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Upgrades for my Cannondale Hardtail?

JonoStevensJonoStevens Posts: 45
edited September 2011 in MTB buying advice
Hello all,

New to the forum; this one looks friendlier than the others. :)

I’ve been riding off road for a year on a 2010 Cannondale SL3 hardtail. I have loved the bike, but after trying a rather fancy full susser I’ve been saving for one to replace my hardtail.

However, real life has got in the way, and with a house move and little ‘uns on the horizon, I’ll need the money for other stuff.

New plan is a budget Boardman Team FS on bike2work. Seem to have good reviews, and after being a bit more realistic about my requirements, will be more than adequate.

Good news is I can keep the Cannondale, which was being sold to go towards a full susser.

I do still love my SL, and have always wanted a ‘work in progress’ bike to tinker with and learn maintenance on in my own time, with an eye on fulfilling a long-held dream of building a bike.

I want to upgrade the bike as I’ve got the cash and I spot bargains on ebay but was hoping to get some thoughts and recommendations?

From research, forks, wheels and brakes seem good place to start?

The Cannondale has a 1.5” steerer. Will that make things awkward? I’m guessing a fork set up for a 1 1/8 steerer won’t work or fit properly? Excuse the stupid question, but I am rather practically challenged.

Spec for SL is here if anyone is unfamiliar: ... e-ec020206

Thanks a lot.



  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    There is nothing I would upgrade - not until the parts have worn out.
  • Si1988Si1988 Posts: 158
    I'd have to agree with SS on this. Replace when worn out. Unless, of course, something is causing problems or you actively dislike any part of the bike.

    As for the forks, the 1.5" head tube will currently be set up with a 1.5" headset, but can be made to accommodate a 1 1/8th or tapered steerer with the appropriate reducer cups installed. If I was looking for a replacement it would be a reba.

    The frame is a stunner, and makes for a really nice ride. My younger brother has the 2011 SL5 and I like it very much. Aside from his bikes rather poor fork, If I had to replace anything on his bike it'd be minor adjustments to the cockpit and contact points.
    Firstly I'd get some lock-on grips on it, the ones on my brothers bike twisted while riding so gave him some old lock ons and makes a world of difference.
    I find the geometry of the bars a little peculiar, so would personally change them to something with less sweep and a touch more width.
    I also found the seatpost a little irritating to adjust so would probably swap that for a one-bolt design.
  • I ride the 2011 SL3 and have changed to lock ons as had the same problem with twisty grips, banged on some Wellgo's and that's it so far.

    Mine came with the RST Coil fork which is ok but as I am getting more into my riding I feel it would benefit from a better fork which will be my first major upgrade in new year
    '11 Cannondale Trail SL3
  • Thanks all.

    Glad you said that about the frame. I'm pretty inexperienced to mtbing after a few years on the road, but the frame does feel great to ride.

    Spent yesterday researching forks etc, but it does seem quite a faff to replace a 1.5, so might give the RST (air one) an overhaul instead and spend some time making sure they're set up right.

    May replace the wheels though, as they're quite heavy.
  • I have the RST air on my SL 29, and whilst I'm far from the most experienced rider it works well for me. It only offers 80mm of travel which is my only criticism, it would be great to try one which offered 100mm.

    I'd be tempted to upgrade the cracks and chainrings on mine, but thats about all until things start needing it. That would be a nice way to reduce the weight.
    2011 Cannondale Trail SL 29er HERE
  • Yeah, I may do that. They're looking pretty knackered after a year or so of quite a lot of riding and not much maintenance. That might be a 'sensible' upgrade rather than the forks which to be fair is probably me getting caught up in the excitement of buying bike stuff. :)
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