Cannondale Scalpel 800 2003 Full Suspension

4.92/5 (13 Reviews)
MSRP : $1899.99


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Mountaindudespike a Weekend Warrior from Aspen, CO

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2010

Bottom Line:   
Amazing bike, has lasted me ten years of extreme riding. One hell of a bike. Perfect weight, not too light or heavy, Get it.

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $3000.00

Purchased At:   pacific cycle


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dobber a Cross Country Rider from Tucson, Arizona

Date Reviewed: April 14, 2004

Strengths:    Made in the USA. Light. Solid. Superior frame technology. Front and rear suspension lock-outs. Fatty Ultra is solid, although could use thicker oil for my size.

Weaknesses:    Some low end shimano components, and Cannondale hubs. But, we all upgrade as we go anyway...and they still work well together out of the box. No Lefty.

Bottom Line:   
I'm 6'2" and 220# and the Large size fit me perfectly. This is my first FS bike, but I rode many before buying. I love the susp. lock-outs. Super solid frame. The ride is more sportscar like (think Vette) than SUV. If your looking for that cushy ride, don't go here. Handles GREAT. Feels really light. Everything works well together. Bike is quick and fast. The bike hasn't made me a better rider, but has given me much more confidence to ride faster and still feel in control. And I ride more frequently and more often as a result. Very satisfied with this bike.

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Favorite Trail:   Starr Pass

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1299.00

Purchased At:   Supergo

Bike Setup:   Stock. x-cept for the saddle and tire liners, computer, etc.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Johno a Cross Country Rider from Canberra

Date Reviewed: March 7, 2004

Strengths:    Frame and suspension design

Weaknesses:    Stock components

Bottom Line:   
This is a follow-up review one year on, with three important(additional) upgrades to suit my 5'8" body to medium frame:
1: shorter stem (100 x 5deg.) and,
2:WTB Laser V Ti saddle. These two components have shortened the cockpit to the point of 100% improvement of total comfort and control. This bike was already great in fast, twisty single track - now it's superb and fun. Just pay attention because the steering is a bit more sensitive. It's really made a big difference to riding enjoyment. (The stocky saddle moves your body forward slightly.)
3: Changed the cranks. By far the biggest improvement. The bike came with Deore 170mm cranks (SHAME CANNONSDALE). Too short for a average size rider. Fitted RaceFace Turbine Lite 175mm cranks. Power output has dramatically improved: faster fire road sprints and faster open trail riding.
Also removed the remote lockout and used the Rollamajig on the rear to improve shifting performance. This bike was among a few that suffered the mystery ghost shifting.

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Favorite Trail:   any these days

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Lonsdale

Bike Setup:   XTR shifters, F & R deraillers. RaceFace Turbine Lite Cranks, Easton Carbon post & EA70 flat bar, Egg Beater Pedals. Respoke wheels with 14/15g DB Stainless. (Remote lockout removed)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randy a Cross Country Rider from MV, so-cal, USA

Date Reviewed: February 7, 2004

Strengths:    lightweight - strong headshok

Weaknesses:    seat is nasty - pedals for dry weather riding only!

Bottom Line:   
NOTE: THIS IS ON 2003 Scalpel 600.
Overall mtn bike equip is so advanced - IMHO #1 priority is a bike that feels right for YOU.
I'm 6'3" 200lbs and this happened to fit me perfectly. I love the strength of the headshok and ease of lockout front and rear.
After six months of riding pretty demanding desert and mountain in California, and mud and hills in Texas and the midwest, No chainsuck - I've not dropped the chain ONCE - ZERO - NADA (i've also never taken it off or cleaned it - just white lightning dry lube and away i go). Still on the original Magura Louise brake pads. I've seen complaints from others but I've gotten such great feel and power from these discs.
They've inspired confidence that's made me a faster rider. Would only prefer the mounting system was the kind that's easier to center caliper.
I jumped into mtn biking with friends that had already been riding and racing for 8 years - this bike works so beautifully I was able to stay close to them from the get go. Many times now I've been in "OH SH!T" panic situations and watched as the bike got me through unscathed.
I love riding this bike.
I came to this site many times while researching bikes and would like to say again - my opinion - it's not about Cannondale vs. Santa Cruz vs. Trek - it's about testing as many bikes as you can until you find the one that fits YOU. Happy riding!

