Cannondale For Katherina

If Katherina was to ever get out on a bike and do some recreational riding in France, I decided a great way to get her started would be to build her a bike in Dublin and start getting her acquainted with being on two wheels. Having done pretty much all I wanted to the Colnago and Bianchi(s), I was between bike projects, and so I started making a list of what I wanted. I already had a set of inexpensive Campagnolo Khamsin wheels that I picked up on eBay, which had a Shimano 9-10-11 speed hub, that were just resting (rusting?) in the shed, and I wanted to do something fun with them. Here’s a quick view of my thinking:

  • 48cm frame, either steel or aluminum
  • modern 10-speed components
  • high “cool factor”
1987 Cannondale with factory custom paint.

1987 Cannondale with factory custom paint.

The bike I found was an older Cannondale, in Newcastle, PA (which is not terribly far from the Cannondale factory in Bedford, PA). The seller wasn’t asking for a ton of money for it, and while unconfirmed, it had a good story: he rescued it from outside a bin, cleaned it up a little but otherwise did nothing to it, enquired at a local bike shop that was a Cannondale dealer with the serial number, but unfortunately they couldn’t provide much information about it.

The paint is of a very high quality – at first look you might think this was an art student project with a few spray cans – but it’s obviously a factory job. Same with the internally-routed rear brake cable in the top tube, factory-done. The components that were on it were correct for the late 80’s, yet the model designation “Competition ST” (decal on the top tube) isn’t mentioned in any Cannondale catalogs, and it doesn’t look exactly (though it is very close) to the ST or SR models of the era.

After getting it home and stripping it down, and having been collecting bits here and there to compile a nice Ultegra 6700 10-speed groupset, I couldn’t have been happier with how it all came together. (I even recouped some of the costs by selling off the old 7-speed Shimano 105 wheels.) Extremely light, crisp and easy shifting, smooth running and solid, not to mention the uniqueness of the frame, this is one beautiful bike.

It’ll take some getting used to, Katherina’s never had a proper road bike, so the neck and arm muscles will need to get used to a different riding position. But we’re now ready for the odd jaunt in the park, so next summer we’ll be ready for hitting the road together!

UPDATE: I’ve changed out the stem to an adjustable one which moved the handlebars up and back in order to be more comfortable.

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