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  1. #1
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    Cannondale trail sl 3 2011, is this a good beginners bike?

    Ok so i visited REI this weekend and kind of got hooked on this bike, I used to cycle a lot in the UK, probably 16 or so miles a day (perhaps thats not a lot).

    Anyway I moved to the USA now Los Angeles and would very much like to start biking again, obviously I put on weight in the US from 150-220lbs... I know.

    I got fitted at REI and am looking for a medium bike 17" essentially.

    So I looked at a bunch of bikes and this cannondale seemed to really fit what I was looking for a light dependable bike thats not FS, as i got one last year and that actually put the brakes (not pun intended) on my biking as i could not believe how hard it was to cycle after all these years (10 years). I was told by various people and bike shops that a FS it horrible on the road, which is what i was mainly looking to use it for.

    Now i'm looking to ride to work (4 miles) and use if off road, no jumps or anything.

    So with all that backstory, is this bike a good one to start out with? is there another i should maybe look into? cheers guys.

  2. #2
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    Looks pretty sweet for an entry level bike. Here's a write up on BikeRadar:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...3-11-us-40057/
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  3. #3
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    thanks for the link, i read that reviewed, seems like they scored it well, just wondering if anyone has the bike and what their opinions are or what people think of the brand

  4. #4
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    Cannondale as a brand is really good. They tend to make lightweight stuff like the article points out. Wait for Mimi to tell you all about C'dales lol
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  5. #5
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    cant wait, i'm pretty excited about getting back on the saddle again after all this time. pfox90 what do you currently use?

    Another question i had for the guy in the shop was regarding swapping out the tires. Personally i think have a set of rims with road tires on and a set with trail tires on is easier to swap out. He suggested just replacing the tires on the existing rims, which from personal experience can take for ever and usually require different inner-tubes if my memory serves.

    How do you deal with that if you do at all?

  6. #6
    Workin for the weekend!
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    Second set of wheels for streeting...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Todd- View Post
    Second set of wheels for streeting...
    so you would get a second set of wheels completely new rims and tires for the street?

  8. #8
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    I think that's a decent bike with components that will work for your needs. Only thing, I don't know much about that fork. Not saying it's bad, I'm just not familiar with it/haven't heard anything about it.

  9. #9
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    can anyone suggest any other bikes i should look into as well in that price range and bike range?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldollard View Post
    can anyone suggest any other bikes i should look into as well in that price range and bike range?
    I've also found an SL2 for the same price although i just dont know what the difference is between them

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldollard View Post
    I've also found an SL2 for the same price although i just dont know what the difference is between them

    SL2 has a better fork from what I can see. Also has hydraullic disc brakes, same as mine. I like shimano better than tektro brake personally. I also have the alivio/deore combo like the SL2 does l ( I'm looking at the 2011) If you found it for a similar price, my guess is its a year or 2 old, which model year is the SL2?

    I get made fun of sometimes, but I got a diamondback response comp for $420, and been nothing but happy with it. Granted, I got a new fork and new wheels on it already, but the fame is tough, the rest of the bike has been great and pretty much spec'd the same as that SL2. I was just too fat for the fork/wheels.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Numbtoyou View Post
    SL2 has a better fork from what I can see. Also has hydraullic disc brakes, same as mine. I like shimano better than tektro brake personally. I also have the alivio/deore combo like the SL2 does l ( I'm looking at the 2011) If you found it for a similar price, my guess is its a year or 2 old, which model year is the SL2?

    I get made fun of sometimes, but I got a diamondback response comp for $420, and been nothing but happy with it. Granted, I got a new fork and new wheels on it already, but the fame is tough, the rest of the bike has been great and pretty much spec'd the same as that SL2. I was just too fat for the fork/wheels.
    Thanks for the advice i appreciate it, my last bike was a diamondback and it was a great bike in construction but was too heavy. So i gave it up.

    The sl3 and sl2 both have hydraulic brakes. As to the year i really dont know the site doesn't seem to specify, does it really matter? just wondering.

  13. #13
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    I believe the SL designation is new for 2011.
    2010 and older Cdales were F1 through F9.

    Main differences:
    SL2: RockShox Recon Air, Shimano hydraulics
    SL3: RST Deuce Coil, Tektro hydraulics

    All else pretty much identical except paint scheme.

  14. #14
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    If you can get them for the same price, the sl2 is a better buy for sure. The RockShox 302 isn't an amazing fork, but my guess is it'll significantly outperform the RST. And as I said before, I like shimano brakes more than tektro, but that could just be my personal bias. The m445's aren't amazing, but they have decent stopping power and have had no maintenance issues ( other than the ones I caused myself).


    Either one seems to be a good intro bike though.



    EDIT: Sorry, it has a recon silver fork, which is even a better buy than the 302 I thought was on it.

  15. #15
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    i wonder if i can get rei to match the price, i'm a member of rei and they give you 10% on each purchase so kind of a lot AND i can return the bike at any time unlimited... but not sure if thats all worth spending another $200 there....

    So going back to an earlier question, what other bikes in the $800 FS range should i be looking into?

  16. #16
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    I also considered the SL3 after not biking for over 10 years. I wanted a good quality hardtail that would last and be fun to ride. However I actually decided on the 2012 Specialized Rockhopper that had a little bit better components and hopefully a better re-sale value if I really get into it and want to upgrade in a year. From my research though, the SL3 was a good bike

  17. #17
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    do you have a link to the rockhopper you're talking about, there are a view variations.

    thanks

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldollard View Post
    cant wait, i'm pretty excited about getting back on the saddle again after all this time. pfox90 what do you currently use?

