Cannondale Scalpel Mountain Bike Review
The Cannondale Scalpel range of full-sus bikes is intended to cater to the needs of cross country riders who value stiffness and lightness in a cycle that is still able to take the big hits. A range of impressive technological features help to keep each model on the right path, with plenty of enthusiast appeal helping these bikes to go head to head with alternatives from rival manufacturers
Cannondale Scalpel 3
The frame of the Cannondale Scalpel 3 is the basic component that unifies all of these bikes, featuring well designed cross country geometry and BallisTec carbon which is both tough and light. The creators have been careful to make sure that all of the components are integrated into this design in a way that minimises weight while maximising output and performance.
You get a Lefty Speed PBR 100mm fork at the front and a RockShox Monarch RT shock at the rear. 80mm of suspension is delivered by the frame without the use of pivots or bearings, as you might expect to find on other bikes. Instead the Scalpel 3 cleverly implements its carbon stays in such a way as to maintain lateral stiffness without compromising that all-important vertical flexibility.
The SRAM drive train is made up of components from the SLX and X7 groupsets, although there is some Shimano kit onboard as well. DT Swiss XRC 1.7 custom rims are joined by Schwalbe Racing Ralph PaceStar tyres, which makes for a hard wearing and durable basis for the bike. Meanwhile Avid Elixir 7 hydraulic disc brakes let you control your speed effectively regardless of the current conditions.
Cannondale Scalpel 2
For the next step up in this range you get the same full carbon frame but this time the fork is the Lefty Speed XLR which is lighter than its counterpart. The Monarch RT from RockShox reappears at the rear and the Scalpel 2 is updated with SunRingle BlackFlag Pro rims, along with the aforementioned Racing Ralph tyres.
SRAM X9 shifters and a host of other drive train components from this manufacturer are present and correct, while the Avid Elixir 9 brakes utilise carbon elements to further slash the weight of the bike without compromising on straight up performance.
Cannondale foam locking grips on the C2 rider handlebar let you get to grips with the responsive handling, while the Tundra 2 saddle mounted on Mg rails is supportive to help you tackle long distance cross country jaunts.
Cannondale Scalpel 1
There are a few features which set the Cannondale Scalpel 1 apart from the other bikes in this range. The first is the Lefty Speed Carbon XLR fork which utilises its lighter carbon construction to keep it from bothering the scales as much as its sibling. This is matched by the improved Fox RP23 rear shock, maintaining the stiff composure of the Scalpel family while cutting down on the overall weight.
SRAM XTR and X0 components on the drive train are matched in terms of capability by the Avid Elixir X0 carbon hydraulic disc brakes. DT Swiss XRC rims and Racing Ralph tyres are onboard, along with the Fi’zi:k Cyrano seat post and Cannondale HeadShok Si headset.
The Cannondale Scalpel range is able to maintain its composure in a variety of situations and acts as a good alternative to equivalent hard tail cross country machines. The manufacturer has not simply picked out some of the best components and then attempted to make them gel together in a bike. Instead it has built a bike which integrates these components effectively from the ground up for a much more satisfying and appealing experience.
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