I regularly visit thrift stores. You can imagine my surprise when I saw a Cannondale Super V standing there. No, it wasn’t in good shape. But early 90’s Super V’s don’t find their way into thrifts stores in pristine shape.
I wasn’t a bike that belonged in a thrift store and I knew up front that it this bike force me to go beyond what I was comfortable with doing. For one, it would get a paint job. Something I’d been wanting to do with a new project. And I would start polishing metal.
And so it began. I dished out the €75 they asked for it and I got myself a new bike restoration project.
Creating the Cannondale Super V v2.0
After I restored the bicycle I basically never rode it, thinking it was too small for me. It was a huge disappointment for a project I poured everything in to. I’d even almost sold it, thinking I would like to recoup some of the money I’d poured in to the project.
It was only after I learned more about bike fitting that I came to realize that even though the bike looked small, I could recreate it in such a way that it would fit my 6.4 foot frame. And I would spend an extra €800 to make it so.
And with a new verve I began the process of basically upgrading the entire bike all over again. It would result in my first ever MTB trail using a full-suspension mountain bike. Something I consider somewhat of a personal victory.
What did I get myself into?
So what exactly did I buy for €75? As it turned out I had bought a Cannondale Super V 1000. But the bike was definitely not stock. It had a different stem, handelbars, shifters, brakes, crankset, pedals, seatpost, saddle, front suspension, rear suspension, rims and obviously tires as well. So basically only the frame was a Super V 1000.
Bottle cage mount
Literally the first bolt I tried to loosen was the bottle cage mount. But instead of the bolt turning, the mount turned in the frame because of galvanic corrosion. The bike had been standing outside because there was bird shit on it. And overall it was improperly maintained.
So yeah, I used the hacksaw to get the bottle cage from the frame. Not the start I was looking for. The LBS would help me with getting the old mount and screw out and installing a new one.
Except for the fork, I was able to remove all of the parts from the frame. Until I got to the bottom bracket. After it came out it I realized I could throw it away. It was a complete mess with brown sticky goo all over it. I was fortunate enough to be able to replace it with the exact same Shimano BB-UN52 bottom bracket.
As I said, the frame needed to be painted. The original paint job was both damaged and the frame was loose in certain place because of corrosion underneath. I decided to go for the blue Volvo team look and feel, making this a very unique Super V indeed.
The paint job was absolutely the hardest part of this bike restoration. I decided to sand the frame to the bare aluminium. This took me days to finish and was extremely time consuming. But I also believe it was absolutely necessary to get the finish I was looking for.
I used 2 cans of primer. 2 cans of 2K color, and 5 cans of top coat. Cans I used were:
- Montana Primer 400ML – Metal
- 2K Epoxy Primer In Aerosol SprayMax
- SprayMax 2K RAL-Colour
- SprayMax 1K High-Gloss Clear Coat In Aerosol
- MoTip Deco Effect Clear Lacquer High Gloss
I bought a set of decals on Ebay. They weren’t water transfer decals, so they were fairly thick. Instead of sanding the top coat to make a smooth surface and prevent the orange peel effect normally associated with spray cans, I found it easier to just use a lot of cans. Suffice to say this was a very expensive paint job indeed.
The front suspension was upgraded from a Headshok DD to a Headshok Fatty D. But it was not in good condition. I brought it to a Cannondale dealer who revisioned the needle bearings, the elastomers, the oil seals, and the oil itself. The cost for this were way over-budget and ended up being €205.
That was both a disappointment and a lesson in risks associated with very old mtb suspensions. Next time I’ll probably end up doing it myself. Only after I paid for the initial repairs (I needed to go back because the fork started leaking oil when I finished the restoration), did I find both a Cannondale frame with Headshok fork in good condition for €80.
The breaks, Magura HS22, were also an upgrade from the original cantilever brakes. A welcome one, but very crudely fitted to the frame with tie ribs, Since the 5mm. jackets don’t fit the 4mm. cable guides. The previous owner thought otherwise and decided it would be wise to cram it in one of the guide.
I totally disassembled the brakes, stripped the rim brakes of the flaking black paint, and polished them using a polishing machine. I also sanded and polished the brake levers. The result is fantastic. They look better than when they were new!
I bought Jagwire cable guides so I could properly guide the hydraulic cables along the frame. I had reinforced the fairly flimsy guides with a zip tie and much bigger and stronger washer (the ring on the lefthand side).
The original ring which prevent the screw from moving into the cable guide was way too thin and easily bent inwards. There is also nothing from keeping the clamps from opening other than the force with which they are pressed against the original cable guide. Since the 5mm. are pretty stiff, they easily opened up the clamp. Not too happy about the initial setup of the product, but with these two adjustments they still look great and do what they need to do.
When I decided to ride the bike I needed to correctly adjust them as well.