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Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   supergo

Similar Products Used:   tomac team, specialized enduro, k2 team

Bike Setup:   went to 2.4 tires and riser bars

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Thom a Weekend Warrior from Atlanta, Ga. USA

Date Reviewed: December 5, 2003

Strengths:    Frame is out of this world. Love the carbon fiber.
Front and remote rear lockout.
Magura Disk brakes (It's not the top of the line, but it stops and feathers great for it's price).
Continental Explorer tires - I was use to my pythons and thought they were great, but so far these continetals grip awesome.
Front and remote rear lockout - Flip on the switch and I'm hardtail. Better than having to scruntch over to get the rear lockout to lock (Wasted time doing this in my opinion).


Weaknesses:    Saddle - Saddle is too high from the rails (Tacky looking)
Ritchey seatpost - heavy
Shimano Cranks - It's hollowtech, so it's a little better than the other stock cranks I've encountered
Deore Shifters and front derailer - thought at least LX for this type of bike.
Shimano pedal - heavy and outdated.


Bottom Line:   
After the 24hour adrenaline race at Conyers Ga. I had enough abuse from my hardtail. I began shopping for a full suspension. Tested out a Trek fuel 90 and thought it was a good full suspension bike, but alas I ran into the scalpel. One of the reason I steered away from Cannondale in the past was because I would be paying for the name and the name isn't cheap. I now know why I'm paying the extra $$ for the name. The bike is awesome (Plus I had a great deal on it). I was considerably lighter than the fuel and had some great specs on it. I'm a die hard hardtail and wanted to keep that feeling. The scalpel remote rear and fron lockout was the thing that sold me. Flip of a switch and I was ready to climb like a scalding cat. The bike also felt nimble and responsive. It's sad that Cannondale almost went belly up and hopefully with the new aquisition, Cannondale will be back on it's feet. Overall the bike surpassed my expetation. Another reason I got this bike is because all the 2004 model scalpels come with lefty's. I'm not a big fan of lefties and wish Cannondale would give the buyers an option to stick with either a fatty or a lefty. Scalpels definately rocks!!!

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Favorite Trail:   Tsali, Daucet, Chicopee, Helen, Stonewall

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   Adventure Cycle

Similar Products Used:   Trek Fuel 90, Giant NRS1&2.

Bike Setup:   Selle Italia SLR Seat, Easton EC-70 seatpost and handlebar, XT Shifters, XT Front Derailer, XTR Rear Derailer, XT Hollowtech Crank, Egg Beaters.
Stock wheels - Getting Mavic Enduro or Spinegry disc when I have the $$$$ for it.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by eayste a Cross Country Rider from Sioux Falls SD

Date Reviewed: August 29, 2003

Strengths:    Solid design
Light weight
Looks great
you can put 700 x 30 c wheels on it.
Great ride feel


Weaknesses:    none so far

Bottom Line:   
This is a very solid design that has a great ride feel.
For XC use it's hard to beat.
It's great for climbing and desending and fast on the flats.
I had a jekyll 3000 with a lefty and it was great for going downhill but sluggish going up and on the flats.
I sold it for the scalpel and it was well worth it .
I even can put a set of cross wheels on it and I ride it to work. Very versatile bike.
I got the 800 over the other models mainly for the headshok.
I like it better than the lefty or other forks.
The scalpel is a great handling and solid ride.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   any singletrack

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1899.00

Purchased At:   Spoke -n- Sport

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale Jekyll
Cannondale F700
Trek 8000


Bike Setup:   Full XT drivetrain & levers.
Avid brakes
race face post and bar.
WTB saddle

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Colton Hutchins a Cross Country Rider from Houston, TX

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2003

Strengths:    Great Bike! The frame feels nice and stiff but is smooth where it needs to be. Climbs well for a full supsension bike. OH and its light!

Weaknesses:    Well, I ride agressively but one day I took a small spill nothing big just fell over. My rear trinagle bent sideways and caused my tire to rub really bad. Cannondale is replacing my frame which is one of the great things about owning a cannondale. I have talked to others and have heard similar reports but cannondale has since redesigned the rear triangle and I have had no problems.

