Coming back to riding after a long layoff, my Cannondale R500, purchased around 2000, according to the local bike shop, needs a lot of work - new wheels, cassette, chain, cables. Also replaced stem with a new taller one so I don't have to bend down as low.

LBS is saying the tune-up/restoration will be around 400 and offered a new entry level Giant for around 650 and won't charge me for the work they've already done on the old bike.

Not sure what to do. The Cannondale rides fine to me, but to be honest, I haven't put that much mileage on it recently so haven't really tested it. I'm a casual rider, planning to do long rides 3-4 times a month and a century or two this year.

My options are:

1 - Pay for whatever work they did and fix the bike up myself. Don't have a lot of tools and wondering if I did do my own work, I'd wind up wasting a lot of time and paying for tools I don't have.

2 - Have bike shop restore Cannondale, hope it holds up.

3 - Buy new bike.

I don't need a great bike, not picky, don't need the latest and greatest - just want something that will be maintenance free-ish for the next 10-15 years. I can afford a new bike, but I rather use the money for other things. And it just seems like a waste to abandon the Cannondale.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

  • 3
    I believe if the replacement components are equivalent to what the the bike is fitted with now (105 ), you would be better to spend the money on the bike. If they are putting entry level components onto it, a new bike would be the way I would go. If its riding fine for you now, ask them to explain why those bits need replacing (Chain/cassette do wear out, wheel could be hubs shot or just out to tune to badly to adjust). I may be worth getting a second opinion, putting it politely, some bike shops are less pragmatic about spending your money than others.
    – mattnz
    May 22, 2018 at 19:06
  • 4
    Cassette, chain, and cables are all consumables. There's nothing unusual about needing those replaced after a good bit of mileage. Wheels are the only unusual item on that list and are probably also the most expensive. "Maintenance free" is also a bit of a misnomer, you'll need to replace consumables periodically as you ride...
    – Ross
    May 22, 2018 at 19:49
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    How handy are you with tools ? How much spare time do you have? How urgently do you need the bike rideable?
    – Criggie
    May 23, 2018 at 1:22
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    I'm suspicious of LBS - you say you haven't put much mileage on it, but all the wear items are worn out ? I'd replace brake pads if they're hardened and braking is poor. Replace cables if they don't actuate the calipers nicely. Replace tyres if they're worn out or cracked. Replace chain if it has discernible play between two adjacent links. Replace cassette/chain if they aren't shifting right. But to replace a lot of things just because its old, smacks of padding the invoice. Sure its reasonable, but may not be fully necessary.
    – Criggie
    May 23, 2018 at 1:25
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    "new wheels" is really pushing my buttons - unless you crashed, or its been really beaten up in storage, you're highly unlikely to need new wheels. Cannondale is not a BSO brand - it should be a great bike with decent specs and fine for your needs.
    – Criggie
    May 23, 2018 at 1:27

5 Answers 5


If you are coming back from a long layoff, I'd fix the Cannondale, then if you keep up riding in the future, spend some time considering if you want to upgrade and what to. It's never a good idea to be choosing a new bike under pressure to get riding.

Make sure the things the repair shop wants to replace are really needed. Cables and housings - yes that's a good idea and relatively inexpensive, but you could do that yourself.

Chain and cassette - make the shop prove they are worn out to the point of needing replacement. If not ride them until the do.

Definitely get the shop to explain why exactly they want to replace the wheels, and what they want to replace them with. You might be able to get a better deal on the used market through Craigslist or Ebay.

  • 5
    Although I am a fan of recommending used bikes for budget conscious riders, in this case OP already has a used bike, unless he can be sure the 'new' used bike is well serviced, IMHO he is better to spend the money on the one he has.
    – mattnz
    May 23, 2018 at 4:33

Unless the reason you were off the bike was an injury that changed your fit, you've already got a bike that suits you. That's worth a bit (how much is a personal decision but I rate it fairly high).

That aside you can end up with a good as new bike (or very nearly given what they're proposing) for 400 or 650. Needing new wheels is a bit odd, but there are plenty of good reasons, depending on how far you've ridden it. Wheels are easy to replace - no more trouble than changing a cassette and a tyre plus tuning gears/brakes, but if they're working on the drivetrain that's a good time to fit a new wheel of you need one.

Overall it probably comes down to whether getting back on an old favourite or having a shiny new toy pleases you more.

  • might need new wheels if it's rim brake and the old brake tracks are entirely worn out.
    – Codeman
    Jun 27, 2023 at 7:01

Thanks to all for the responses. I chose to have the LBS fix my current bike.

