Similar Products Used: YETI ASR, YETI ASR 5, Ellsworth Truth, Specialized Stumpjumper
Bike Setup: Mostly stock.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 27, 2012
Strengths: Scalpel 2 was an amazing buying decision. In sum, this bike should be defined as "refined" in all aspects. Handling, braking, acceleration, sprinting, climbing and descending this bike excels in all areas. The carbon chassis is so wonderfully stiff that it is able to telegraph exactly what kind of terrain it is you are riding on. Geometry is brilliant and super comfortable to ride on long rides. Components, wheels and suspension bits are top of its class for the price range. I don't think that I was able to find a better combination of items for the 2012 year other than this bike. Absolutely love the 2x10 gear set up, really intuitive. Lefty is amazing as well, I am new to the technology but am super impressed that I can have active suspension while turning and while on the brakes and while descending (what a luxury). Bike weight was exactly 24.0lbs with my crank bros pedals. Which brings me to another topic, the bike is so wonderfully light that it accelerates while climbing and on the flats as though there is no bike beneath you at times. Front Lock out was a feature that I though was worth paper-value only... however find myself using it all all climbs (extra efficiency).
Weaknesses: Seat post is creeping on me... keeps on lowering the seat while riding. Not sure if this is a greece issue or not (shop should look at it and there is really no real issue here.). Handle bar grips look great but were too narrow for my hands. Racing Ralph Swalbe tires are great but don't really last a long time... not a cannondale issue.
Amazing Bike, if you have the money and don't want to settle for mediocracy buy this bike. If the price tag is too high, then I would consider going back to a 26er... as all other bikes this year were really too heavy.
When riding the scalpel 2 I find that it rides as though there is no suspension at all... however in reality there is a lot of suspension working underneath me.
Love the brakes.
I would recommend someone to buy this bike with confidence of not having to upgrade any significant part of the bike. This kit is fast right out of the box.
Just keep mindful of how fast you are actually rolling, because this bike moves quick!
What a great bike, I wish that all bikes were this good!
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Pro Caliber 2007
Bike Setup: Completely Bone Stock
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2012
Strengths: Fast, light, excellent climber, very good spec level
Weaknesses: No weaknesses with the bike but its expensive in NZ
Bought this bike as a replacement for a 2010 Scalpel 26'er. My riding friends had told me how good 29'ers were but I was sceptical. They were right. This thing rolls so well over rougher terrain. There is a track in the local forest and on my old Scalpel the exposed tree roots made it really hard work, having to constantly pull on the handlebars to get the front wheel to roll over the roots. The 29er makes this trail so much easier. I'm not a serious racer, more a weekend warrior and not that fit. As I get more km's on the bike I can see my skill level going up as I my confidence returns.
The spec level on this bike is just right - I can't thing of many areas I want to improve, maybe a better wheelset but the standard wheelset is pretty good (I had Mavic Crossmax SLR's on my Scalpel 26).
The only problem I've had has been the seatpost clamp. At first it wasn't possible to do it up tight enough to stop the seat sliding down while riding. Applying the proper carbon-aluminium grease/paste stopped the sliding but the clamp still binds up on itself at less than 5Nm.
The only downside to this bike is its price in NZ. It's list price of US$5300 somehow translates to NZ$10000 when today's exchange rate would make it NZ$6878. But I guess you have to account for freight etc. Fortunately I didn't pay the full retail price.
Texas XC Racer
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 22, 2012
Strengths: Quick, Responsive, Predictable, Light, Lateral stiffness, Excellent Geometry for XC use
Weaknesses: low availability
When I finally got my hands on this bike, I only had 72 hours before a XC race at Rocky Hill Ranch in Smithville, TX. Being a CAT 3 racer I am not flying through the trails but I do bomb the downhills and climb everything so I really wanted a ride that could inspire me to go faster. I was nervous at first to race the bike so soon after getting it, but after a short ride I fell in love with the bike. I raced with it and did better than I ever have before (running a 2009 26er scalpel). The rear triangle is not the flashy jointless tri on the 26er but now I prefer the joint because it is way more predictable and much more responsive on the ascents. If your worried about weight, or turning on a 29er this bike takes all of that away with great geometry and components package that make it ready to race right out of the box.
Some people have complained about the price of this bike, but considering that a carbon epic with similar parts msrps for near 6000, this bike is a steal with the msrp at 5300, but I have yet to meet anyone who even paid that for one of these rides.
I have seen a few people have problems with the front fork, and Lefty's can be needy forks, but mine has been perfect thus far. The remote lock out has come in handy for sure.
