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Keen-eyed South Africans might have had a little teaser of this bike as the Cannondale Factory Racing team did a fair amount of testing in the Cape. Those taking part in pre-COVID lockdown racing might have spotted Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini riding the bike at the Tankwa Trek ahead of the ill-fated Cape Epic. Also if you hung around at the right coffee shop in Stellenbosch, you’d have gotten a glimpse of a lightly camouflaged bike during the summer. Well, the speculation is now over as we’ve got all the details about the all-new Scalpel.

We rode the previous iteration of the Scalpel in early 2018 and the Ocho version when it was released later that year. Back then we sang its praises and even by 2020 standards the bike mostly holds its own.

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So what does a brand improve on when the existing platform is already well optimised?

Scott Vogelmann, Senior Product Manager at Cannondale, explained the process they followed in developing the new Scalpel via a Zoom call. Driven by feedback from the Cannondale Factory Racing, the ability to not hesitate during any part of the race was a guiding principle for the product team. Among other things, that means knowing you have traction on a slippery climb or not having to ease up when charging into a downhill corner with confidence in braking power.

All-New FlexPivot Suspension


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The most obvious change is the all-new four-bar FlexPivot suspension design. The out-going bike used a single pivot with a swing link that dropped down from the nook of the top tube and seat tube. The new design utilises a more compact rocker that now connects to a mounting midway down the seat tube. Vital to the new Scalpel’s suspension system is the flattened carbon fibre flex zones into the rear of both chainstays. Cannondale says that these flex zones perform similarly to how a Horst link pivot would. The advantages of this system to racers is weight savings and a stiffer rear end with fewer parts to flex under power. An important consideration for hot South African marathon riding is that there is still plenty of space for two water bottles within the front triangle.

ccs-62657-0-77851700-1590060907.jpgThe FlexPivot bends to provide a pivot-like compliance for the Scalpel's new suspension system.

Of course, on the front of the bike is Cannondale’s iconic Lefty Ocho fork.

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Geometry and Frame Details


Along with the new suspension, the Scalpel has undergone the knife on the frame shape too. The tubing has been refined with a more angular shape that carries the new Cannondale design language. The geometry has been adapted to be more forgiving with a 68-degree head angle (that’s one-and-a-half degrees slacker than the outgoing bike) and sharper effective seat tube angle (now 74.5 degrees) to give the rider a commanding pedalling position in the saddle. The reach on the Large frame we tested is 455 millimetres with a 1175 millimetre wheelbase. Cannondale claim that the new Scalpel frame weighs just over 1900 grams with the shock.

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This is the first Scalpel with Boost 148mm rear axle spacing and the bike continues to employ Cannondale’s Asymmetric Integration (Ai) by outwardly offsetting the drivetrain and rear hub. This allows Cannondale additional space to shorten chainstay length (which is 436mm) while widening tyre clearance and improving wheel stiffness. The bottom bracket is PressFit with Cannondale’s HollowGram cranks fitted across the range. Cross country riders who appreciate the benefits of higher volume tyres will be pleased to hear that the Scalpel is rated for up to 2.4” tyres. The nifty Speed Release axle, developed in partnership with Mavic and carried over from the disc road bike models, allows for quick removal of the rear wheel.

The Scalpel has full internal cable routing. The chainstays now tuck neatly into an alcove just above the bottom bracket which allows for a completely internal cable path to the back of the bike while the shock lockout moves through the top tube.

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It’s mountain biking and you’re bound to have a mechanical or flat. The all-new Stash Kit hopes to make carrying spares convenient. The Stash adaptor attaches neatly to the downtube of the Scalpel under the water bottle mount. A Fabric 8-in-1 multitool slides snuggly into a compartment with attachments for a Dynaplug tubeless kit and a CO2 canister or a mini pump on the other side. It’s an included item on some of the higher specification models.

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First Ride Impressions: Cannondale Scalpel 2


Testing out a new mountain bike during lockdown presents some unique challenges. My five-kilometre radius offers little in the way of terrain suitable for a proper thrashing of a bike destined for World Cup courses. With some imagination my neighbourhood transformed into an urban cross country circuit, but still lacked the features needed to truly test out the bike.

