Cannondale Scalpel 2003 Full Suspension

4.79/5 (57 Reviews)
MSRP : $1899.99

Product Description

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Reviews 1 - 15 (57 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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:5
Submitted by Teodor Malmborg a Cross Country Rider from Åre, Sweden

Date Reviewed: August 13, 2004

Strengths:    Lightweight, high quality and unique look.

Weaknesses:    Hard to service on you own. Too expensive in Europe.

Bottom Line:   
Since owning my 98 Cannondale F400 without any problems at all, it was no discussion about switching to another brand.
I checked out the Jekyll aswell, but after a test ride and closer look on the Scalpel I chose the Scalpel 1000.
It is probably good value for the money since it is basically the same bike as the team model. I had the opportunity to buy the 3000 model for about $300, but with the ELO being the only big difference I didn't think it was worth the money.

This bike had a list price of about $4100 in Sweden, which meant I got the trip paid (including flights, hotels and everything!) by buying it in the US. 5 Flamin' Chills for the value of buying it in the US!

The Scalpel gives a really smooth ride and it really let's you pedal full force on bumby trails.

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Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2250.00

Purchased At:   Orange Cycles Orlando

Similar Products Used:   Other Cannondales, only hardtails.

Bike Setup:   Stock except Avid front disc. Serfas barends.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by tyson kaman a Racer from marlborough, ct

Date Reviewed: May 10, 2004

Strengths:    racer. i have ridden many bikes, and this is my favorite go fast rig. it isnt the best climber, it isnt the best decender, it isnt the best at acceleration, and it isnt the lighest (but sub 23 lbs with a responsible tubeless built isn't bad) and it isnt aflicted by any weekspot. all the handling aspects are good. the travel feels ample (not for big air and the like). the frame feels stiff and responds to power well. and though not 100% bob free it is not really noticable, even after i get tired and my pedal stroke goes to all hell. the lefty is awesome. and the lockouts work well, even without the elo. i didnt use the rear remote so i have no comment about that. the parts spec is the best. commonly skimped items were not looked over, xtr chain and 5degrees of sweep in the bar are things that make a bike better that catalogs dont really mention. i even liked the grips.

Weaknesses:    with this part speck you cat look forward to upgrades.
the lefty can make putting the bike into the car a pain.
why didnt cannondale put a strait top tube on this bike? the increased standover isnt worth the cramping of the triangle's h2o bottle space. some might want a riser bar (not me for this bike)

Bottom Line:   
if you want to dust your buddies on a variety of trails this is the bike for you. if you want to go big look somewhere else. i have replaced it with an 04 team issue so i could use the cannondale si crank with only 2 gears in front.

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Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   competitive edge

Similar Products Used:   i have owned and raced an epic, a sugar, ans several fsrs. ive also ridden just about everything out there but it is hard to judge a bike set up for someone else.

Bike Setup:   stock but with a use carbon post and a slr seat. changed tires for stans filled regular pythons without anything but smiles

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 BingBang a Cross Country Rider from Bromont, Quebec, Canada

Date Reviewed: February 17, 2004

Strengths:    Lefty, Lefty, Lefty. Super stiff. rear suspension really feels like 3 1/2" and plush. New XTR crank !!!

Weaknesses:    I had the electronic device that control the ELO system changed. After that it ran perfect.

Bottom Line:   
I like the ELO and remote lock out for the rear shock, never felt more confident on an xc bike like the Scalpel. It handles very quick that takes some get used to it. Of course climb up everything. I feel so quick, my first ride felt like I could win a race.
Mavic UST are just great. This bike is for anyone who doesn't need 5" more travel. It's very quick and can be ride all day. I even got my best riding partner buy one in 2004. Of course the price set you back in your car payments, but look what you got for the money and what other company offers for the same buck, it conviced me.

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Favorite Trail:   # 6

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   MOMO Sports

Similar Products Used:   Spec. FSR, C'dale Jekyll.

Bike Setup:   Changed Shimano dual control( brake-shifter combo) to Sram
X.0 grip shift and derailleur. Had the dual control on my previous Jekyll, think I got used to it and then borrowed a friends' bike with the new X.0 and realized I'm not going back to Shimano. Changed to a riser bar.

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 stephen a Cross Country Rider from sydney, australia

Date Reviewed: January 21, 2004

Strengths:    lightweight full suspension frame, awesome wheelset (mavic crossmax SL), lefty TI front shock which is direct and stable, ability for fast road bike in full lock out mode and suitable tires,

Weaknesses:    the new retail price, some difficulty in getting the xtr front deraillieur to function with the 3 ring SI crankset, and finally be careful with the light frame.

Bottom Line:   
absolute excellent bike for marathon solo riding and cross country, despite the price this is the bike to aim for and you will not be disappointed.

