a Weekend Warrior
from Miami, Florida, USA
Date Reviewed: November 22, 2003
Strengths: Lite, solid and very fast
Weaknesses: Heavy wheelset, harsh front fork (no rebound)
Remember this is not a Freeride nor a downhill bike. If you going to be jumping off of cliffs this is not your bike. But if you ride/race XC type courses this bike will make you faster.
So far the only thing I have to complaint about is the fork. Although extremely light it is also extremely harsh. The lack of rebound adjustment makes this bad boy a stiff ride. But all is forgotten when you're passing your friends like if they were standing still.
The bike was lite to begin with, but after replacing the wheelset, the tires, handlebar and the new cassette I managed to knock off 2.64 lbs. It now weighs in a little over 24 lbs for an XL and all this for less than $300.
I love the lock out. They work. Now I can also keep up with my roadie friend. The brakes squeal a lot but they stop on a dime.
Overall the bike has responded to everything I dished out and is asking for more.
Similar Products Used: hard tale bikes and cannondale ravens
Bike Setup: ball burnished frame and anodized orange mavic wheels and orange seat.also fully xtr no question about it.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Marcos
Date Reviewed: January 22, 2003
Strengths: This is an update to a previous review. I ditched the Continental tires, and "upgraded" to Michelen XC pro blackwalls. I love these tires, and voila, no more pinch flats. I am really enjoying the full suspension that this bike offers, and even find myself climbing with it active. Proper gearing seems to be the key on approach and descent. I would like to blame some of the characteristics of this bike misgivings on the engineering, but it is a big difference from a hard tail. Suspension comression sometimes contributes to loss of momentum, and pedal clearance can be a challenge in areas that I used to clear. The stance of the bike is higher, and that has led to more than a few rocky dismounts (and one crash off of a steep ledge). I would like to emphasize, it is not the bike, just an adjustment to the full suspension riding experience. The downhills are a joy, no more tail bone pounding rock descents, and I have noticed my lower back is not as sore. The shifters now perform flawlessly after a shop adjustment at thirty days, which is great because I am changing gears more to power up for the full suspension ascents. I love the front fork, with the extra travel from my old DD50 Headshok. Tracks straigh and plush. Also, style wise, the black and yellow color scheme has really grown on me. Cool.
Weaknesses: The brakes are very suspect, squealing and no modulation for me. All or nothing, with feathering the only modulation at the brake lever. There is also a perceptible ticking noise in the front rotor after the first few desents. It increases and decreases with speed, so I will have that checked out soon. Ditch the original tires.
These are just reflections of the last three months of riding. I really enjoy the full suspension, a much needed improvement over my hardtail. And the biggest benefit is no loss of traction or climbing ability, a credit to the Cannondale engineering group. For the price, I could not have done better. With the extra money I saved, I am considering an upgrade to Hayes brakes. Another side note, most retailers don't stock Magura parts or pads. However, Hayes equipment is readily available, so that will happen in the next six months. Thanks MTBreview, for the great forum.
from Baton Rouge, LA, USA
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2003
Strengths: Built for cross country and rides like it. This is a complete bike, well thought out, rather than some tacked together parts. It is LIGHTER THAN ADVERTISED by Cannondale, 24.5lbs XL. A typical marketing gimmick to glamorize their high-end models.
Weaknesses: As mentioned in a previous review, I too experienced scores of pinch flats, front and back, that can only be due to the Mavic X223 Disc rims and/or Continental Explorer Pro tires. They're slow leaks: I hang it up after a ride and the tire's flat in the morning, very suspicious. I'm gonna have to do something about that soon. I've tried everything from different pressure to tube size.
I expected the Scalpel to be little high-maintenance so I'm not shocked at a few things needing tweaking. I bought this bike practically new on eBay and have put another 100 miles on it so far.
