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Since it's obvious that there is a great deal of bike expertise here, I joined the forum to get some solid advice.

I now have in my possession a 2001-2002 Cannondale F700 with CAAD3 frame. The bike was used literally for only a few weeks after being bought new, then left in storage in a spare room until now. Other than dust, it is literally brand new. The bike has also been verified to fit me correctly. Here are the specs:

http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?year=2001&brand=Cannondale&model=F7 00

After coming off four years of essentially enforced inactivity due to four different surgeries, Sciatica, and all the resulting recovery and rehab, I have spent the last twelve months starting over, since I finally overcame all that, and was cleared to do activities (cycling was at the top of the recommendation list). I have gotten ready by building up to doing a spinning class three times a week, and have done that for the past year. I now plan to do a lot of riding (mostly bike paths from city to city, long, flat trails, and other occasional things. I need a high quality, reliable, comfortable bike with good performance. This is critical to restoring my health and fitness to where I need, and want it to be. I am prohibited from any high impact exercises, or sports, and from swimming, so cycling is the key to everything, not to mention it lets me return to something I once truly enjoyed.

I realize the bike I have is old, and far, far behind current technology. I would like to upgrade it in all significant/relevant ways, while utilizing the frame, and could use your advice on how to go about that before I approach a bike shop. This seems to be a very well made, extremely strong and solid frame. Reviews from when it was new are all tremendously positive. My only concern is whether this amount of upgrades will cost more than it is worth? Whether it would reach a point where buying something new made more sense?

My max budget for upgrades would be $1000.00. For an all new bike, a maximum of $1500.00 is the limit. I understand from comments read in many places, that even $2,000.00 doesn't buy much in the way of a bike, these days.

The tricky part is this. I am a large, former athlete. Forced inactivity for almost four years added 60 pounds to my frame. I have knocked off some weight with the spinning classes. However, I am still at 290, with fifty more to lose. From what research I have already done, standard, available bikes are not intended for riders weighing more than 225 pounds, and certainly not for 290. The only bike makers who offer frames/bikes for riders of this much weight come from companies like Zize and Moots which are far, far above my budget. The Cannondale frame seems capable of working for my weight. That's why I have the upgrade plan. That and the fact that the bike has a great deal of sentimental value to me. But if it doesn't make sense to spend what that would take, then a new bike may well be the better option, if there are available, affordable ones that can handle my weight?.

The final complication is that I am in the last months (December 31st) before my corporation's outsourcing of my job is permanent I need to spend the money fairly soon, as I am eliminating all major expenditures for the foreseeable future to consolidate my finances for when I will no longer be receiving a paycheck and am in early retirement at year end. That is why it's ultimately so important that I end up with a high quality, fairly high performance bike soon, that I can use, and enjoy, for many years ahead. And, whether I spend a significant sum upgrading the existing frame, or if a new bike is the right way to go, now is the time for me to make that investment.

Your expertise, knowledge and opinions would be greatly appreciated so I can take the next steps in getting things back where they need to be. Thanks.
 

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I realize the bike I have is old, and far, far behind current technology. I would like to upgrade it in all significant/relevant ways, while utilizing the frame,
No, it's not far, far behind. Things haven't changed that much. There are no upgrades worth the money, IMHO.

As for adapting to your weight, the wheels are the only concern. If the wheels have fewer than 32 spokes, you might consider buying a heavier set. Put on the largest tires that your frame clearances will allow.

That's all you need to do to have a bike that meets your needs. Don't buy into the upgrade hype.
 

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If the bike is literally brand-new and it fits you, what could you possibly gain from what you call an "upgrade?" Any modern components you're going hang on it will last no longer than the ones that are on it now and would not result in higher speeds given the same power output. And with a little bit of resourcefulness, you can easily find spares for those original parts on your frame.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this appears to be a bike with the Cannondale "Headshok" suspension fork. If that is so, your frame might be the weakest link in this scheme since Headshok replacements parts might not be not all that easy to find any more. Still, these forks last a good while (and I think you can lock them out if the suspension mechanism goes belly-up), so you might not even need to worry about that.

My vote is to resist the urge to "upgrade." Nurse that Cannondale baby along for now instead of turning it into a money pit for no possible gain.
 

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I want to modify my advice slightly, because I just looked up the bike and now realize it's a mountain bike. Forget what I said about the wheels and tires. It will handle your weight just fine. Clean it up, lube the chain, make sure everything is working right and adjusted properly, maybe replace the brake pads. If the tires are dried out and cracked from long storage, replace them. If, as it sounds, you'll mostly be riding paved paths, you can go with smoother tires than the knobbies that it probably came with.

Then ride. It needs nothing more.
 

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If that bike was really only used for two weeks, don't upgrade a thing on it! I really doubt you'd notice a single thing from "current technology". Check the tires/tubes for cracks from sitting so long. They may need replaced. Also check the shock for leaks. You might not see any now, but keep an eye on it for the first few rides. If the seals dried out from sitting so long, they'll start to leak. Not a big deal. Shock seals/oil need to be routinely replaced.
You might need to replaced the cables. Probably not, but if dust from sitting got into the housing, it could gunk up the shifting.

Otherwise, ride the snot out of it. Replace/upgrade stuff as it wears out/breaks.
 

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First of all, congratulations on your recovery and weight loss. Sorry about your work situation, it is a shame to see jobs being sent overseas. Anyway, as for bikes, I would land pretty much in line with everyone else. If I were in your shoes I would consider looking at the bike I have, which sounds like a quality machine, get it going again, and have a blast with it.

Certainly there have been advances in technology over the last 15 years, but I submit to you that older technology can certainly still do the job. Another plus is that the rate at which 'advancements' in cycling tech are taking place is that it drives the cost of older tech components down significantly.

Have you considered putting some of that money away in a savings account as a bike fund? If that is something you can do, there is no reason you can't ride your current bike, even for a few years, and then still have the money available for a new bike if you decide you want one. Best of luck to you with your decision, and welcome back.


Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

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Hi Comeback19,

I concur with most of the others here, don't upgrade your current bike. Just do the normal maintenance that it needs and start riding. The wheels should handle your weight as long as you are gentle with them.

Regarding upgrades, I think you're getting the cart before the horse. I understand your financial reasons, but I think you need more experience before you'll know what you want. And, since you'll soon be living off of a retirement income, I think it would be unwise to rush to spend money now.

Find some way to squirrel the money away so it isn't visible to others (and won't interfere with your retirement transition) and so you won't be able to easily spend it.

Since you will be restricted from doing high-impact exercise, I would rethink the mountain bike. Personally, I think it would be the wrong kind of bike for the riding you described. I think you'd probably be better with something in between a road bike and a cyclo-cross bike---perhaps a gravel bike would be ideal. A gravel bike is basically a road bike that accommodates bigger tires and has provision for fenders. It can be much lighter than a mountain bike which will aid you at keeping your riding low-impact. And it can have a 1x drivetrain.

But I doubt that you'll be ready to think about making a long-term decision regarding a bike type until you've been riding a while and started to lose more body weight.

Kind regards, RoadLight
 
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