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Old 04-28-2023, 08:34 PM
hoj hoj is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 627
My irrational resto-mod Cannondale R4000 -- updated with proper photos :)


Been looking forward to posting this one as it's probably the most irrational build I've done considering the cost of the frame (ie, cheap), the effort that went into restoring it, and the parts that I ultimately dressed it up with. But, there's something really satisfying to me about rescuing something from the (literal?) dustbin, restoring it, and then speccing it out with a parts list that a frame like this typically wouldn't be deserving of. So here goes...

A few months ago, I snagged a late 90's Cannondale R4000 stars and stripes frame on Craiglist for $75. The original paint was cool and all but there were quite a few paint chips, scratches on graphics, etc that would have made it hard to restore to my liking. Furthermore, the seller didn't disclose to me before I bought it that the steerer tube on the original fork was cut wayyyy too short for any stem to even have a chance to grip on there (it barely reached past the upper headset bearing!), so I ultimately had to source something else. Part of the blame should rightly go to me for not noticing that myself, but oh well. Learn and move on, right?

So with less-than-perfect paint on a cheap frame that no longer had a matching fork, I decided this would be as good an opportunity as ever to try my hand at a DIY paint job. I've always loved the metallic blue paint jobs on the iconic early 90's Cannondale Track bikes, and with that as my inspiration I set out on what would eventually be one of the most satisfying projects I've attempted to date.

For the fork, 1" threadless options aren't super common anymore, however I was fortunate to source a like new Columbus Minimal fork from a fellow paceliner. As an additional bonus, the Columbus fork happened to have the exact same specs as the original fork (but with a longer steerer!), so with that I was set.

For the paint job, I used paint stripper on the frame to get rid of the original paint and then followed that up with sanding to smooth things out before applying primer. For the fork, I skipped the paint stripping step and simply sanded down the clear coat prior to primer.

The primer and paint were both from Montana, and the 2K clear coat was from SprayMax. Decals I sourced from Ebay. I added 2 light coats of primer, followed by 3 light coats of paint and 3 light coats of clear. Between each layer, I sanded with 800-1200-2000 sandpaper before laying down the next layer. It took quite a while before it was all said and done, but in the end I was really impressed with how the paint turned out.

For the rest of the build, I opted for as much silver as I could find, including the Chris King 1" threadless headset, Kalloy seatpost, and Ritchey Classic stem and handlebars. The 1-1/8" Ritchey stem is fitted to the 1" steerer tube with a simple shim which works great and allows for a greater variety of handlebar options.

For the cranks, I've always liked the "radial"-looking chainrings that Cannondale used on their SiSL2 cranksets from a few years back, so I wanted to replicate that as best I could. Garbaruk Components makes a chainring that works beautifully for this, so I sourced one of their 1x 50T chainrings compatible with Easton Cinch cranks. The Easton EA90 cranks I bought new, and since they only come in an anodized black finish I had to get a bit more creative to keep the silver theme consistent on the build. For this, I simply pulsed the cranks with some oven cleaner for a few minutes and the anodization lifted right off. After giving them a good rinse I then buffed them out with a green scotchbrite pad to give them a brushed, raw aluminum finish.

The groupset is finished off with SRAM Red brake calipers, eTAP shifters/levers, Red22 cassette/chain, and an eTAP WiFli rear derailleur.

Wheels are FSE 35mm tubulars laced to Extralite hubs w/ Vittoria tan-wall tubulars. Weight for the wheels (minus tires) is around 1100g.

All-in weight for the entire bike including pedals and bottle cages is 14.8 lbs! Not bad at all for a late 90's aluminum frame with a bunch of alloy components!

I'll get some proper photos soon, but in the meantime here are a couple process shots and a couple quick pics of the finished build. More pics and vids can also be found on IG (@hoj_art)


Before w/ original paint:

Ready for primer:

Close-up of raw aluminum:

Finished build:

Close-up of crankset:
@hoj_lab |||

Last edited by hoj; 05-26-2023 at 11:28 PM.
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