Cannondale vs Specialized?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Al Downie, Feb 4, 2004.

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  1. Al Downie

    Al Downie Guest

    Hi,

    I'm about to buy a new bike (to replace my very old Stumpjumper Comp), and I've narrowed the
    choice down to two models: the 04 Stumpjumper Comp and the 03 Cannondale F800SL. I'll be using it
    for commuting, off-road recreation AND a bit of touring once I've cobbled together some clips to
    allow a rack.

    The Specialized seems to have better components and 'conventional' forks rather than Cannondale's
    Headshock system (I'm a bit worried that I'll be locked into buying Cannondale parts, or limit my
    upgrade options).

    Both bikes are about the same price new; the best price i've found for the Specialized is £200 off
    the rrp, and the Cannondale is £400 off the rrp, so it's more of a bargain!

    I'd be very grateful for any opinions about either or both of the bikes.

    Many thanks,

    Al
     
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  2. TheGreatGatsby

    TheGreatGatsby New Member

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    I used to ride a Cannondale F700 for exactly the same things and to be honest I wouldn't touch one ever again! The build quality of the wheels is useless - after a few months of mild offroading the rims split and most of the spokes snapped. The free hubs are useless - had to replace mine three times in the two years I had it. The Headshok is the biggest con in the world. You can only get it serviced by a Cannondale dealer and they cost £50 each time. After 6 months mine started leaking oil so had to be sent back to Cannondale and I had to buy new forx - £150. Then 3 months after that the seal exploded leaving me with a shock that didnt work - it was like riding a rigid bike only worse. Basically all the components are rubbish and the pads for he discs are !5 quid a pair. Stay well away from them unless you've got buckets of dosh to maintain them. I now have a gorgeous Carbon Condon Single speeder for commuting and a Sintesi Bazooka for throwing my self of mountains!

    Get the Specialized leaves more scope for hastle free upgrades.

    Thats just my opinion. Hope it helps.

    Gats
     
  3. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Al Downie <[email protected]> writes:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I'm about to buy a new bike (to replace my very old Stumpjumper Comp), and I've narrowed the
    > choice down to two models: the 04 Stumpjumper Comp and the 03 Cannondale F800SL. I'll be using it
    > for commuting, off-road recreation AND a bit of touring once I've cobbled together some clips to
    > allow a rack.
    >
    > The Specialized seems to have better components and 'conventional' forks rather than Cannondale's
    > Headshock system (I'm a bit worried that I'll be locked into buying Cannondale parts, or limit my
    > upgrade options).

    The Lefty is a much better technical design than a conventional fork: very much stiffer, and
    consequently works better under load. It does require more maintenance, which may be a
    disadvantage particularly if you don't have a local Cannondale dealer (I don't). You do get less
    good kit on a Cannondale, but you get a much better frame, and it's easier to upgrade the kit
    gradually over a period of years than to upgrade the frame. 2003 model Cannondales, if you can
    still get one, come with a lifetime frame guarantee; 2004 only three years, so if you can still
    find a 2003 it may be worth it.

    > Both bikes are about the same price new; the best price i've found for the Specialized is £200 off
    > the rrp, and the Cannondale is £400 off the rrp, so it's more of a bargain!

    It's also, frankly, a much better bike.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    A message from our sponsor: This site is now in free fall
     
  4. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Al Downie wrote:

    > I'm about to buy a new bike (to replace my very old Stumpjumper Comp), and I've narrowed the
    > choice down to two models: the 04 Stumpjumper Comp and the 03 Cannondale F800SL. I'll be using it
    > for commuting, off-road recreation AND a bit of touring once I've cobbled together some clips to
    > allow a rack.

    Hi Al, I wouldn't use either for a commute unless you are *very* happy about the security where you
    work (like can park it in a locking cage or lean it against your desk). Both are highly desirable
    machines and will attract thieves, plus at this time of year it's criminal grinding salt into high
    end derailleurs. I'd just use the old one with some slick tyres and mudguards on as a hack for now.
    No actual feedback on which is the better MTB, I'm afraid...

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  5. Al Downie

    Al Downie Guest

    Hi Pete (there's no escape!),

    > Hi Al, I wouldn't use either for a commute unless you are *very* happy about the security where
    > you work (like can park it in a locking cage or lean it against your desk). Both are highly
    > desirable machines and will attract thieves, plus at this time of year it's criminal grinding salt
    > into high end derailleurs. I'd just use the old one with some slick tyres and mudguards on as a
    > hack for now.

    Thanks for that; yep, phase 2 of my plan is to strip down the old bike and turn it into a single-
    speed, no-fuss, low-maintenance thing for commuting. Jury's still discussing the tyres issue though
    - I know narrow slicks are the sensible choice for on-road use, but I still like the notion of a big
    grown-up's BMX. I just turned 40 in January.