My best method of review comes by comparison to my previous bike, a CAAD2 hardtail that had been furiously upgraded. Even versus V-brakes on ceramic rims the Magura Discs are a luxury this first-timer didn't expect. I love the "smooooth" modulation going into turns; I could do without some squealing on quick stops, but a little Everclear on Kleenex scrub when they get too noisy and they quiet back down ;)
The Ultra Fatty DL is light, never bottoms out and it's the sharp-turning blade for this knife of a bike. The Fox in the back makes the carving smooth as butter, but enough metaphors. I could use a little more travel in the front but not as much slop as the Lefty would give; the Headshok reminds me I'm on an XC racing bike and trading comfort for efficiency.
For me, coming from an infamously-stiff frame that even a suspension seatpost couldn't tame, the Scalpel's Fox rear shock is a real comfort. I expected better descents and cornering, what I didn't expect was better climbing. Where my wicked-stiff rear would cause spin-outs under my frantic strokes, the Scalpel's rear travel flexes enough to keep the wheels dug into the dirt when I stand.
I have benefitted from the remote rear lockout because I figured out how to set it up correctly, apparently many bike shops haven't. Like V-brake arms, the lockout has three tensioning holes to choose from, if you don't choose the tightest one, your remote lockout may not have enough tension to work.
The reason I live by the rear lockout is because I'm a Clydesdale with big legs. My CAAD2 was unparalled for flatland sprints and I was greatly underwhelmed when I hit city rides with the suspension on. Turn it off and it's speed, speed, 27mph on a big bike. On trails I turn on the suspension and just carve, no bob noticeable on its proper terrain. Some people may want to get the proper preload adjusted to their weight on the front and rear, I don't think some of the complaints are well-experienced in this regard.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale CAAD2 hardtail and a friend's Cannondale Super V 500.
Bike Setup: Stock XL Scalpel 1000 with a 140mm stem -- I am 6'4", 195lbs. I plan to go 2x9 with some old cranks to replace the Hollowtech 3s, I just hate 3 up front.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: November 11, 2002
Strengths: Fairly light, good components, cool design, laterally stiff
Weaknesses: wheels/tires, suspension design, lack of travel, headshock
While everyone else seems to like this thing I felt I needed to post because I've had nothing but troubles with this bike. To start off you should keep in mind that my favorite bike was my M4, now deceased, and that I have ridden a full-suspension rig for quite a while. The scalpel works out to be a good compromised between the two but it ends up not being good at anything. The rear suspension bobs under pedaling forces. I'm not talking about out of the saddle sprinting, I mean it bobs while you're in the saddle just spinning. However, this wasn't too big a deal for me b/c my remote lock out worked flawlessly. The other side of the rear suspension isn't any better though, when the going gets rough 2.5's of travel doesn't do a thing and when it comes down to it the amount of travel is not worth the added weight or the pedaling issues. I'm not a big fan of the headshock either, after a nice five hour ride in the rain on my roof rack (mtn bike race) the headshock began to squeak...an angry metal on metal kind of squeak, I still haven't managed to fix it. The thing I still can't figure out is the handling of the bike. Bear in mind that I really like sharp handling but this bike is just twitchy. I have a vague suspicion that it is the wheels as mentioned by other but I also feel like the stem is too short and the top tube too long, making the center of gravity too far back ward. This thing just doesn't climb like a supposed XC racer should and on the descents...well the suspension doesn't help much. To make matters worse I've gotten 10+ pinch flats in the two or three months I've owned this thing. In the 7 years of riding previous to this bike I think I might have gotten that many, might. I'm sure this is due to the tires or rims but I think it's ridiculous that I can get a pinch flat when I'm running 60 psi on a full suspension bike. In any case, take this bike for a trail ride before you buy it, you may like it, you may not. Btw, it anyone would like to buy mine it's in good shape, size medium $1700.
