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  1. #1
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    Cannondale Trail SL 4 29er

    Just picked up a 2013 cannondale trail sl 4 29er. I've been out of the biking scene for quite awhile, I'm just wondering what kind of upgrades would you all do this bike and why.

    Things I already know i'm getting

    Clipless pedals,

    (I want the carbon SAVE seatpost, don't know if it fits this frame though)

    What other upgrades would you do on this bike?

  2. #2
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    Leave it as it is eh? lol.

  3. #3
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    Ride it on the trails for a bit and see what needs improving. Pedals, Tires, and grips are typically the first small budget items to change out...but it all depends on your riding style. Enjoy the bike.

  4. #4
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    I changed out pedals and rims so far on my 2011 Trail SL4 29er. Rims were a necessity because of a couple bent rims in the first year. Grips are also deteriorating so probably will get them at some point before spring. Otherwise the brakes and drivetrain have performed well. Lockout on the fork has broken a couple times and is no longer functional, but if I get a upgraded fork I've pretty much spent what I paid for it in upgrades.The 2013 looks to have better components across the board to start with...the new SL4 is better/cheaper than the 2011 SL2! For me the frame (I think its exactly the same as 2011) and feel of the ride are worth some upgrades.

  5. #5
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    I was wondering about what Wheel set to go for later on. I'm a Clyde. About 230 with gear. And I've heard on any 29 er it is a must to invest in a decent wheel set

  6. #6
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    I feel that I too will run the factory shock awhile. But I do plan to upgrade it when it wears down / out.

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    I didn't have a lot to spend when I got new rims so I went with the Alexrims G6000, they were handbuilt and got them at the local bike shop which stands behind them. So far I've been happy with them and they have held up well on trails with a lot of rocks and roots. I would agree with you that it's probably worth investing a good wheelset. I had zero bent rims with my 26" and a few with the 29er, I've been between 240 and 215lbs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Hartman View Post
    I was wondering about what Wheel set to go for later on. I'm a Clyde. About 230 with gear. And I've heard on any 29 er it is a must to invest in a decent wheel set
    I went to a DT Swiss wheelset (350 hubs, m520 rims) on my 2011 SL4. I noticed a huge difference in acceleration and handling. Worth the cash. I'm 250lbs and have has no issues.
    2011 Cannondale SL4 29er
    2012 Norco CCX3
    2014 Nashbar Fatbike

  9. #9
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    I'm really looking into a lefty fork for this machine, What is ya'lls opinion on that? the SL4 is the first frame that is 1 1/2 headtube, that is what it takes to run a lefty right? I was thinking I would try some of those light bicycle carbon rims, get a lefty hub for the front and lace it up... Sound good? I really like the way this bike fits me, so I believe it would be worth putting some monies into it. (ended up with a never going to sell it hardtail.... Don't you HATE those?!?!?! lol)

  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    some images for you,

    Since these,

    Shimano SPD M540's
    Removed Reflectors,
    Rode about 20 more miles. =)
    Removed water bottle cage, (got a camelback now!)
    HAD FUN!

  12. #12
    Nice day for a ride.....
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    Nice lookin machine, love the black and white colour scheme.

    The Cannondale dealer I bought mine from says you can run a lefty fork on the SL no problem. They are quite expensive though. You might be better served by putting a tapered conventional fork on it and using some of the saved cash for other upgrades (crank, stem, handlebar, etc.), but a trail SL would look killer with a lefty IMO.
    2011 Cannondale SL4 29er
    2012 Norco CCX3
    2014 Nashbar Fatbike

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RatchAttack View Post
    Nice lookin machine, love the black and white colour scheme.

    The Cannondale dealer I bought mine from says you can run a lefty fork on the SL no problem. They are quite expensive though. You might be better served by putting a tapered conventional fork on it and using some of the saved cash for other upgrades (crank, stem, handlebar, etc.), but a trail SL would look killer with a lefty IMO.
    I think it would be like a flash / f . It is almost identical geometry. Its not an upgrade I'm going to do all at once. I know it'll be expensive. I'll focus on pieces Abe parts, then I should have it all ready by middle of next season. I rode a flash with a lefty it felt great. That is why I want one.

  14. #14
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    i had that bike before i upgraded to the jekyll 3. do you notice the breaks squeek when breaking?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2013 Cannonale Jekyll 3 M

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fondoo View Post
    i had that bike before i upgraded to the jekyll 3. do you notice the breaks squeek when breaking?
    no but i notice if they get dirty they kind of vibrate my levers.