    I'm lucky enough to have a garage at home and a lock-up cage at work, but yes, I'm a bit worried
    about locking the good bike outside the swimming pool etc, so I'll be using the re-jigged old
    machine as soon as it's ready. If I was REALLY worried about security I'd buy a recumbent! Hah!

    Thanks again for the tips.

    See ya,

    Al
     
  6. Al Downie

    Al Downie Guest

    Hi Simon,

    > The Lefty is a much better technical design than a conventional fork: very much stiffer, and
    > consequently works better under load. It does require more maintenance, which may be a
    > disadvantage particularly if you don't have a local Cannondale dealer (I don't). You do get less
    > good kit on a Cannondale, but you get a much better frame, and it's easier to upgrade the kit
    > gradually over a period of years than to upgrade the frame. 2003 model Cannondales, if you can
    > still get one, come with a lifetime frame guarantee; 2004 only three years, so if you can still
    > find a 2003 it may be worth it.

    Top man; thanks for all that. The fork on the 03 model is Cannondale's standard 'headshok' design
    (not lefty) - would that change your advice? It also means that the headset is an unusual diameter.

    I do like the Cannondale frame, but don't like being locked into buying only Cannondale bits. Having
    said that, my current bike has lasted 20 years without needing new forks or headset. Maybe in the
    end it'll all come down to colour...

    Thanks again,

    Al
     
  7. Simon Galgut

    Simon Galgut Guest

    "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Al Downie <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > > Hi,
    > >
    > > I'm about to buy a new bike (to replace my very old Stumpjumper Comp), and I've narrowed the
    > > choice down to two models: the 04 Stumpjumper Comp and the 03 Cannondale F800SL. I'll be using
    > > it for commuting, off-road recreation AND a bit of touring once I've cobbled together some clips
    > > to allow a rack.
    > >
    > > The Specialized seems to have better components and 'conventional' forks rather than
    > > Cannondale's Headshock system (I'm a bit worried that I'll be locked into buying Cannondale
    > > parts, or limit my upgrade options).
    >
    > The Lefty is a much better technical design than a conventional fork: very much stiffer, and
    > consequently works better under load. It does require more maintenance, which may be a
    > disadvantage particularly if you don't have a local Cannondale dealer (I don't). You do get less
    > good kit on a Cannondale, but you get a much better frame, and it's easier to upgrade the kit
    > gradually over a period of years than to upgrade the frame. 2003 model Cannondales, if you can
    > still get one, come with a lifetime frame guarantee; 2004 only three years, so if you can still
    > find a 2003 it may be worth it.

    Not so. The three year restriction only applies to freeride bikes (Gemini and Chase). The rest are
    lifetime for the original purchaser.

    Regards Simon
     
  8. TheGreatGatsby wrote:

    > The Headshok is the biggest con in the world. You can only get it serviced by a Cannondale dealer
    > and they cost £50 each time.

    As a matter of purely academic interest, what is so clever about the internals of the Cannondale
    Headshok? I've recently pulled apart, serviced and reassembled the outwardly Univega-built "Concept"
    boinger on the front end of my Speedmachine with the only difficulty being determining the corrcted
    method of reseating the lower "headset" bearing in the bottom of the head tube (answer from HP
    Velotechnik: clout it...)

    All disc brake pads for bikes are priced by Stan, though. Otherwise a Thing the size of a postage
    stamp would not cost more than a set for a motorcar.

    --

    Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  9. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Al Downie <[email protected]> writes:

    > Hi Simon,
    >
    > > The Lefty is a much better technical design than a conventional fork: very much stiffer, and
    > > consequently works better under load. It does require more maintenance, which may be a
    > > disadvantage particularly if you don't have a local Cannondale dealer (I don't). You do get less
    > > good kit on a Cannondale, but you get a much better frame, and it's easier to upgrade the kit
    > > gradually over a period of years than to upgrade the frame. 2003 model Cannondales, if you can
    > > still get one, come with a lifetime frame guarantee; 2004 only three years, so if you can still
    > > find a 2003 it may be worth it.
    >
    > Top man; thanks for all that. The fork on the 03 model is Cannondale's standard 'headshok' design
    > (not lefty) - would that change your advice? It also means that the headset is an unusual
    > diameter.

    The 'Fatty' type fork with the suspension cartridge in the head tube does have advantages and is
    nice and stiff, but it's mechanically pretty complex and has limited travel. Good for cross-country,
    but like the Lefty needs specialist maintenance. It's not, for me, technically such a clear win over
    the conventional design.

    > I do like the Cannondale frame, but don't like being locked into buying only Cannondale bits.
    > Having said that, my current bike has lasted 20 years without needing new forks or headset. Maybe
    > in the end it'll all come down to colour...