I look forward to getting some miles in and writing a more thorough review in the near future.
Weaknesses: schwalbe tires grips and super wide bar avid brakes
I changed the brakes to xtr with ashima air rotors, put my saddle on with cb 11 carbon post and cb 11 bars. Industry Nine black-i xx cassette with x kings tubeless and this bike is an absolute killer. So fast quiet and light.....feels lighter than the 24 lbs. The lefty is simply the best and the monarch in the rear is better than any fox i've owned. Set up at 20% sag and the bike handles so well. If you are considering a fs 29er you should look right here. Best bike I have ever owned by a longshot.
Similar Products Used: everything. Intense SC Niner etc
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 4, 2012
Strengths: As all previous reviews have stated....FAST, light, eyecatching and spec'd right.
Weaknesses: Crank loosened after 2nd ride, didn't get set up tubeless (but now fixed this issue), Carbon to Carbon Headset and frame tend to squeek or rub, should come with it's own torque wrench, limited turning radius to left with "Lefty Fork". Grips are minimalist
I consider myself barely above an intermediate riding level and only occassionally race but do it for comraderie and fun/challenge. First few things I noticed were very wide bars and minimalist seat. I couldn't miss how fast this bike was, or how well it climbed. Now with about 5 rides and 50 miles in, I'm settling into the set up and geometry well. It is definitely set up in a race geometry from my perspective and likely isn't your best epic ride, but my 25+ mile rides are rare, and the bike is absolutely perfect in the 15 mile range for comfort, speed, ability and fun. It tracks well, ascends well, has smaller bump compliance and takes small drops and table tops like it weighs nothing. The grips will likely get replaced soon, the tires have been converted and I took the bars down to 27 inches, which is more comfortable passing through tight areas on most of my rides.
Similar Products Used: Lenz Leviathan 3", 29r, Titus RacerX 29r, Moots 29r softtail, Giant Trance 2 (26r)
Bike Setup: stock with the exception of going tubeless
Date Reviewed: April 17, 2012
Strengths: weight, geometry, stiffness, lefty, fun factor while being fast
yes, first 29er. I"ve ridden lots of 'em, and just never really bonded. my custom rize just treated me awfully well, but I decided the new race bred 29er fs could be a good fit for me.
while, I was right. so far, with 10hrs in saddle, a few different trails and some quality bonding time,
I can say this bike is hte best climbing bike I"ve ever owned, and still descends right in there with some of my 130/140mm slacker rides of the past
cornering is sweet, quick, slashy, not cumbersome like many 9ers I rode, short chainstays make lofty front wheel on climbs and descents easy, and 'xc air" is nuetral and natural.
I know fast xc/trail bikes, and have wins in my class in races like downieville all mtn, and I believe I'll be faster on this 9er then my longer travel/slacker bikes of hte past.
also, componet spec is great! lefty amazing, as I expected ( i wanted AL one, as I went through a few carbon ones on my last bike and settled on OPI AL in the end).
XTR shadow plus is so darn good. i've ridden 1x9 for 10 years after years on a SS, mainly to keep things quiet. while, this 2x10 drivetrain with this magic derailer is quieter then any drivetrain i've owned.
this is the first bike I'll run almost totally stock in my long mtb life. (I changed the stem to a 90mmx-15degree from the 110 it came with, 20mm rize 720mm wide bar, esi grips, and different seat,otherwise totally stock).
bottom line, sweet ride.
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2012
Strengths: Bike is 24 pounds with xtr pedals and is very fast. It will make a good rider better and a very good rider unbelievable.I can't say enough how mush I love this bike and the complements from people that I get.
Weaknesses: Crank loosened up after first ride and was tightened up. I never had a problem after that.Be careful how fast you go as I did and use good judgement. You will fly.
Fantastic bike for the money which is not cheap,but well worth it once you ride it.
a Cross Country Rider
from Louisville, KY USA
I have been on 3 rides so far so I don't have a long term review yet... but I have been waiting for a 29" scalpel for some time. It is exactly what I expected...no less. Is lighter than my FS Trek/Fisher. I would totally recommend this bike based on my 3 rides!
Similar Products Used: Trek Hifi/Superfly; Flash Ultimate
Bike Setup: Stock beside switched to Stan's Crest wheels instead of Arch's with lighter DT Swiss rear hub, switched to X0 brakes, SRAM shifters and rear der (getting ready for 2x10 XX gripshift when released) with changes- dropped 1lb