The front rim had been replaced and was yellow. It looked like crap. I found a beautiful second hand wheel set. With CODA 800 hubs, IRC Mythos XC tires, and Mavic X222 rims.
The original Shimano FC-M737 Deore XT crankset wasn’t worn. But it was severly scratched up. I found an original second-hand CODA Tarantula 7075-T6 crankset replacement which obviously looked much better.
The chainrings on the CODA crankset we’re a dual setup 44-29T. This wasn’t the best setup for smooth shifting. Because of the 15T drop, the chain would sometimes move right past the inner chainring.
The 29 teeth chainring also meant I was mostly in the upper regions of the cassette, skewing the chain and possible speeding up wear on the drivetrain. I decided to replace both chainrings with Spécialités TA ones.
Cassette and chain
Worn. They almost always are. And if you do the chain, you need to do the cassette as well. Went for a KMC X8 bike chain and a Shimano Alivio CS-HG51 8 Speed – 11-32T Cassette.
Handlebar, stem, grips and bar ends
Except for the stem. Everything got replacement. I had to saw of the curved handlebar. Bought CODA competition handlebars with CODA Babu bar ends.
I have Sachs 8-speed grip shifters. But the original grips were gone. I went for ESI Racer’s Edge grips. The thinnest of the ESI range. I cut them to the right size and they perfectly line up with the shifters. I don’t really consider them comfortable but they look the part.
The original CODA stem was pretty beat up. I sanded and polished it. I didn’t do the part with the brand on it, so it wouldn’t be removed.
Shifters and derailleurs
Both the Shimano Deore XT derailleurs, front and back, and Sachs Grip Shifters, were in overall good condition. I polished the rear derailleur and replaced all cables and hoses.
Seatpost and saddle
The bike has a Selcoff Team saddle post, which I polished. The brand printed on the post was removed in the process. The white Bontrager saddle was replaced with a CODA 1000 Kevlar saddle.
The stock pedals were long gone and I was left with either a set of beaten up Scott SPD’s or low-end cage pedals.
The Super V got updated with what are probably the coolest-looking mountain bike flat pedals in the market today: the Deity T-Mac flat pedals.
A lot. Especially about being patient
New things I learned we’re sanding and spraying an entire frame with decals. And sanding and polishing aluminium parts.
I also learned about the complexity of restoring more complex bikes. And the financial risks involved with increased complexity. So in the future I’ll give it some extra thought if I want to pick up a bike with very old suspension. Or at least be willing to try and fix it myself.
I did not imagine myself eventually spending €600 euros to get this project to the finish line, but I did. So that’s a lesson right there. The reason is that once you’ve crossed the €100 mark, you just can’t go back mentally. And especially after I paid the suspension repair costs of €150 I had reached the point of no return.
Cannondale Super V repair costs
Cannondale Super V 1000
Headshok Fatty D
Crankset, Handlebar, Bar ends, Bottom Bracket, Wheels
CODA Tarantula, CODA Competion, CODA Babu, Shimano BB-UN52, CODA 800, DT, Mavic XC222, IRC MythosXC
ESI Racer’s Edge
Shimano Alivio CS-HG51
Adjustable Hose Grip
Jagwire Adjustable Hose Grip
CODA 1000 Kevlar
Cables and housing
Montana Tech Primer
2K Epoxy Primer In Aerosol SprayMax
SprayMax 2K RAL-Colour (2x)
SprayMax 1K High-Gloss Clear Coat In Aerosol
Jagwire 5G Tube Tops
Thomson Elite 27.4 x 410mm. seatpost
Bottle Cage Bolts
Wolf Tooth Components bottle cage bolts
Deity TMac flat pedals
TA Specialites Compact 94BCD 32t chainring
TA Specialites Compact 94BCD 44t chainring
Shimano BB-UN55 square taper bottom bracket
A Specialites Compact 94BCD 38t chainring
Rolf Dolomite wheels
Replacement Derailleur Hanger 16
Panaracer Smoke & Dart Classic 26X2.1 (2x) classic
CODA XYZ Ultralight Handlebars
Shimano Deore XT SL-M740 shifters
Total costs excl. shipping
Cannondale Super V Specifications
$2.089 ($3.614 inflation adjusted for 2020)
Cannondale Super V full suspension
Headshok Fatty D
Fox Vanilla Coil
DT Swiss stainless steel 15 gauge
Schwalbe Nobby Nic Super Ground 26X2.35
CODA Tarantula 7075-T6 | TA Specialites Compact 94BCD 32-44T
Shimano Alivio CS-HG51 8 Speed | 11-32T
Shimano Deore XT
Sachs D.I.R.T. Centera
Magura HS22 Hydraulic rim brakes
CODA 1000 Kevlar
Thomson Elite 27.4 x 410mm. seatpost
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