Canny Goes on a Diet

After 11 years and nearly 25,000 miles of service, I came to the conclusion that my Cannondale‘s hodgepodge of Campagnolo Chorus/Athena/Veloce/Mirage components had worn out almost beyond repair. The shifting in the rear was no longer crisp and precise no matter how much fiddling I did, and the shifting up front with the triple was never the greatest (can you say “chain drop”?) That I was trying to get the Campy stuff to work together with a Shimano-compatible 9-speed cassette in the rear only complicated matters, kind of like the Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel relationship after the 1970s.

So what to do? It seemed like dollars spent on a new gruppo would be better applied to my Superbike Fund, but yet it would be nice to be able to ride my favorite bike in the meantime without hearing the characteristic clack-clack-clack of a missed shift.

The solution lay across the garage, with Canny’s younger sister Carrie. Carrie had much less used Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 components of the same vintage that functioned near-perfectly. To top it off, through some number crunching in OpenOffice Calc, I determined Canny could lose over a pound with the component swap. So off went the Italian components and on went the Japanese ones.

I actually did the gruppo transfer over the course of a week, but it was worth it. The Shimano shifters have much lighter action and are much more precise, both front and rear. I’d say the rear is 94% perfect (the only imperfection is that I sometimes have to overshift to downshift from the 15-tooth to 17-tooth cog), and the front is 100% perfect.

I’m actually using Canny’s OEM Shimano RX100 downtube shifter for the front derailleur and a Shimano non-STI lever for the front brake—a setup similar to mine from 1997-1999 and, incidentally, Lance Armstrong’s in the climbing stages for all seven of his Tour de France wins. This saved (an admittedly small) 60 or so grams (2 ounces) versus the left Dura-Ace 7700 brifter and extra cable housing, and has retro/simplistic appeal. At first I felt mixed about it because it required me to remove my hand from the handlebars to shift, but it has grown on me because the shifting action is flawless. It takes almost no force to shift the lever in either direction, the chain movement is lightning quick and I have never missed a shift or ever heard any grinding since putting it on.

I also initially felt ambivalent about the right Dura-Ace 7700’s “clothesline” (unhidden shifter cable routing), but it brings three benefits: 1) reduced cable friction versus under-the-tape routing, 2) the ability to “hook” my right thumb underneath the cable ferrule while riding, and 3) being able to use a gear indicator.

Almost everyone pooh-poohs the plastic indicator, but I love it. It weighs next to nothing, but tells you in advance when you should start thinking about shifting the front. I no longer have to glance back at the rear cogs to know what gear I’m in, which is a potential safety issue and distraction while riding due to having to take my eyes off the road. To me it’s the single best argument for having exposed shifter cables.

Speaking of gears, with the double up front, my gear range is reduced versus the triple. I compensated this somewhat by installing a 12-26 cassette in the rear (versus the old 12-23). However, the 39×26 is still 7.8% larger than my former 32×23 (40.3 gear inches versus 37.4). This means that while spinning at 60 rpm in my lowest gear, I’d have to be going 7.2 mph instead of 6.7.

I would like a lower gear than that (especially since I want to work on climbing at a faster, more optimal cadence), so for my Superbike project I will plan on getting a compact crank and maybe a larger cog in the rear than 26. But for now, with Canny’s current gearing I am confident I can make it up any of Northern Colorado’s classic climbs, if albeit a little slower than I’d like.

As for the fate of Carrie, my former commuter bike that donated the parts? Her frameset will be sold to help fund the Superbike project. For that bike, I will target a weight around the UCI minimum of 6.8 kilograms.


From 1999-August 2010, Canny weighed 20.3 pounds. Considering that Lance Armstrong’s Trek was rumored to weigh about 18 pounds in his first Tour de France win, that was not at all obese—at least for the 90s. However, by today’s standards where $5000 superbikes weigh 15, it is quite portly.

The component swap reduced her weight to 19.0 pounds, or 18.5 without pedals (how bicycle manufacturers and publications usually weigh bikes). If I spent about $60 on a lighter handlebar and saddle, I could drop another .5 pounds easily for a weight of 18.0 pounds (without pedals), which would be .1 pounds lighter than Cannondale’s own $2150 2011 CAAD10 with Shimano Ultegra components. Not bad for being 18 years old!

