Project – Cannondale 29er SL3 Part 1

Talk about a sweet deal – this Cannondale 29er SL3 popped up on Kijiji and I simply could not resist. This is a well built and capable hard tail mountain bike, fairly well equipped, and although it was in shoddy condition when I picked it up, it wasn’t anything a little elbow grease couldn’t fix.

Project Cannondale 29er SL3
Chapter: 1 – Introduction
Cost So Far: $200 CAD
Model: 2014 L Cannondale 29er SL3
Purpose: Gravel Trails, Mountain Biking
Odometer: Approximately 5km
Setup: 3×9 Shimano Deore (13.7kg)

What is the Cannondale 29er SL3?

The Cannondale 29er SL3 was a lucky deal that came up in my local Kijiji bike section – at $200 CAD, it was something I just couldn’t pass up. I met the man selling this bike who informed me that his son had purchased it a few years earlier, and after riding it a while, had been sitting on an apartment balcony, unused, ever since.

The whole truth, it would seem, is that this bike had been ridden quite hard, and hadn’t been maintained in a long time.

Rear Wheel Out of True Newly Purchased

When I saw the bike, it had no air in the tires, the levers and shifters had quite a few dings and cosmetic damage, and the rear wheel was so out of true, it had trouble spinning due to frame rub.

Getting it Fixed Up

After a bit of cleaning, I spent about an hour truing up the back wheel. Eventually, I was able to get it into serviceable condition. One side of the rear wheel’s spoke tension is extraordinarily high, which seems unusual to me, so I will likely bring it to a local bike shop with a good wheelbuilder before I take it on any actual trails.

Cleaned Up

So, for an hour of work, and $200 CAD, I’ve now got a serviceable mountain bike, and a great platform to build up that only a few years ago sold for over $1500 CAD! Here are the highlights:

  • Large size Cannondale hard tail aluminium frame
  • Alivio front derailleur
  • Deore rear derailleur
  • Deore triple crank
  • Shimano hydraulic disc brakes (M446)
  • Fork lockout control
  • Kenda Small Block 8 Tires

What’s Next?

Although this bike does not represent the best of anything in the mountain bike category, it’s the sort of bike that gives you this go anywhere type feeling. It rolls pretty quickly (At least faster than my winter setup Bonelli Slusher), and just begs to climb over all curbs, bumps and muddy obstacles. Ultimately, it represents a fantastic modern disc-brake equipped 29er platform, ripe for modification and upgrades.

I have a feeling that I’m going to have a lot of fun with this bike this year. In terms of priority, the wheels are the number one thing that need to be looked at – either getting them rebuilt, or replaced entirely. Next up, I’ll look into getting a lighter crankset, and maybe upgrade to some higher quality derailleurs, shifters, and hydraulic brakes. There is even a strong desire to electrify this bike for off-road use – oh boy!


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