Are we now unable to adapt to minor changes / regression in geometry? If we have good foundational skills, it hardly matters does it?.For the $1k price difference you could go with the Cannondale and use the money saved to overfork it to 120mm which would slacken the HTA by roughly 1° bringing it a bit closer to modern geometry. Of course the reach will be relatively short unless you size up or are on the short end of the frame size range. Save the old fork to swap back in when it's time to sell.
I ride a 2018 scalpel. Its pretty good, overall, but I made a bit of alterations to make it more of a "Downcountry" bike. I added a dropper post and slacked the HTA by 1.5degrees to 68 degrees among other things. I love my rig and its tons of fun. HOWEVER, I would avoid the 2016. The HTA is a super steep 71 degree head angle!!! I have ridden them, and they are twitchy as all hell. Also the 100mm suspension on these bikes have a very hard tune (good for XC racing).It is a Cannondale Scalpel with XX1 drivetrain.
I have a second option. This one is a new 2022 Scott Spark RC Comp. The Spark has 120mm travel f/r but weighs 28lbs. It is $4000.
But here is a catch. The Spark has an unknown delivery date. It could be anywhere between December and June. The Cannondale I can get now. I do not have a fs bike currently either.
Been mountainbiking since 2013, would never trade my $1000/2021 bike for a piece of history .. even budget bikes are just better because of geo itself.. and with $3000 you can get a very good bnew bike..If you were looking for a XC bike, would you consider a 2016 bike with 100mm travel that weighs 22lbs and cost $3000?
The top suggestion is very good, and well...a million people have done that already anyway, not like it's original. For the reply, there are pros out there that can take an old-school XC bike, maybe even with 2x or 3x, and absolutely shred a downhill trail, I've seen the Strava numbers and what they were riding. But for us mortals, the head-tube angle really does matter, it does make the bike noticeably more stable and confident. And for the most part, faster. Not always, but most of the time if the overall decline is 4-5% or more. So the term foundational skills...well if someone is really talented/experienced, yes they can overcome a steep-angled bike and shred a tough downhill segment. But "we" are for the most part not "them". For us, it's the bike, not the rider.Are we now unable to adapt to minor changes / regression in geometry? If we have good foundational skills, it hardly matters does it?.