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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Cannondale Black Lightning - Looking for opinions

    I found a 1990 Cannondale Black Lightning on my local Craig's List and I was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with one. From the pictures it looks like a very nice older road bike. Any opinions, remarks or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    The seller says it' looks similar to the attached picture.

    Thanks,
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cannondale Black Lightning - Looking for opinions-1988sr700blacklightning_large.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Looks similar???? Ok, the photo showing that bike has new rear der, the crankset and wheels are all wrong. THe original black lightening had (i believe) all black frame, all black components, and a gold chain and gold (???) cassette. Plus it had down tube shifters.

    I am allways very cautious of anyone who doesn't post pictures of an item they are selling. He can post a picture he found on the web, but doesnt have a camera of his own? Be afraid, be very afraid.

    Bill

  3. #3
    merckxman
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    Correct:
    Quote Originally Posted by crossracer
    THe original black lightening had (i believe) all black frame, all black components, and a gold chain and gold (???) cassette. Plus it had down tube shifters.
    Bill

  4. #4
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    Better than original...

    The bike in the picture has better componentry than the original black Suntour group.Much better in my opinion,and I have owned the original.Mine was very stiff,too stiff for rough roads but responsive and fun on smooth roads.The bike in the picture has fairly new components,[with the brakes possibly the only older original part], on a much older Black Lightning frame.It might be worth it just for the parts if the price is low.
    Last edited by jordan; 12-29-2010 at 03:45 PM.

  5. #5
    Vintage cyclist
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    I think that the collectibility (is that even a word) will go up on the Black Lightning's, now that Cannondale doesn't make bikes in the US anymore.

    But, to join with what has been said before, "similar" could mean anything. I'd get real legit pics before making a decision.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    That picture is not of an older road bike. The black lightning that I remember came with downtube shifters, 6 speed cassette, threaded headset, toe clips on the pedals. and did not have deep dish rims.

    The bike in your picture has a threadless headset, brifters, 10 speeds, a compact crank and deep dish low spoke count rims.

    A black lightning would only be worth something to an old guy like me. If you are looking for your first bike, then pass this one by.

    A beautiful example of the Real Black Lightning....from the late 80's courtesy of devilinblack, bike journal.com
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cannondale Black Lightning - Looking for opinions-devilinblack1988-cannondale-black-lightning.jpg  
    Last edited by Hooben; 12-29-2010 at 09:23 PM.
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Thanks for all the replies. I was told, by the seller, the picture was just an indication of the condition of the bike. I should have been more clear on that. I love older (vintage) road bikes and I just wanted to hear from people who were familiar with the Black Lightning and get some opinions on what it's like to ride/own.

    I love the picture of the original version that was posted. I'm going to see the bike tonight and I hope it looks like that. If I end up getting it I'll post some pictures. If it turn's out to be junk, I'll post that experience as well.

    Thanks again everybody...

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    sr700

    follow the link for 88 specs/they were 14 speeds,all black-Sugino crank-DID chain;yours has some Shimano upgrades.Suntour work well for the intended purpose.not many around in the Northern parts.specs: http://sanaandterry.com/cannondale/year/1988/1988.pdf
    Last edited by '02 nrs; 01-01-2011 at 06:04 AM. Reason: updated

  9. #9
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    I would ask him what year the bike is from, and then see if the components match up.

    The original Black Lightning, or at least the earliest one that I'm aware of in any detail, was from around 1987-88, or so, and had an all black Suntour Sprint group, with gold highlights. It was beautiful, the stuff of every poor Cat 4 boy racer's dreams. The components changed slightly over the years, so do your research.

    If the seller says its similar to the 1987-88 setup, then it really isn't a true Black Lightning, at least not anymore. The original had that all Back Sprint group and a hot golden chain, I think by Sedisport, or similar.

  10. #10
    Vintage cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooben
    That picture is not of an older road bike. The black lightning that I remember came with downtube shifters, 6 speed cassette, threaded headset, toe clips on the pedals. and did not have deep dish rims.

    The bike in your picture has a threadless headset, brifters, 10 speeds, a compact crank and deep dish low spoke count rims.

    A black lightning would only be worth something to an old guy like me. If you are looking for your first bike, then pass this one by.

    A beautiful example of the Real Black Lightning....from the late 80's courtesy of devilinblack, bike journal.com
    I've never been much of a Cannondale fan, but for some reason, have always liked the Black Lightning. The above bike is a great example. BUT, it would look even better if it had black Look pedals (or some other black equivalent); black bar tape; and have the wheels re-laced with black spokes.

  11. #11
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    I purchased a Black Lightning in 88 for crits & training rides. It's a beautiful bike in my opinion. Rigid frame, steep forks & hard bars on that bike made it a great crit racer but a poor road bike.

    I gave it to my 27 yo son two years ago and he took it to Montana. My son & the bike came back for Christmas this year. I've decided to restore the bike for his Christmas present. I'm replacing the original Mavic wheels w/ Fulcrum 5s, retaping the bars, & replacing the drive train.

  12. #12
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    Definitely get pictures of the actual bike. Unfortunately, there are some sketchy characters out there who aren't exactly honest with what they're offering. Hopefully that's not the case, but you never know.

  13. #13
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    I own a 1990 Black Lightning. It is tore down right now as I am in the process of restoring it. I am working very diligently though to keep all of my components black.

    If you go to http://www.vintagecannondale.com/catalog.html you can open a PDF file of the 1990 catalog and see what one looked like then. It came with the 3.0 series Road Race frame. It is aggressive and a blast to ride. I have never met a dog I couldn't outrun on it.

    The worst drawback to the bike was the Suntour Edge components. Suntour never got indexed shifting like Shimano did which led to there demise. I remember I used to take that bike to the shop at least once a month to get the shifting adjusted. I finally gave up and took the index mechanism out of the shifter.

  14. #14
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    i have a 63cm, found one on e-bay 3 years ago. my wife has one for 15 years. these are our only non-touring bikes. installed lower gearing ( 24/36/48 with 13-32) and use them for rides up to 60mi. also, we use 28mm tires, biggest one that will fit. with these ride is NOT at all too firm for longer rides, we DON'T find them too stiff nor too harsh

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