Adam Pelzer has been riding and racing on Cannondale CAAD series bikes since he first lined up to race in the 1990's. Still racing today on a CAAD 5 with modern spec SRAM and Zipp components, Adam is also an avid bike restorer. Working in the bike industry as well as racing has been a major part of Adam's life, he currently works at Craftworx, a specialised wheel building business operating on the north side of Brisbane. One of Adam's recent projects saw the completion of an Eddy Merckx Motorola SLX. A swift operator, Adam's perfectly executed MX Leader was sold off in next to no time so that he could concentrate on other bike builds. Always a Mario Cipollini fan, it was time to build a version of a Cipollini Saeco Cannondale Caad 4 team issue race machine, complete with a Selle Italia Century 100 signature Mario Cipollini Lion King saddle.
A special feature of Adam's Cipo Cannondale is the Spinergy Rev X wheels with the soft yellow Spinergy spoke stiffeners. Spinergy manufactured three different types of spoke stiffeners for their Rev X wheels. You tune the ride feel of the wheels with soft, medium or very stiff spoke stiffeners. Adam had an unenviable relationship with the thin bladed Spinergy spokes, once putting his arm straight through the front wheel.
I've witnessed the completion of two of Adam's perfectly executed bike projects. This time round I jumped on the opportunity to shoot a series of images of his specially prepared version of a Cipollini Saeco Cannondale Caad 4.
You’ve been riding and racing on Cannondale CAAD series bikes for more than fifteen years.
I started racing with a CAAD 3 Cannondale in the late 90’s. Everyone is a Cipo fan and I was starting out in the right era. I also worked in a bike shop, and riding a Cipollini Cannondale was the right style of bike. The first CAAD 3 was a lower spec, and I soon graduated up to a CAAD 4, the same as the one you see here, complete with Spinergy wheels. So I raced for a long time on Cannondale race bikes. I still race on another one similar to this.
Why did you choose to build a Cannondale CAAD series bike, then set out to create a version like the race bikes that Mario Cipollini raced on?
The idea of this current bike and build is to emulate the bike that Mario Cipollini raced on and also the first Cannondale that I raced on. I was a big Mario Cipollini fan back then and I still am a Cipo fan. My current race bike is a CAAD 5, with Zipp wheels and 11 Speed Sram. Still to this day I have a comfortable bike that I’m familiar with. It’s not only the race bike, I have another Cannondale that has a ding in it and I ride that one to work, I’ve got that Cannondale set up with flat bars. I still have three Cannondale’s that I ride. Plus Cippo’s machine, he won on his Cannondale the record for the fastest ever Tour de France stage.
It would be nearly impossible to make an exact replica of all of Cippo’s bikes, there were so many variations!
Every different stage in a tour, and throughout the years he had different coloured bikes and kit. Once Cipollini got his train going in a sprint he was a hard man to come around and beat. Even harder would be trying to keep up with his multiple bikes, paint schemes and component variations, plus the flamboyant kit. So this bike has to be what it is, my version of one style of a Mario Cipollini CAAD 4, Saeco Cannondale team bike.
You also have a special affinity with Spinergy Rev X wheels.
Don’t ever put your hands through the Spinergy Rev X wheels, I did that once, on the way home from a race. At a zebra crossing. It was back in the day when there were computers with wires running to wheel sensors and the computer wasn’t working. So I put my hand down to the wheel to check the sensor. At that moment I hit a cateye in the road and my arm went right into the Spinergy wheel. Straight to the hospital, I still have a scar to prove it.
Cipollini Saeco Cannondale Caad 4 Specs
FORK Carbon Slice by Time PAINT Cannondale Factory finish - Red Yellow HEADSET Cane Creek Solos STEM Cinelli Alter HANDLEBARS Cinelli Eubios 44 BAR WRAP Fizik BAR PLUGS Cinelli FRONT BRAKE Dura Ace 7700 REAR BRAKE Dura Ace 7700 BRAKE LEVERS Dura Ace 7700 FRONT DERAILLEUR Dura Ace 7700 REAR DERAILLEUR Dura Ace 7700Nine Speed CASSETTE Dura Ace 7700 CHAIN Dura Ace 7700 CRANKSET Dura Ace 7700 CHAINRINGS Dura Ace 7700 BOTTOM BRACKET Dura Ace 7700 PEDALS Red Saeco branded, Look PP 396 FRONT HUB Dura Ace 7700 REAR HUB Dura Ace 7700 FRONT WHEEL Spinergy Rev X with minimal stiffness yellow Spinergy stiffeners. Spinergy made stiffeners in varying degrees of stiffness which could be fitted to the spoke blades. Yellow (Minimal Stiffness), Blue (Intermediate Stiffness), Red (Maximum Stiffness) The final year of production of the Rev X wheels was 1999. REAR WHEEL Spinergy Rev X with stiffest Red Spinergy stiffeners TIRES Vittoria Competition Strada SADDLE Selle Italia Century 100 siganture Mario Cipollini Lion King version SEATPOST Cannondale Competition Coda SEAT CLAMP Cannondale BIDON CAGES Elite
All images by Robert Cobcroft