Cannondale Trail SL 29er 3 29er Hardtail

4.13/5 (8 Reviews)
MSRP : $829.00


Product Description

Wanna try something new? Trail SL 29’er makes an ideal first mountain bike. The big wheels roll over obstacles with ease, absorb bumps and maintain momentum better. Give yourself an edge.
  • Frame: Trail SL 29'er, Optimized 6061 alloy, SAVE, 1.5" headtube
  • Fork: Cannondale Fatty Rigid 29'er
  • Crank: TruVatiV Isoflow 1.0g SS 33T
  • Saddle: Cannondale Stage 2
  • Bottom Bracket: Tange Seiki LN-3912
  • Spokes: Stainless Black


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

Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by SSpeeder

Date Reviewed: June 23, 2013

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


Weaknesses:    Low rent parts

Bottom Line:   
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.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by BikesN=N+1 a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: May 14, 2013

Strengths:    Looks nice

Weaknesses:    EBB is rubbish
Exccessive flex , frame and fork
frame welding average
Full price is a joke


Bottom Line:   
SERIOUSLY disappointed!!!
First ever Cannondale .... and definitely the last!
Eccentric BB is crap, wasn't even assembled correctly from the factory and forget tightening it to the recomended torque, the BB shell will distort at about 80% tight !! constantly creaks !!
Geometry is not right for a 29er at all, works way better as a 650B cause the BB is way too high.
Bought from Bicycle Express in Adelaide SA (and certainly would NOT recommend them either!!!),
fortunately i got it on clearance at around half price, if i'd paid full RRP i think i'd have asked for a refund!!!
So now i've machined a new BB sleeve and running 1x10 with 27.5 wheels and it's a way better bike
If you are considering one of these P.O.S. , be careful, take it for a thorough test ride and make sure you get a good one ... or just buy something else !!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fox Creek

Price Paid:    $699.00

Similar Products Used:   KHS, Diamondback, Norco, Giant, NS, Jamis


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by robert frazer

Date Reviewed: April 2, 2013

Strengths:    great steering response, i could go on and on and! just buy one!

Weaknesses:    mechanical disc brakes the only real down fall of this gem of a bike

Bottom Line:   
i bought the 2013 gulf racing color sl3 ss really just for the color but after riding it for a week my 2012 anthem x1 has been parked up ever since! this bike is plush on the rear end and still to this day i keep looking back to see if some one has snuck a shock on! there are 5 of us with this same bike now and local shop (ride cycles) (even he bought 1) has struggled to keep up with demand. big pat on the back cannondale.
it corners fast ,responds quickly and front fatty fork is set up just right.
my only gripes would be mechanical disc brakes and little tires, but have got some formula r1S on the go and swapped tires for maxxis ikons( personally i reckon best xc tire made)

this bike was intended just for a commuter to and from work, i put a 33x15 set up on it
but now would rather throw this around the sandy point track than my anthem.
i have used it at bluff hill and with the standard 33x 20 set up it climbs awsum!
33x18 set up is a great all round gear for this bike and i am looking forward to hitting the single speed champs down here in october

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ironsinker

Date Reviewed: October 22, 2012

Strengths:    Looks, components, price, and feel. Shifts and brakes like a dream. This bike makes me look good. I bet I could pick up a chick faster on this bike than in my car!! As a matter of fact, I've already proven that.

Weaknesses:    Not many if any

Bottom Line:   
I bought this bike on clearance from REI for $ 649. Spec wise this was a steal compared to other bikes at this price.

My favorite aspect of this bike is the Hydraulic Shimano brakes....my first experience with Hydraulic. I can stop this bike quickly with just my pinky finger. I don't normally stop with my pinky of course, but hydraulic brakes make the experience that much better....I love them! They aren't necessary but are just nice if you know what I mean.

The second thing I like about this bike is the look. It looks expensive from the paint down to the smooth welds. The welds on other bikes look like unfinished products compared to Cannondales.

It's also my first 29er. I feel like I'm riding an elephant although I have not had any problems maneuvering this big rig.

I'm not here as a Cannondale fanatic but I'm very impressed with this bike and the quality period. I have nothing but good things to say. Everyone wants to ride the bike and when I let them they also have only good things to say.




Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jace Taylor a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2012

Strengths:    This bike has transformed my riding making me look for smoother lines carrying more corner speed
charging hills and just riding. No gears Just Ride


Weaknesses:    Bars, Swapped out for
Crank Brothers Cobalt 3 dropped some weight and no upsweep


Bottom Line:   
Just buy one. I lapping faster on this than my gt idrive 4 1.0 its been sold because i like this bike so much

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Australia

Similar Products Used:   Redline Monocog Heavy.