Similar Products Used: 99 FSR Enduro, S-Works M4, S-Works M5
Bike Setup: Stock Scalpel 1000, it's not worth upgrading
a Cross Country Rider
from San Marcos
Date Reviewed: November 7, 2002
Strengths: Climbs like my old C-dale hardtail. Love the front and rear lockouts-removed remote lockout-did not work, ever. Saw this bike retail for 2499 originally (too much), then went on sale for 1699, (wife almost convinced), then Supergo had a "Markdown Madness" sale and listed this bike for 1399. Could not pass it up-I also looked at the Jekyll and the Giant NRS 2. Jekyll was too heavy, and the Giant had recurring drive train issues. Scalpel won my wallet and my lower back with hardtail like climbing and adequate downhill performance. The front triangle is also easy to portage for rough "hike a bike" sections of trails. Like the color scheme of yellow frame with black components, eye catcher. Front fork is plush (80 mm of travel) and tracks the trail like a laser. Biggest strength-Cannondale dual suspension quality for under fifteen hundred bucks.
Weaknesses: Remote lockout-absolute joke. Seat is a little stiff-swapped it out for my old Bontrager FS 2000. Have experienced a little drive train skip in F2-R3&4. Ghost shifts under load-hoping it is just initial cable stretch. The Continental stock tire spec is weak-miss my old Specialized Ground controls. Will upgrade the tires soon.
This is the full suspension rig that I have waited for since I started riding in 1987 (on a good ole Bridgestone MB-3!!). Bottom line-hardtail performance in a full suspension package.
Similar Products Used: Tested a 2002 Jekyll 1000, 2002 Jekyll 800, Scalpel 800, and Giant NRS 2.
Bike Setup: Stock so far. Changed seat, will upgrade tires to Panaracer XC Pros.
a Cross Country Rider
from Sheffield u.k
Date Reviewed: October 25, 2002
Strengths: the strengths are unlistable the bike climbs so well for a full sus i sumetimes dont bother locking out the rear as it doesent effect it to much, the weight of the bike is also fantastic its helped my overall riding ability alot and although there's probably only 2" of usable travel it makes the world of differance when going down hill, and have found m,yself going alot faster than before.
Weaknesses: my only complaints are that i have had a few drive train problem but some tweaking and a new chain soon sorted that out and the brakes which although 1 hav had no problems with they just arn't strong enough and on downhill sections when thrashing them fade has been a problem a few times making me career into trees
this bike is ace i lov it, i was a bit sceptical about spending this much money at first but i'm glad i did, the only problems are the brakes which are crap and the remote lockout which doesent work very well and look shocking, i'm gonna try and get hold of the remote lockout that come's on the new scalpel which has a better spec but doesent look as good, anyway if you see this bike in a sale buy, buy, buy it's worth every penny i carn't belive how much more i enjoy xc compared to before
Bike Setup: stock, other than M959's, plan to get some hope XC4's, race face cranks and new more ridgid wheel set
a Weekend Warrior
from houston, texas, usa
Date Reviewed: October 23, 2002
Strengths: the ride is great. best feeling bike ive ever been on, well except the scalpel 4000 i rode one time. it is very quick, the way it responds takes about half a day to get used to how fast it corners. the breaks are great. which is good because i found myself going into corners faster than i had planned. the bike is so fun to ride you dont realize how much faster you are going.
Weaknesses: ive head a lot of people talk about the hubs and cranks. so for i have not had any problems. I am considering some King hubs.
sweet ride, any one who buys a scalpel will not be disapointed. but remember it is a xc race bike, not free ride. If you want a wickedly fast xc bike this is it.
This is an update to my previous review. I upgraded the wheels (King ISO's and WTB Laser Discs) and the difference in the bike's handling was astonishing. I thought the lateral flex I was feeling cornering hard at speed was in the carbon chainstays. Wrong! I got rid of the POS remote control for the rear lockout-don't miss it at all. Had to warranty the BB; the shell/cable guide design ranks right behind the rear lockout on the cheese-o-meter; about four flaming wheels of Brie. There was a ton of dried mud in there when I opened it up; I sealed the guide to the shell with some silicone caulk and hopefully that will solve the problem. I also swapped the shifters for a SRAM setup. No problem there, just a personal preference for being able to grab a handfull of gears in a hurry.
