Where it all started MounTAINBIKes

Cannondale F700 (1995)

After using an old Batavus as mountainbike for years (unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this bike) in 1995 I finally got my first serious bike. I remember researching for half a year and looking at all the brands at that time. An aluminium frame wasn't an obvious choice. There still was a great offering of steel frames. Even front suspension wasn't a given. Disc brakes were still only for cars and motorbikes.

Brakes were old fashioned cantilevers and suspension travel was 30 mm. It had a lock-out though!

I quickly replaced the cantilever brakes with the at that time brand new and revolutionary Shimano V-brakes.

I remember I was pretty happy with the bike. I quickly knew pretty much every trail of the local forests. But I also drove hundreds of kilometers on-road. I even took it for a bike-holiday from the Netherlands through Belgium and Luxembourg.

Putting slicks on was my way of turning it into a road bike.
In the foreground the bike of my touring mate. Quite exotic at the time: carbon tubes in steel lugs. It was a really pretty bike!

Yes, I really liked it.

Cannondale F500 (2006)

Unfortunately I cracked the frame of the F700, so I got a replacement frame thanks to Cannondale's great warranty terms.

The frame came with a new fork, but without any components, so I had to either use the 11 year old components from the F700 or buy new ones.

Even though the frame was ready for disc brakes, I stuck with the V-brakes. Looking back I would probably get disc brakes, but the technology was quite new still back then and very expensive. I did get tubeless wheels though. Also quite new tech then.

What I didn't notice right away, was that the geometry changed quite a lot in those years. It is most obvious if you compare stem length. The F700 had a 13cm stem vs a 7cm sem on the F500. All in all I did never really get used to it. It felt too large. So after a few years of enjoying cycling a little less, I sold the frameset and got a new one.

Cannondale F5 (2007)

The F500 was a size M, but felt like an L compared to the F700. That's why I decided to buy a size S.

This resulted in quite an extreme seat post length, but the bike felt much nicer to ride.

Looking at this photo, I can't deny that the size S was probably wrong, but I really enjoyed the ride and I felt pretty comfortable on it.

The colour was also quite special. White with reflective decals

Pretty much all components were taken from the F500. After some time I replaced some stuff, like seat post, crankset and handle bars because I wanted them to be black.

Eventually it got a gold chain and gold cables.

And then it was time for something new.

Cannondale Flash Carbon (2013)

First of all Cannondale had changed its geometry (again), probably because of the use of Lefty suspension forks, which meant I was back to a size M again. Also this time I didn't change over all the old components. I couldn't.

The Flash came equipped with Avid Elixir R disc brakes and Lefty-specific DT Swiss wheels.

For shifting I got SRAM X9/X0 gear. After using Shimano XTR in various generations, this felt... well, how can I put this... horrid.

FSA Afterburner 2X crankset

The SRAM gear felt pretty plasticky, shifting needed too much force and the action wasn't smooth. Shifting itself was ok in the rear and below average in the front.

The frame and fork are awesome. The carbon frame feels stiff yet smooth over uneven terrain and the Lefty fork is something else entirely. At first it feels awkward, but once you get over the false idea everything should be symmetric, this fork rides amazing.

Still I wanted to change some things. Wheels, gears, brakes... Well, basically everything.

Shifting was first. Back to Shimano XTR again.

Quickly thereafter followed by wheels. I did feel that the DT Swiss ones weren't as laterally stiff as I would like and I wanted to ride tubeless.

I also changed the crankset. I didn't like the looks of the shiny Afterburners so I got these carbon Truvativ XO cranks. Yes, these are SRAM, but I don't hold any grudge against the brand. I just really disliked the shifting.

In the end I changed the brakes as well. The Avids use DOT fluid, but I wanted mineral oil based brakes for a variety of reasons. I got Magura MT6. They are good. They offer greater modulation then the Avids, but the brake force is a bit less.

Custom decals as well.

I still have it to date. I changed the hydraulic hoses, but it is pretty much unchanged after that.

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