Cannondale Trail SL 3 XC Hardtail

3.86/5 (7 Reviews)
MSRP : $1000.00


Product Description

Get on the Trail. Your journey begins here. Welcome to the world of two wheels and fat tires. Your Trail awaits. Where it takes you is entirely up to you.

  • Frame: Trail SL, Optimized 6061 alloy, SAVE, 1.5" headtube
  • Fork: RST Deuce Coil, 100mm, coil/elastomer, lockout, rebound, 1.5"
  • Spokes: Stainless Black
  • Tires: Kenda Small Block 8, 26x2.1"
  • Pedals: V Platform w/steel cage
  • Shifters: SRAM X5


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

    Reviews 1 - 7 (7 Reviews Total)

    User Reviews

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by carlos MR

    Date Reviewed: August 18, 2013

    Strengths:    Bullet proof frame. S.A.V.E system is great for soaking up bumps and hits. Frame can take 650b tires I converted mine and its great. Very light frame Im a a Clydesdale rider and this frame has no problem going through very tech trails has taken abuse and kept going with out any problems.

    Weaknesses:    paint is thin and very easy to scratch off.

    Bottom Line:   
    i purchased SL3 frame very cheap NEW. I built it up using components i choose as a 26 inch I took this bike out on some really rough trails and frame held up with flying colors. I recently updated this bike to 27.5 wheels and its now faster and even more fun to ride. great frame from cannondale.

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Willow Constantine

    Date Reviewed: June 25, 2013

    Strengths:    The geometry of the frame is perfect for an intermediate rider, as it allows you to stay upright and comfortable. The components are really excellent for an entry level bike. The gears shift very smoothly and it's a nice cosy ride. I love the adjustments on the suspension. The bike is fairly lightweight and really easy to handle. It feels solid and very top quality, considering the price.

    Weaknesses:    You should definitely change the tires. The factory tires are really pretty lame, so I went tubeless and very happy now. I also had to change the grips as the factory grips were causing blisters. Other than that, the bike is pretty ideal.

    Bottom Line:   
    This is a top choice if you are looking for an entry level bike that you can ride until you have surpassed the intermediate phase of riding. Cannondale has always been my top choice for bikes, now I can see why.

    Overall Rating:2
    Value Rating:3
    Submitted by Travis Speck

    Date Reviewed: February 24, 2013

    Strengths:    Bar with and cranks

    Weaknesses:    wheels are really heavy and need to be trued constantly, this bike cannot take any AM riding at all the forks are horrible. When I looked online to see how much my forks retail for I was disappointed to find out they are work 80 dollars. I broke my rear shifter on my 5th ride. It also handles horrible on jumps you feel very unstable in air. I also broke my wheel set in one bad crash I dislike this bike

    Bottom Line:   
    Overall this bike was fine a beginner but as you progress you will be disappointed to find out that this bike will not stay with you as you progress, components will start to break suspension will start to wear out and then you are going to start to replace this is coming from a amateur rider who likes to have fun and do jumps and drops and AM riding if you are like me i strongly advise you not to buy this bike

    Overall Rating:5
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by The fro a Weekend Warrior from Chicagoland

    Date Reviewed: March 31, 2012

    Strengths:    The x5 is nice, for a coil fork it is amazin, with lockout rebound adjustment and all, the saddle is prett nice, it looks sick and the geometry is very nice. It looks amazing, very upgradeable. Tektro draco hydros

    Weaknesses:    The tektro dracos seem to rub the rotors very inconsistantly, the fork is still coil..... Small block 8s suck at life

    Bottom Line:   
    I would absalutly reccomend this to anyone. Its got 9 speeds and the hydrolic discs but still remains very affordable and quality

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Deer grove

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Price Paid:    $800.00

    Purchased At:   Mikes bikes

    Similar Products Used:   Cannondale sl2 29er


    Bike Setup:   Ive got a set of karma 2.2's on there just because the small block eights suck at turning on dirt,

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by tracer2owner a All Mountain Rider from england

    Date Reviewed: February 21, 2012

    Strengths:    Spot on geometery, better than appears spec, stiff but not back breaking, looks more expensive than it is, very upgrade-able.
    The groupset is cheap and functional. I am sure that Deore rear mech is a 2010 SLX re badged. It all works well all though not as slick as the higher end stuff but that goes with out saying. The cranks look heavy though.The saddle is the generic one which is the same as a Charge Spoon or Madison Velo and is a good all day perch. The Cannondale components seem well made and of a good quality. The wheels have not died yet and remain true. The brakes whilst having noticable power are slightly let down by the spec pads and discs but work more than most would ever need. The RST Deuce forks have surprised me. They are coil and whilst having a linear feel and zero small bump compression, they lock out, give a consistent 90mm of travel and are actually pretty good. They have rebound adjustment as well as preload and are very controlable. They have survived the 'winter' so far and still feel smooth. The big suprise for me was their tracking stiffness. Much better than expected.


