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  1. #1
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    2013 Cannondale SL3 or 2012 Focus Black Forest 3.0?

    I have been all over my city riding different 29er bikes. I'm looking for something under $1000 with the best feel and best components out of the box since I won't have much left over to upgrade.

    I am just getting back into riding after I broke my Specialized Hardrock frame 3 years ago and Specialized would not warranty it (cheezy break too, rear derailleur hanger let go and took a piece of the frame with it on a flat trail... stick jumped up or something). But even with the support of my LBS - Specialized dealer, the company gave me the finger and said it must have been mal-adjusted... no more Specialized for me... and I really liked that bike too.

    So I really like the Cannondale SL3 and the Focus Black Forest 3.0. I'd like to hear pros and cons on each/either if anyone can offer info. I can get the SL3 for $899 and the Focus for $950. The Focus has all Deore hardware, the SL3 just in the rear derailleur. They both have the "dual-action" shifters where you can shift up with the trigger or the thumb, I really like that.

    They both felt good to ride; I am leaning Focus just because of the better stock hardware and a remote lockout on the fork. I never heard of Focus until this week but it seems like a good deal. But I also really love that SL3 too, they both feel pretty good. I won't be doing anything too crazy here in FL, but I want to buy the best bike I can for the $1000 for a mix of light trail, single track and some street around town.

    I also rode the Giant Revel 0 and Talon 0, liked them too but I prefer the shifters on the SL3 and Focus and the components were not all upgraded. It looks like in this price range, alot of manufacturers just give you a decent rear derailleur to say it has "x" components but the rest is weak. This is what keeps me looking at the Focus. I know Deore is not the be all end all, but they are better than Acera, Alivio, SRAM X5, etc. as far as I can tell.

    I appreciate all info anyone can offer to aid me in making this decision.

  2. #2
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    The fork on the Focus is a RockShox XC30. It will work if you ride more difficult trails. And it's 29 and the SL3 is 26. so another point of interest. Look at the Airborne Guardian for 675 with a decent fork and components.

  3. #3
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    I will check out the Guardian, I have seen some people talk about that here as a good deal, I have not seen any of my local shops with that brand. The SL3 I rode was a 29er though, maybe I put the wrong model, I thought it was an SL3, it was dull green and had a Deuce fork with lockout, just not remote.

    Another option was a local guy is selling a Giant AC he custom built with some great parts like Rock shox pike fork w/ lock out, Fox float Rpl w/ lock out and adjustable platform, Hayes stroker trail hydraulic disk brakes white 8" front, 6" rear, Shimano XT front and rear, SRAM attack rapid fire shifters, Race Face crankset, Race face diablous oversize stem and handlebar, Specialized Enduro wheel set and Stout 20mm thru axel hub, Thompson seat post, Crank brothers mallet pedals.

    The Giant AC is full suspension and I am not going to be riding anything crazy so I felt it was overkill but if I can get a better bike for the same price it may be worth it. I can lock out the shocks when not needed and it may help my back since I have had some issues over the years.

  4. #4
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    FS is good for certain conditions or if you have past back problems. Your area is not mountainous enough to get the benefit of a FS, but you would see the added weight as a unnecessary problem. Lighter is easier and faster and more expensive. A 6k carbon hard tail might be a good idea for your terrain if it came in at 18lbs. But outside of your budget.

  5. #5
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    Yeah I am not going to be doing much that would warrant the FS, I just thought it might be easier on my back on any trails; and I did not think about the weight. I am not sure what the Giant weighs but the Black Forest is 30lbs I believe. I am not too concerned about that though since this will be recreation (so I can lose a few lbs, lol).

    I stopped in the shop with the Focus this morning on the way to work and the guy also has a Black Forest 2.0 leftover that he would make me a great deal on. The components are much better (XT rear DR), shock is better (recon silver, air), grips are a little better, it rode great and I loved the color, black and blue. Really leaning towards the 2.0 if he can come down a little more. My wife is already ticked I am even thinking about spending close to a grand on a bike... but I want to do this once and be happy with the purchase, not get a bike that is "eh" and then spend just as much upgrading ill components.

  6. #6
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    Picked up the Focus Black Forest 2.0 for $1120 out the door with free tune ups for a year and a discount on all accessories at the store. The upgraded parts are worth it over the 3.0 I thought. Can't wait to log some miles!


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