The oldest boy and I spent some time this weekend setting up an older Cannondale V500 for a friend who’s daughter will use it as secondary transportation at college. The bike was apparently picked up at a pawn shop a few years ago, and then languished in the garage as a well intentioned attempt to “get in shape” as so many often do. The tires had dry rotted and glued themselves to the tubes inside, someone had rather crudely drilled out the presto holes in the rims for Schrader valve stems, and there were burrs all over the edges, likely flattening several tubes. Additionally the rear brakes were badly misaligned, and since canti-levers are iffy to adjust for most folks, it looks like no more than passing attempts to remedy their lack of power had been made. The shifting was off track a bit, but not bad, just enough to make that noise we’ve all heard from a million misaligned bikes on the trail or bike paths, just the sound of friction. It had grip shifts from the factory, and someone had put full size grips on it, leaving the inch or so extra just hanging off the end of the bar (!!), and even those were pretty much fully worn out. I really don’t know how people ride a bike like that, and I do accept that not everyone takes these things as seriously as I do.
We went over it from nose to tail, we made up a little punch list of what it needed, and then what was going to be difficult, given the bikes age. For instance, the frame isn’t wide enough to fit any bigger than 1.9 x 26 inch tires, and those aren’t fallin off the shelves at the LBS (or online really) these days. Thankfully I had a set of older all terrain (almost semi slicks really) from an old project in the box, and I was able to use those, free in up space in my storage boxes, as well as getting her some tires better suited to the way she actually rides. We put a standard tube up front, and a slime filled tube for the rear to ward off pinch flats and such, since the bike is transportation, not a race bike. Those slime tubes are heavy just the same, that wheel was easily 500 grams heavier with it.
We replaced all the cables, including the brakes, but as the housing looked basically new, we just lubed them with the new cables. The canti pads were ok, if a little hard, so some careful adjusting and we had some solid stoppers for her, and when road tested by Jack who outweighs her by 50 pounds, and definitely rides harder than she will, they received the “great brakes” rating, typically reserved for discs by the boy who never had never ridden old skool stoppers before.
We lubed up the non cartridge headset, cleaned and lubed the fork seal wipers, checked the torque on the hub bearing caps, and scrubbed the drive train free of the surface rust wrought by garage life. While I was truing the wheels, Jackson took to scrubbing the seat which had some sort of white grease or something similar on it. I wouldn’t have bothered but he got it spotless, and then moved on to removing the weathered paper stickers placed smack in the middle of the head tube by the pawn shop. In the end, for a bike that probably hadn’t seen a proper bike mechanic in 20 years, she came out very nice. Our intended riders mom picked up a generic rear rack to enable easier carrying of the backpack and book bags college students are saddled with, so we mounted that up and loctited the screws to prevent them creating that rattle all those things seem to have.
Jack took sometime to thoroughly scrub the frame, and then waxed it with nanowax from Meguiar’s and we called it a day. We delivered it two days later, so she’s now had it for about three weeks. Her mom came by my office the other day to let me know she loved it, and was thrilled. She hadn’t expected the appearance to improve so dramatically, so she was surprised with the total package.
Job well done.