Designed from the ground up and incorporating the best features from our Flash 29’er, Scalpel, RZ and OverMountain bikes, the new Scalpel 29’er is a lightweight, plush and precise all-around trail rocket. It will give racers an edge on longer, rougher courses and put smiles on the faces of fast trail riders everywhere. The new Scalpel 29’er – get ready to operate.
Coming off an Ibis Mojo SL 26". The Scalpel makes me ride 25-30% faster. It feels like this bike begs to be ridden fast. It has snappy acceleration, stiff pedaling platform, and maintains momentum like nothing else.
I swapped the stock SRAM XO brakes, shifters and rear derailleur with XTR Race components and very happy with theis build. Did not have to mess with the cockpit as it is perfectly built for this bike. The Raynolds wheels and Racing Ralph tires are perfect match for pushing you faster on rolling hills and hard packed single tracks.
Look in the blogs for the optional white/magnesium color scheme. Its not on the official Cannondale website but the dealers can order it for you. Much better looking compared to the default red/blue colors.
Total weight at 22 lb (10 kg) for a small frame with XRT pedals and a bottle cage!
The bike is stiff no matter how hard you pedal. When engaging the front and rear lockouts it feels like a road bike. It is so stiff I only use it on asphalt. Read some reviews about the lockouts blowing out in some occasions, I never had this issue with my 155 lb weight.
Due to its short wheelbase the bike is easy to maneuver in tight single-track, and is supper fum when going downhill. But given the overall stiffness and limited travel, don't expect a plush ride when the going gets rough. The Racing Ralph's will reach their limits when climbing over slippery rocks and lose terrain.
Overall this is a supper bike which will make you better rider and definitely faster. I'm not talking about a small marginal improvement, you will feel a significant improvement in any loop you do.
If you can afford it, just go and get it. You will not regret.
Strengths: I am coming of of a well equipped hardtail and I was a little nervous about the climbing. But the Scalpel climbs as good as a hardtail its different but more traction and easier on you if that makes sense. Corners like its on rails. Not sure if its the lefty or the rear suspension but super easy to throw into corners and the front wheel really holds. Super light and looks amazing as well. I couldn't even imagine going back to a hardtail. The bike just feels fast while you are riding it. First ride on my normal loop produced several PR's even with me stopping and fiddling with this and that and I felt way fresher after. Also had a PR on a 1.7m climb where you would think the hardtail would have it.
Weaknesses: None really just small things. Bottle mount only allows a small bottle and even then it is still hard to get in and out. Also I have a bit of squeaking from the front end. But minor considering how awesome this bike is!
A fast race full suspension thats worth every penny.
Strengths: Light, fast, and smooth. Looks great too, for those that care about that.
Weaknesses: DT Swiss wheels
Not much room for a water bottle
I have the 2012 in a large.
I'm 210, without gear. While I don't ride to break things and look for huge 4'+ drops to air off of, I do ride fast and hard on intermediate trails (XC mostly) and don't avoid advanced sections. I was blown away with how fast and well it handles yet somehow smoothes out some rough DH sections that used to beat me up on other FS bikes.
The DT Swiss wheelset seems to have problems. They perform well and aren't super heavy, but my hubs are slipping and it looks like I'm not along. It started with the brakes feeling like they were shuttering and wasn't smooth. But when I took it in, they knew exactly what it was, having had the same problem with other customers as well as the pro tech who rode the same bike. Cannondale gave me no hassle and is replacing under warranty. I've been waiting a couple weeks for the replacements to come in, but when they do I'll be swapping them for some Mavic SLRs.
My other issue seems silly, but is the ability to hold a water bottle. The biggest I've been able to squeeze in my large frame, is a single 20oz bottle my daughter had on her bike. I wonder if a med frame could even hold one. While a Camelbak is fine, and some prefer, it does limit the ability to monitor water/liquid calories for many 1+hr laps in Texas heat... for those who like to regulate it with bottles. The Camelbak raises your center of gravity and somehow tends to make my back stiff over time.
Date Reviewed: January 3, 2013
Strengths: Light full susser, large size came in with pedals at 23.8lbs (Crank Bros 4ti), I have the 2013 version.
Suspension feels more like 5"
Goes pretty fast, holds speed
Love the carbon rims
Eye candy, some people don't like the black, blue, red look of the 2013 carbon 1 but you have to see it in person to appreciate it. The old matt black, white look of 2012 and other bikes is getting stale to be frank..