    Weaknesses:    Some very heavy components and quite obviously, some budget versions such as the resin only Shimano rotors. An example is the large chain ring. Got bent on its first trip off road by a flying rock. Took it off and it weighed 8.5oz's!!!!!!!!!! Thats just one chain ring. The Race Face one I had kicking around in the garage that replaced it weighed 2oz's. The Schwable rapid ron tyres are what I would call 'American', ie. never intended to see mud, rain or even the UK! Saying that, they perform better than expected. As for pedals, who keeps stock pedals on? Just get some of your choosing.

    Bottom Line:   
    I own an Intense Tracer 2 and that is my normal ride. That has been out of action for the winter so I have fallen back on the Cannondale. Obviously, going from an exotic 6' travel, Fox 36 equipped all mountain rig to a low spec entry level hardtail will have some impact on my riding however I was in for a surprise. I have ridden full sussers for years. As long as I ride within the expectations of the bike ie. no big drops, its a fun bike to ride and quite refreshing as I am not constantly changing the suspension settings on the fly etc.
    I got the Cannondale (2012 one) reduced to £600 in the post xmas sales as a replacement for my hybrid commute bike which just annoyed me. Its cracking for that purpose but I have taken it on my local trails numerous times. I suspect that if I paid full price then it would not represent the same value as thats getting to the territory of the direct sales bikes such as the better speced Canyon Yellowstone as well as big bike retailer own brands.
    All in all, This is a keeper and in time I will be hitting ebay for some Rochshox Recons and as stuff wears out, will replace with slightly better kit.
    If you want a big brand bike and your starting out (or want a good quality second bike like me) and dont want the hassle of scouring Chain Reaction every 2 minutes for bits then this bike is what you need. The SL4 spec is rubbish with square tapper cranks and a very poor fork. The SL2 gets the same fork as this but better groupset and the SL1 gets better groupset and better fork. I would argue that most would not feel the benefit of the better groupset and some the better fork. The SL3 would be a good base to build on as you go whilst not sacrificing any performance.
    Would I recommend it? Absolutely - but I would want it at a good price.

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   that would be telling.....

    Duration Product Used:   3 months

    Similar Products Used:   see below!

    Bike Setup:   stock

    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:4
    Submitted by RidnLou a Weekend Warrior from Nashville TN

    Date Reviewed: September 12, 2011

    Strengths:    Geometry fits me
    Hydraulic Disc brakes

    Only have two paved trail rides of 53 miles but I like it


    Weaknesses:    Perceived weakness are the phenolic pedals

    Bottom Line:   
    Replaces my old Gary Fisher Onza

    Expand full review >>

    Favorite Trail:   Nashville Greenways

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Price Paid:    $800.00

    Purchased At:   Eastside Cycles


    Overall Rating:4
    Value Rating:5
    Submitted by Deets78 a Cross Country Rider from Tacoma WA

    Date Reviewed: September 6, 2011

    Strengths:    Light, good components brakes work great shifts good.

    Weaknesses:    Wish it were a 29er and I don't like the tires.

    Bottom Line:   
    I really like this bike I think for beginner level of bike it is it has a lot to offer. I like the adjustable forks with lock out. Like I mentioned I wish it were a 29er. I would recommend this bike for sure!

    Expand full review >>

    Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

    Price Paid:    $870.00

    Purchased At:   REI

    Similar Products Used:   N/A

    Bike Setup:   All stock

    Reviews 1 - 7 (7 Reviews Total)

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


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    Has anyone toyed around with the EBB on their 2013 SL 3 SS? I loosened it up and gave it some mallet action but it didn't want to budge so I brought it to my LBS, but they set the chain way too tight. It's a hassle for me to bring it back so I'd like to do it myself if possible. It has a main bol ... Read More »

    Trail SL 3 SS - EBB adjustment

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