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help making a bad buy better(8 posts)

help making a bad buy betternewbie
Jul 8, 2001 1:37 AM
I recently purchased an 87 Cannondale SR500 for way too much money. I thought the bike was early 90's but it turned out to be about 5 years older than that. Anyway I overpaid (375) although the bike was in good condition. So, being a newbie I didn't know what I was buying and now I feel like crap about it.

Can anyone help me make some cheap upgrades to the bike that perhaps could offset the cost of the bike. I'm willing to get some used parts but I'm not sure where to start. I want to change it to a triple crank (I live in a hilly area) but the bike shop said 300 bucks! They said they can add an extra gear in the back which might help me, but they didn't say how much that would cost.

Anyway, does anybody know what upgrades are usually made when purchasing an older used bike? Or am I just SOL?
don't feel bad!!former c'daler
Jul 8, 2001 3:10 AM
assuming your frame is in good shape and depending on the components/wheels, you probably did not overpay by too much. so don't feel too bad. i had my first bike then, a cannondale SR300 in '89. it was a great bike to start with.

the biggest improvement per dollar you could have is probably the wheels. i would start with those. inexpensive wheelsets are available out there. for your hilly area i would change the cassette to one with bigger cogs. this is cheaper than adding extra gear in the back which might entail changing the derailleur and shifter. if components work well i would not spend money on changing them. except....if the chainrings in the crank are biopace (i.e. not perfectly round) which late 80's and early 90's shimanos tend to be (except for dura ace....a sign that it was a fad or a cruel shimano experiment on those with less money to burn??!!) i would change those!

let us know what components, freewheel (rear gear) sizes from smallest to biggest, wheels are on your bike and maybe we can get more specific.
re: help making a bad buy better - be carefuldavidl
Jul 8, 2001 5:47 AM
I agree that you didn't overpay by very much, if at all, if it's in good condition. I have an '89 C/dale w/ Shimano 600 [including the hubs]. I runs a 28 - 12 7cog rear hub. This gearing spans almost the range of my triple and is fine for climbing. The 600 hubs are good, too. I second the motion recommending upgrades in wheels (and tires) and a 28-12 (7) cassette.
In short, that's a good bike, and not a bad buy at all. Ride it !
re: help making a bad buy betterRusty Coggs
Jul 8, 2001 7:30 AM
You can change to a triple crank and triple front derailer relatively cheaply. Check www.nashbar.com and www.preformancebike.com for deals. you can keep your rear derailer.but won't be able to use some of the smallest cogs in the rear when in the granny due to limited chain wrap capacity. If you have a 6 speed cassette, changing rear cogs can be tough due to lack of replacement cassettes. www.harriscyclery.com is a possible source of old stuff. If you have a 6 speed freewheel, you could probbably change to a seven speed freelwheel and your index shifting would still work or you could use friction. The best way to offset the high price would be to do your own maintenance and upgrades.Buy the book 'zinn and the art of road bike maintenance for $20 at LBS. Get some basic tools too.Or better yet keep an eye out for a sucker to unload it on.
Cognitive DissonanceGadfly
Jul 8, 2001 8:31 AM
You're suffering from post-purchase remorse. You may have paid a few bucks extra, but you've got nice entry-level ride. First thing you should do is learn a bit more about working on your rig - with a little know-how and the right tools, you can order cranksets and throw 'em on yourself. I second the notion of getting Zinn & Art of Road Bike Maintenance. "Bicycling" also has a decent how-to manual.

Your vintage bike most likely has down-tube shifters, probably 105s. You might consider upgrading to STI. With a little research and some savvy classifieds shopping, you can do this on your own (Zinn again...). You'll have some fun (and frustration) learn a lot and end up with a good ride.
Another opinion ...Crash
Jul 8, 2001 12:40 PM
Newbie, Another thing you might want to consider, I think you have a nice starter bike, but instead of throwing alot of money at it, why don't you just ride it for a couple months, decide what you really want, sell this bike and use it for the down payment on something newer / nicer. I now have a R2000si, but did have a late '80s SR300 and you would not believe the difference. If you spend alot of money upgrading this bike you are still going to have a 15 year old bike when you are done. See if your LBS can upgrade you to a larger cassette then just ride the bike. Try to get with a couple clubs or group rides and see what the other riders have and see if you can take them for a spin. I think after a couple of months you will really know what you want. When that happens, sell this bike (or keep it for backup) then trade up. Good luck either way, and remember just have fun !
Not a bad ideaGadfly
Jul 8, 2001 12:50 PM
There is a tremendous amount of difference in frame engineering over the past 15 years. A late 80s vintage 'dale will vibrate the fillings out of your teeth, but the more recent ones get a lot of praise for smoothing out the ride.
re: help making a bad buy betternewbie
Jul 8, 2001 2:11 PM
Thanks a lot you guys.

I think I will change the rear cassette so I can get up thoose hills a little easier. Which is better? Adding a gear of change the cogs? What sizes do I need?

The bike currently is a 6 speed with full shiamano 105 group. If I'm looking on this site or somewhere to buy a used cassete or something what will work? I know it can only fit 7 gears at most since it is 126 mm. Or at least that is what I've read.

Thanks again for all the help.