To add more info, while I haven't ridden lately, I did ride it a lot for many years after I got it, it has about 15K miles on it, but for the last 5 years, not much. All that time, I never did any maintenance on it, no new components, no nothing.

The LBS explained in depth why the new parts were needed and I decided to go with what they wanted to do. They suggested a new front wheel too, but I decided against that, I'll change that myself.

So for about 375ish (got down the price a little), I got a new rear wheel, new cassette, new chain, new stem, new brake cables, new brake pads, whatever's included in the $100 tune-up package (I forget). I'm mainly glad to hand off the drivetrain stuff to a professional to do, not so sure I'd do a good job of that myself.

  • 4
    Good work for closure. Now get out and double its mileage !
    – Criggie
    May 25, 2018 at 3:11
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    Thanks! Another thing this taught me is how willfully ignorant I was on the upkeep of my bike. The shop also mentioned to me that the rear tire was a track tire, more for indoor use. I bought the tire a long time ago, did not know what I was buying obviously. Got a copy of The Art of Road Bike Maintenance and will be going through it.
    – Steve
    May 25, 2018 at 14:43
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    could be you bought a trainer tyre, for use on a set of rollers, which wear harsher on the rear tyre than road riding. If it feels slippy in the damp, then consider replacing that tyre with a new one. Otherwise wear it out.
    – Criggie
    May 26, 2018 at 3:35
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    Yes, that's what the LBS called it. I already replaced it with a Continental Gatorskin. All set to build up stamina for a century.
    – Steve
    May 26, 2018 at 3:43
  • 15k miles isn't a lot for a set of wheels. I remain suspicious, but so long as you continue riding, go for it.
    – Batman
    Jun 4, 2018 at 1:18

Most of the parts listed are consumables that you would expect to replace based on mileage at some point. Wheels are somewhat dubious -- that really depends on what the problem is, but replacement wheels of equal quality to the stock wheels that came with the bike are probably not exorbitantly expensive. All told, spending $400 to bring a bike up to snuff isn't bad. You could spend 2/3rds of that on new tires.

I suggest go with the repairs, but be sure that the replacement parts are of equivalent componentry-level. In other words, replace Shimano 105 with 105 or better. Replace Ultegra with Ultegra or better.

If you spend $400 or $500 to bring it back to life, and you ride it a couple thousand miles, it's money well spent. If, after a couple thousand miles you decide you really are itching for a new CF frame and higher-end components, buy a new bike, and fit your old one with a rack and fenders to use as a commuter or local-errand bike.

If you spend $400 to $500 to bring it back to life and then don't go on to ride it a couple thousand miles, you're only out $400-$500.

Remember, buying a new bike is only the start -- it still will need pedals, a saddle bag, cycling computer, lights, etc. A $1800 bike will set you back $200 to $2200 just for typical add-ons. If your existing bike has these, keeping riding the old one is vastly more economical.

I do like the concept of eventually owning two road bikes though -- That R500 would make a great general purpose bike when you do get to the point that you decide it's worthwhile to buy a new bike.

  • If he has all the add-on's for his current bike, most or all of them can be transferred to any new bike so that aspect doesn’t seem so relevant. May 28, 2018 at 10:34

I spent over 300 pounds in parts to fix my Claud Butler 2007, 10500 miles, more than the price I paid for it new. I broke a shifter, which cost 80 pounds on its own, I changed the crankset, chain, cassette, one new and expensive Continental tyre, cables obviously and some cheap bearings for headset. After so much love, I retaped the steering and painted some scratches. Using it to commute in London, having a "sleeper" is great, sh** frame and brand, top wheels and components. Discreet. For sportives and recreational purpose, I would go for a new one. As for my renault, you build souvenirs and it is tough to get rid of it

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! I didn't downvote your answer but my guess is that it was downvoted because it's not quite clear how it answers the question. It feels more like a chatty story inspired by the question than an actual answer. I think there's just about enough in here so qualify as an answer (essentially, you're saying that patching up an old bike can be good as a commuter but it's probalby better to buy a new one for longer rides) but your answers will probably be received better if they are more explicit in answering the question. Thanks! Jun 27, 2018 at 17:58
  • This site is a little different from a typical forum. The expectation here is that users give a detailed yet direct and factual explanation in each answer. Your answer has been flagged as "Not an Answer" or is getting downvoted by the community because it either doesn't answer the question, or doesn't add valuable information given the answers that already exist. Answers like this will often be deleted or converted to comments. Please Take the Tour for more information about how this and other Stack Exchange sites work.
    – Gary.Ray
    Jul 3, 2018 at 18:45

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