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  1. #1
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    New Trail 6: Now to start the mods

    Rode my new Trail 6 for the first time today. Now the laundry list of modifications begins:
    1- Handlebars are 27" wide. My current bars are 22.5" on former bike. I have to cut down the bars 4.5"

    2- Small block 8 tires are super thin. Got a flat from a thorn the first mile. Tires are coming off and being replaced with a new set of Bontrager tires I recently bought. Those don't go flat on thorns.

    3. Ordered SPD clipless pedals with platforms on the other side. Plastic stock pedals have to go.

    That should do it for now. Going to give the shocks and seat a month or so to see how they do.

    Anything you all do to your lower-end Cannondales to beef them up? I may go tubeless later and get more performance cranks. Don't want to spend all of my money at one time. :-)

  2. #2
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    Congrats on your new bike. I'd be inclined to suggest giving the bars a trial period and to do a tubeless conversion with sealant right away if you ride somewhere with lots of thorns.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the tips.

    I'll definitely consider a tubeless conversion, for sure. I'll give the handlebars a little time, but I ride a lot of twisty-turny trails between narrow openings in trees. Those 5 inches sure feel like I'm driving a bus in the woods. :-)

  4. #4
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    I would also suggest leaving the bars alone unless you find yourself tangling with a lot of trees...and even then 4.5" is a lot to cut off. I would also suggest looking into upgrading the brakes. I went with BB7's and was surprised with the difference. You could go hydro's if you have the extra cash.
    Enjoy the bike and see what bothers you, then change things.

  5. #5
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    I'd definitely suggest giving the bars a shot. Trust me when I say once you have gone wide you'll never go back. Wide bars and short stems are two very popular changes done on mtn bikes to better handling characteristics.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2clue View Post
    I'd definitely suggest giving the bars a shot. Trust me when I say once you have gone wide you'll never go back. Wide bars and short stems are two very popular changes done on mtn bikes to better handling characteristics.
    I can imagine that wide bars are more stable, especially on the down hill. I'll give them a shot. I am thinking it really depends on the kind of riding. Most of what I do is flat, wooded, narrow windy trails, constantly weaving through trees.

    I'll spend some time on the bike before chopping it up. :-)

  7. #7
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    I too say try the bars for a good long while, first.

    I was coming from an old XC bike. My current AM bike felt totally foreign to me when I first rode it, with its wide riser bars.

    I ordered 600mm flat bars within the first wk! Mounted them up and rode. Never really felt in control of the bike in gnarly stuff. Could not find a good climbing position, either.

    3 wks later I ordered some 685mm flat bars, cut them down to about 650. Bike felt much better. Enjoyed that for a while.

    Few months later ordered another set of 685 flat bars. No cutting this time. Now on 685mm flat bars and they feel perfect for me. Many people go wider than 710 - I might too.

    Even put wide bars on my old XC bike - enhanced control there, too.

    Moral of the story: dont cut them bars.
    '95 M2 StumpJumper FS
    '11 Cannondale RZ 120-two

  8. #8
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    Ok, the bars will stay for now. :-)

    I swapped tires and that made a big difference over the SB8's. I guess the next thing to go will be the heavy cranks and ugly front sprockets with something a notch up. Also, it may be a break in thing, but it shifts like butt from 2 to 3 and 3 to 2 on the front sprocket.

    Little by little. ;-)

  9. #9
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    Great move on getting rid of the Small Block 8s. I have the Trail 3 29er and the SB8 works fine as a back tire, but in the front I really don't feel the confidence. I just ordered a Maxxis Ardent 2.25 for the front and will be putting it on before tomorrow's ride. I'm keeping the SB8 on the back for now, I might upgrade that in the future as well.

  10. #10
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    Great move on getting rid of the Small Block 8s. I have the Trail 3 29er and the SB8 works fine as a back tire, but in the front I really don't feel the confidence. I just ordered a Maxxis Ardent 2.25 for the front and will be putting it on before tomorrow's ride. I'm keeping the SB8 on the back for now, I might upgrade that in the future as well.

  11. #11
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    I've never used different tires front and back, but the SB 8's were so flimsy I just wanted them off. So far I am happy with this setup of tires.

    SB8's (left) are off. Bontragers (right) are on:



  12. #12
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    I'm upgrading my SL4 one piece at a time as well. Once everything is upgraded, I'll be buying a frame of some sort and transfering all the upgraded/higher end parts to the new frame. I'm thinking a Niner frame, but not sure. Anyway the list thus far, isn't very long:

    1x8 conversion.
    Peaty Lock-on grips
    BB7s with SPD dial 7 levers
    Shimano M540 SPD Pedals
    Shimano HG megarange cassette. (The OEM one actually broke)
    Bontrager XR4 Expert tires

    Also I go rid of the crappy QR skewers that came with the bike and put on a pair of Halo Hex skewers. Much more secure. They don't come lose 3 miles into a ride!

