A hard decision!
I love my 1988 Cannondale ST1000. Chics dig the purple bike and it gets lots of compliments whenever I ride it. I love the Shimano Biopace chain rings and I enjoy the friction shifting drivetrain. In fact, I like it so much, I even wrote a review for the blog. You can check it out here. Despite the fact that I dig the Purple Bike, it is not without its problems.
The ST1000 was built to be a touring bike, but or the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone could tour on it. The riding position is very aggressive. Your hands are low, really close together and you are constantly eating your knees. It is not a comfortable ride. The wheels are also an issue. The rims are steel and the brakes don’t have great leverage. Stopping is an exercise in patience and a very strong grip. The rims are also an oddball size 27” which means that replacement tires and wheels are not widely available. Furthermore, the rear hub design means that the axle is vulnerable to failure. In fact, I have snapped no fewer than 4 axles in 3,000 miles. I have also recently started breaking spokes. It is time for a new wheel. This became painfully apparent this week when I was stopped on my commute by a flat tire. After making the repair I was on my way, but something was clearly not right. I had broken my fourth axle. It is time for a new wheel, but the question is what do I replace it with. I am struggling with the make a decision, so I thought I would throw it out to the blogosphere for some feedback.
As I see it, I have six options.
- I can simply replace the axle in the existing wheel and hope for the best. It is a $50 repair. However, I am having problems breaking spokes. This is an indication that the life of my wheel is limited.
- I can replace the wheel with a prebuilt 27” wheel. However, prebuilt wheels this size are not widely available. The only options are inexpensive wheels which will also be prone to axle breakage.
- I can buy a hub, rim and spokes and build my own rim. Apparently Sun Rims still sells 27” replacement rims. I can then update to a modern hub. Since I have friction shifting, I can upgrade from 6 speeds to 8 speeds and I will no longer be prone to axle breakage. With a new rear alloy rim, I will have one steel rim and one alloy rim. I know that alloy machines braking surfaces perform much better than steel. How would that affect my braking?
- I can upgrade my rear wheel to a new 700 wheel. There are tons of 700 cm wheels and tires available. The brakes on the ST1000 have enough adjustment to compensate for the smaller rims. I can still upgrade from six to 8-9 speeds, however I do not like the idea of having mixed wheel sizes. Furthermore, I will still have the Issue of having one alloy and one steel wheel.
- I could take the wheels from my road bike. Then I could buy a new set of wheels for it. I could then upgrade two bikes in the process! This is a great solution, but I am thinking of replacing my road bike with a disc brake equipped ride within the next couple years.
- The ST1000 is a classic mature lady in every sense of the word. A true lady should not be subject to the abuse I dish out on a daily 25-mile round trip commute. Maybe she should retire with dignity while she is in good condition. I have been thinking of getting a new commuter. I am thinking of the Masi Giramondo, the Surley Long Disc Trucker, the Soma Double Cross Disc and the Lynskey Viale.
So what do you think? Is it time for the purple bike to retire? Should I repair her, which repair should I make?