Bottom Line:   
This Bike is the ticket for XC! I use mine for more than it is probably intended for and it takes the abuse! I have 3 bikes and this is my favorite!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   Sun&Ski

Similar Products Used:   F1000

Bike Setup:   Frame;scalpel 800 Fork:Headshock Lefty Max, Drive Train: Cranks are RaceFace Next LP with an Isis drive RaceFace Bottom Bracket. XTR Ti cassette Hope XC hub and Hope Mini Rear Disc Brake. I run a Magura Marta Front disc brake. Rims are Mavic x3.1 tubeless. Tires are Hutchison Scorpions
XTR Shifter,Easton Carbon riser bar.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Frank a Cross Country Rider from Bend, Or, USA

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2003

Strengths:    Great suspension, really sokes up the bumps, tracking is excellent.

Weaknesses:    Crank & BB SUCKS I have 400 miles on it and they are toast, seat in horrible.

Bottom Line:   
Great bike but you need to replace; Crank & BB, Seat and Bars. Ratings after replacements made

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   all over Oregon

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   The local Cannondale Shop!

Similar Products Used:   Jekyll, Gary Fisher Sugar, Trek Fuel.

Bike Setup:   Monkey Lite Bars, Raceface Crank & BB, Azonic seat. LX FD, XT RD, Magura Julie Disc.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Anthony a Cross Country Rider from Mesa, Arizona, USA

Date Reviewed: June 17, 2003

Strengths:    Handles great, climbs great, travel is fine where it is, makes you a little better rider as you are carving up the trails because of its great handleing.

Weaknesses:    Supergo swiped the LX FD for just Deore. The only weakness is SUPERGO. You seem like you are getting a great deal, look at the specs on some of the bikes, they are not the same as the manufacturers spec's, IE this is why they are so much cheaper. The sales people are great but there service department together is not as smart as my 3 year old girl. Bought two bike from them and both have been put together wrong. How f#@*$ hard is it. Oh yeah, seat pinches the jewels something fierce.

Bottom Line:   
Bike is great. I have had many bikes and this one felt great right from the get-go. My Ellsworth and Intense were great bikes but I am not XC rider who mixes in the Freeriding. Most MTN bikes are all about the set-up. Cannondale does a great job of putting the right set-up together. THANK GOD THEY ARE NOT USING KODA ON THE SCALPEL. If you are a rider that is all about going everywhere and over most anything this is probably no the bike for you. If you are into riding demanding single technical single track and a little of the shady stuff this is the bike. Not to mention while everybody else is trying to lug their beast up the trail to go down, they are looking at your arse the whole way.

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Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1399.00

Purchased At:   Supergo

Similar Products Used:   Cannondale Raven 800, Cannondale Jekly 3000(Horrible Bike), Ellsworth Truth, Intense Tracer, Specialized Stump FSR

Bike Setup:   Stock except for the FD that "Supergoats" swiped.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Bry a Weekend Warrior from CANADA

Date Reviewed: May 28, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Suspension lockout amazing for climbs, sprints, etc.

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Favorite Trail:   birch/pipeline

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2000.00


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Fett a Cross Country Rider from Indiana

Date Reviewed: May 6, 2003

Strengths:    This bike pedals very efficiently and still absorbs the small bumps very well. Perfect for XC use. The headshock tracks more precisely than any other sub 3lb XC fork.

Weaknesses:    Cannondale currently in bankruptcy, but is looking like it will come out stronger in the long run after ditching their motocross division, so manufacturer support is a question mark, but a risk I was willing to take for such an excellent bike, since my LBS is great. The previous poster has gotten some bad info. They were not bought out by Pacific. Their largest creditor took over, but left current management in place. Pacific has nothing to do with Cannondale. Also it is clear that the previous poster was reviewing an 02 model as the 03 model has Magura Louise brakes and 80mm travel and a Shimano crank.

Bottom Line:   
This is the best XC bike I have ever ridden. I tend to switch bikes about every year, but I may keep this one a while. It is extremely well balanced and handles singletrack like nothing I have ridden before.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   501-Crested Butte

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $1700.00

Purchased At:   Bicycle Station

Similar Products Used:   I have owned a Merlin Extra Fat, Giant NRS1, Specialized Ground Control AIM, Cannondale F3000SL, and more.

Bike Setup:   It is down to 22.5 lbs. Hugi 240 disc wheelset, FSA Carbon Pro cranks, XTR derailleurs, Thomson post, Easton CT2 bars, Flite TT saddle, Python Airlights with Stans Tubeless, Stans Al rotors.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Joe Programmer a Weekend Warrior from houston, tx

Date Reviewed: March 31, 2003

Strengths:    Strong frame. Excellent workmanship. No one else is close. Flickability! AMERICAN MADE!

