Such a temptress!
The Cannondale CAAD9 frame is about ten years old at this time but is still a fabulous frame. The consensus is, “Oh that’s stiff!” as in it’s only a race frame and not comfortable but in truth, ever since the CAAD6 variant, they’ve worked on vertical compliance (bumps) ever since. By the time the CAAD9 came around they have changed aluminum types and welding technology and a host of other small minor changes. Results came in; everyone loved it. It also was the last frame they made in the USA. It became a darling of the criterium racer and was all over eBay and Craigslist if you happened to smash one. It was a go-to racer. Today, If you can find one that is, you would be rewarded by building up a clean example. Its personality is fantastic. It stays put, isn’t nervous, carves nice quick lines and goes like stink when you need it to.
How lucky I was to need a cheap used bike for the winter trainer but actually find one in my 60cm size? Very. I live in Colorado, a used cycling superstore, but even with that all around me, finding a 59cm or larger bike is tough. So low and behold I found the special deal. A frame, a good frame, in good shape, in my size, only missing the crankset and wheels. It had a fork, bars, seat and post, and derailleurs. I sat upright and realized I have spare wheels and cassettes. He only wanted $275 which was fair, but also within my budget for such a great frame. Time to talk to the man.
Once I was there, I saw it was a nine-speed rear. My enthusiasm sank a little bit. Just a bit. I know rear derailleurs aren’t that expensive but the shifter on the bars would be, especially if I went up to a more modern ten or eleven-speed arrangement. This was exacerbated by the crankset he said he would throw in. “It’s a 175, perfect for your size.”
Of course, that means the inner ring is thirty-nine and that equals no hills for this big boy. Especially since that rear derailleur can’t work cassettes over twenty-seven teeth. This was a flat-out race bike sold by an ex-criterium racer. A backup/trainer bike for him. Thinking again about the number of speeds and changing out parts, going to ten speeds would mean at least re-ringing the crank with narrower rings for the ten-speed chain. The cost of that alone is not far from a whole new middle -grade crank. I thought I wouldn’t need new bars or seats or cables. But I started to scour the web looking for parts to see what it would cost to go either way to letting this bike climb a bit.
Money. Ten-speeds. Eleven-speeds equals new wheels to handle that cassette. That’s a few hundred more dollars. This is a training bike. I think ten speeds will work just fine especially since the lack of ten-speed gear on Craigslist means everyone is still enjoying theirs. I can find cheap nine speed stuff all day long. Deciding on that lets me keep my wheels for training and enjoy it.
105 5700 shifter is near $50.
105 5700 rear derailleur is $35
10 speed mid-compact crank is near $100, more for lighter stuff.
11 or 12-32 cassette is around $40.
This totals $215 more (Oh yeah, plus a chain) to have a capable and racy trainer bike that I can take out and race around once in a while. So I have it at the shop getting a new bottom bracket put in, and the old cranks. I slapped on a leftover 13-26 cassette which means even fewer hills. (as an idea here, the best I can do is 1.5 tire revolutions per crank RPM, where the compact gearing on the Soma smoothie spins 1.06 times per crank RPM. That’s a huge difference on a hill and with the 53 x 13 gearing, the Soma is faster…
So I’ll post again about getting it back on the road and what it’s like to ride with such a tall geared bike that I’m in no real shape to ride. Then I’ll start ordering parts to get it ready for the trainer in the basement.
What are your thoughts?