Readers’ Rides: Hoj Art’s DIY Custom Cannondale CAAD4


Readers’ Rides: Hoj Art’s DIY Custom Cannondale CAAD4

Is there a frameset with a bigger cult following than the Cannondale CAAD? Hoj Art says no and we agree. For this week’s Readers’ Rides, we get a look at an amazing DIY project that turned a bummer CAAD4 into a stunner track-inspired CAAD4. Let’s get to it…

If you know me, you know I like Cannondales. With rim brakes. With horizontal top tubes. With poor tire clearance. With smoothed alloy welds. Basically all the things that are no more – I like those bikes.

In early 2023, I was perusing used bicycle listings on Marketplace when I saw an ad for a 1999 Cannondale CAAD4 R4000 frameset in Stars ‘n Stripes livery listed for $75. The seller was located about an hour away from me in a rural North Carolina town; there weren’t too many details in the listing other than the frame was my size and there were no dents in the tubing. A few shoddy photos showed the frameset along with some extra “goodies” that the seller would be throwing in with the sale of the bike – some old Deda alloy handlebars and seatpost, an ITM stem, a 1″ to 1 1/8″ threadless steerer tube adapter, and an older set of Mavic CXP22 rims laced to Coda hubs, replete with deflated, cracked, 21mm tires.

Bingo. This was just what I was looking for. While most people would view this as prime dustbin material, I viewed it as an inexpensive ticket into my first attempt at a DIY rattlecan repaint and frameset restoration project. I messaged the seller, agreed on a meeting place, and later that afternoon found myself driving home through country roads with half a bicycle shoved in the backseat.

It wasn’t long after I got home that I discovered why the seller had perhaps priced the frameset so low to begin with. As I removed the steerer tube adapter, I found that the steerer tube of the original 1″ threadless Time Slice fork had been cut so low that the top of it sat just inside the upper headset bearing – hidden from view with the adapter installed. Useless. I’ll take the blame for not recognizing it when I inspected the frame in person, but oh well. Lesson learned. I ultimately sourced a Columbus Minimal 1” threadless fork to replace the original, and with that I set out on my DIY rattlecan adventure.

Before I took on this project, I didn’t know the first thing about spray painting a bike. The only thing I knew is that most people on the interwebs believe that a good result cannot be achieved with a spray can, and I wanted to see if they were right. In deciding on a color, I’ve always lusted after those early 90’s Cannondale track frames with the metallic blue paint, so as an homage to those icons I selected a spray paint from Montana that got me as close as possible to this color and off I went.

I don’t have many photos documenting the process itself, and there’s a reason for that. Lighting. Almost all of this happened late at night in the front yard after my kids were in bed. And to be honest, the process wasn’t that visually appealing to document – all the painting and prep work was done outdoors, unsheltered, by literally hanging the frame by the rear brake mount using a bent wire clothes hanger I had dangling from the net of my son’s basketball hoop in the driveway. If you use your imagination, you might be able to picture what this deluxe setup looked like.

The painting process itself was fairly straightforward, and I go into greater detail on my website about the steps I went through to achieve the result I ultimately ended up with. To summarize, I stripped the frame, primed it, painted it, threw on some decals I sourced from Ebay, hit it with some clear coat, and polished it up. Between each of those steps there was a lot of sanding. And at some forlorn point along the way, I picked up an old defunct Silca pump for $5 on Craigslist, painted it to match, and sourced all new replacement parts from Silca. After all, a bike needs a pump, right?

The paint turned out pretty stellar for my first attempt at a DIY spray paint job in the driveway; I couldn’t be more stoked with the results. Satisfied with the work, it was finally time to pick out some components and build up a bike!

Which really begs the question: what parts do you hang on a late 90’s rattlecanned aluminum frameset that you bought from some dude in a rural NC gas station parking lot for $75 cash?

Easy. You throw on some SRAM eTap. Chris King. Ritchey. Extralite. Vittoria. And you go right ahead and give the thing it’s very own custom stripped and hand-brushed alloy Easton EA90 crankset fitted with a matching silver Garbaruk 1X chainring.

Here is the complete parts list:


  • SRAM Red eTap 22 rim brake shift levers
  • SRAM Red eTap rear derailleur (updated version with clutch, for use with 1x drivetrains)
  • SRAM Red 22 rim brake calipers
  • SRAM Red 22 11-28 cassette
  • PYC 11-speed chain
  • Jagwire Elite Link cables and housing
  • Easton EA90 Cinch cranks (172.5 mm)
  • Easton EA90 Cinch BSA threaded bottom bracket
  • Garbaruk Components radial chainring (52T) compatible with Cinch crank arms
  • Speedplay X2 stainless pedals


  • FSE 35mm Tubular rims
  • Extralite hubs
  • Sapim CX-Ray spokes
  • Vittoria Corsa 700×26 tubular tires

Cockpit, saddle, and miscellaneous

  • Ritchey Classic Stem, 100 mm, 6 degree, 1 1/8″ clamping diameter
  • Ritchey 1″ to 1 1/8″ stem shim (allows for using modern 1 1/8″ stems with older 1″ threadless forks)
  • Ritchey Classic Drop Handlebars, 40 cm width
  • Chris King 1″ threadless headset (polished silver)
  • Fizik bartape
  • Kalloy Uno seatpost (polished, silver)
  • Generic carbon saddle (sourced from Ebay)
  • Generic alloy seatpost clamp (sourced from Aliexpress, then custom sanded for brushed raw alloy finish)
  • King Cage stainless water bottle cages

Complete weight of entire build: 14.8 lbs (6.71 kg)

Not bad for a late 90’s aluminum frameset once destined for the dustbin!

If you liked this bike, you can find more of my bicycle builds and bicycle-themed artwork at my website ( or on Instagram (@hoj_art). Thanks for following!



We’d like to thank all of you who submitted Readers Rides builds to be shared here at The Radavist. The response has been incredible and we have so many to share over the next few months. Feel free to submit your bike, listing details, components, and other information. You can also include a portrait of yourself with your bike and your Instagram account! Please, shoot landscape-orientation photos, not portrait. Thanks!