    Well, it's only the headset which is special, and you can by adaptors to fit smaller headsets into a
    Cannondale frame.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    Morning had broken, and we had run out of gas for the welding torch.
     
  10. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    "Dave Larrington" <[email protected]> writes:

    > TheGreatGatsby wrote:
    >
    > > The Headshok is the biggest con in the world. You can only get it serviced by a Cannondale
    > > dealer and they cost £50 each time.
    >
    > As a matter of purely academic interest, what is so clever about the internals of the Cannondale
    > Headshok? I've recently pulled apart, serviced and reassembled the outwardly Univega-built
    > "Concept" boinger on the front end of my Speedmachine with the only difficulty being determining
    > the corrcted method of reseating the lower "headset" bearing in the bottom of the head tube
    > (answer from HP Velotechnik: clout it...)

    The core of a headshock suspension mechanism (whether Lefty or Fatty) is an octagonal linear bearing
    with a roller bearing cage running on four sides (obviously, every second side has a race). Both the
    static part and the moving part have four flat bearing surfaces. When disassembling the mechanism it
    is apparently quite easy to lose rollers out of the races if you're not careful.

    This is unlike virtually any other bicycle suspension unit, almost all of which have plain bushes
    rather than bearings. The reason is that the mechanism has to transmit rotational (steering)
    movements while damping linear movements.

    The USE Sub fork, the only other monoblade front suspension unit I'm aware of, transfers the
    steering movement through the heavily-knucked cantilever arm and is mechanically much simpler. It's
    a better technical design than the Lefty for a number of reasons, but it's also fearsomely more
    expensive.

    Simon, who plans to upgrade his Lefty to a Sub as soon as he can afford it...

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    Morning had broken, and we had run out of gas for the welding torch.
     
  11. Al Downie wrote:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I'm about to buy a new bike (to replace my very old Stumpjumper Comp), and I've narrowed the
    > choice down to two models: the 04 Stumpjumper Comp and the 03 Cannondale F800SL. I'll be using it
    > for commuting, off-road recreation AND a bit of touring once I've cobbled together some clips to
    > allow a rack.
    >
    > The Specialized seems to have better components and 'conventional' forks rather than Cannondale's
    > Headshock system (I'm a bit worried that I'll be locked into buying Cannondale parts, or limit my
    > upgrade options).
    >
    > Both bikes are about the same price new; the best price i've found for the Specialized is £200 off
    > the rrp, and the Cannondale is £400 off the rrp, so it's more of a bargain!
    >
    > I'd be very grateful for any opinions about either or both of the bikes.

    I have an older Cannondale. I think they're a bit over-rated - and the components have often been a
    weak point - although the frames are fabulously light. Presumably the Specialized is aluminium as
    well? There are a lot of broken Cannondale frames in the world, and I'm not convinced of their
    quality control. My frame looked good after the paint was stripped off, but some people have found
    holes filled with epoxy where the welding has gone wrong.
     
  12. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

  13. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Zog The Undeniable <[email protected]> writes:

    > Al Downie wrote:
    >
    > > Hi, I'm about to buy a new bike (to replace my very old Stumpjumper Comp), and I've narrowed the
    > > choice down to two models: the 04 Stumpjumper Comp and the 03 Cannondale F800SL. I'll be using
    > > it for commuting, off-road recreation AND a bit of touring once I've cobbled together some clips
    > > to allow a rack.
    >
    > > The Specialized seems to have better components and 'conventional' forks rather than
    > > Cannondale's Headshock system (I'm a bit worried that I'll be locked into buying Cannondale
    > > parts, or limit my upgrade options).
    >
    > > Both bikes are about the same price new; the best price i've found for the Specialized is £200
    > > off the rrp, and the Cannondale is £400 off the rrp, so it's more of a bargain!
    >
    > > I'd be very grateful for any opinions about either or both of the bikes.
    >
    >
    > I have an older Cannondale. I think they're a bit over-rated - and the components have often been
    > a weak point - although the frames are fabulously light. Presumably the Specialized is aluminium
    > as well? There are a lot of broken Cannondale frames in the world

    This is something that is often said. Have you personally ever seen one? I personally have not.

    > My frame looked good after the paint was stripped off, but some people have found holes filled
    > with epoxy where the welding has gone wrong.

    Again, this is a pupular story. Have you seen one? I haven't. From my observation, the welding on
    Cannondale frames is streets in front of the welding on any other make of aluminium frame.

    It's also worth pointing out that many Cannondale frames are guaranteed for the lifetime of the
    original purchasor. If they regularly broke, could Cannondale afford to make this promise? If their
    quality control was poor, could Cannondale afford to make this promise?

