you'd like it). Or find a good Nitto and have it powder coated black.

I know fit is different for everyone, but you might want to consider moving the angle of those bars down a tad.

Did the PO also give you the original saddle? If so, guard it closely- they are worth quite a bit.
Thanks for the decal offer! I'll see how the search and find process pans out. I really felt the need for that extended length today on the road. Also, you mentioned the bar angle....I actually did adjust it downward a touch today. Much better, although the brifters feel/seem to have been installed a little on the high side. When I re-wrap the bars, I may make a slight adjustment to those too.

Sadly, no original saddle.
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Old 07-14-14, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbikenewbike View Post
Attached is the 1990 Catalog page showing the SR500 Black Lightning...
AH! Very cool to see this....just went over to the vintagecannondale site as well and burned up a solid hour of my time.
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Old 07-14-14, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
Niagara bike works has a great selection of black ano oldschool stuff. Check it out.
Awesome! Great suggestion...except for the part where my wife starts getting the twitch. She can smell the gear/component web digging.
Too, Lascauxcaveman's suggestion about the subforums here has me fired up. There goes the rest of the afternoon.

Y'all aren't a bit of help keeping me away from the rabbit hole of this stuff. Of course, it all starts mid ride when I think "damn, now, if I just changed this stem out and....."

I surrender. Going to go dig around those sites/suggestions. Thanks y'all.
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Old 07-14-14, 01:33 PM
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Congrats, welcome to the club! Love my 1990 Black Lightning.
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Old 07-14-14, 01:45 PM
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.............

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Old 07-14-14, 02:12 PM
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103 degrees???? OUCH!! Where do live that it went that high?
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Old 07-14-14, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ThirdCog View Post
Oh yes indeed. Just got back in from a short 13 miler on this thing, on crappy roads at that. Once again, the engine it has sucks....ha! Got to pay my road dues out there. At least I have a bike that makes me feel fast when I'm chewing on wind.

I'll probably bother you about some of your build on your bike via PM at some point. Apologies in advance. That thing is awesome.
Ah, and I dropped about 3 bills on this bike...maybe more than some here have for sure, but for my first road bike, it helped with my weak starting budget. Gets me out there.
You got a pretty good deal. The well on these is drying up fast and flippers are making it worse. You are going to love this thing. I too have the '88, last year before they went with the cantilever frame design. Once you get in shape you can feel it beginning to become a part of your body.

Pester me all you want, I and the others are here to help and swap stories.
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Old 07-14-14, 03:35 PM
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Pricing? I purchased mine for $300...and it was worth every penny.
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Old 07-14-14, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckk View Post
Nothing better than being boxed in by pine trees in heat like that - no chance of any air moving!

That's interesting gravel too - I second the "where is that?"

and, just for laughs; Wouldn't a white bike be cooler?
That route starts near a river, so much more wind down there. MS/AL is always hot this time of year. Way easier riding than my usual runs. 13-15 miles running in this heat sucks. Riding at least generates some kind of air movement, especially since I'm not a mega aero rider.
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Old 07-14-14, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
You got a pretty good deal. The well on these is drying up fast and flippers are making it worse. You are going to love this thing. I too have the '88, last year before they went with the cantilever frame design. Once you get in shape you can feel it beginning to become a part of your body.

Pester me all you want, I and the others are here to help and swap stories.
+1 Great find, especially considering price and extra parts. Welcome to the club!
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