Bike Setup:   120mm Stem and Crank Brother Cobalt 3 Flat bars 680mm

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Daytripper1707 a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2012

Strengths:    Lightweight, climbs great, accelerates faster than all my friends' 26'ers, steers great in technical stuff

Weaknesses:    Cheap brakes, 1.5" head tube (have to buy custom headset if you want to replace the fork), ebb only lasts a few adjustments before it needs an upgrade

Bottom Line:   
This bike is great as an entry level or low budget single speed. The gearing is great for climbing and won't have you spinning too bad on the flats. Obviously you can't go too fast on flats, but where I live it's pretty much up/down/back up again.
There are definitely parts that need replacing soon after buying, but they'll work until you can afford better ones. The problem with the ebb is that after a few adjustments the wedge on the drive side got stuck. Now to get it loose I have to use a hammer and a thin punch to pop it out from the opposite side. This isn't a huge problem since I don't have to adjust the tension often, but it is a little annoying. Should easily be fixed by a Bushnell ebb tho. The brakes do have the ability to stop you on a hill if you give them a good squeeze, but they are nearly impossible to adjust. I stopped removing my front wheel because every time I put it back on it takes 20 minutes to keep the pad from rubbing.
The small block 8 tires roll very fast and work well at a low psi (22 front, 25 rear) and I've only had one flat. They do, however, slide on anything wet at all.
All in all this bike is a great buy on a budget. It will definitely fly on single track with any skill at all. I found that I could keep up with my friends who'd been riding years on HT geared bikes even though I was new to mountain biking. So I guess I'm trying to say if you have a high budget and know you want a SS get something higher end. If you don't want to break the bank on an experiment or you don't have the bank to begin with, this is a great choice.
4 chilis for value because you do need to replace parts.
4 chilis overall because the cheap parts don't affect the performance like they do my patience.

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   Outdoors Inc.


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by SS29erRider a Cross Country Rider from Reading, PA

Date Reviewed: March 22, 2012

Strengths:    Light weight, Great handling, laterally stiff and responsive - SAVE technology does wonders for alloy frames.

Weaknesses:    brakes are junk and EBB is cheap, but its what you'd expect for a bike in that price range. Kenda SB8's. Wheels are heavy. Tires come with Schrader valves.

Bottom Line:   
Despite having some cheap parts on it, the bike rides extremely well. This is my first rigid SS bike (not first SS) and I was surprised at how smooth it rides for having an aluminum fork. Toss the silly chainstay protector!

The EBB is "ok" but will need to be replaced. The brakes work ok too but are hard to keep them from rubbing the rotor for no apparent reason. Have to adjust them a lot. I plan to swap them out for BB7's asap.

The SAVE tubing makes this ride responsive! CDale got it right with that. The geometry of this bike helps it climb very well with the short chainstays and handles twisty trails extremely well and also very stable on downhills. Swap out a few of the components as mentioned and this ride will compete with any high end bike out there for not a lot of coin. I added some ergon grips with bar ends and it climbs like Godzilla! The 33x20 gearing is perfect although I do swap out the 20T for an 18T depending on where I'm riding, which is an easy change out.

Unless you're riding rail trails those Kenda SB8's are a waste! Get something with some grip that are fast rolling and it will corner like its on rails.

Bottom line, this bike is well worth the money and the few extra bucks for some upgrades!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Mill Creek Trail - French Creek

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   JB Mountain Bikes

Similar Products Used:   GF Rig

Bike Setup:   Stock, except tires. Maxxis Crossmarks

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tdhood a Cross Country Rider from Houston, TX

Date Reviewed: May 27, 2011

Strengths:    Climbs well: stiff frame, fairly low weight & extra-wide bars give lots of leverage. Low gearing (33 x 20) makes a good entry point into singlespeeding.

Clean lines: EBB means no cling-on chain tensioners are required.

Smooth: Being a fully rigid frame, I was expecting to litter the trail with dislodged teeth. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the ride is. The SB8's (2.1) are a surprisingly high-volume tire & absorb a lot of the high-frequency chatter.

Bike handles well in tight & twisty single-track - it's easy to carry momentum through corners before attacking any steep sections.


Weaknesses:    Funky fit: fairly high standover for a medium frame, coupled with a short-ish top tube means that a stem swap is likely required to make the cockpit fit long-armed riders.

Weight: Wheels & tires are heavier than they could be and are supplied with Schrader valves. Lots of unnecessary bits & bobs to remove (dork disk, chainstay protector, etc) before you can get to riding.


Bottom Line:   
It's a good entry-level singlespeeder. Yes, there are lots of areas where the bike's componentry could be improved: the long-term performance of its mechanical brakes and no-name wheels & hubs are an unknown to me. However, upgrading those items take this bike out of entry-level territory.

You truly get what you pay for & for what it is, this bike is a great value.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Double Lake

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $750.00

Purchased At:   Northwest Cyclery

Similar Products Used:   Gary Fisher X-Cal.

Bike Setup:   Brooks Team Professional saddle, Ergon GC-2 grips, Deore XT pedals.

Reviews 1 - 8 (8 Reviews Total)

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


Kona Unit vs Cannondale Trail SL 3 29er SS

Alright, I have cruised the web over the last few days trying to find as much information as I can about these two bike models. Based on everything I read, the geo on these rigs are near identitcal, the big difference being cromoly (Kona) vs 6061 (Cannondale). The Kona is a 2012 model that my LBS bo ... Read More »

biggest tire, Trail SL 29er 3 SS?

was interested in this bike but don't have one near me to check out. anyone know what kind of clearance the frame and fork have? anyone have one and put some bigger tires in there? thanks!Read More »

Cannondale Trail 29er SL 3

Hi all, noob to the forum and the sport. I am hoping to take delivery this week from my LBS. Just wanted to say hey. I mostly just ride the local rails to trails segment on my current BSO but I plan to ask the LBS to hook me up with a group for beginners so I can try out some of the local trails ... 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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