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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all and thanks in advance for taking the time to read my post. For the last few years, I've been riding pretty consistently with a Specialized Rockhopper but I've always been a Cannondale fan. I've got a Cannondale road bike and my first mt bike was a Cannondale. Now, I'm upgrading and I'm on the fence between a Scalpel and an F29. LBS has a 13 F29 Alloy 1 for ridiculously cheap but before I bite the bullet on a good deal, I'm wanting to weigh all my pros and cons. I'm a XC rider first and foremost but I do enjoy a bit of technical stuff and there's a lot of it where I live. I'm considering some Xterra triathlons and some MTB races/endurance rides and I want a bike that's going to work for all of the above.

As of right now, my choices are a 2014 Scalpel Alloy 4 or a 2013 F29 Alloy 1. Budget wise, I don't want to spend more than $2500 and the Scalpel 4 is pushing that quite a bit. I tried finding a Scalpel 3 2013 on closeout but they don't have my size. I love fast riding on single track and I love to climb and I'm worried that the Scalpel 4 will be A LOT heavier than the F29 1. Both are 29ers but I'm wondering if the 29er tires on the HT will absorb some of the chatter and perhaps I don't need the added suspension? I know that Scalpel is designed as a FS XC racing bike though, so I know it's not heavy like a Jekyll or a Trigger. I'm also considering trying to find a 2013 F29 Carbon HT because I've heard that the carbon frame actually absorbs more than the alloy frame. Is that true?

I'm basically wanting a bike that I can ride for the next 5 to 10 years and not really feel the need to upgrade (majorly). I've got two kids on the way and I've been experiencing some back pain after riding longer distances so I'm trying to get a new bike before we go on a strict budget. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again in advance. :)
 

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I have a '12 Scalpel Carbon 2, and a '13 F29 Black. Both are built up very light, with similar wheels and such. The Scalpel is ~ 3lbs heavier, with slightly more robust tires.

I really enjoy both bikes, but as a racer, the Flash would be my pick if I could only have one. IMO, the biggest draw back with the Scalpel, is not so much the extra weight, but the slight loss of energy due to the rear suspension. By all accounts, the Scalpel is a race ready bike, but the rear shock does not lock out completely. I swap bikes often, and when going from the Scalpel to the Flash, the efficiency gain is.................. well, a lot.

My POS Acer laptop appears ready to **** the bed, so I'm going TL;dr this before it blows up forever.

Scalpel...........Great bike, better at going down than up. Much fun.
Flash..........Same, only the other way around. Much speed.

Fwiw, I regularly do 3+ hr. training rides on the Flash with no ill affects on my 53 yo. body.

Hope that helps, and I'll try to fill in any more ?s later, if I still have a interweb device.
 

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Even though the F29 alloy 1 is a great deal, I'd look around for one of the carbon framed flashes / F29's (carbon 3?). With a save seatpost and the vertical flex in the frame it's a really nice ride and will give you some of the comfort you'd get from the scalpel with less weight and fantastic acceleration.
 

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I love my flash but it only took one 50 mile endurance ride to start thinking about FS. now that I have one the Flash would be perfect for very smooth tracks and maybe short races but the epic will be use for everything else. I did try a scalpel but it felt a little brittle and like the front and back suspensions were not working together
 

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I have no experience with either bike, but I was in the same boat. In the end, I chose FS, and I am now the proud owner of a 2014 Trek Superfly 9.8 SL. For strictly XC racing, the F29 would be better, but for everyday riding, I would go FS, especially if you have some back pain. Again, no experience with Cannondale, but my Superfly does not have much bob at all, even in descend mode. About carbon, a carbon HT would definitely be more comfortable than an aluminum one, especially with Cannondale's "SAVE" technology, and the F29 3 Carbon is cheaper than the Scalpel 4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much for the responses everyone. I did check on availability for a carbon F29 but the 2013s were all gone and the new one was almost double what the 2013 F29 1 was. I opted for it and paid $1499. I added a carbon bar on the front and have a SAVE carbon seat post on order. Hopefully, this will be a great bike for years and years to come. Thanks again!
 

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Thanks so much for the responses everyone. I did check on availability for a carbon F29 but the 2013s were all gone and the new one was almost double what the 2013 F29 1 was. I opted for it and paid $1499. I added a carbon bar on the front and have a SAVE carbon seat post on order. Hopefully, this will be a great bike for years and years to come. Thanks again!
You made the right you choice. The money you saved on the Flash you can put towards upgrades (converting to tubeless, carbon upgrades) and putting towards race/travel fees, etc. Good luck!
 

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If you do have back pains, purchase wider tires so you can run lower pressures. It definitely helps smooth out the ride. The more fatigued I get, the more I don't get off the seat, which leaves me beaten up after the very long days. Don't make that mistake. I've been slowly increasing my rides this year instead of just taking a very long ride for that reason.
 

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I,went back from a carbon 650b hardtail to a fully. I have mild lower back pain and longer rides killed me. Honestly my fully is 22.5 lbs and ill give up the slight pedal efficiency for comfort.
 
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