Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking Gear Reviews and Roundups





Cannondale Scalpel XC Full Suspension

4.44/5 (140 Reviews)
MSRP : $7199.00

Product Description

Zero Pivots, Zero Competition. The lightest, stiffest, most efficient dual suspension XC race bike on the planet. The Scalpel isn’t just in a class by itself - it’s attending an entirely different school.
  • Frame: Scalpel, 80mm, BallisTec Hi-MOD full carbon, Zero Pivot, BB30, 1.5 Si headtube
  • Fork: Lefty Speed Carbon PBR, 100 mm, OPI, Solo Air
  • Rear Shock: Fox RP23 w/ Boost Valve
  • Crank: FSA SL-K 386, BB30, 42/27
  • Chain: Shimano M980, 10-speed
  • Bottom: Bracket: FSA BB30
  • Handlebars: FSA SL-K Flat 620 mm
  • Stem: Cannondale OPI adjustable, -5 degree, 31.8
  • Seat Post: Fi;zi:k Cyrano 31.6x400

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Reviews 1 - 15 (140 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by michael a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: January 27, 2013

Strengths:    I love the Lefty! this is a beautiful rig; tracks wonderfully, really rips up technical stuff

Weaknesses:    wait, what?

Bottom Line:   
I've ridden a bunch of different bikes: kona, SC, trek, yeti. This bike is at the top of the heap. Very responsive, fairly lightweight. I thought I'd never be one of those "I can now climb stuff I never could before" poster... Alas. What a blast!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dustin

Date Reviewed: December 15, 2012

Strengths:    Lefty, stiff, lightweight, FAST

Weaknesses:    No rear shock lock-out

Bottom Line:   
I bought a 2013 from my local bike shop and got a great deal on the price. I was a little concerned about the Lefty, but after riding it a bunch, it's fantastic. So, smooth and stiff. I owned a Giant Anthem before and it was more plush than the Scalpel. However, I was looking for something that was faster and climbed better. Going from alux to carbon made a huge difference. However, the Scalpel is stiff, fast and less plush than I was used to. However, I'm getting more into racing (Xterrra, local 1 hr races, etc) and it's a much better bike for me. This is a race bike. It could be lighter, but that's a function of spending more $$$ and simply getting the Scalpel 1 with carbon hoops. Very specific bike, but for what it does, it does well.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Roger a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: December 13, 2012

Strengths:    light weight; handles like a dream; responsive

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
This is a great, relatively inexpensive way to get a podium-quality steed. You won't be disappointed with this ride. I've ridden turner, fisher, yeti, kona and many others. The only other make that comes close IMO is the Turner 5-spot.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Anywhere in the Blueridge

Duration Product Used:   2 years

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chad

Date Reviewed: October 7, 2012

Strengths:    Light, responsive, smooth, looks great.

Weaknesses:    Hmm.... Maybe more travel.

Bottom Line:   
I bought the 2013. Paid $4600. I had the 2012 flash carbon before this and I did not like it. This bike is amazing. It does what I want it to do. My confidence has increased. My body is not tired like it was on the HT. took me three bikes to get here but now I am completely satisfied. Aluminum wheels very light weight.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Triathlontoni

Date Reviewed: July 30, 2012

Strengths:    Super light, super fast...climbs like a dream and goes way faster than I can push it. Tried some North shore trails and stands up to rough stuff better than I thought a bike this light would. Truly a cross country bike par excellence.

Weaknesses:    I'd have to say I'm the weakness with this bike...if you have the skill this bike has the speed. Definately not a downhill bike but it's stronger than it looks.

Bottom Line:   
This is my first carbon mtb so haven't really compared it to others having only ridden 90's hard tails in the past but this is really an awesome ride.
The lefty is strong and agile when it comes to roots and rocks and I'm a 200lb rider that isn't graceful. Heavier bikes tend to plow into stuff where this bike easily floated over terrain I unintentionally went down that would've had me breaking wheels on in the old days.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mark a Racer

Date Reviewed: July 23, 2012

Strengths:    Speed, Fast, Quick, Winning
Light, Fun, Strong!