Weaknesses: Lefty and Pressfit BB30 comes with a level of new "complexity"
Rock Shox monarch rear shock is hard to dial in, I weigh 174lbs and still not sure if it's set correctly, the manual does not give psi settings, just sag recommendations so you have to play around with it. Also I've got the rear shock pumped up close to 200psi...wow that's high and still not sure... prefer Fox RP23, lower air pressures and easier to set up.
Also I prefer not to have the lock out cable feeds, prefer to reach down to lock out shock and forks since the cables add weight and unncessary complexity
I've only had the bike for several weeks, it goes like like mad, the other day i was hit 39km/hour on flat tarmac against a roadie, albeit it was for a short distance but hell it was only a leisure ride....
I'm new to 29ers but I can definitely say it has some advantages, maintains speed well, when you jumpo it lands like a cat.
Note, with so much cabon on this bike I highly recommend you buy a torque wrench....it helped me re-torque some items and found around 6 bolts not torque correctly as per specs. This makes a difference in terms of safety and reducing squeaks.. Carbon transfers noise like no other...
Will post a more thorough review after a few months of really putting it through the paces.
Similar Products Used: 2010 Cannondale Scalpel Team with Fox fork (no lefty installed).
Date Reviewed: November 20, 2012
Strengths: Bike is very fast, very light, looks sharp
Weaknesses: Very poor frame reliability. I have broken 2 frames so far (I get about 15 rides on each one). I am 175lb xc racer living in Texas. I have another friend who bought his at the same time and has broken a frame as well. Either the carbon layup or the design of the frame is very poor. I am going to sell mine so I can have something reliable to race on.
Make sure you have a backup bike, or another bike to train on if you are planning on buying one.
Strengths: Best climbing, riding, turning mountain bike I have ever ridden! I could not believe this corners better than my 26" race bike!
Weaknesses: Fragile frame, slow after the sale response times, underwhelming customer service.
At the end of last season, I got a great deal on a Giant Anthem SL0. Then this spring, Cannondale came and did a demo days in my town here in central Ohio. After one ride on the Scalpel 29 Carbon 1, I was sold!
I called Cannondale and learned enough to feel confident in the toughness of the BallisTec Carbon and was told a story of a guy who bought a used Cannondale, broke it, and how the company sent him a new frame. While I have never heard of, or would expect, any company to replace a second hand used product, the point I got was "we look after our customers", especially ones who buy our higher end products. My experience as you will see and what I have found looking around the web recently is that Cannondale typically takes 4-6 weeks to consider any warranty issue...which is not "looking after their customers" in my opinion.
While I do not know what "qualifies" under the warranty policy, at the seven week mark of owning this bike I had my first fall. I went over the handlebars, something that has happened on most bikes I have owned and ridden over the past 30 years, never resulting in any frame issues. While the frame did not actually come in contact with anything, the saddle impacted the trail as the bike continue over and that stress caused my frame to crack in two separate places.
After two and a half weeks of constant prodding communication with my LBS and email correspondence with the area Cannondale rep, my LBS and the rep are working to replace my frame under warranty with one model lower, the Carbon 2. While I am very thankful for this there are a few troubling points...
1. Everyone involved had all the information, pictures, and the bike within hours of the mishap...why it took two weeks to come to this decision or for any action baffles me.
2. When I ordered the bike it came in sooner than expected, was assembled, and ready for me to pick up and pay for way ahead of schedule. With this warranty issue, things have moved and continue to move at a snails pace...as of checking yesterday the bike still had not arrived after a week of "being on the way".
3. My request was for Cannondale to stand behind my very high end, still brand new, purchase, with the same frame. I actually got the carbon 1 because of availability and how much I loved the matte back and white frame (the components were less of a concern because I plan to eventually put the xtr drivetrain from my Anthem on this bike). While I know the frame on the Carbon 2 is the same other than the "paint job" (and possibly a few extra grams that go along with that), it seemed much less professional to offer a downgrade as my only option...other than buying the same frame I am still paying for at a better price than I got the first one for weeks ago.
The bottom line for me is that this is honestly the best bike I have ever ridden, and I still cannot believe this bike handles as well as it does. It really seems like the best of all worlds and the first 29er where you don't have to compromise some of the benefits that have been typically only found with 26ers!