Weaknesses:    70mm travel in the front fork. Seat is too narrow. CDale sold out to Pacific.

Bottom Line:   
Here's my review of the Cannondale Scalpel 800. First, First Impression - This bike rocks. It climbs great. The bike makes the most of the limited suspension. It tracks like an arrow. And it's AMERICAN MADE. Suspension - The fatty hedshok works well. It uses an air spring, so preload adjustments are a breeze. It has a lockout on the stem for those tough climbs and Cdale claims it weighs 2.8lbs. The front end feels very light on the trails. Very nimble. The rear suspension uses a small air shock to control movement. The chainstays are carbon and flex in the middle. The feeling is that of a hardtail that goes well over rough terrain. This bike is very sensitive to air adjustments. I set the fork up a little softer than manufacturers specs. It never bottomed out and gave a surprisingly smooth ride. The rear was for about 6mm of sag and it worked great. I started at manu's specs and went softer by covering the schrader valve with my finger. Pressure would fill the little cavity and the I would release it. Doing this would release a couple of lbs of pressure without resorting to going back to the semi for the shock pump. Components - The component spec was pretty good. LX front and XT rear. Cdale crank is a little flexy. Magura julies work well, but the front one needed bleeding and was a little spongy. deore shifters are pretty much standard. Cdale seat is slim and need replacing by something nad friendly. Frame - The frame is very stiff. The bike tracked straight and true through smooth and bumpy turns alike. Washboards and small dropoffs didn't upset it at all. Conclusions - This is the last American made cross country machine. The Scalpel did everything I wanted it to without fuss and begged for more. 3 chilis if you paid retail. Get one before Pacific starts having them made in China! OUT

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Any

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Sun and Ski

Similar Products Used:   Specialized FSR, Diamondback, Schwinn

Bike Setup:   stock

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Johno a Cross Country Rider from Canberra, Australia

Date Reviewed: December 15, 2002

Strengths:    Frame design & sturdy rear end. New Ultra DL 80mm Headshok & remote lockout is improvement over last years version.

Weaknesses:    All the Deore components. Paying the extra $ hurt for a while - forgotten on the trail.

Bottom Line:   
A tossup between Fuel 90 & Kikapu. Last minute decision to stick with Cannondale. Moving up from the Super V, I was concerned this thing would not be plush enough or have enough travel... Boy did the Scalpel surprise me, because I'll not miss the 4.5" travel (much). In comparison, it climbs better, has a lighter rear end so you can change direction quicker. The big surprise was the Ultra Headshok - what a huge improvement over the older models. Overall a well balanced bike - this is an excellent trail bike, but I can't wait to race it (pity I can't up grade the power plant as well). For all us gram counters the bike is just over 25.5lbs. Will loose some more weight when I replace the 14g Champion spokes with some DT SuperComps.

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Favorite Trail:   Stromlo

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $2300.00

Purchased At:   Lonsdale Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Super V, F1000 & Mongoose Ti Hardtail. Tested against Fuel 90 & Kikapu Delux.

Bike Setup:   Easton EA70 flat bar & seat post, SDG Ti Saddle, XTR Rear, LX Shifters, Egg Beaters.

Reviews 1 - 13 (13 Reviews Total)

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


2002 Scalpel 800 Headset?

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Cannondale Scalpel 800 (2002) Frog link

On cleaning my Scalpel 800 i've noticed a crack on the frog link. Does anyone know where I can buy this item from ive been searching the net for hours, tryed emailing Cannondale with no response and I don't have a local Cannondale dealer local to me im in Suffolk, UK.Read More »

Ideas to upgrade Cannodale Scalpel 800

I recently bought a 2002 cannondale scalpel 800. And i have been brainstorming several ideas to upgrade my bikes performance. Anyone have some advice on what to do?Read More »

STOLEN: Cannondale Scalpel 800-Mint Green- From Rosslyn Metro 4/8

:mad: Please help. Mint Green 19" cannondale scapel 800, headshock, easton ec70 handlebar stolen from bike rack area(U lock and all) at the Rosslyn Metro-right in front of the kiosk. This bike is easily identifyable. It has an XTR rear D, XT crankset. The color is a unique mintish green. I ... Read More »

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