Cannondale Trail SL 29er Hardtail

DESCRIPTION

  • Relaxed Race Geometry
  • Save Micro-Suspension System
  • Single-Speed Simplicity

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 59  
[Jun 09, 2017]
Steven Brita
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Smooth ride, fast on trails

Weakness:

longer stem than I'd prefer

I bought a '16 Trail 5 on sale and so far its been great. The 29 wheels crush on the trail and its very easy to ride on the street when needed. So far I have about 50 miles on it - half on trail and half on road. Climbs real easy and very controlled downhill. Its a bit too stretched out to take downhill, but is definitely a nice smooth easy riding bike. I'm happy with the purchase so far.

[May 06, 2016]
Dave
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Frame, fork, geometry, price

Weakness:

The OEM pedals...duh. The OEM Magura brakes...maybe.

I recently picked up a closeout 29er Trail SL single speed, black w/ blue anodized accents, and have about 40+ miles on it in a couple weeks of riding. I got hooked on single speeds through my last one, a cheap-but-thrashable Gravity 27Five from bikes direct.com. The Cannondale is light years better in every way and a fantastic package right out of the box. My bike w/ XL frame weighs in at 23.5lbs w/ a bottle cage, an incredibell and older Crank Bros. Candy pedals. Not too bad for the big guy.
So far, the Racing Ralph tires are holding their grip on slightly damp dirt and gravel and I'll probably convert them to tubeless soon, thanks to the Stan's Rapid wheels.
The brakes...maybe they need to wear in a little more before they instill more confidence, I don't know. I mean, they do stop the bike, but not without some chatter and audible complaining. I hear these Magura brakes were the best of the Trail SL single speed line, so I imagine the brakes on previous years were atrocious.
All I know is that they're not in the same league as my Shimano Deore hydros that are on my F29.
Yet I digress...the stock gearing is 33/20 and that seems a little too 'easy' for my tastes, so I've ordered a RaceFace narrow/wide 34t chainring to make me work a little harder.
All in all, for $780 out the door, this Cannondale is a sweet deal and I hope to get a lot more miles on it...as soon as the rain stops.

Similar Products Used:

2015 Gravity 27Five SS
early '90s Gary Fisher Marlin SS conversion

[Dec 11, 2015]
pfund28
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Lightweight, rigid, great bang for the buck!

Weakness:

saddle and pedals - like all stock bikes

I've got 2 years of riding on my 2013 SL1 and have ridden it many miles and conditions - pavement to 2 of the local trails. Very impressed over the Trek cobia I had (and that was a great bike)
Light by my standards - it's a Jumbo so the heaviest of the bunch. Tracks well, handles great and I am impressed by C's build quality.
I've changed out the wheels to Velocity Blunt SS and bigger 2.3 Geax Gato front and WTB Nano 2.1 rear - big difference too.
Handlebars are now carbon, pedals and Ergon grips..
Drivetrain is solid - shifts crisp and works fine - I see no need yet to go 2x10 or 1x10

NOTE: I HATE weekend warrior term - I ride 2-6x a week in good weather (our trails are closed when wet) haha!

Similar Products Used:

Trek Cobia, Marin, Raleigh Talus

[Sep 09, 2014]
Tom M

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

The thing is a beast on the trails. It's a good value for the money. The components are decent and the bike can take a good lickin.

Weakness:

Tires are mediocre at best. If you are riding on anything remotely wet you are going down. I swapped out the front tire with a tubeless 2.4 Psycho Genius and have had no real issues since. There is a lot of chain slap but its typical on a 3X9 setup. I will be switching to a 1X10 in the very near future.

I just bought this thing about a month and half ago and have been very happy with it. I have put roughly over 100 miles on this thing and it is a great trail bike for the money. With a few upgrades this bike will be GREAT.

[Jul 18, 2014]
Tall Yogi
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Comfortable, fits an XL body well (6'6" 240lbs). Climbs like a goat; down hills well; stable; responsive in corners at speed; great fork for larger people - take out 20mm spacer to get 100mm travel and it improves the ride tremendously. Gears are snappy and quick. Brakes are powerful and easy to grab lots of without endos.

Weakness:

Seat, pedals, grips. Squealy brakes.

I came from a 2008 Hardrock that was stolen. I loved that bike - rigid frame. I searched through lots of possible bikes - Devinci Wooky & Jack; Rocky Mountain Fusion; Trek Cobia & Mamba; Specialized Hardrock & Rockhopper. I loved parts of each bike, but this one has the best of them all.