While I appreciate that there has been a measure of resolution that should have me back up and running about a month after the fall...I am completely underwhelmed with the time this has taken and the lack of professionalism in the resolution I have reached.
So if you are looking for the best riding bike available I cannot recommend anything more than the Scalpel 29 Carbon 1! If you need this high end work of art to last under normal incidence or a company that will stand behind you after the sale in ways you would expect at this level...the jury is still out and you may need to look elsewhere.
The only other note I have is that my LBS and the owner there have really tried to step it up and do everything they can...I have been considering an EVO road bike, but this experience is pushing me to look at lesser brands with better customer service and care.
Strengths: VERY Light, Nimble, Lefty (also a weakness) and very comfortable bike.
Weaknesses: Lefty (both my leftys have had continuous issues), CREAKSSSSS!!!!!! Both the BB and the Headset are crazy noisy. Wheelset
I have had the pleasure of racing the GF SF 100, Epic S-Works 29er and now this Scapel in the past few years. This is lighter than both of those bikes as I have it built up right at 22 lbs in a medium. A few weight weenie parts and the Race Gold Wheelset on there. It is a pretty comfortable race bike (compared to the harsh Epic) and when the Lefty is working it is a great fork. But I can say the Creaks are just about unacceptable. With the pressfit BB being exposed to the elements, one dusty ride and the BB and the headset are noisy as hell. The shop has tried over and over with the same results. I also have a Flash 29er and it is identical. Plus I have another teamate with the same bike and same squeaks. Couldn't just be a coincident.
Strengths: Front is as stiff or stiffer than the Reba on my Epic 29er. Lefty lockout actually locks out and is easy to use on the handlebar. Steering is more responsive than I thought it would be and corners well. Shifting is great and brakes modulate well. No pivot rear end lends itself to fast climbing out of the saddle. Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires hookup well in the hard dusty SoCal conditions.
DT Swiss Tricon wheels super tough and stand up to hard riding with a larger rider (I'm 215lbs).
Fizik Tundra seat is super comfortable.
The Scalpel descends extremely well for a XC bike with 4" of travel. It gives more of an "in the bike" feel than an "on top of the bike" feel providing a solid confident platform when pointed downhill.
Pedaling is efficient and the bike is extremely fast, especially on the flat and on climbs.
Bike is a 10 on the cool factor!
Weaknesses: Be careful with the hose or avoid all together! After a few light washes the headset started to creek and needed a regrease. I recommend wiping the bike down with a wet towel then cleaning with Honda Polish (you can get this at a local Honda motorcycle dealership).
Since the Scalpel Carbon1 29er descends so well I feel it it needs a drop post as an option (I just purchased a Reverb but haven't put it on yet).
The XX chainrings are 28-39 and take a little getting used to if you are currently riding other 2X10 setups that are 26-38 as the gearing is a bit taller.
Under heavy downhill braking the XO's tend to fade (please keep in mind It's carrying a 215lb rider).
I absolutely LOVE THIS BIKE!!
It does everything I ask it to and goes downhill faster than you think it should (as long as you are not trying to ride anything too aggressinve, it is a XC/trail bike afterall). It is very efficient and fast. You definitely can tell it's light. You feel no flex in the frame, fork or wheelset.
Weaknesses: Had some big problems getting the Racing Ralph to go tubeless on the rear rim (front was ok).
I bought this bike because I was tired of 29ers passing me (on lightweight 26's) during races. The Scalpel 29er1 has definitely solved that problem.I took 18mins out of my previous year's time of 2hr 20min for a 50km race (mainly firetrails). I'm barely 5'8' but will only ride a 29er now. It weighs 10.8kg with xtr pedals and tubeless. Love this bike.
a Cross Country Rider
from miami, fl
Date Reviewed: April 9, 2012
Strengths: Very fast, very light, extremely stiff frame, Great Suspension...Did I say fast !!!
Weaknesses: Heavy wheel set but very strong. Racing Ralphs & Tricon Rim compatibility issues... Tube less set up took some more work to get it right than ANY of my other tubeless set-ups.
If you’re looking for the speed of a 29er hardtail but with a full suspension, this is it. Fastest bike I've been on to date. Climbs like a bat out of hell. Superb suspension. Can't say enough about the Lefty shock...
No flex on frame and yet extremely light despite the heavy wheels... 22lb. 11oz.