70s CANNONDALE external backpacks

12:26 a.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Anyone familiar with the old Cannondale externals?  Use one?  Knew someone who used one?  Opinion?  I'm curious about their performance and durability.

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12:51 a.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Wow, thats a new one to me as well. I have had Cannondale bikes but never knew they were around that long ago as well as they made packs. Thanks for the post. I love this kind of stuff.

1:59 a.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Pulled the trigger and forgot one picture to help better illustrate how those side bags could be moved to the back of the pack, or another two could be added for four total.  Similar fastener idea to how Dana Design clips their pack body to the frame.  Probably others as well, but Dana Design instantly came to mind when I ran into this photo.  (all photos from 1974, but they started this design in 1973)


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4:26 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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zeno marx

had my cannondale op60 in '74 thru '75. i thought it was an excellent pack really liked the idea of the frame running along your spine. sort of a hybrid internal/external type pack. rode much closer than any other external i have ever used. hotter on your back than any other external i ever used. i still think it may have carried better than most externals that i have used. more comfortable that some of the internals i have used. i loved my cannondale but eventually sold it. the torso length was just a little too short for me. i still look at them hoping to find a latter model that had a longer toso length.  

i never was really impressed by the stitching in these packs. i worked at a shop that sold them. we sold quite a few and only had one return. one of the grommets pulled out where the pockets attach to the bag. cannondale asked if we had another pack like the returned one, we did, so they told us to replace the pack with a new one without ever even looking at the old one. we sent the one with the torn grommet back to them and they sent us a another pack next day delivery. best warranty i  ever saw. how these packs are still standing up i have no idea.

if you get one i would love to hear what you think.

happy trails  

4:40 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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I love these vintage pictures....and packs.

6:06 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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The Cannondale was my first pack, got it in 74 or 75. Adding or removing the pockets made it real versatile. I still have the pack, but have not used it in a long time. Most of the zippers are not functional at this time. A corrosion has built up on them (the great hiking hiatus of 89 - 95 ) effectivly freezing them in place. As I recall that while it was a comfortable pack seam tears and grommet tear outs did occur.  The hip belt was a simple strap and buckle with no padding. Did a lot of winter hiking with that pack. As I recall the small loop on the outside  between the backside pockets was referred to as an ice ax loop?

9:32 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the feedback.  Good to hear testimonials and experiences.  The ones I've seen do have a padded belt, but nothing like what was developed in the 90s.  Maybe more reminiscent of a climbing specialty pack of the 90s.  Though they did seem have a relatively beefy belt in comparison to their contemporaries.  That single loop on the back of the pack is the ax loop, and then the buyer was to supply their own cinch strap through that leather square you see at the top of the back directly above it.

The Lexan "buckle" is probably not worthy of them mentioning in the catalog; other than it maybe being one of the first packs to use that material?  I say that because you'd have to feed the long strap through the Lexan tightener, and when you'd take the pack off, you'd have to unfeed the strap and feed it through again when you put it back on and continued.  The metal quick-release buckles were probably a lot more convenient and weighed no more than it.  New-fangled materials over function in my opinion.  Had it been a two-part buckle similar to what we see today, that could have made it worthy of note.

11:51 p.m. on September 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes I agree. I at one point reworked most of the straps and webbing on the pack and actually changed out the old waist buckle for a newer two piece. Its nice to see that there is someone out there other then myself that is familiar with the pack. Most people know Cannondale for their bikes. I wonder if there is some way to dissolve the corrosion on the zippers and free them up? Its a white powdery deposit.

1:30 a.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I'd try WD-40.  I like it because it works and because it isn't too difficult to wash out after it does its thing.

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