Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2 29er Hardtail

3.94/5 (16 Reviews)
MSRP : $1069.00

Product Description

  • Frame: 6061 aluminium alloy
  • Fork: Custom RST Deuce Air
  • Saddle: Cannondale Halo
  • Bottom Bracket: Shimano BB-ES25 Octalink
  • Spokes: CN stainless

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Reviews 1 - 15 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tall Yogi a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2014

Strengths:    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.

Weaknesses:    Seat, pedals, grips. Squealy brakes.

Bottom Line:   
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!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hydrocut

Duration Product Used:   2 seasons

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   Ziggy's Cycle

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Cdale a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: June 11, 2013

Strengths:    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.

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

Bottom Line:   
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

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by daveprodigy603

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2013

Strengths:    Gorgeous frame and a great name that used to stand for something

Weaknesses:    Good looking frame

Bottom Line:   
I'll be honest I had this bike for 3 days after looking High and Low for my size. After looking up to the Cannondale in the past, I had this bike on a pedestal, and it didn't deliver. I realize that some of that was due to lower end parts (but not really), and the touch points were very cheap feeling. The break levers are plastic and the white shifters look and feel out of place. To make matters worse it shifted horribly. The shop I bought from was courteous and took it back easily. I stepped up a little and got a Trek Superfly and the mostly Shimano parts are solid.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by MN

Date Reviewed: March 26, 2013

Strengths:    Frame, Recon Silver, and Appearance

Weaknesses:    none that matter but Grips and Saddle

Bottom Line:   
Super-Clyde in the hunt for a new ride after a long absense from MTBing. I narrowed my choices down to the Cobia, Kahunna and this bad boy.

The Cobia felt like an old-school 26" I was sitting in top of the bike. The Kahunna just didn't feel right. Also the Recon Silver on the Trail pushed me to it over the Kona for basically the same price.

This bike is awesome, I have put over 50Km in the first few days, lots of review are spot on with this bike. Will upgrade the grips, saddle and tires.

Also I will be taking the 80mm spacers out to get to 100mm.

Overall this is an awesome bike for the price, love how it looks(black with white letters). My only complaint overall is the limited stock C'dale has I ended up wanting to purchase the Trail SL which is extremely well spec'd for the price but was out of stock indefinitely in March???????? Still not regretting buying the SL2!!!!!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Night Train 57 a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: March 6, 2013

Strengths:    Light, responsive and fast. I'm basing my review on the price and what you get for it. I bought the 2013 this past fall and have been very pleased with the bikes performance. To knock the bike down a few pegs because of stock platform pedals and seat is pretty silly. Yes the pedals are junk, the seat I'm sure is not a 200 dollar seat and the SRAM S5 group is not buttery smooth BUT the bike cost about 1,100 dollars, you are most likely going to crush the rear derailleur off a rock, replace the pedals and replace the seat anyway. Oh, and replace the tires eventually also. Jeez, what do want for the price. If it had slightly better components and fork it would be called the Flash. The bike rolls over roots, rocks and ruts that would have sucked momentum from my 26er. The rear triangle flexes about 5mm to soak up a bit of the chatter also. I think it's a great bike for the price and to expect anything more is just silly.

Weaknesses:    The Rock Shox Recon Silver seems to be a bit over matched bombing down semi-rocky trails. Still working on getting the return dialed in. The tires are super slick on anything other than a packed trail.

Bottom Line:   
Are there better bike out there, of course. They're also more expensive. You would be hard pressed to find an equal bike for the price. Fun, fast and simple is the key to the SL 2.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Alligrippis Trails @ Raystown

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Purchased At:   Pro Bikes, Pittsburg

Similar Products Used:   First 29er

Bike Setup:   Stock

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Rory a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: November 18, 2012

Strengths:    This is a solid unit, it isn't overly heavy for the size of frame and it powers along if you are commuting on bike paths or hammering on dirt fire trails. Climbing on this is easy and makes the ascent pretty fun. The riding position is relaxed for general riding with an up right position that has your shoulders pretty much over the handle bars. The gear sets and brakes are solid and have caused me no issues.

