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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a new 2014 Cannondale Scalpel 29er Carbon 2 and am looking for upgrade advice/suggestions to make it lighter and perform better.

I think the biggest and most obvious upgrade is the wheelset/tires, which I plan to swap out with 2013 Reynolds Carbon wheels (the same wheelset that came stock on last year's Scalpel 1) and Schwalbe Racing Ralph's.

I'm debating on upgrading to the Carbon Lefty, but I'm not sure if it's worth the extra $400 or so. Thoughts?

I'm also thinking about swapping out the crankset and rear derailleur for XTR, but again, I'm not sure the cost is justified there.

Any input would be appreciated! Thanks!

Specs found here: Scalpel 29 Carbon 2 - MOUNTAIN - BIKES - 2014
 

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Wheels would be my first stop. What tire would depend on riding/terrain. Reynolds builds a good rim but lots of issues with the built wheel -- not sure if that has been fixed. Next I'd look at a 1x setup (XX1/X01/General Lee) and ditch the FD. RaceFace Next SL for the crankset. But it depends on how much you want to lose and how much you want to spend.

Really the best way to figure it out is determine how much you want to spend and how much you want to lose.

Create a spreadsheet with cost of item (C), sale of takeoff (S), and weight Difference (W)

Then make a column with the formula (C-S)/W and sort the whole thing by that column from smallest to least. It's your dollars per gram saved. Start your replacements with the first row and end when you are at your target or out of money.

Some items fall outside of this -- carbon wheels being one of them. I got a chance to swap back and forth from really nice aluminum to carbon wheels and they add so much more than their weight.

If you are looking at Racing Ralph -- take a look at Thunder Burt -- really digging the pair I've been running for the last month.
 

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I've got the same bike. I agree swapping out the carbon lefty isn't worth it. The first thing I swapped was the wheels. I went with Stan's Crest. I also went to 1x10 by putting a Race Face ring on the XT cranks. That saved almost a pound. I'm also swapping out the bars and setpost (because I need a zero setback post and bars with more drop). It's not worth it to go from XT to XTR either unless you have money to burn. The weight savings isn't worth the cost based on the calculations I did last year. At some point it's more about your body weight and engine than squeezing every gram out of the bike, which is the approach I'm now realizing.
 

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29ers Forever
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
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3,604 Posts
XT is what I have on my bike. The XTR isn't that much better than XT, but costs a lot more.
You might want to try 1x10 (as ttusomeone said), and if you really want to save weight (albeit not much), then upgrade wheels and tyres. Yes, buy the Schwalbes.
 

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What front ring are you using on 1x10 combinations?
I was thinking using 30T on my Trigger 1 since the bike is heavier than a Scalpel and I regularly climb some nasty stuff.

Did some calculations:
Currently I'm not downshifting beyond 28T on the cassette using 22T front.
So that's about 0.786 whereas 30/36 would be 0.83

I'm just not sure about chain crossing leading to quicker wear.
 

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29ers Forever
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
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3,604 Posts
I am using a Raceface Narrow-wide 34T chainring with a Shimano Deore XT Shadow + medium cage rear derailleur.

But on a Scalpel I would probably use a 32T.
 

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29ers Forever
2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude A70
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3,604 Posts
I just found out there are spiderless direct mount options for Sram S1400 cranks which looks nice.
This removes need for bolts and spider making overall package lighter.
Cannondale makes that too.
 

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11 is one louder than 10
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Upgrade you will actually notice?

Carbon wheels. That's the list.

A 1x system is nice, but you want something you will notice regardless of your ability - carbon wheels. Lighter and stiffer.

That scalpel 2 is a pretty nicely loaded bike. XT is great, the specs are nice.

Carbon wheels, and maybe a carbon seatpost to save weight, or a dropper post to get control in technical sections.

Otherwise, ride the hell out of it.
 

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Happy Trails
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First, swap the spacer on the headset stack to the bottom to slacken the front end geometry a little. There's more information on this in the owner's manual. I did on mine and like the result a lot it ... really takes the edge off.

Next, the Reynolds wheels would be a super upgrade. There are a lot of these online auction.

Next, dropper post.

If you change the crank, pop out the BB30>Threaded converters and go with BB30, or else don't bother changing.
 
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