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While I can’t yet attest to the grip or braking performance under pressure, initial impressions are good. Visually, the new bike is still unmistakably a Scalpel with some modernisation. The Stash Kit is very neatly integrated with the frame and easy to access even while riding. The orange fade colourway on the new bike didn’t appeal at first, but it’s slowly growing on me.

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On the bike my position felt a touch more comfortable relative to the previous Scalpel, with less of that aggressive “over the bars” feel. I was happy to throw it down a few steep staircases, despite the lack of a dropper post I’ve become too dependent on. Uphill the bike is light and responsive, even helping to set a new PB on a sprint up a regular tar climb. Not bad with knobblies, but the real test will be on slippery, technical trails.

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ccs-62657-0-35347100-1590061990.jpgThe Wheel Sensor records speed, distance and time which it transmits to your device or the Cannondale App.

Although this is an admittedly thin “First Ride Review”, the new Scalpel has us excited. Let’s be honest, it was hard to go too far wrong coming from the old platform. Aside from the visual refresh, under the “hood” the new four-bar suspension linkage promises meaningful improvements in braking and traction performance. Finally, despite the death spiral in the value of the ZAR, the R 99,995 price tag is reasonable in the context of high-end carbon mountain bikes.

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Available Models


The new Scalpel is available immediately in South Africa from your local Cannondale dealer. At launch the following models will be available Scalpel Hi-MOD 1, Scalpel Carbon 2, and Scalpel Carbon 3. There will be more models at varying specification levels announced in the near future but for now, take a look at the details of the available bikes below.

Scalpel Hi-MOD Ultimate


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  • FrameAll-New, 100mm travel, BallisTec Hi-Mod Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, FlexPivot Chainstay, PF30-83, Tapered Headtube, Speed Release 12mm thru axle, Ai Offset, Stash compatible
  • ForkLefty Ocho Carbon, 100mm, Chamber Damper with remote lockout, OppO Spring System, tapered steerer, 55mm offset
  • Rear ShockFox Float DPS Factory EVOL, 100mm, remote lockout, adjustable rebound
  • RimsENVE M525 Carbon, 24h, tubeless ready
  • Hubs[F] Lefty 60 / [R] Custom DT Swiss, 36t Star Ratchet, 12x148mm thru-axle
  • SpokesDT Swiss Aerolite, straight pull
  • Tyres[F] Schwalbe Racing Ray EVO, 29 x 2.25", SnakeSkin, Addix Speedgrip, tubeless ready, [R] Schwalbe Racing Ralph EVO, 29 x 2.25", SnakeSkin, Addix Speed, tubeless ready
  • CranksetSRAM XX1 Eagle DUB, 34T, Ai offset
  • Bottom BracketSRAM DUB PF30 MTB83
  • ChainSRAM XX1 Eagle, Copper, 12-speed
  • Rear CogsSRAM XG-1299, XX1 Eagle, Copper, 10-52, 12-speed
  • Rear DerailleurSRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
  • ShiftersSRAM Eagle AXS, 12-speed
  • HandlebarENVE M5, Carbon, 31.8mm, 5mm rise, 9° sweep, 760mm
  • GripsESI Chunky Silicone, 32mm dia.
  • StemCannondale 1, 7075 Alloy, 1-1/8", 31.8, 7°
  • HeadsetIntegrated, 1-1/8 to 1.5", sealed angular contact bearings
  • BrakesSRAM Level Ultimate hydraulic disc, 160/160mm Centerline X rotors
  • Brake LeversSRAM Level Ultimate hydraulic disc
  • SaddlePROLOGO Dimension NDR CPC Tirox Saddle
  • SeatpostENVE Carbon, 31.6 x 400mm, 0mm offset
  • SizesS, M, L, XL
  • ColourCopper (CPR)
  • ExtrasStash Kit (Fabric 8 in 1 Mini Tool and Dynaplug tubeless puncture repair tool)
  • Claimed Weight (excluding Stash)9.45 kg
  • Suggested Retail PriceR 199,995.00