  16. #16
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    We picked a 2012 up off of Craigs List to tide us over until he can get a second full suspension 29er. We don't ride super aggresively, but do some longer CC stuff. We put Ergon grips on, as well as a suspension seat post. If we were going to keep it, I think we'd replace the wheels. I rode it a bit faster for one loop of a longer race that we did and jumped off some pretty small stuff. The wheels were out of true pretty badly after that. I am 160lbs.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamiam View Post
    We picked a 2012 up off of Craigs List to tide us over until he can get a second full suspension 29er. We don't ride super aggresively, but do some longer CC stuff. We put Ergon grips on, as well as a suspension seat post. If we were going to keep it, I think we'd replace the wheels. I rode it a bit faster for one loop of a longer race that we did and jumped off some pretty small stuff. The wheels were out of true pretty badly after that. I am 160lbs.
    Oh and clipless pedals too!

  18. #18
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    Anyone know if the Hans Dampf 2.35's will fit on the rear of the trail?

  19. #19
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    Matte black is greatness

  20. #20
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    So I have read up on hydraulic brakes but how hard would they be for a beginner to maintain? I'm thinkimg about buying a 4 as my first bike

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Hartman View Post
    Anyone know if the Hans Dampf 2.35's will fit on the rear of the trail?
    I've seen a 2.4" Maxxis Ardent fit on the rear of the SL. I`m guessing the Hans will fit if it runs true to size.

    Quote Originally Posted by reggie16 View Post
    So I have read up on hydraulic brakes but how hard would they be for a beginner to maintain? I'm thinkimg about buying a 4 as my first bike
    Hydro`s are pretty easy to get along with for the most part. The SL4 comes with Cannondale Helix 6 brakes, which look well built and feel good on the showroom floor although I must admit I have not ridden a bike with them.
    The Helix are actually Bengal brakes rebranded for Cannondale. Heres the link:
    BENGAL
    2011 Cannondale SL4 29er
    2012 Norco CCX3
    2014 Nashbar Fatbike

  22. #22
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    would an SL4 be a good bike for my first one. Im going to school in flagstaff az so there is plenty to ride there from what i hear.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by reggie16 View Post
    would an SL4 be a good bike for my first one. Im going to school in flagstaff az so there is plenty to ride there from what i hear.

    I enjoy mine so far, this is my first bike too. I purchased it over any other hard tail because of the save frame design in the rear. ( gives the frame a little bend ) And an overall nicer ride, at least to me it felt that way... Maybe It just fit me just right? i'm 5'9"-10" and picked the medium frame. I normally ride a large frame but the medium 29er felt better. If you haven't researched them much, you can get them new for about 900 bucks, it is early in the year now, so no end of year discounts. =(

    but in short, yes, it would be a wonderful bike. after looking at almost EVERY SINGLE OTHER BRAND, this bike, felt the best to me. I'm not saying it is the best out of them, it FELT the best... That is preference based on geometry.

    Another thing though, I believe any "real" ( Not walmart / dick's / academy / retail chain ) mountain bike is a good choice, just ride a few, pick the one that feels the best to you, and stick with it. <<<<---- this is what i did to choose my trail.

    Other bikes I tested in the sub $1000 range

    Cannondale ( Picked this one )
    Giant (second favorite )
    trek
    Specialized ( this bike felt funny to me for some reason )
    Scott
    raleigh ( hated this one )
    kona
    felt

    ^ just to give you an idea of what I rode and tried before I made my desicion. Good luck.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RatchAttack View Post
    I've seen a 2.4" Maxxis Ardent fit on the rear of the SL. I`m guessing the Hans will fit if it runs true to size.
    L[/url]
    Ok cool, I like your trail Ratch, Sweet looking setup. How do you like the DT swiss wheels? Did you notice a big change when you went from factory to aftermarket wheels? What things did you notice? I'm considering this option also.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Hartman View Post
    I enjoy mine so far, this is my first bike too. I purchased it over any other hard tail because of the save frame design in the rear. ( gives the frame a little bend ) And an overall nicer ride, at least to me it felt that way... Maybe It just fit me just right? i'm 5'9"-10" and picked the medium frame. I normally ride a large frame but the medium 29er felt better. If you haven't researched them much, you can get them new for about 900 bucks, it is early in the year now, so no end of year discounts. =(

    but in short, yes, it would be a wonderful bike. after looking at almost EVERY SINGLE OTHER BRAND, this bike, felt the best to me. I'm not saying it is the best out of them, it FELT the best... That is preference based on geometry.

    Another thing though, I believe any "real" ( Not walmart / dick's / academy / retail chain ) mountain bike is a good choice, just ride a few, pick the one that feels the best to you, and stick with it. <<<<---- this is what i did to choose my trail.

    Other bikes I tested in the sub $1000 range

    Cannondale ( Picked this one )
    Giant (second favorite )
    trek
    Specialized ( this bike felt funny to me for some reason )
    Scott
    raleigh ( hated this one )
    kona
    felt

    ^ just to give you an idea of what I rode and tried before I made my desicion. Good luck.

    Sweet thats for the input. I havent had the chance to try any out yet, however im looking at this sl 4 29er and the GT Karakoram unfortunately my LBS does not carry any of those brands so i have to drive about an hour to find a shop that carries them. but thanks for the input.

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