June 1999-August 2010

Item Component Weight, pounds (grams)
Frame Cannondale 3.0 (R500, year 1992), 53cm 3.1 (1406)*
Fork Cannondale Alloy 1.1 (499)*
Wheels Mavic CXP-30/Shimano Ultegra 4.46 (2025)
Rim Tape Velox cloth .07 (30)
Skewers Performance Ti QR .19 (85)
Tires Michelin Pro Race2, 700x23c 0.97 (440)
Tubes generic, standard .51 (230)
Crank Campagnolo Racing T 52-42-32 1.73 (785)
Bottom Bracket Campagnolo Mirage, Triple .66 (299)
Chain Sram PC69 9-speed .58 (265)
Rear Cogs Sram R9 12-23 9-speed .42 (190)
Front Derailleur Campagnolo Mirage Triple .21 (95)
Rear Derailleur Campagnolo Veloce, Triple .58 (265)
Shfiters/Brake Levers Campagnolo Chorus Ergopower 9-speed (1999) .82 (370)
Handlebars Modolo E-2091 38cm-width 26.0mm-diameter .82 (370)
Handlebar Plugs black plastic 0 (2)
Stem Italmanubri Eclipse, 12cm .63 (285)
Headset Campagnolo Athena .24 (110)
Brakes Shimano Ultegra 6500 (1996) .74 (335)
Seat Post Kalloy? .6 (270)**
Saddle Specialized Body Geometry Comp .65 (295)
Handlebar Tape cork + tube rubber .21 (95)
Cables with 2X cable stops .42 (190)
Pedals Speedplay X/3 .47 (215)
TOTAL 20.3 (9217)*

**after cutting off several inches in mid-1990s

September 2010-April 2014

Item Component Weight, pounds (grams) Weight Savings, pounds (grams)
Frame Cannondale 3.0 (R500, year 1992), 53cm 3.1 (1406)
Fork Cannondale Alloy 1.1 (499)
Wheels Mavic CXP-30/Shimano Ultegra 4.46 (2025)
Rim Tape Velox cloth .07 (30)
Skewers Performance Ti QR .19 (85)
Tires Michelin Pro Race2 0.97 (440)
Tubes generic, standard .51 (230)
Crank Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 53×39 1.33 (605) .40 (180)
Bottom Bracket Shimano Octalink .40 (180) .41 (185)
Chain Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 9-speed .58 (265) 0
Rear Cogs Sram R9 12-26 9-speed .45 (205) -.03 (-15)
Front Derailleur Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 .15 (70) .06 (25)
Rear Derailleur Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 .43 (195) .15 (70)
Shifters/Brake Levers Shimano Dura-Ace 7700 STI (right) + Shimano 105 brake lever (left) + RX100 downtube shifter (left) .76 (345) .06 (25)
Handlebars Modolo E-2091 38cm-width 26.0mm-diameter .82 (370)
Handlebar Plugs black plastic 0 (2)
Stem Italmanubri Eclipse, 12cm .63 (285)
Headset Campagnolo Athena .24 (110)
Brakes Shimano Ultegra 6500 .74 (335)
Seat Post Kalloy 27.2-dia, cut from 12″ to 7″ .46 (210) .13 (60)
Saddle Specialized Body Geometry Comp .65 (295)
Handlebar Tape Fizik Microtex, white .07 (30) .14 (65)
Cables with 2X cable stops .42 (190)
Pedals Speedplay X/3 .47 (215)
TOTAL 19.0 (8622)* 1.3 (595)

April 2014-August 2014

During these few months Canny weighed only 17.9 lbs.! But then I mounted some really old Profile Aerostryke aerobars (slightly modified to be shorter/lighter by my friend Steve Wickland well over a decade ago) which measured to be 605 grams, so the C’dale is now back up to 19.2 lbs.

May 2017

I upgraded the components to 2×10 speed, as described in this post. The resultant weight gain was .17 lbs., so Canny’s weight became 19.4 lbs.

January 3, 2020

I made the following modifications:

  • Cut off the excess aluminum on the arm-rest “arms” from the Profile Aerostryke aerobars, and spray-painted them a glossy black. Weight savings: 36g.
  • Replaced the non-STI Shimano left brake lever with a Shimano 105 5700 left shift/brake lever, to match the right one. However, since I still want to use the downtube lever for the front derailleur, I bought a a 5700 left shift/brake lever that had broken shifter internals off eBay for around $15. Then I gutted the internals of the unit (i.e., removed all the shifting-related components) to reduce its weight by 74g, for a resultant weight of 160g. The old brake lever weighed 122g. Therefore, weight gain: 38g.

So due to the above, Canny gained an insignificant 2g, and still weighs 19.4 lbs. (without water, water bottle cages, saddle bag, etc., but with aerobars). But she looks better and is more comfortable to ride the hoods.

Using my new stationary trainer as a bicycle workstand.

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