Weaknesses:    It loves to nose dive, it is like someone put led in the front to try make it go faster bob-sled style. This is nasty when you try hitting a drop-off as you have to throw the bike up to get it to land flat. Where the bike dominates going up it fails at descending at pace as the general geometry and average front forks make you feel like you are going over the handle bars, it is very hard to get your weight back even with the seat dropped.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is great for a commuter and for doing long open trails as it powers along. It will make you take life-insurance out though if you start throwing it down steep descents and through snaking single trails at anything but a Medium/slow pace.
I would recommend this as a good entry level bike to ride to work and hit some fire trails on the weekends.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Bruce Ridge

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Cyclery, Canberra

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by cory a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: October 11, 2012

Strengths:    Great overall bike for the money. Good weight, components, frame, handles very well even around tight switch backs. Overall very happy for the money spent.,:)

Weaknesses:    Seat hurts (replaced it after one long ride), replaced peddles to clip, shock is good not great, the worst part of the bike is the tubes and tires. Tires are good for hard pack but that is it. I hit a little patch of mud with a light turn a few feet after missed the turn went off the trail hit a hole and went over the bars. Ouch!!! I just ordered new tires

Bottom Line:   
I did alot of riding in past on full suspension (cannondale delta v1000 & gary fisher sugar 3) in past so getting back on a hard tail took a little getting used too. Weight feels same but handling is slightly slower (expected). Tires rool over large roots, rocks, etc very well. Cant wait for the new tires so i can really push this bike to the limits.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   weekends 10-20 miles a pop

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   bike junkie

Bike Setup:   Stock except seat and paddles. Replacing tires soon!

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Richard Vicentino a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: September 12, 2012

Strengths:    1.5 inch head tube, 26er feel,

Weaknesses:    Tires

Bottom Line:   
Thisnis my first 29er. I was forced to buy a new bike when someone stole my KHS XC team (my build not stock). I decided on a 29er because I couldn't spring for another full sus bike (no pun intended). My first ride on the bike was a bit of a re-learning process. I haven't been on a hard tail in 3 year. I'm growing into it now and am starting to love. The derailleurs are adequate and perform pretty admirably considering they are the low end of the SRAM line. Mine is a 2012 and comes equipped with a Rock Shox Recon Solo Air. I'd normally like more than the stock 80mils of travel but really on this bike I don't miss it. On flat terrain it rolls over roots as if they weren't there and it just eats up technical climbs. Descending is fun but with the stock kenda small block 8 tires it can get downright squirly in the wet. That is going to be the first replacement. That being said, the tires are very fast on hard pack.

Not sure if it's the SAVE technology incorporated in the seat and chain stays or the big tires or a combination of both but it is nowhere near as butt jarring a ride as I remember a hard tail being. All in all I'm growing more and more fond of the bike and don't regret my 29er or cannondale purchase.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Durham Forest

Purchased At:   Pedal Performance

Similar Products Used:   Trek Cobia, KHS Tempe, Giant Talon

Bike Setup:   X5 front and rear derailleurs, kenda small block 8 tires, avid elixir 1 brakes

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Muffinhead a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: July 30, 2012

Strengths:    Pretty lightweight, 29 inch wheels roll over practically anything, disk brakes are responsive, fast on the uphill, durable bike, solid feel, fork has lock out

Weaknesses:    standard RST Deuce Air fork doesn't work as well as it should, stock pedals hurt like h*** if you accidentally slip and hit your shin on them

Bottom Line:   
I got this bike as my first "real" mountain bike and so far has been generally very good. The 29er wheels really make you go so much faster in the long run. The saddle works fine AS LONG AS you wear cycling shorts/pants. The fork, although much better than my old SR Suntour (crap), still has left me wanting a more plush ride. The frame is quite light. As an uphill bike the SL2 29er will fly. The wheels mine came with (Kenda Small Block 8) are good on dry days, and generally very touchy in wet conditions/loose leaves and gravel. I replaced the stock pedals with clipless, which made all the difference. I wish to soon replace the fork as well. Overall this bike is an awesome first ride for any XC/Trail rider.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by R L Pellow

Date Reviewed: June 13, 2012

Strengths:    I like the geometry, fit and feel of the bike. Great fork. Good brakes.