    How many other makers offer that sort of guarantee?

    In my opinion, these stories are just sour grapes and envy.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    Due to financial constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off.
     
  14. Simon Brooke wrote:

    > Zog The Undeniable <[email protected]> writes:

    >> I have an older Cannondale. I think they're a bit over-rated - and the components have often been
    >> a weak point - although the frames are fabulously light. Presumably the Specialized is aluminium
    >> as well? There are a lot of broken Cannondale frames in the world
    >
    > This is something that is often said. Have you personally ever seen one? I personally have not.

    Way back when aluminium frames were strange and exotic things used only by a few eccentric roadies,
    my mate Ian had one of the first Cannondale MTB's in the country, in perhaps the most Vile shade of
    Pink ever to grace any bicycle not expressly designed to appeal to six year old Barbie fans. Some
    time later, he /still/ had a Vile Pink Cannondale, but also had, hanging on the wall of his garage,
    a length of aluminium tube in the precise same shade of Vile Pink, and with the word "Cannondale"
    writ large thereupon... He used it for extra leverage when removing freewheels.

    This does not, obv, necessarily indicate that his original frame borke, but it seems unlikely that
    he sawed his top tube out just to measure the wall thickness ;-)

    --

    Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  15. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >> Again, this is a pupular story. Have you seen one? I haven't. From my
    > observation, the welding on Cannondale frames is streets in front of the welding on any other make
    > of aluminium frame.

    As the owner of a 'dale road bike I'd have to disagree. From a little way off the joins look lovely
    and smooth, closer up they look like someone's gobbed as much weld in as possible and then spent
    ages filing and emerying to get a presentable result, bodging a bad job in short. However, they may
    be stronger for it. Contrast this to the beautiful fish-scale welds on my Marin mtb and most other
    ally bikes and motorbikes. As to neat joints I think the cast and bonded lugs on my old Trek look
    the dogs do-dahs, so smoooth!

    Regarding frame breakages I've never seen nor heard of someone suffering a breakage on a 'dale but
    saw a Marin with cracks near the head tube, heard of another with a similar problem and have seen a
    Specialized with a cracked chainstay.
    --
    Regards, Pete
     
  16. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    "Peter B" <[email protected]> writes:

    > "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > >> Again, this is a pupular story. Have you seen one? I haven't. From my
    > > observation, the welding on Cannondale frames is streets in front of the welding on any other
    > > make of aluminium frame.
    >
    > As the owner of a 'dale road bike I'd have to disagree. From a little way off the joins look
    > lovely and smooth, closer up they look like someone's gobbed as much weld in as possible and then
    > spent ages filing and emerying to get a presentable result, bodging a bad job in short. However,
    > they may be stronger for it.

    Look at the welds on any fighter aeroplane from anywhere in the world, and then come back to us.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/ ,/| _.--''^``-...___.._.,; /,
    \'. _-' ,--,,,--''' { \ `_-'' ' / `;;' ; ; ; ._..--'' ._,,, _..' .;.' (,_....----''' (,..--''
     
  17. Al Downie

    Al Downie Guest

    Many thanks to all for advice and suggestions; much appreciated

    Simon Brooke wrote (about a Cannondale):

    > It's also, frankly, a much better bike.

    I'm not challenging you, but can you say why you believe that to be the case? I quite like
    aesthetics of the frame design, but apart from that, it's got lower-spec components, a non-standard
    headset & stem, a headshok system which is fiddly/costly to maintain and a large number of
    disgruntled ex-owners and disbelievers. WHat makes you say it's better?

    Many thanks again,

    Al
     
  18. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Al Downie <[email protected]> writes:

    > Many thanks to all for advice and suggestions; much appreciated
    >
    > Simon Brooke wrote (about a Cannondale):
    >
    > > It's also, frankly, a much better bike.
    >
    > I'm not challenging you, but can you say why you believe that to be the case? I quite like
    > aesthetics of the frame design, but apart from that, it's got lower-spec components, a non-
    > standard headset & stem, a headshok system which is fiddly/costly to maintain and a large number
    > of disgruntled ex-owners and disbelievers. WHat makes you say it's better?

    Primarily, weld quality, and that headshock system. Neither overwhelming in themselves, but taken
    together symptomatic of a company with a committment to engineering excellence and an understanding
    of the physics of structures which is unparallelled among at least the other Merkin mass-producers.
    I want to get my hands on a Nicolai because I hear they're seriously good frames, but they still use
    twin leg forks on all their bikes, and fairly simple physics just says that's wrong. The stiffness
    of a tube increases with the fourth power of its diameter.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/ ;; "If I were a Microsoft
    Public Relations person, I would probably ;; be sobbing on a desk right now" -- Rob Miller,
    editor, /.
     
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