Thursday, April 10, 2014

1998 Cannondale Road bike Team Saeco Edition

My first real road bike as an adult was a Cannondale R800, my then wife (now Ex) gasped at how much I spent back in 1999 on this bike but I did end up riding the heck out of it,  including 3 Seattle to Portland rides.
My R800 road bike
As much as I liked my R800, in typical fashion (for me anyway) I soon lusted after a new bike - the cool Saeco team edition Cannondale road bike in viper red!
1998 Catalog shot
Saeco was, and is, an Italian manufacturer of espresso machines and they sponsored a pro cycling team with Cannondale in the late 90s/early 2000s.  Their most famous rider was (Super) Mario Cipollini, aka the "Lion King" and one of best pure power sprinters to ever grace the pelton, among other things he won 4 stages in a row in the 1999 Tour de France.  For a wannabe roadie like myself the team edition Cannondale was way cool.  I eventually grew out of my obsession with the pro style ride and discovered Steel and riding maintainable/enjoyable speeds but those Saeco Cannondales still have a soft spot in my cycling heart.

Super Mario in Yellow winning tour Stage - Killin' it!

Fast forward to about 2005 and my new neighbor turns out not only to be a fellow cyclist (Former CAT 5), he also rides a Cannondale R800 and he is a beer fridge in the garage kind of cool.  And the kicker is his wifes' bike is a Saeco team edition Cannondale in Viper red that I had so lusted after 5 years before!!... sadly it is a wee tiny 49cm bike with 650c wheels and tires (ISO 571) never to be ridden by this clydesdale LOL.

what I would look like on a 49cm bike

My buddies' wife never rode her Cannondale much, I don't think it was comfortable for her, and she moved on to a nice hybrid she rides with the kids.  So the Saeco has been hanging in the garage, collecting sawdust most of the last decade,  until today that is.  My buddy is clearing out his garage and talked about selling the Cannondale in our annual community wide garage sale in May- I once scored a sweet vintage Takara at the May event.  I quickly offered to to try and sell it for him on Craigslist for much more than he is thinking of asking at the garage sale in exchange for a small commission.  It's not like I don't have the time these days while I am looking for work.  Anyway after 14 years I finally got my hands on a Cannondale Saeco team edition road bike.....well one built for elves that is.
I was too impatient to take a before shot so just picture what a bike would look like after hanging in a garage for about 10 years while lots of carpentry projects take place in said garage.  And then I cleaned it up.  This didn't really even count as bike work; just a thorough wipe down with Armor-All wipes, pump up the tires, check the gearing and brakes, a little lube on the chain and Bobs your uncle.  Easy Peasy this bike is like brand new.

Feels a bit weird to be talking about a Aluminum frame/carbon fork bike on the blog but it is where I got my roadie start even if I am a fully converted lover of lugged Steel.   Cannondale is very proud of their computer aided design and this is an early example, as was my CAAD3 R800
I rode my own Cannondale for 8 years and loved it.  I didn't know any different from being jack hammered over the poorly maintained roads of West Seattle on a harsh too small frame (54cm) until I rode my Handsome devil with its smooth 4130 CroMo larger frame (57cm) and plusher tires over the same road and had an "Ah Ha!" moment.   For my pedal mashing, pro kit wearing, racer wannabe try and go fast self the Cannondale worked fine, for my throttle it back, fatter tires are better, who cares how fast enjoy the ride self -steel is the deal.  Still love that Viper red paint job though!
Like my R800 this bike sports the solid mid level Shimano 105 drive-train with the house brand Coda hubs, brakes and cockpit.
105 not too bling, not to blah just right
 Apparently I'm not the only one who likes a viper red Saeco Cannondale since putting the CL ad up this afternoon I've already had two inquires, this little roadie might not last until Saturday.

Anyway thanks for indulging me in a little trip down Aluminum...err..Memory lane.

As always


  1. That is a beautiful bike. I wonder how many garages around the country are sporting a low miles bike hanging up in the rafters, forgotten about, from young days gone by. Especially bikes from the mid to late seventies when there was a bike shop on every corner selling ten-speeds! Bike picker overload. What you do Ryan times 100 or so. God, you would think there would be a great market and retail store idea behind this concept if you could find the consistent supply of bikes to come into the pipeline. There is Recycled Cycles in Ft. Collins that is based on this concept. They must do OK because that store has been there for many years.
    Maybe people just want a new bike and that is why the Walmart junk sells

    1. Jim thanks as always for stopping by and commenting - appreciate it. I was wondering if I had offended people by talking about an Aluminum bike ;-). I would guess there are many garages with such finds, I have come across a few myself and hope to again. We have a recycled cycles here in Seattle but they do as much business in new stuff as used these days. While I couldn't make this make financial sense right now I hope to make it a part of my income stream down the road. It really comes down to how much, or to the point how little, you get the initial bike for. In my experience unless it something truly special, 531 or Columbus tubing for instance, then if I am paying much more than $30- to 40 for a bike in need of TLC then by the time I have put time and new materials into it I am not really making much out of the deal. Maybe I need to charge more LOL

    2. Hey! How are you doing with the 30 days April riding pledge thing? I did not pledge but was going to try and ride everyday. I missed already on Sunday. It snowed about six inches with ice on the roads. There was really nothing to get out and ride for so I stayed in. I don't want to ride just because of a pledge and it becomes a chore. Anyway I did my bike hobby with some garage time cleaning and lube on a couple of bikes and then watched the Masters. So I am out on the perfect 30 days. March and April are our wettest months so it is going to be hard to ride everyday anyway

    3. Hey Jim so far,so good, I did a long ride,for me, I may post about.

  2. That is a really beautiful bicycle. I was reading an article recently (Bike Rumor, I think) talking about the "comeback" of aluminum as a frame material. Something to do with new techniques in tube forming...but still with the venerable Reynolds 6061. As far as I am concerned, why not? I'm not anti-carbon, but the also venerable Peter White the Wheelsmith makes a pretty convincing argument about Clydesdales and crabon. He doesn't say much about aluminum, as I recall. My old Mongoose Alta is aluminum and it never occurred to me to not like it for that reason. In fact I like that bike a lot and all the mountain 29ers I have been drooling over are aluminum. But of course, we are talking about road bikes, here.

    I don't know. I would have to ride one. As I gradually convert Little Miss into my all-day every day living-on-it zombie apocalypse utility bike I have started thinking about the N+1...I'm going to buy an MTB for the Divide because one way or another, I'm going to ride at least a portion of that trail someday. But I just wouldn't feel right without a straight razor go-fast hanging on the wall, just in case...and an aluminum frame with a carbon fork, 105 group, STI shifters: like I said: why not?


    1. You just described my Schwinn, Alu frame, carbon fork, 105 group, STI shifters, why not??? It is a good ride that I just kind of fell into.
      When you finally roll up north here to ride the Divide, I could maybe be your co-pilot. That is on my list of retirement bike rides. Of course the list might be getting longer than the retirement time. I just read a good tour on Crazy-guy of a couple riding the Zion, Bryce, Arches parks in Utah. Looked great....add to the list.

    2. Tim Joe as a go fast /don't need more than 25c tires max /and your riding is pavement no reason an Alum bike couldn't fit the bill as your straight razor. With the hydroforming methods they use on Alum bikes these days they get some pretty sexy shapes too.