Weaknesses:    I expected more from the SRAM X5 component set. Thought it would be more fluid. Needed to have brake lever replaced after my first real ride.

Bottom Line:   
This is my first true MTB after pounding my GT Arrette hybrid on trails for 15 years, so you can imagine I'm a pig in sh#%. I was initially considering the SL4 (save $300+ & Green accents) but went with the upgraded fork, brakes, components of the SL2. Already I am happy to have gone SL2, after being surprised by some of the drops and technicality of real MTB trails. Will probably consider upgrading the component set at some time, after hearing/watching the difference between SRAM X5 and X10 on friends bikes. Was also considering full-suspension vs. hardtail, but I'm using way less energy up hills. Happy with the choice!

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $1069.00

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Seano a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 8, 2012

Strengths:    stiff frame with well balanced geometry, excellent fork for the money

Weaknesses:    Driveline and brakes of the 2012 bike is not up there with other brands; OE wheels are hefty

Bottom Line:   
Selected this bike as a replacement day to day trainer to complement the race bike (Giant Anthem X0 29er). Couldn't go past the LBS offered price of AU$900 compared to the RRP of AU$1,500. Essentially it is a goodly stiff and well made frame with a well specced fork (RS Recon Silver TK Air) compared to the opposition but low spec driveline (SRAM X5) and brakes (Avid Elixer 1). Since driveline is more consumable than biggie.

Large size was comfortable straight up with no mods however a Ragley carnegie bar, Ergon grips and some SPD pedals came out of the parts box fairly quickly. I swapped the basic OE Maddux/Formula wheels for the OE Giant PXC2 wheels from the Anthem too....that dropped a pound off the weight right there.

In summary, excellent machine with great upgrade potential.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   One that's flat, dusty and full of trees

Price Paid:    $900.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Giant Anthem X 29er

Bike Setup:   Stck apart from Ragley Carnegie riser bar, Ergon GX2 grips, Shimano SPD pedals and Giant PXC2 wheels

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Zack Cebenka a Racer from New London, PA

Date Reviewed: December 23, 2011

Strengths:    -Lightweight frame.
-Awesome hydraulic brakes (I weigh close to 210 and I have no problem stopping on a dime going full speed)
-10 Speed.
-Incredible acceleration.
-Carries a great amount of momentum being a 29ER. I can usually gain more speed and pass 26in bikes on the trails without pedaling downhill.(Friends always take note of my ability to jet past them effortlessly)
-Dominates killer climbs.
-Sturdy components.
-I have had several wrecks (also flipped it) and this bike has been a TANK so far.
-Stock grips are great.

Weaknesses:    -Chain broke within 2 months of hard riding. It was my fault.
-Stock tires are very fast in dry conditions while dangerous in wet conditions. (just have to be careful)
-Tubes don't last very long in tires either. I recommend new tires or tubeless.

Bottom Line:   
I never thought that a 29ER could be such a difference in my riding in comparison to a 26in. With that said I love this bike. I bought it the day my LBS got the shipment of 2012 cannons and put it together. The white frame paired with black rims look fantastic, I get a lot of compliments about it(when it's not covered in mud). If you are a fan of Cannondale and are in the market for a 29ER around 1,000 bucks I highly recommend this bike. To me it is similar to owning a Ferrari or Audi R8 in that I look forward to hopping on it and whipping it on the trails everyday!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fair Hill

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1170.00

Purchased At:   Wooden Wheels

Similar Products Used:   I tested all of the competitors within my budget and Cannondale's geometry fit me best so I bought it.

