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Cannondale Super V mountain bike restoration

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.

Video

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.

Repairs

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.

Bottom Bracket

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.

Frame

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:

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.

Front Suspension

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.

Brakes

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.

Wheelset

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.

Crankset

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.

Chainrings

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.

Pedals

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.

Lessons learned

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

BikeCannondale Super V 1000€75
Front suspensionHeadshok Fatty D€205
Crankset, Handlebar, Bar ends, Bottom Bracket, WheelsCODA Tarantula, CODA Competion, CODA Babu, Shimano BB-UN52, CODA 800, DT, Mavic XC222, IRC MythosXC€100
GripsESI Racer’s Edge€20.33
ChainKMC X8€11.99
CassetteShimano Alivio CS-HG51€17.65
Adjustable Hose GripJagwire Adjustable Hose Grip€8.08
SaddleCODA 1000 Kevlar€10
Cables and housing€10
PrimerMontana Tech Primer€5.90
Primer2K Epoxy Primer In Aerosol SprayMax€15.07
ColourSprayMax 2K RAL-Colour (2x)€35.70
Clear coatSprayMax 1K High-Gloss Clear Coat In Aerosol€14.65
Clear coatMoTip Deco Effect Clear Lacquer High Gloss (5x)€35.16
Frame ProtectorsJagwire 5G Tube Tops€14.22
Seat PostThomson Elite 27.4 x 410mm. seatpost€81.33
Bottle Cage BoltsWolf Tooth Components bottle cage bolts€9.66
Flat PedalsDeity TMac flat pedals€173.36
ChainringTA Specialites Compact 94BCD 32t chainring€30.95
ChainringTA Specialites Compact 94BCD 44t chainring€38.95
Bottom BracketShimano BB-UN55 square taper bottom bracket€19.95
ChainringA Specialites Compact 94BCD 38t chainring€44.73
WheelsRolf Dolomite wheels€300
Derailler HangerReplacement Derailleur Hanger 16£24.99
TiresPanaracer Smoke & Dart Classic 26X2.1 (2x) classic€69.12
HandlebarsCODA XYZ Ultralight Handlebars€15
ShiftersShimano Deore XT SL-M740 shifters€129
Total costs excl. shipping€1490

Cannondale Super V Specifications

Cannondale Super V 1000
Year1994
MSRP$2.089 ($3.614 inflation adjusted for 2020)
FrameCannondale Super V full suspension
Front SuspensionHeadshok Fatty D
Rear SuspensionFox Vanilla Coil
RimsRolf Dolomite
HubsRolf
SpokesDT Swiss stainless steel 15 gauge
TiresSchwalbe Nobby Nic Super Ground 26X2.35
PedalsDeity TMac
CrankCODA Tarantula 7075-T6 | TA Specialites Compact 94BCD 32-44T
ChainKMC X8
CassetteShimano Alivio CS-HG51 8 Speed | 11-32T
Bottom BracketShimano BB-UN55
Front derailleurShimano Deore XT
Rear DerailleurSachs D.I.R.T. Centera
ShiftersMagura HS22
HandlebarsCODA Expert
StemCODA
BrakesMagura HS22 Hydraulic rim brakes
SaddleCODA 1000 Kevlar
SeatpostThomson Elite 27.4 x 410mm. seatpost
SizeM

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