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Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $3300.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   my cannondale F2000 hardtail

Bike Setup:   generally stock except for comp s lite tires or maxxis wormdrives, stans no tubes, braided s/stl lines, xtr pedals

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:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Rolf Rimrott a Racer from Wayne, PA, USA

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2003

Strengths:    Very light weight for full suspension, great handling, lefty fork is superior over any other fork I have used, bike overall durable and reliable. Marta SL disc brakes are the lighest brakes on the market and have sweet lever feedback-superior braking over shimano xtr disc.

Weaknesses:    Thin frame tubes dent up easly, Bike feels very flimsy under you but does not slow you down at all.
Expensive retail cost.

Bottom Line:   
This bike has provem itself on some of the most brutal rocky races in the northeast (Michaux, Greenbriar, Waywayonda, french Creek, to name a few)and was cartwheeled at big ring mashing speed and came through problem free (except a large dent in frame tube).

For a light great handling durable full suspension XC racer this is the bike to have.

This bike is for a hard core racer or XC rider, not for the weak and timid trail rider.

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Favorite Trail:   Michaux

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $3200.00

Purchased At:   Bike Shop

Similar Products Used:   Klein Adept pro

Bike Setup:   2003 Scalpel 4000 team issue large frame, XO Gripshift, marta sl disc, flite slr saddle. SRAM PC 59 chain, XTR Shimano pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bill a Cross Country Rider from New Jersey

Date Reviewed: October 10, 2003

Strengths:    Overall build quality, geometry, handling, looks, paint, brakes, suspension especially the Lefty,warranty.

Weaknesses:    Those damn tubeless tires! These things have to be ridden at max. psi or they separate at the rim and pssssssst!! instant flat. They KILLED the crisp handling of this bike. Once I stuck my favorite tires on the bike was transformed into a rocket on rails. Cannondale should forget the tubless hype and stop putting them on their bikes! Trust me, there's no added value there!

Bottom Line:   
A truly awesome bike. I had a Raven 4000SX which developed a slight problem with the gel-coat on the Carbon while in MOAB. No big deal but I let C-dale know anyway. They responded by first offering me a new frameset but then came back and gave me a complete bike. FAR MORE THAN I EXPECTED! This is why they have me as a repeat customer. I have contributed to at least 20 sales due to their outstanding customer service and products. Anyway, this bike is razor sharp and does EVERYTHING extremely well. It's light, rigid, fast, handles GREAT and is well made. I agree with a previous post regarding the flexy spokes. Nothing urgent though. I also had the ghost shifting and noticed the too-short cable housing passing over the rear suspension rocker arm. I replaced the housing with a longer piece, creating more of an arc in the cable and the problem was solved. I have had nothing but great fun on this bike and no problems. Can't wait to take it on a few epic rides. I'd recommend this bike to anyone. Three cheers to Cannondale for a great effort.

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Favorite Trail:   Jim Thorpe PA

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $100.00

Purchased At:   Genesis Cycles EASTON PA

Similar Products Used:   Trek.....once..and a GT..once and then quite a few Cannondales. There's nothing else better or more innovative in my book.

Bike Setup:   Started as a standard 1000. The LX is what you would expect. I quickly went straight to full XTR and a San Marco saddle, Panaracer Dart/Smoke, better cables and Eggbeaters.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Justin Wilson a Cross Country Rider from California

Date Reviewed: October 7, 2003

Strengths:    Lefty fork, the frame is a gread design no BOB or any unwanted flex. great climber and decender (just enough travel to take the edge off.

Weaknesses:    I don't like Hutchison tires. The normal troubles with getting used to climbing on a new bike.

Bottom Line:   
I love Cannondales because of the Lefty fork and there attention to there products. You know when you buy a Cannondale that you are getting quality not quantity. That said the bike is everything I knew it would be and more It climbs great and decends just as well. I put XTR cranks on just because in my opinion there is nothing better. The whole package is great you get Marta brakes and everything you could not ask for a better package. I will end up changing out the tires for some 1.95 Maxxis fly weights. And when everything is said and done I will have XTR on the whole bike. This bike is perfect for racers and will hold it's own on all day rides on single track trails. This bike is money well spent, if you can afford the 3000 I would go for it because when I'm done with all my upgrades It will be a 3000.

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Favorite Trail:   all

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Trek fuel 100, Intense Spider, Etc...