Scalpel Hi-MOD 1


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  • FrameAll-New, 100mm travel , BallisTec Hi-Mod Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, FlexPivot Chainstay, PF30-83, Tapered Headtube, Speed Release 12mm thru axle, Ai Offset, Stash compatible
  • ForkLefty Ocho Carbon, 100mm, Chamber Damper with remote lockout, OppO Spring System, tapered steerer, 55mm offset
  • Rear ShockFox Float DPS Factory EVOL, 100mm, remote lockout, adjustable rebound
  • RimsHollowGram 25, Superlight Hi-Impact Carbon, 28h, 25mm IW, tubeless ready
  • Hubs[F] Lefty 60 [R] DT Swiss, 12x148
  • SpokesHollowGram 2.0/1.8/2.0
  • Tyres[F] Schwalbe Racing Ralph, 29 x 2.25", Snake Skin, Addix Speed Compound, tubeless ready, [R] Schwalbe Racing Ralph, 29 x 2.25", Snake Skin, Addix Speed Compound, tubeless ready
  • CrankHollowGram, BB30a, OPI SpideRing, 34T, Ai offset
  • Bottom BracketCannondale Alloy PressFit30
  • ChainShimano XT, 12-speed
  • Rear CogsShimano XT, 10-51, 12-speed
  • Rear DerailleurShimano XTR, Shadow Plus
  • ShiftersShimano XTR, 12-speed
  • HandlebarCannondale 1 Flat, Carbon, 31.8mm, 9° back, 760mm
  • GripsESI Silicone 32mm Grips
  • StemCannondale 1, 7075 Alloy, 1-1/8", 31.8, 7°
  • HeadsetIntegrated, 1-1/8 to 1.5", sealed angular contact bearings
  • BrakesXTR hydraulic disc, 160mm Ice Tech rotors
  • Brake LeversShimano XTR hydraulic disc
  • SaddlePrologo Dimension NOR, Tirox rails
  • SeatpostENVE Carbon, 31.6 x 400mm, 0mm offset
  • SizesS, M, L, XL
  • ColourTeam Replica Carbon w/ Cannondale Green (REP)
  • ExtrasStash Kit (Fabric 8 in 1 Mini Tool and Dynaplug tubeless puncture repair tool)
  • Claimed Weight (excluding Stash)9.76 kg
  • Suggested Retail PriceR 139,995.00

Scalpel Carbon LTD


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  • FrameAll-New, 100mm travel, BallisTec Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, FlexPivot Chainstay, PF30-83, Tapered Headtube,Speed Release 12mm thru axle, Ai Offset, Stash compatible
  • ForkLefty Ocho, 100mm, Chamber Damper with remote lockout, OppO Spring System, tapered steerer, 55mm offset
  • Rear ShockFox Float DPS Performance Elite EVOL, remote lockout, adjustable rebound
  • RimsHollowGram 25, Superlight Hi-Impact Carbon, 28h, 25mm IW, tubeless ready
  • Hubs[F] HollowGram Lefty 60 / [R] HollowGram w/DT Swiss Star Ratchet internals, 12x148mm
  • SpokesDT Swiss Competition Race, straight-pull
  • Tyres[F] Schwalbe Racing Ray Performance, 29 x 2.25", Addix Compound, tubeless ready, [R] Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance, 29 x 2.25", Addix Compound, tubeless ready
  • CranksetTruvativ Stylo C, 34T, Ai offset
  • Bottom BracketSRAM DUB PF30 MTB83
  • ChainSRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
  • Rear CogsSRAM XG-1295, XO1 Eagle, 10-52, 12-speed
  • Rear DerailleurSRAM X01 Eagle
  • ShiftersSRAM XO Eagle, 12-speed
  • HandlebarCannondale 1 Flat, Carbon, 31.8mm, 9° back, 760mm
  • GripsESI Chunky Silicone, 32mm dia.
  • StemCannondale 1, 7075 Alloy, 1-1/8", 31.8, 7°
  • HeadsetIntegrated, 1-1/8 to 1.5", sealed angular contact bearings
  • BrakesShimano XT hydraulic disc, 160/160mm XT rotors
  • Brake LeversShimano XT hydraulic disc
  • SaddlePrologo Dimension NDR, Tirox rails
  • SeatpostCannondale 1, UD Carbon, 31.6 x 400mm
  • SizesS, M, L, XL
  • ColourCarbon (CBR)
  • ExtrasStash Kit (Fabric 8 in 1 Mini Tool and Dynaplug tubeless puncture repair tool)
  • Suggested Retail PriceR 119,995.00

