Cannondale Trail SL 29 SS – just in

Back to basics trail bike

Introducing the 2014 Cannondale Trail SL 29 SS, a no-fuss, back to basics singlespeed trail bike that carries a price tag of just £750/US$1,080.


By doing away with the expense and extra heft of a suspension fork and geared transmission, the Trail SL 29 benefits in all the right places. Take for example the tubeless-ready Stan’s ZTR Rapid rims. OEM equipment they may be, but at a price point where unbranded hoops are common these are good to see. Schwalbe’s Racing Ralph Performance tyres are also a tidy choice.

The frame and fork are both alloy and are finished in a way that surpasses expectations at this price. Instead of using horizontal dropouts to keep the correct chain tension the Trail SL frame instead uses an eccentric bottom bracket. Swap the dropouts at the rear and the SL 29 will be ready for a derailleur, although you’ll also have to change the rear hub from the standard fit singlespeed model to one that’ll accept a cassette.

Cannondale have included their own-brand Helix 6 hydraulic disc brakes on this build, and although we’ve not got much experience with these there’s no denying that the anodised blue finish looks the part.

The only component that appears to reflect the price tag is the basic TruVativ E-400 crank and its square taper bottom bracket. We’ll reserve judgement on that until we hammer some miles through it. We’ve not got the Trail SL onto the scales yet but it’s certainly no fatty.

The 700mm riser bar and sensibly-sized stem hint at the Trail SL being a playful character. Only time will tell if that’s the case but we’ll be putting it through its paces in the meantime and will keep you posted.

Compromising in the right places means that the trail sl gets an exceptional wheelset for the cash: compromising in the right places means that the trail sl gets an exceptional wheelset for the cash
Oli Woodman/Future Publishing

By keeping things simple the Trail SL gets an exceptional wheelset  – Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Rapid – for the price