Project Cannondale: XC MTB Turned Commuter Bike, Part Two

When I left off last week on this project, I had shown some photos of the blown up Headshok and the rigid fork it was replaced with. After the fork had been replaced, I went digging through my spares for the remaining bits necessary to reassemble it into a complete bike again. After rummaging through my boxes of spare parts, I was all set to build it back up as a 24 speed bike, since I have collected an abundance of eight speed drivetrains over the years. It seems as though every time I got an eight speed anything, someone would make me a sweet deal on some nine speed parts, and I’d have to change my plans. This was no exception. While out picking up a used fork for another project, a very generous seller made me an offer on his lightly used SRAM XO nine speed components that I couldn’t pass up, plus included a set of hydraulic disc brakes. So I stripped the Shimano drivetrain and brakes off my XC 29er, and put them on the Cannondale. Yeah, this project took a turn, and is looking less and less like a budget build, but bear with me. The plan was to turn a mountain bike into something more worthy of commuter duty, and in that respect, it’s still on track.

Cannondale CAAD3 project bike Aggressive Continental rubber

After a bit of thought, I went with Shimano LX 9 speed shifters, Shimano XT front and rear derailleurs (An Alivio rear is shown, but has been swapped out), and some Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes. Nothing fancy, but I like the familiarity of the shifters, and mechanical discs should work well in winter for two reasons. First, they offer better stopping power than rim brakes -that’s a given. Second, I expect that in the snow, I’ll run over debris, drop into a pothole, or do something foolish (most likely scenario right there, no doubt) to bend a rim. With discs, I can still ride home. The saddle is a Selle Italia that’s been on the bike since about forever, and the pedals are platforms, rather than clipless, but they do have some small spikes. While I prefer clipless, it’s been my experience riding in the snow that accidents can happen much faster than they do on dry pavement or a trail, and I’d probably hit the ground well before getting unclipped. That, and I don’t relish the idea of walking in the snow in cycling shoes if something goes awry. My guess is that the majority of cyclists riding in bad winter weather will share those sentiments. So that’s my thoughts on pedals/footwear. When it comes to deciding how my the bike should be shod, it was a pretty easy choice. I’ve had several sets of these Continental tires, and figured they should do well in the snow, with their deep and aggressive tread pattern. If I’m wrong, no worries, you can sign my cast! Mounting fenders will require a creative solution, as this frame has no provisions on the seat stays or chain stays for the hardware. There isn’t even a bridge. But I know I can mount a rack, and already have some panniers. So it’s coming together ok. It can change gears, stop, and hopefully will have mad traction in the snow.

Check back next Friday to find out how I solve the fender issue, and see what other progress was made.

– Brian

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