Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 29er 29er Full Suspension
|MSRP : $7600.00|
Product DescriptionDesigned 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.
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|Reviews 1 - 15 (24 Reviews Total)||| Next 15|
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2015
Strengths: Its an out of the box 23lb 3 oz x-large full springer 29r with single lever lock out on the bars
Weaknesses: adjustments when dealing with the OPI stem system are limited and not exactly easy but its worth the pain for the gain for such a rigid structure
This bike is simply the best I have ridden thus far. The carbon lefty makes my thru axle fox fork seem primitive, its just plain butter on the trail but tracks like nothing I have ridden before. Push the pedals and this bike moves forward, no flex even remotely detected.
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2015
Strengths: So many. Super light. Great spec. Climbs like a goat. Nimble for a 29er. Very fast.
Weaknesses: The bars are too wide. I clip things in tight situations. Rear hub issue w/ the Tricon XM 1550 - a common ailment - requires rebuild by DT Swiss. Tubeless setup is more of a chore than usual.
The only mountain bike I've ridden for 2+ years now. I've had no reason to look elsewhere..
Duration Product Used: Two years
Purchased At: Gear Works Leominste
Similar Products Used: S-Works Epics & Stumpys, Numerous 29er & 26" hardtails, Orbea Oiz, Gary Fisher Superfly, Giant Anthem and Trance.
Bike Setup: Almost entirely stock. XTR pedals. Am running Conti Xking 2.2s tubeless.CrankBros grips.
Date Reviewed: February 23, 2015
Strengths: No issues after 2 years of ownership
Strong, no breakages (knock on wood), i've seen postings around frame and chainstay breakages...
Reynolds wheels have held up great
2013 Lefty Carbon XLR 100mm fork holding up well
Feels light and fast on the trails, easy to pick up front end and move the bike around in technical
Relative complexity of BB
Stock Schwalbe racing ralphs suck... too thin, easy to puncture
Duration Product Used: 2 years
Price Paid: $7000.00
Purchased At: Bikebug
Similar Products Used: Previous generation of scalpel team
Bike Setup: Recently put on Hutchison Mojo tubeless tyres, they are great!
Cane creek aluminum handlebar
Fox RP23 rear shock
Date Reviewed: November 3, 2013
Strengths: Handling,weight,stiffness,responsiveness and comfort.
As a result of all of the above,speed,and lots of it.
Weaknesses: Noisey brakes when wet.
Get the right size and stem as there is less adjustment than other bikes out there.
I have been riding mountain bikes for close to thirty years and have tried just about every brand out there and this is the best bike I have ever riden.
Fast and resposive with sharp handling.
Rolls over heaps of stuff that would slow down a 26er and is super stable.
So far I have not found any of the so called diss-advantages of the 29 wheel size and am completely sold on the concept.
This bike climbs and decends well and is quick accelerating too.
I am noticably closer to the front of my group and even first to the top occasionally.
The bike is an XL and I am 6'2' and the fit is perfect if a little racey compared to a short stem trail bike.
Those riders used to 6" travel trail bikes my struggle with 4" as it is not plush and rides more like a hard tail.
You don't notice the suspension working and for me that's nirvana.
If you want to travel quickly over all sorts of terrain and arrive at your destination feeling fresh then this is the bike for the job.
I just love it.
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Price Paid: $6000.00
Purchased At: Vello espresso,Hamil
Similar Products Used: Most
Date Reviewed: September 1, 2013
Strengths: Efficiency in tackling the hills.
Weaknesses: Only weakness is wondering how good the Scalpel 1 is.
Outstanding bike!!! Great climber, smooth over the rough, clean sharp & hassle free gearing & brakes.
Anyone on the fence of buy or not to buy. My recommendations is grab one.
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2013
Strengths: In one word - FAST.
Weaknesses: None so far
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.
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2013
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!
Date Reviewed: January 28, 2013
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'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'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.
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.
Bike Setup: Stock Setup
Date Reviewed: October 17, 2012
Strengths: Light, fast, rolls uphill like a goat, rolls over rock gardens with ease.
Weaknesses: Travelling (need adapters for fork mounts), would swap out for XT/XTR brakes.
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Price Paid: $4500.00
Purchased At: NA
Similar Products Used: YETI ASR, YETI ASR 5, Ellsworth Truth, Specialized Stumpjumper
Bike Setup: Mostly stock.
Date Reviewed: August 22, 2012
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.
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.
Duration Product Used: 7 Weeks
Purchased At: Ride On
Similar Products Used: Anthem X SL0, Moots Mooto X 29er.
Bike Setup: Stock for now.
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.
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!
Duration Product Used: 2 months
Price Paid: $4600.00
Purchased At: Sporting life
Similar Products Used: Gary Fisher Pro Caliber 2007
Bike Setup: Completely Bone Stock
Date Reviewed: July 18, 2012
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
Similar Products Used: S-Works Epic 29er, GF Superfly 100,
Bike Setup: New Ultimate Bar, Stans Race Gold, XTR Rear Der./Brakes, Token Carbon Seat and Post
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2012
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).
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.
I highly recommend this bicycle.
Price Paid: $7600.00
Purchased At: Bike Religion - UCI
Similar Products Used: 2011 Specialized Epic Carbon Comp 29er
Bike Setup: Bike is stock except converted to tubeless. Garmin 800 cycle computer. Shimano XT Trail pedals. Putting on a Rockshox Reverb drop post 31.6mm and 100mm drop.
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