Weaknesses:    None for me

Bottom Line:   
I love this bike, it is as light as a hardtail 26" 21lbs, and it as fast as a 29er. The zero pivot suspension translates to zero lost energy, is springs you up obstacles and propels you beyond the competition. No question this is the fastest bike I have EVER ridden, I have ridden a lot of bikes 26" and 29er. It is so fun lively that it is my go-to bike for any occasion, never will go back to anything else.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lambert Park

Duration Product Used:   1 year

Purchased At:   Infinite Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Rocky Mountain Element Team RSL 29er
Santa Cruz Tall Boy
Specialized Stumpjumper 29er
Litespeed Niota 26"
Titius Racer X 26"
Intense Uzzi
Intense Spider

Bike Setup:   Stan's Wheels
XLR 100mm Lefty
Rock Shox Monarch
XO Drivetrain
Elixir 9 Brakes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chikai a Weekend Warrior from Redmond, WA

Date Reviewed: February 19, 2012

Strengths:    Super stiff aluminum front frame, Lefty looks unique and dampens everything, The full package is light and strong.

Weaknesses:    If I had to gripe about one would be the slight side to side lateral flex of the carbon rear triangle. Only really feel it riding on road.

Bottom Line:   
This is a review for the 2006/7 Team Replica. I came across this bike on a local Craigslist listing with the description of a blown front Lefty fork. The price was tempting and after 30mins looking over to ensure nothing else was wrong I pulled the trigger. The set up was full SRAM X-0 except an XTR front derailleur. Turned out the fork was beyond repair and after waiting four weeks for Cannondale to replace the Lefty, I had the pleasure to pounce on local trails today. First impression was this thing climbed like a goat on red bull. I felt I could tackle the steepest hills. Although I haven't spent the time to dial in the Lefty, it felt nice and smooth on the hardest hits and biggest ruts. It is a strong feeling to on the Lefty as it just doesn't look right. But boy does it feel great. The full package of the bike worked really well. I wanted an exceptional climber with some comfort from a full suspension frame. Could not ask for more! Only issue as mentioned above is the flex of the rear triangle...not major, but most noticeable on concrete.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Duthie Hill

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Used Item from Craig

Similar Products Used: first full suspension X-Country. Had hardtails most of my life...Voodoo D-Jab, Specialized Comp, Giant Cadex

Bike Setup:   2006/7 Team Replica. Full XTR, Carbon 110 Lefty, Carbon FSA handlebar and seat post

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Nondescript a Cross Country Rider from San Jose, CA

Date Reviewed: December 28, 2011

Strengths:    Affordable, Fit, good value

Weaknesses:    It's soft

Bottom Line:   
It's okay, if you like this sorta thing.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Kennedy

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Similar Products Used:   Trek, Diamondback, Turner

Bike Setup:   SRAM XX

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by XCBooty a Cross Country Rider from SW, UK

Date Reviewed: November 14, 2011

Strengths:    Super Light - 20.0 lbs (9.18kg) with pedals. Rides pretty well on most XC terrain.

Weaknesses:    Unreliable. Way too Fragile. Awful post-sales service from CSG. No use for long-endurance or multi-day events - it will let you down...

Bottom Line:   
If you are not a sponsored rider and don't have a mechanic in support with a spare bike and a van full of components then this bike is probably not for you. If you live in Northern Europe and regularly ride in wet conditions, it's definitely not a good choice. I've not ridden it enough to make any great claims about how it handles - seems OK so far, but that's based on 3 rides. It has been sat in the retailers shop since it's first ride in the wet when it demonstrated how fragile it is. continuous chain suck damaged the chain stays; after the protective plate came off. Further damage was evident under the neoprene cover - I can't imagine this was from debris, so it must be a result of how the pivotless rear triangle flexes. The BB bearing seized and the rear brake cable carved out a massive gouge in the lefty fork where it was routed past and 'missed' the little protective patches that are supplied... CSG claim this is not a warranty issue but just a result of 'British Weather'; it wasn't even in the winter!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lake District XC

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $8000.00

Purchased At:   Tri UK

Similar Products Used:   Marin Bear Valley SE. 4 years in and it's still going strong, with minimal maintenance.