Scalpel Carbon 2


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  • FrameAll-New, 100mm travel, BallisTec Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, Flex Pivot Chainstay, PF30-83, Tapered Headtube, Speed Release 12mm thru axle, Ai Offset, Stash compatible
  • ForkLefty Ocho, 100mm, Chamber Damper with remote lockout, OppO Spring System, tapered steerer, 55mm offset
  • Rear ShockFox Float DPS Performance Elite EVOL, remote lockout , adjustable rebound
  • RimsHollowGram 25, Superlight Hi-Impact Carbon, 28h, 25mm IW, tubeless ready
  • Hubs[F] Lefty 60 [R] DT Swiss, 12x148
  • SpokesHollowGram 2.0/1.8/2.0
  • Tyres[F] Schwalbe Racing Ralph , 29 x 2.25", Snake Skin, Addix Speed Compound, tubeless ready, [R] Schwalbe Racing Ralph , 29 x 2.25", Snake Skin, Addix Speed Compound, tubeless ready
  • CrankHollowGram, BB30a, OPI SpideRing, 34T, Ai offset
  • Bottom BracketCannondale Alloy PressFit30
  • ChainShimano XT, 12-speed
  • Rear CogsShimano XT, 10-51, 12-speed
  • Rear DerailleurShimano XT
  • ShiftersShimano XT, 12-speed
  • HandlebarCannondale 2 Flat, butted 2014 Alloy, 31.8mm, 3° rise, 8° sweep, 760mm
  • GripsESI Silicone 32mm Grips
  • StemCannondale 1, 7075 Alloy, 1-1/8", 31.8, 7°
  • HeadsetIntegrated, 1-1/8 to 1.5", sealed angular contact bearings
  • BrakesShimano Deore XT M8100 hydraulic disc, 160mm XT rotors
  • Brake LeversShimano Deore XT M8100
  • SaddlePrologo Dimension NDR, STN rails
  • SeatpostCannondale 2, 7075 Alloy, 31.6 x 400mm
  • SizesS, M, L, XL
  • ColourSlate Gray (SLT)
  • ExtrasStash Kit (Fabric 8 in 1 Mini Tool and Dynaplug tubeless puncture repair tool)
  • Claimed Weight (excluding Stash)10.71 kg
  • Test Bike Weight (Large)10.95 kg
  • Suggested Retail PriceR 99,995.00

Scalpel Carbon 3


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  • FrameAll-New, 100mm travel, BallisTec Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, FlexPivot Chainstay, PF30 -83, Tapered Headtube,Speed Release 12mm thru axle, Ai Offset, Stash compatible
  • ForkLefty Ocho, 100mm, Chamber Damper with remote lockout, OppO Spring System, tapered steerer, 55mm offset
  • Rear ShockFox Float DPS Performance Elite EVOL, remote lockout, adjustable rebound
  • RimsStan's NoTubes Crest S1, 28h, tubeless ready
  • Hubs[F] Lefty 60 [R] Shimano MT510 12x148
  • SpokesDT Swiss Champion
  • Tyres[F] Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance, 29 x 2.25", Addix Compound, tubeless ready, [R] Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance, 29 x 2.25", Addix Compound, tubeless ready
  • CrankHollowGram, BB30a, OPI SpideRing, 34T, Ai offset
  • Bottom BracketCannondale Alloy PressFit30
  • ChainShimano SLX, 12-speed
  • Rear CogsShimano SLX, 10-51, 12-speed
  • Rear DerailleurShimano XT
  • ShiftersShimano SLX, 12-speed
  • HandlebarCannondale 2 Flat, butted 2014 Alloy, 31.8mm, 3° rise, 8° sweep, 760mm
  • GripsESI Silicone 32mm Grips
  • StemCannondale 3, 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 7°
  • HeadsetIntegrated, 1-1/8 to 1.5", sealed angular contact bearings
  • BrakesShimano Deore M6000 hydraulic disc, 160mm RT54 rotors
  • Brake LeversShimano Deore M6000 hydraulic disc
  • SaddlePrologo Dimension NDR, STN rails
  • SeatpostCannondale 2, 7075 Alloy, 31.6 x 400mm
  • SizesS, M, L, XL
  • ColourBlack (BLK)
  • Claimed Weight (excluding Stash)11.76 kg
  • Suggested Retail PriceR 74,995.00