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  1. #1
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    Upgrades to Older Cannondale Road Bike

    First off I should say that I am very new to cycling, if I don't sound like I know what I talking about - I don't. With that said, I picked-up a 1987 Cannondale SR500 that was in pretty good shape and was looking to replace/upgrade some parts. The current bike specifications can be found at: http://sanaandterry.com/cannondale/year/1987/1987.pdf

    What I am confused with was whether I could used more recent parts on this bike or if I should be looking for another "vintage" bike to part out. Parts in particular that I would like to replace are the chain and wheels (a little rusty). Any suggestions on replacement options? I would also be interested in any other suggestions.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    You'll need a basic 5/6/7/8 chain (something like a SRAM PC-870) and a chain tool (to remove the old chain and break the new one to the correct length). Any local bike shop should have both of those things.

    What is "rusty" on your wheels? Unless they have been replaced with something junky, the rims and hubs are aluminum and the spokes are stainless. If there is surface rust on your cogs (rear gears) you should be fine to clean and lube them unless they are excessively worn. You shouldn't need to replace your wheels unless they are bent or cracked, the bearings are beyond repair, or the freewheel is shot and stuck on.

    My guess is that if the chain is rusty, the whole bike could use a lube and tune. It'll be a good learning opportunity. If you don't have anything, pick up some appropriate lube while you are at the shop.

    Paul

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the quick reply. I think the whole bike needs a good clean and lube. I figured this could be a bike I could work and learn on, but initially it may be a good idea to bring it to my local bike shop. Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    If you want to learn, I'd avoid paying them to do a tune up. Its quite possible that you then wouldn't have an opportunity to mess with it for a couple thousand miles! But, you can take it in to get the right parts. If you really want to get it working well, you could have them cut you new cable housing and get new cables. You probably need new brake pads. They could check the wheels for you, as they might need a truing. But, if you've got the time, I'd strongly consider doing as much work as you can yourself. Its the only way to get better and faster at it, as well as acquire the right tools.

    Paul

  5. #5
    Old, slow, and fat.
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    That C-dale is a GREAT bike for rides up to about an hour long. After that, its a stiff-riding mofo that made my back hurt when I owned one 'back when.' :nod

    The rear triangle is 126mm and you CAN NOT stretch that. That means you're looking for up to about 7sp freewheels. That's it. You can't go any more unless you get creative.

    You can probably find some 7sp STI shifters on ebay. If they're not there right away, keep looking something always turns up on ebay if you wait long enough.

    The brakes are likely to be single pivot and comparatively weak. Find some 105/Rival dual pivot brakes and call it good. You don't really *need* to do the back brake. All it does is slow you down. Almost all of your stopping power is in the front.

    IMO 7sp gear spacing's probably about right for Just Riding Along. (JRA) That 2-tooth jump feels good when you're riding it. I still end up shifting that way when I'm JRA myself.

    HTH

    M
    I've moved back to NoVA. PLEASE change the weather!

  6. #6
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    Saving money

    Quote Originally Posted by Bville
    First off I should say that I am very new to cycling, if I don't sound like I know what I talking about - I don't. With that said, I picked-up a 1987 Cannondale SR500 that was in pretty good shape and was looking to replace/upgrade some parts. The current bike specifications can be found at: http://sanaandterry.com/cannondale/year/1987/1987.pdf

    What I am confused with was whether I could used more recent parts on this bike or if I should be looking for another "vintage" bike to part out. Parts in particular that I would like to replace are the chain and wheels (a little rusty). Any suggestions on replacement options? I would also be interested in any other suggestions.

    Thanks in advance.
    Don't spend a dime until you have cleaned and lubed. You can check the chain for wear - if it hasn't elongated 1/16" over 24 links (or 12 links, depending on your point of view) which is 12 inches of original length, then all it needs is lube. The rims are aluminum, so they aren't rusted. Old bikes like this can be a black hole for money as people try to "bring them up to date" - which is functionally impossible. Learn about riding with this bike, and learn about maintenance, but don't replace anything that is still working OK. Go to the Park Tools web site for all kinds of maintenance information. Learn how to take apart, clean, and lube everything that will come apart. You'll need a few tools, but you want to have those for future bikes as well.

    That bike is like an old computer - it still does everything it could do when it was new, but if you try to load it up with new software (new bike parts) you're just in for a bunch of headache.

  7. #7
    Man, I'm Awesome
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    I had this same bike when I was in college, 20 years ago. My friend had upgraded to a Merkx and I got this to ride on.

    If it has the stock saddle on it, change it immediately. Your balls will be numb after 10 minutes. It was quite possibly the worst saddle ever made.

    Fast forward 15 years and I sold it to a MTB friend of mine who was looking to get into road biking. This had just been sitting in my bike room untouched for many years. He had to replace the brake hoods and he built new wheels himself.

    The most gears he could get on the freewheel was 7 as a previous poster said they could not get the rear to 130mm.

    But he eneded up with a great riding bike to get started on. He road that for at least a year before going on to something else and selling it as a starter to another new roadie.

    I wonder where that bike is now.
    "I like to ride my bicycle." - Lance Armstrong -

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    Don't spend a dime until you have cleaned and lubed. You can check the chain for wear - if it hasn't elongated 1/16" over 24 links (or 12 links, depending on your point of view) which is 12 inches of original length, then all it needs is lube. The rims are aluminum, so they aren't rusted. Old bikes like this can be a black hole for money as people try to "bring them up to date" - which is functionally impossible. Learn about riding with this bike, and learn about maintenance, but don't replace anything that is still working OK. Go to the Park Tools web site for all kinds of maintenance information. Learn how to take apart, clean, and lube everything that will come apart. You'll need a few tools, but you want to have those for future bikes as well.

    That bike is like an old computer - it still does everything it could do when it was new, but if you try to load it up with new software (new bike parts) you're just in for a bunch of headache.
    +1.

    Don't even upgrade it to 7-speed if it's 6-speed now.

    I think on any bike worth owning, it's worth making it fit right. That can be relatively easy or a huge PITA on older bikes - you should have some ability to adjust the stem up and down, but if that's not enough, you need to replace the stem and you need to unwrap one side of the handlebar and remove a brake hood to do it. I finally put an adapter and a threadless stem on my '99 LeMond and while a purist would object, it made it a lot easier for me to make it fit me better.

    If you can't make the saddle work for you, replace it.

    It may make sense to use different pedals - up to you.

    But stick to direct replacements for anything related to the wheels or drivetrain - you get into cascades of parts compatibility problems if you try to monkey with that stuff much at all or "upgrade." You may even have issues if you try to replace the brakes - there was a change in the nut and bolt that hold them on. I don't know when that was, but my '86 Raleigh takes the old-school kind. So be careful.

  9. #9
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    I own a 89 c'dale sr500 "black lightning" and went through the whole research on upgrading it. As others have said, fix what doesnt work and just ride. Its not cost-effective. I dont want to be a downer, but it will never be upgradable to todays bikes. I ended up buying a Spec Roubaix last year and havent even thought about the c'dale since.

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