Bike Setup:   -Shimano clip pedals
-Speacialized shoes
-New chain

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JWard a Cross Country Rider from UK

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2011

Strengths:    Overall very pleased with the bike. I prefer the ride of the 29er to my old 26er. It seems a more comfortable riding position, rides over obstacles better (this may be because I have more confidence). The riding position on the bike is different to 26ers - more “in the bike” than on the bike. It is quicker on the road. The 80mm travel air forks seems fine when compared to my ancient Rocshox Jet forks on my old bike and is it is good it can be locked out. I am more able to tackle tree stumps and other ups and downs and it seems easier than on my old 26er.

Weaknesses:    I have noticed recently that it is not quite so manoeuvrable around small object such as barriers on a cycle path. In the past I have been able to cycle around them on my 26er but it is more dificult on my 29er. However I have managed to do a pump track on it and it was fine. I am using it for commuting to work and long cross country rides which suits it fine.

Bottom Line:   
A great bike. I would recommend it.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $1100.00

Similar Products Used:   I have ridden a number of different 29ers from Giant and Trek and am pleased with my choice.

Bike Setup:   I have changed the saddle to an On One Big Noise and put Ergon GC2 grips on the bike and put different peddles on (toe clips and spd pedals depending on where I am riding). I have a pair of 700X42 tyres for the road and will use the tyres which came with the bike until they need replacing. I bought some new thinner inner tubes and the tyres, Specialized Borough tyres fitted fine. I had tried to put the new tyres on with my original inner tubes but they were too large.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by jfelps a Weekend Warrior from The Woodlands Tx

Date Reviewed: September 9, 2011

Strengths:    Look amazing, handles like a dream, This is my first 29er I love the way it rolls over everything.

Weaknesses:    Pedals suck, handle bars are to wide.

Bottom Line:   
If you are looking for a 29er that will not break the bank get this bike. Change the pedals out right when you get the bike it make a huge difference.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Cypresswood

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $700.00

Purchased At:   craigslist

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher

Bike Setup:   Stock except I cut the handle bars an inch on each side. Took off stock pedals and put put on specialized low pro 2 platforms.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Wjenkins a Cross Country Rider from Winnipeg, MB

Date Reviewed: August 25, 2011

Strengths:    Handles like a dream. I love this bike.

Weaknesses:    Seat sucks... With help of padded shorts its not bad.

Bottom Line:   
I ride 40k a day on my SL2, and I love every pedal. I ride from street, to a few little trails on the to and from work, and everyday I enjoy this bike even more. Have done a few trails around the city, and this bike eats them up like candy.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Whittier Park

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Olympia Cycle and Sk

Similar Products Used:   N/A

Bike Setup:   Factory other then

Reviews 1 - 15 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Scott S cale 29 Team vs Cannondale Trail SL 29ER 2

these are 2 bikes im thinking about buying. i just wanted to get some opinons on each bike. Scott Scale 29 Team: Frame: Scale 29 Alloy 6061, custom butted superlight tubing, forged race disc dropouts PM160, bridgeless seatstays, Integ. Headset, replaceable hanger Fork: Rock Shox XC 32 TK 29 C ... Read More »

Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2 -good start?

I have been wanting to get back into riding for a couple years now, and with getting a little older and having kids, the fitness aspect of it is sort of pushing me to really get the shopping going. I've been reading as much as I can on this forum (tons of great info) and have visited a couple local ... Read More »

Focus Black Forest 29er 3.0 (2012) vs. Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2

[I]Apologies, this was originally posted in the general forum by accident![/I] I'm considering getting the Focus or Cannondale as my first entry-level mountain bike. Does anyone own either of these and can say anything positive or negative about them, or which you would suggest as the better opti ... Read More »

Focus black forest 29er 3.0 vs. Cannondale Trail SL 29er 2

I'm considering getting one of these as my first entry-level mountain bike. Does anyone own either of these and can say anything positive or negative about them? I'm more inclined toward the Focus atm but I'll take a good look at the Trail SL 29er tonight at my LBS. What's really the differenc ... Read More »

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