I was a bit bummed when they started closing them out for 5 less than I paid to be the first kid on the block, but all in all I'm happy, even with the extra cash I've invested.
a Cross Country Rider
from Utrecht, Netherlands
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2002
Strengths: Efficiency, weight, steering, Suspension, grip at rear
Weaknesses: Coda hub, 223 rims
The original wheelset is no good. Hubs are 2 flexi so brakes starts rubbin' when hammering. Mavic's 223 rims feel a little weak also. Bit heavy too. Replaced with more stable & lighter Magura wheelset. remote Lockout lever is joke. Removed it. I hardly lock the rear anyway, only on longer tarmac climbs. Bike is giving a lot of confidency @ higher speeds, steering is very precise. Hardly crasch into trees anymore. Pedaling is very efficient, even when no lock-out. Fot the amount of money I don't want CODA stuff, else value would be 5. Excellent bike for racers and XC riders
Bike Setup: Magura Pro wheelset, XTR RD & FD, Louise Brakes, flite trans-am, Thomson elite post
a Cross Country Rider
from Silverton, CO, San Juan County
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2002
Strengths: Rides great. Climbs great. Precise ride. Best cross country bike I have ridden. Gets alot of looks too. :)
Weaknesses: Having a few drive train problems. Few knocks and a few unexpected gear shifts. Hopefully it is nothing that a few adjustments here and there can fix. My Lefty front shock has a thud on the upswing. I hear this is easily fixed too.
Best bike I have ever ridden. My riding skill has greatly increased since I got this bike. :)
Similar Products Used: Only other bike I have ever owned is a Gary Fisher Kaitai.
Bike Setup: I went a little crazy. Tubeless Hutchinson Scorpion tires, Lefty front shock, Monkey Lite rise bar, Avid Mechanical disc brakes, and Terry Fly saddle.
a Weekend Warrior
from San Diego, CA
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2002
Strengths: Handles well. Climbs well. Good lite bike. Front and rear suspension lock-outs.
Weaknesses: When I'm in 2F - 3R and shift to 2 - 1, the chain kicks down to 1F too, without touching the F derailleur. I've analyzed the situtation and it appears that there is too much chain angle for 2 - 1, although if I start in 2 - 1, the chain will stay in 2. The cause appears to be a bottom bracket that is too wide; a narrower bottom bracket will bring in the chain rings for a better 2 - 1 allignment. Don't know if a narrower bottom bracket will work.
Can't complain for how much I paid. Great bike for someone who wants a lite-weight cross-country bike. This bike is not for big hits.
Similar Products Used: None. Converted my hardtail Specialized to a commuter a year ago.
Bike Setup: Stock, except it came with Hayes brakes instead of the Magura's. Buying on Ebay was a good deal for me. The seller said the bike had 20 miles on it, but it was brand spanking new. I think the scam is some retailers are having their friends sell bike for them online, a practice that Cannondale does not condone. The problem I identified above may have been due to a switch the seller did. I'm have ordered XTR shifters and front derailleur. Next month an XTR crank and hopefully narrower bottom bracket.
a Cross Country Rider
from Calgary, AB, Canada
Date Reviewed: February 15, 2002
Strengths: The handling is great, very precise. Like the name, it corners really well. That could be the fork on my old bike. Very smooth ride, the rear travel really takes the edge off. I am still playing with the shock setup. I have found myself on more than one occassion realizing that I am going alot faster than my old hardtail. The bike really seems to climb well, even with the suspension active. I am really impressed by the brakes, maybe my expectations were low for Magura brakes.
Weaknesses: Like everyone else, that odd/cheap rear shock lock-out. I love the idea of a bar mounted lock-out, but for the amount I paid, it should at least match the stock component group. The brakes initially have made a little bit of noise but seem to be wearing in.