    Another question i had for the guy in the shop was regarding swapping out the tires. Personally i think have a set of rims with road tires on and a set with trail tires on is easier to swap out. He suggested just replacing the tires on the existing rims, which from personal experience can take for ever and usually require different inner-tubes if my memory serves.

    How do you deal with that if you do at all?
    I have a db sortie 2 and a trek session 77... Won't be buying any bikes till after my nursing program in which I'll prob get a ibis mojo or a cannondale claymore or a scott voltage or something like that
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldollard View Post
    so you would get a second set of wheels completely new rims and tires for the street?
    I do have a second set for asphalt. $75 for wheels, $50 for tires, tubes & rim tape, $15 for another cassette... Way better with smooth tires as compared to knobbies on the road. Even light gravel paths are better...

  20. #20
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    I have one I love everything about it, the looks the way it rides and the kenda small block 8's are sweet. I can't regret buying mine.
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL3
    2012 Santa Cruz Tallboy DXC

  21. #21
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    The more i look at this bike and others, the more the sl3 seems to beat out everything else.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldollard View Post
    The more i look at this bike and others, the more the sl3 seems to beat out everything else.
    The trail SL series was my favorite of the numerous bikes I test rode. The SL3 is a great bike...

    I'm ordering my SL2 29er tomorrow

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Todd- View Post
    Second set of wheels for streeting...
    Once a person is to the point of ordering a second set of wheels, I think just getting a whole second bike is better.

    There's a ton of used inventory floating around most cities. Watch Craig's List, and snag a road bike that's already got the road wheels and tires you were thinking about buying for your MTB. You'll end up with something that's better on the road than a MTB with slicks and always ready to go.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  24. #24
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    Hey AndrwSwitch, i kind of agree, thats the best practise, but my apartment is tiny, and i barely have room for one bike, let alone two, but with wheels they can be stashed someplace.

  25. #25
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    I literally just bought this bike this evening, so far I'm really impressed. But I've only put about 20K on it so far and am definitely a novice when it comes to the realm of mountain biking so you can take my opinion with a grain of salt.

    That being said, every second I've spent on it so far have been pure bliss.

  26. #26
    A REAL RIDER
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    Congrats. The SL3 was my first choice if I were to buy a new bike. PICS! NOW.

  27. #27
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    Not the greatest photo, but it was right after my first ride and I was a little bit to excited. Also, pardon the messy garage, with the exception of the bike none of that clutter belongs to me. I would have loved to have brought it back inside but since it was raining practically the whole time I was out riding she got good and dirty, which I think is the way a mountain bike should be.
    Cannondale trail sl 3 2011, is this a good beginners bike?-p1010051.jpg

  28. #28
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    Congrats on the bike, I brought mine 2 weeks ago and like you, this bike was a joy to ride on the trails and also on the street, I got mine 250 bucks under retail but I would gladly paid list price for it. Btw my first cannondale was a 2007 caad5 road bike but my trail sl sure is a hell of alot more fun riding. Happy riding guys!
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL3
    2012 Santa Cruz Tallboy DXC

  29. #29
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    Great bike! I'm new and done a lot of research. I've narrowed it down between the SL 3 and Specialized Rockhopper comp - winner for me is the SL 3!

    Only trouble now is between colors - black or white. Seen a lot of black, anyone have a white one they can post pics?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gixxerjoe View Post
    Great bike! I'm new and done a lot of research. I've narrowed it down between the SL 3 and Specialized Rockhopper comp - winner for me is the SL 3!

    Only trouble now is between colors - black or white. Seen a lot of black, anyone have a white one they can post pics?
    Congrats! I like the black since it is a matte finish and doesnt show damage easily. but your right alot of bikes i see on the trails these days have a matte black finish.
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL3
    2012 Santa Cruz Tallboy DXC

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThierryR. View Post
    Congrats! I like the black since it is a matte finish and doesnt show damage easily. but your right alot of bikes i see on the trails these days have a matte black finish.
    Hey you have a point - black hiding scratches better. I think that'll seal the deal on color
    Can I ask where you purchased your bike for $250 under retail? You can pm me.

    Thx.

  32. #32
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    I live in South Florida, I brought it at my local LBS usually around this time of the year they have model year end clearance.
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL3
    2012 Santa Cruz Tallboy DXC

  33. #33
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    Got mine last week, nice so far.
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL3

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeros View Post
    Got mine last week, nice so far.
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL3
    Congrats - which color?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gixxerjoe View Post
    Congrats - which color?
    Black, all my bike shop had. I too had it between Rockhopper and Trail. Chose Trail

  36. #36
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    Man if your goin more toad get a 29er like maby a trail 4 in the 29. Itl be better on the roads and itl be faster with the larger wheels. Personally im not a 29er guy but i kno that they are better for more roa oriented situations

  37. #37
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    At this point i feel like a broken record....I also have an sl3. Its amazing. The duece fork is decent so far an i couldnt be happier. I got a sick discount and all but i would also definatly pay retail

  38. #38
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    Check the dates on the threads you post on. I'm willing to bet that whoever was asking about the bike on this thread has either bought something or given up on the idea.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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