    Next on the list is a fork, maybe Fox, not sure yet and a set of Arch wheels. I figure if all goes well maybe early 2014 I'll be ordering a frame. Then this one goes back to stock for a loaner/backup bike.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
    I'm upgrading my SL4 one piece at a time as well. Once everything is upgraded, I'll be buying a frame of some sort and transfering all the upgraded/higher end parts to the new frame. I'm thinking a Niner frame, but not sure. Anyway the list thus far, isn't very long:

    1x8 conversion.
    Peaty Lock-on grips
    BB7s with SPD dial 7 levers
    Shimano M540 SPD Pedals
    Shimano HG megarange cassette. (The OEM one actually broke)
    Bontrager XR4 Expert tires

    Also I go rid of the crappy QR skewers that came with the bike and put on a pair of Halo Hex skewers. Much more secure. They don't come lose 3 miles into a ride!

    Next on the list is a fork, maybe Fox, not sure yet and a set of Arch wheels. I figure if all goes well maybe early 2014 I'll be ordering a frame. Then this one goes back to stock for a loaner/backup bike.
    Sounds like a good plan. I really like my frame, so I'll stay with it a while.

    Shimano M540 SPD pedals: I researched these vs the M520 and all I could find was the M520's were black and 30 grams heavier. PricePoint has the 540 on sale for $55 and the 520 on sale for $35, so I ordered the M520's last night.

    QR skewers: I did not know these were known for coming loose. I was hiking my bike down a rocky ditch and my rear wheel popped out. I thought maybe I did not tighten it enough when I changed the tires. I'll keep an eye on it. Thanks.

    Will 26'er parts fit a Niner frame? Interesting.

  14. #14
    Just Ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by CajunJamie View Post
    Sounds like a good plan. I really like my frame, so I'll stay with it a while.

    Shimano M540 SPD pedals: I researched these vs the M520 and all I could find was the M520's were black and 30 grams heavier. PricePoint has the 540 on sale for $55 and the 520 on sale for $35, so I ordered the M520's last night.

    QR skewers: I did not know these were known for coming loose. I was hiking my bike down a rocky ditch and my rear wheel popped out. I thought maybe I did not tighten it enough when I changed the tires. I'll keep an eye on it. Thanks.

    Will 26'er parts fit a Niner frame? Interesting.
    Looks to me like the 520s have a plastic body? Can't tell for sure from the picture. I am curious though.

    Not real sure if QR's are known for coming loose, but mine always did. Not surprising as they aren't high end for sure. The rear was fine, but I had to stop at least once if not 2 or 3 times to retighten them. Got old pretty fast as you can imagine. Of course if I put em on to tight then the front brakes would rub. But whatever problem solved now.

    I have the 29er version. I forgot they make 26 and 29 in the SL line. So for me they will fit!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  15. #15
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    Very nice! Thanks for all the great info!

  16. #16
    Talk to me, Goose.
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    So hows your Trail 6 holding up? Did the fork hold up pretty well? I have about 900 miles on my stock fork, and I ride pretty damn aggressively. I have no clue how its handled the beating so well, but I'm not complaining. It has begun to feel a little sloppy though.. just curious what you went with if you made the change..
    We can't stop here, this is bat country..

  17. #17
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    Hey, my bike is holding up very well. I converted to tubeless and put the SB 8's back on because my Bontragers were too large to seal. The SB8's do very well tubeless. I actually love them.

    Forks/Shocks: I have learned that here in northeast Texas, the terrain is very gentle on shocks, so mine are fine. More the most part, the main purpose of shocks here is to smooth out roots across the trails. Unlike a place like California or other mountainous terrain, we don't have to deal with rocks as much.

    While I am sure there is aggressive riding to be found in NE Texas, most of it is hard packed dirt and tree roots with the most difficult being steep climbs and descents.

    I would prefer an upgrade to a nicer shock, but the truth is it would be a luxury but not a necessity.
    Roots, Rocks, Ruts and Padded Butts

  18. #18
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    i would get rid of those stock pedals with tow cage and go with something more grippy with pins.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    2013 Cannonale Jekyll 3 M

  19. #19
    Talk to me, Goose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fondoo View Post
    i would get rid of those stock pedals with tow cage and go with something more grippy with pins.
    The stock pedals on my Trail 6 lasted about 2 rides.. severely bending, and eventually broke a piece off of one. I went with the Shimano PD-M324 and enjoyed the flat/sbd setup.. but they were heavy and ended up dragging on roots too often. Now i've been sucked into the world of eggbeaters.. which have been pretty amazing so far.
    We can't stop here, this is bat country..

  20. #20
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    @CajunJamie,
    is Your Trail 6 have 26" wheel? I just started to built mine, got the frame from friend for a great price :-)

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