Great bike!!! Wonderful XC full suspension ride. Exactly what I wanted coming from a light hardtail (Breezer). Light, fast, no regrets at all with my purchase.
Bike Setup: Stock mostly. So far I have changed the seat to a Selle Italia Ergo. I will most likely change the tires in the spring. I have bought riser bars, but haven't put them on yet.
from Portland, Or.
Date Reviewed: January 18, 2002
Strengths: Plush ride, solid handling at speed. Ability to lock out the front and rear a plus for climbing out of the saddle and the ride to the trail.
Weaknesses: Remote lockout for the rear suspension is a joke. The cable simply isn't rigid enoug to rotate the cam far enough to reliably actuate the lockout. A pathetic piece of cheesy Rube Godlberg engineering on an otherwise solid bike. Call me old fashioned, but I think that everything on a $2500 bike should work as advertised.
I like the bike. A bit on the spendy side, but after 500+ miles of hard riding in crummy condidions I'd say it has been worth the dough to me. I needed some warranty work done on the front suspension right off the bat, but that was the end of the problems. It took me a hundred miles or so to get the shocks dialed in, but now I can't imagine living without the bounce. The long wheelbase of the XL frame I'm riding makes some of the intricate technical sections of trails I flashed on my old rig a bit of a challenge, but I'm figuring out the low speed handling slowly but surely. I really have to work at it to get the brakes to fade, but a larger rider anticipating lots of high speed downhill riding might want to consider upgrading to some binders designed for thatpurpose. I've put all the miles on this thing in the mud so it's been hell on brake pads, but a small price to pay for the incredible stopping power in the wet. Did I mention that the rear lockout sucks?
All in all, a very cool bike. If Cannondale were to engineer and retrofit a remote rear lockout that actually works, I'd give it my highest reccomendation.
Similar Products Used: I too am the proud owner of an 83 Stumpy. Being a bigger rider, I never found a front suspension with handling I could live with; I've been on a Fisher Kai Tai for the last 6 years or so. It beat the crap out of me, but I appreciated the predictable handling and lively climb performance. I like going up at least as much as descending, and this ancient rig routinely ate frat boys on FSR's for lunch; pretty cool when you're well into your 40's, trust me. I test rode a bunch of hardtail and fully suspended bikes, but just didn't see the advantage till I rode the Scalpel.
Bike Setup: Pure stock with the exception of the saddle; the rear lockout is on its way outta here; I'm going to swap it for the manual unit that comes on the 800.
Hey all, I'm in the market for a new All-Mountain type rig and a 2002 Scalpel 1000 just popped up in my local listings. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this bike and how it handles?
I'm 6'2 and 208lbs so I'm kind of a big guy and am worried about the headshok Fatty Ultra Air for ... Read More »
hi, i just saw a 2003 scalpel 1000 in our local classifieds. the guy who sells it says he can't ride any more - it is supposedly in good condition, it comes with two seats, two seatposts, a brand new set of lx disc brakes (not mounted yet) and a spare set of shifters. i have not seen it yet (will do ... Read More »
I'm debating between a Cannondale HT and Scalpel. I know they're both XC bikes, but I want something light-weight and that's where it's at.
Does anyone have experience on riding a Scalpel on AM-style terrain. I'm mostly concerned with handling on steep downhills.
[URL="http://www.cannondale.co ... Read More »
I can get either bike for ~$2,000. Right now I ride mostly AM but would like to get into XC for more exercise. I'm concered with bike weight, and would like to keep the rig to 25#s.
Click the pictures for the Cannondale specifications page:
'06 Scalpel 1000 [URL="http://www.cannondale.com/bike ... Read More »
does anyone have an idea what the weigths are of these (Euro) models :
scalpel 1000 2007 vs rush 5 2007 (both have lefty in euro version)
is there a full lockout on the fox rear shoks of both these bikes ?
thnxRead More »