The fit for a large person was important. I had the Hardrock fitted and sized and it rode well. When I got onto this thing it changed how I rode dramatically. Things I hadn't felt fully confident on the Hardrock were no bother on this; and now I'm riding like a fearless kid again. I finally feel like I am one with the bike, rather than just on it. It accelerates quickly, turns well, and stops on a dime. Very precise for a large bike. Low speed corners leave something to be desired (like really slow) but that's okay & expected from a 29er. I don't miss the 26" wheels.

I replaced the grips with Ergon GS-1; Saddle with a Specialized Phenom & pedals with some HT AE03. I'm planted in this and find myself getting off much less than I had before. I highly recommend all three of these upgrades - worth every penny. Long rides are a joy and don't leave painful spots next day.

Complaints: the chain seems to be stretching quickly; the front end is actually too light, but can be controlled - found climbing my first time in low gears that I couldn't keep it on the ground and kicked the bike out from under me a couple times - WOW! When needed I will likely put a heavier tire on the front to help. The seat post needs regular lubing to keep creaky noises at bay. I don't see any wearing issues, just an aluminum frame quirk.

Future plans: Aside from lots of riding - I will convert the drive train to a 2 x 10. The lowest gears and highest gears are unnecessary, and the extra clearance at the crank would be a good improvement - though I haven't bottomed it yet. Probably get a better / second chain just to be sure & save some costly wear.

A great all around bike that fits big people and seems to take a beating and keep on going. Great bike store too!!

[May 22, 2014]
David Hunt

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Strength:

Superb looking bike in white and green. Looks awesome..

Weakness:

Poor lazy gear changes since new.. Appalling customer service from cannondale.

It's a great looking bike. Since new I have been plagued by lazy gear changing issues. I have had the cassette changed and the chain after 750 miles and still the situation hasn't improved.

Cannondale customer service within terms of the warranty has been [email protected]@s poor..

They never reply. Plain and simple.

My bike plays up when the canal path is wet.. It's fine when dry..

Seems that grunge gets stuck in the cassette and it jumps out of gear..

Have tried to sort it our with retailer but no luck.

I have had 1 cassette change. 1 chain.. 3 cable changes and still I have lazy gear changes.

1st and last cannondale I ever buy.

Oddly enough the local independent specialised dealer tried to warn me about cannondale lack of customer service however I wouldn't listen ..

Be warned. Superb looking bike. Absolute [email protected]@e customer service..

Very very dispsapointed cannondale owner

[Nov 08, 2013]
Kent H.
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

Great frame, nice details, looks like a "high end" bike.

Weakness:

Heavy and not well dampened fork, rebound is very slow an unadjustable, tires slick when wet to the point of danger.

Wonderful entry level bike, had it for a few months now with regular weeks consisting of 100 miles or more of single track. As parts wear out I've been replacing them, at this point my bike is set up ss for winter. I love this bike and it's worth keeping and upgrading.

Similar Products Used:

Santa Cruz chameleon.

[Jun 23, 2013]
SSpeeder

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

High quality frame and fork
Great value
Clean lines
Light blue paint job with orange accent parts looks great

Weakness:

Low rent parts

I get compliments from other bikers about how great this bike looks. And it rides just as good as it looks.
I listed low rent parts as the bike's weakness, but for me it is a good thing because I like to get my own up grade parts. I immediately replaced the cranks (square taper bb?) with XX1 along with carbon bar, vintage 90 gm Kooka brake levers, Thompson post, etc. Although, it seems silly to put wheels that are more expensive than the entire bike, I plan to put orange Industry Nine wheel in the near future to finish out the bike. At conclusion of all the fun upgrades, I have a perfect bike and it is still way less expensive than getting a stock alloy Niner single speed bike.
With that said, I wish Cannondale offered a higher spec model for serious single speeders.

[Jun 11, 2013]
Cdale
Cross Country Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

bike flies over everything although tires dont help it much, lightweight frame sram groupset isn't buttery by any means but will get the job done for now, like the fork other than the response is tricky to get dialed in right.

Weakness:

tires are fairly slippery on wet rocks and roots, pedals will break your shins already replaced them with SPD clip less

great bike for the price, frame is very good will be using it as a base to build my dream bike around other than that not in love with the group set or the front fork but other than that love the bike so far

[Jun 09, 2013]
Harold
Weekend Warrior

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Lightweight, smooth ride, and a great value

Weakness:

Some cheap components, and other parts do not inspire confidence in rougher terrain.

I am mostly a street/light trail rider and I don't think you could ask for a better bike for these conditions. Hard core riders and heavier trail riders will probably need something a bit more high end. The value was great for this bike and for the uses I put it thru on a daily basis couldn't have made it a better purchase. I have had it less than a month and have not had any mechanical problems. I typically ride around 50 miles a week. It is my first 29er, and would recommend for anyone looking for a new bike.

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