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Cannondale Killer V 800 Restomod

I bought this Cannondale Killer V on a whim. My home was already overflowing with bicycles and bike parts and I really didn’t need any more. But for some reason I typed in “Cannondale Killer V” into our local Ebay and look what I found!

There were a number of reasons I bought this bike.

  • I wanted a new bike
  • I wanted a bike to ride, not to restore. I still had enough of those.
  • I wanted a bike with front suspension that worked, especially after my bad experience with the Cannondale Super V restoration. And this Cannondale Killer V had one that had been serviced by a professional company.
  • I wanted an XL frame. No more restoring a bike only to find out it was too small. The guy was my size.

Original ad

The ad looked promising enough, based on the description and photos. The bike was indeed from 1998, but had been upgraded from an 8-speed grip-shift to a 9-speed Deore XT set.

After going a little back-and-forth, I was able to strike a deal for €450 ($546) for the bike and all parts, which were originally not included in the deal.

Cannondale Killer V first look

After I’d bought the bike and brought it home, it turned out there were a number of issues.

Apart from the bottom bracket, the previous owner had took it upon himself to install an entire new groupset, but had done so in a less than appropriate fashion.

He had also omitted to tell the bicycle had been in a big enough crash to necessitate a new crankarm.

Ticking pedal

Very soon after I started riding their was a ticking noise with each rotation of the crankset. In the end it turned out it was the left pedal. I removed them, installed other ones. Problem solved.

Wrongly colored crank arm

The newly installed Deore XT crankset was silver. But the left crank arm was black. I had seen a silver left crank arm in the house of the seller and emailed to him if that was supposed to go onto this bike. It was, but it was replaced with the black one because it had been bent.

Okay… That explains the ticking pedal as well, which was probably on that crank arm before it got bent.

Wrongly installed chain

I went to my LBS thinking the ticking sound had something to do with the bottom bracket, for which I don’t have the right tools yet. They serviced the bracket (which would not solve the problem), and noticed the chain had been incorrectly installed as well, as was the front derailleur cable setup.

The chain wasn’t placed behind the little piece that makes sure the chain stays on the jockey wheels. Instead it moved over this piece causing wear to both the chain and the rear derailleur.

And here I was thinking how the bike made such a distinctive sound. Silly me. And of course the mechanics at the bike shop jumped on the perfect opportunity to make fun of my repair skills.

Badly shifting front derailleur

The Deore XT setup had probably been second hand, because it came with a derailleur mount normally used for front suspension bikes. This mount was damaged enough so the derailleur would hardly shift onto the biggest ring.

Sloppy brakes

The brake cables were way too loose, but luckily for me, that’s fixed easily enough.

Damaged saddle

The saddle, a Selle Italia OCR Compact Road was a version with a cutout in the middle. I looked it up and it seems to be coming from an 2003 Giant.

It looks odd on the bicycle and the seat cover has loosened in the middle. It would have been fair to mention this, but it’ll give me the opportunity to create a new saddle restoration video.

Update: I’ve since decided to not restore the saddle but replaced it with a ax-lightness Phoenix full carbon saddle.

Lights

I found a couple of led headlights which were greatly depreciated on Ebay and snatched them up. Now I could be like Batman and prowl the streets of Amsterdam at night.

Spinergy Wheels

After months of looking a relatively undamaged pair of Spinergy Rev-x Roks wheels were offered. With a number of offers already in place I immediately topped the highest bidder with a good enough margin to obtain the set. The absolute cherry on top of this build.

One of the biggest issues with the wheels was the damage to the loose bearings and the accompanying play in the hub. My LBS helped me to service the hub and after taking ages I finally was able to remove the play from the rear wheel.

Crankset

The bike had two different colored cranks, black and silver. The bike had obviously been in such a crash that the left crank was bent. I was able to get a totally new Deore XT Hollowtech II crankset for €50. It’s one of the few parts I replaced purely for aesthetic reasons.

Tires

I put on a new site of Continental Speed King tires, because the Schwalbe Big Apples were both dried out and a bit too wobbly for my taste. With this move I shaved of 600 grams of the total weight.

Lessons learned

I wanted a bike which was ready-to-ride from the get-go. It clearly wasn’t. But in retrospect, I probably would have bought it anyway. It’s a gorgeous-looking unique bike that’s an absolute joy to ride. And with the Spinergy Rev-x Roks wheels it has become a headturner, that belies its age.

In the end, with buying second-hand bikes off of a marketplace, you’re bound to run into some issues with a bike that’s over 2 decades old. Especially if the person decided to do an upgrade himself.

Did I pay too much for the bicycle…? Maybe. Probably. But in the end, it’s what you get out of it that makes it worth the investment.

Cannondale Killer V costs

BikeCannondale Killer V€450
WheelsSpinergy Rev-x Roks€350
LightsBBB BLS-64 (2x)€35
CranksetDeore XT Hollowtech II FC-M770€50
TiresContinental Speed King 2.2. Racesport€75.20
PedalsHope F20€146.49
SaddleAX Lightness Phoenix€75
SeatpostCane Creek Eesilk Carbon seatpost€236.80
StemReverse S-Trail stem€63.96
Handlebar ShimReverse handle bar Shim reducing shim 31.8mm | 25.4€10.07
Bottle CageTune Wasserträger 2.0€48.80
ChainCN-HG93 9-speed Chain€18.29
ChainringTA Specialites Chinook 104BCD 36t chainring€30.40
CassetteShimano Ultegra CS-6500 11-21 cassette€57,68
Total excl. shipping costs€1,647.69

Cannondale Killer V specs

Year1998
MSRP
FrameCannondale CAAD2
ForkHeadshok P-Bone D 60mm
WheelsSpinergy Rev-x Roks
TiresContinental Speed King 2.2. Racesport
PedalsHope F20
CrankDeore XT Hollowtech II FC-M770 | 44-36-22T
ChainCN-HG93 9-speed Chain
CassetteShimano Ultegra CS-6500 11-21 cassette
Bottom BracketShimano Hollowtech II SM-BB52
Front derailleurShimano Deore XT FD-M770
Rear derailleurShimano Deore XT RD-M772
ShiftersShimano Deore XT SL-M770
HandlebarsCODA Competition
Bar endsCODA Babu 2
GripsCODA Weave
StemReverse S-Trail 1.56″ 31.8x60mm.
BrakesAvid Single Digit Ti
Brake LeversAvid Speed Dial Ti
SaddleAX Lightness Phoenix
SeatpostCane Creek Eesilk Carbon
SizeXL