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  1. #1
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    Upgrade my bike!

    Hey guys, I just picked up a 13' Canondale trail SL4 29er. Specs here:
    http://www.cannondale.com/2013/bikes...l-29er-4-28032

    So far I like the bike for it's weight and feel but I know the components leave a lot to be desired. The only upgrades I've done is going to a 2.1 tire. I'm doing a lot of single tracks with roots and rocks and moderate drops, etc. I tend to be pretty hard on things and I weigh in at 225.
    I've already had issues with the brakes so recommendations on where to go there would be awesome. I like the lever feel of shimano so no avid, etc.

    Also, I keep hearing that I'll want to ungrade wheels...any recommendations here given the type of riding would be cool. I'm a bit new to this stuff which brings me to my next question: Vendors? or websites that a cool to search parts and learn a bit about this stuff would be great.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Upgrade my bike!

    The stock stem for the handle bars is usually very heavy on a stock cdale.
    You could drop a lot there with a simple part.

  3. #3
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    ^ Thanks, any idea where to look? I'm new here so anything you guys can recommend, I'm doing to research and learn, so i appreciate the advice. I want to get the most out of what I have here given my platform.

  4. #4
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    Upgrade my bike!

    I bought the same bike and tried it out extensively on local trails for a month.
    Then I evaluated the weak links for my riding style and local trails.

    Generally every part of that bike is a budget part.
    You could realistically justify replacing every component in the bike depending on needs wants.

    Almost everyone, who gets onto the more hardcore trails, upgrades the follow stock parts on your bike by choice or need due to failure:

    Fork: Stock shock is a joke for any downhill attempt, but is ok for flat trails.
    I recommend looking for a good last year model sale on a "light weight" but good 120-140mm fork from rock shock.
    Light weight forks make a huge difference in ride-abity on technical terrain.
    Handle Bar Stem: often the stock length and angle are not the best for your body shape and trail needs. Best to have a good local shop fit you for one.
    The size most used is a 70mm (length) unless your really tall, but the stock u it on your cdale is probably 100mm which is only great for tall people.

    Handle Bar Grips:
    There are a million best to feel them in person though at local shop.
    The Body Geometry brand is very popular!

    Seat Post:
    Stock post is 2x heavier than a new one most likely.
    But buy a dropper post instead!!
    Especially if you intend to ride down hill.

    If you want the best easiest choice get the Thompson brand stems and seat posts. There are many good brands though.

  5. #5
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    Upgrade my bike!

    After a few months my cdsle brand brakes started to fail because the rotors were so crummy. No replacement rotor seemed to fit and work well.
    I bought a set of 2012 XT shimano brakes with ice tec rotors.
    Braking is unbelievable now. Honestly its probably one of the best investments of all for me.

    Oh also my stock cdale shimano acera shifters kept breaking just from normal use.
    Mine was an 8 speed and the shifter options were really sucky.
    Yours has a 9 speed so you can use a nicer variety of shifters if you want, without hassle I had.
    If your shifter blows out or just stinks then see about getting a XT or XTR or SLX 2012-2013 shifter to replace it.

  6. #6
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    Upgrade my bike!

    Tubeless tires can be an awesome upgrade too!

  7. #7
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    Spesh Storm Control

    I'd like to put in a good word for the Specialized Storm Control. These replace Ardents on my 26" Flux. The Ardents were hopeless in the slippery muddy condtions I encountered on a couple of Welsh marathons. The 2 inch Storms are great and have turned out to be fine all season tyres for me.
    I have now 29" Storms Stans Arch Rims. ( I had a issue with my original Arch-EX rims where they were just too damn tight). The 29er Storms are proving pretty good for my type of marathon/long distance bridleway/woodland singletrack riding. I am thinking of fitting a higher volume tyre on the front as 2 inches is a little narrow for rough trails. At the moment I'm running the Storm 29ers at 28psi rear/25psi front but a fatter front tyre will allow me to lower to about 22 and get bit more cushion of faster rockier trails.

    Maxxis Icon 2.25 EXO
    These fitted the Stans EX rims easily and are great when run tubeless. However I took them to Wales for a week last autumn and they punctured every day I rode. I think this was because I'd been too lazy to refress the stans and had been running with innertubes. So the jury is still out on these.

    I have been given a Racing Ralph (RaRa?) 2.4 so I'm planning to give this a go in the front end of my Salsa El-Mar whilst leaving the 2-inch Spesh Storm on the rear.

  8. #8
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    PS. Reccommend the XT 2-way release shifters. Bike sellers put top flight rear mechs on bikes and then put down market shifters. They should do this the other way round as XT shifters and SLX rear mech give fabulous shifting.

  9. #9
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    Being 225 myself all geared I had an issue with brakes as well, I put Shimano SLX on my FS 29er and they work very well. I put some Hope M4's with Hope floating rotors on my 29er HT and love these brakes, AWESOME is all I can say. Modulation is very very good, no off and on feel, easy to bleed, just like your car brakes. They also have the BLING factor as they are some of the nicest looking brakes out there. The M4's are not the lightest ones but they offer many different models, I got them as they are more for AM and being 225 I wanted great brakes for XC as I ride hard and I need to stop I need to stop fast. I love Sram shifting but their brakes suck!!!!

  10. #10
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    Wow, thanks guys for all the feedback! I've got some research to do before making final decisions but now I know where to look. I appreciate the help.

  11. #11
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    So I was checking out some of the Thompson stems. My current stem has a 7* rise at about 100mm length. I noticed the only Thompsons available for my 1.5" headtube is 0* rise. Will I notice the drop? Or will upgrading to a longer travel fork later on compensate for it.

    Let me know if I'm off base here with my thinking. Thanks.

  12. #12
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    Upgrade my bike!

    Its probably not an issue but I always recommend you buy from a retailer with a proper return policy in case it don't fit.

  13. #13
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    ^ good call.

  14. #14
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    look at some of the specialized mtb stems. they have several choices on stems in length and rise. they are not the lightest out there though. for your brakes, i would try shimano ice tek rotors / pads---heard good things about them.

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