Bike Setup:   As Stock, Candy Bros eggbeater 11, Tubeless.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jaakko a Racer from Australia

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2011

Strengths:    Light, stiff, responsive. Handles beautifully

Weaknesses:    None if you want an xc race bike

Bottom Line:   
Awesome. I am a 100kg rider and hammer everything. Those that criticize dale 'it'll break' have never ridden one - owned 5 dales and never broken one! They are superbly engineered and thought through. Highly recommend - but expensive - value for money because they are so good.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $7500.00

Purchased At:   Brunswick street cyc

Similar Products Used:   Pivot Mach 4, cannondale rize

Bike Setup:   Factory spec, what would you upgrade?!

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Fat&slow a Cross Country Rider from Sweden

Date Reviewed: September 17, 2011

Strengths:    Look at the spec's, not much that's worth an upgrade!

Weaknesses:    The price, at least on this side of the Atlantic

Bottom Line:   
Well, what can I say? Out of the box the weight for a complete bike was 8.6 kg (Sub 19 lb) so still way under 9 kg with pedals, truly amazing! The bike is stiff and really responsive and the Lefty works better than almost everything I've ever tried before.

This is my first bike with a Hollowgram crankset and I', totally impressed! Lighter than everything else (beside Clavicula perhaps) and solid as a rock, unbeatable!

The price is high but you get what you pay for, trust me!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $12000.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Specialized Epic S-Works, Scott Spark RC

Bike Setup:   Close to stock, swapped the tires for a pair of RK Supersonic and changes the grips to a pair of Ritchey WCS .

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Baryte a Cross Country Rider from Luxembourg

Date Reviewed: March 7, 2011

Strengths:    The lightest full suspension XC bike you can get!

Weaknesses:    It’s the best for XC racing or trail, but don’t try to go hard core downhill with it!
The white grips are good looking but get easily dirty (well, they are white!).

Bottom Line:   
The 2011 Scalpel is just the greatest bike I have ever ridden!
I have the Scalpel 2 which offers a great gear upgrade in comparison with the Scalpel 3 and I thought the Scalpel 1 price was just not justifiable (though the Carbon Lefty would have looked great).
I bought the European model because the frame is the same colour than the Scalpel Ultimate (and not black like in the US), full Sram X-0 and with great DT Swiss Rims and Spokes.
The remote lock on the handlebar for the Lefty is nice to show-off with friends but actually I don’t really need to save 0.3 second to lock/de-lock my fork!
During the week days, I even put 1.5’ tires to train on the road/ easy dirt-road and gain a lot of speed (you could even put 1.3’).

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $5500.00

Bike Setup:   Full Sram X-0
DT Swiss XCR 1.5 Wheels
Lefty Speed XLR, 100mm
Rock Shox Monarch RT3
Shimano XTR SPD pedals
Fizik saddle

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by axekid423 a Cross Country Rider from elkridge, md

Date Reviewed: November 26, 2010

Strengths:    light, rides well

Weaknesses:    weak frame!!! carbon chainstay cracked!! i have heard about this problem with this bike, very common.

Bottom Line:   
rides well and is light but if you actually mountain bike this is not durable! the carbon chainstays are the big weakness and commonly crack

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by mychainbrokehadtowalk a Cross Country Rider from canada

Date Reviewed: November 19, 2010

Strengths:    fast, stiff, very responsive

Weaknesses:    cannondale's handle bar grips move and twist on the bar

Bottom Line:   
bike is good for what it was made for XC going outside the parameters you may run into some problems. its light, fast, maneuverable the lefty and the 110mm of travel make for a smooth ride up front,the rear with 4" of travel on a pivot less carbon fiber chain stay makes for stiff cornering and the climbing ability of a hard tail due to very little bob, all tho cannondale's lefty maintenance schedule is a little ruff at bearing resets and regular fork maintenance approx every 25-50 ride hours.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   Gary fisher tequila '97

Bike Setup:   2010 scalpel stock

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by lyrill a Downhiller from Madison WI US

Date Reviewed: October 8, 2010

Strengths:    2009.Lightweight and fast. Lockout turns this all susp bike into a non susp faster than any road bikes.

Weaknesses:    Cheap components. SRAM and Shimano mixed together.

Bottom Line:   
This bike is not my style. I don't really like going fast with a lefty fork. What if it breaks? I can only accept lefty on a prophet or gemini or jekyll.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Blue Mound

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Williamso Bicycle Wo

Similar Products Used:   GT i drive 4.0(not as light)

Bike Setup:   stock!

Reviews 1 - 15 (140 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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