Bike Setup:   Stock except for XTR cranks and rear der,

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Jo Gambaro a Cross Country Rider from Italy

Date Reviewed: October 1, 2003

Strengths:    very very light, super lefty with electronic lock-out rigid feeling when lefty's locked, super hydro disc brakes,
great carbon rear end with remote lockout on handlebar,
crossmax wheel light and beautyful, tubeless tyres
very stiff and fast everywhere

Weaknesses:    riser handlebars, i've changed into a flat one, i'd prefer
a more reactive rear remote lockout (as scott strike), sometimes mud gets stuck just under the rear shock, i don't like the rear derailleur (it's a problem of every bike, i dream gears inside rear hub as ROHLOFF)

Bottom Line:   
The best mountain bike i ever tried.
It's superlight, it's a pleasure to ride with, in the countryside is fast as wind, sometimes i forget i am not
on tarmac.Lefty works great also in the singletrack descents.
Have a fantastic and innovative rear suspension system:
stiff as hardtail when locked but sweet when open.
Cables going everywhere, but i love them.
Two bottles stays for fantastic marathon rides.
The price is enormous, i wish CANNONDALE......
It's a bike for mountain biking superlovers only, but
if you have the possibility to try it, don't lose it !
I have got this bike and i fell in love with!

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Favorite Trail:   allroads allweather allyear round

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $4500.00

Purchased At:   cannon's store

Similar Products Used:   scott rc strike (tried), specialized s-works fsr (tried)

Bike Setup:   xtr 03, mavic crossmax, hutchinson tubeless scorpion tyres, hollowgram cranks, fox rl shock with remote lockout,
fizik aliante saddle, volvo team replica colors, carbon handlebars

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Drew a Cross Country Rider from Cumming, GA

Date Reviewed: September 18, 2003

Strengths:    Looks, ride characteristics, weight

Weaknesses:    rear pivot points, thin tubing

Bottom Line:   
This is the last time that I will review this bike. I figured a LONG term update might be usefull. The Scalpel ride is superb. Perfect XC riding machine. Unbelievably fast and nimble. Point the bike where you want to go and hammer the pedals with confidence. You don't really notice the suspension working, but it is! I trashed the original Magura Marta brakes for Hayes. Been on the Hayes for about 5 months now and they have not had ANY maintenance performed on them!! The Marta's were great brakes but too maintenance intesive for me. The SRAM X0 drivetrain rocks. Accurate and fast shifting, and extremly durable. No more lever/trigger flicking. Just a twist of the wrist and you are there. The Lefty is amazing. Much better than traditional forks. Pain in the ass to transport, but well worth it. The Scalpel frame has held up relatively well for 2 years of hard riding from a 220lb'er. There seems to be some weaknesses in the rear swing arm though, and the tubing used to make the frame is really thin ( dent's really easy but, this is a light wieght racing bike). About two months after purchasing the bike, one of the tubes of the rear trangle came apart. No biggie. Replaced by C'dale. Lately the rear of the bike has become "mushy" feeling in the corners. Upon inspection, we found that the pivots have worn prematurely creating a lot of un-wanted movement. Kind of a pain in the anus, but C'dale is going to send new parts under warranty. So, I'll give the Scalpel 3 flamer's, but I'd have to give C'dale warranty department 5 flamer's for their support, so we'll average it to 4 flamer's over all.

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Favorite Trail:   Anything that is not pavement

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   Adventure Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Trek Fuel, Santa Cruz Superlight, Giant NRS, Specialized

Bike Setup:   '02 Scalpel 2000, XT crankset, SRAM X0 shifters/derailer, XTR front derailer, tubeless, hayes, egg beaters, ELO Lefty

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chuck a Cross Country Rider from Nashua, NH

Date Reviewed: September 15, 2003

Strengths:    Excellent XC development from Cannondale, raced on one of their F1000 hardtails last year. The quality of the frame is top notch, everything is well thought out. As of this writing I have ridden and raced the bike for 6 months and it tracks like it's on rails, super plush small bump performance. This thing is a joy to ride in any trail conditions and will do what you ask except obviouly for serious FR/DH. One addition note I can not say enough good things about the Cannondale Lefty and the Magura Marta brakes.

Weaknesses:    The tires, not impressed with the UST Hunchinson Scorpions they really don't do anything that well at least for riding and racing conditions in New England. Also the wheels are laced-up with to small of a gauge spoke, "Lots O Flex", I weigh in at 192lbs. I didn't care for the remote rear lockout, to hard to keep clean and lubed, I installed the original Fox blue lever, still easy enought to reach.

Bottom Line:   
Cannondale should definitely continue to refine this bike. For both XC riding and racing it's the best in breed, awesome weight versus performance/comfort.

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Favorite Trail:   XC Number 12

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   Goodales Bike

Similar Products Used:   Jekell, Fuel, Sugar.

Bike Setup:   2003 Scapel 1000 Marta brakes, DLR Lefty, Cannondale hubs with Mavic 223UST rims, Fox Float RLC. Upgraded to complete XTR Drivetrain with shifters, Easton EC70 post, IRD carbon flat bars, TITEC cabon bar ends, WTB saddle and Tioga UST Red Phoenix tires.

Reviews 1 - 15 (57 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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