First Ride: Cannondale's All-New Scalpel SE

May 21, 2020
by Daniel Sapp  


The Scalpel has been an iconic bike in Cannondale's line for nearly 20 years. The full-suspension bike first debuted in 2001 as a futuristic 26" wheeled XC race machine with a 2x drivetrain, electronic lockout suspension, lefty fork, and disc brakes. It's evolved significantly over the years, remaining one of the lightest XC race bikes available and a popular choice for many pros and amateurs alike.

The previous version was the Scalpel Si, a capable bike that featured plenty of Cannondale’s proprietary tech - Lefty fork and AI offset wheels included. The very latest iteration of the Scalpel that we’re looking at today features a host of changes, including a new suspension design, to make it perform even better and be more user-friendly.

The new bike is available as the Scalpel, with 100mm of travel front and rear, and as the more aggressive, marathon/trail Scalpel SE which sports 120mm of suspension, front and rear. The bikes are available in sizes small-XL with prices starting at $4,000 USD for the Scalpel SE 2 and range up to $9,000 USD for the Scalpel Hi-MOD1 team replica bike.


Scalpel Details
• Wheel size: 29"
• Travel: 100mm
• Carbon frame
• 68° head angle
• 74.5° seat angle
• Chainstays: 436mm
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing, Ai offset
• Sizes: S-XL
• Price: $4,500 to $9,000 USD


Scalpel SE Details
• Wheel size: 29"
• Travel: 120mm
• Carbon frame
• 67° head angle
• 74° seat angle
• Chainstays: 436mm
• Frame weight with shock: ~1,900g
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing, Ai offset
• Sizes: S-XL
• Price: $4,000 to $5,500 USD
www.cannondale.com




Suspension Design

Cannondale have always done things a little bit differently, whether that's with their one-sided Lefty fork, or their latest DH bike. With the Scalpel already ticking the light and stiff boxes, the focus shifted more to how they could milk every bit of performance possible out of the suspension.

The team decided that a Horst link style system would provide their bike with the most performance possible, but it didn't cut it when it came to weight. That rearmost pivots added around 200 grams to the bike, and when you're talking about frames that weigh sub 2,000 grams, including a shock, 10% of that total wasn't an option, so it was back to the drawing board.

The solution is what Cannondale's engineering team is calling a FlexPivot. The idea of using frame flex instead of bearings or bushings to allow the bike to go through its travel isn't an entirely new concept, especially on XC-oriented bikes, but it's not as common on a Horst Link design. It's more typically seen on link driven single pivots, with the flex-pivot on the seatstay - you can see it in a number of different bikes currently on the market. Cannondale even had one on their last Scalpel-Si.

This go-round, Cannondale changed it up a bit by putting the pivot part of the way through the chainstay, rather than the seatstay, giving the bike a noticeably different aesthetic. While the design makes it appear that an entire zone would flex, like a leaf spring, the flexion actually occurs in a very precise zone where the pivot is intended to be - right at about halfway through the flat section. With the bike having only 100-120mm of travel, the amount of movement occurring is a relatively small angle and something that is easily handled by a composite structure.

What are the benefits of this design? It’s lighter for one, and you also don’t have to worry about maintenance. Cannondale used a unique blend of carbon fiber to make this bit of the frame flat and broad - they claim this helps to cut down on lateral flex and allowed them to make the rear end of the bike meet the performance characteristics they were going for and still come in at a little over 1,900g for the frame and shock.


Suspension kinematics are size-specific, varying with each size frame. The idea of this is not so much centered around the weight of the rider but more on where the center of mass of the rider is. Cannondale’s engineering team claim this gives every rider the same suspension performance no matter if they’re riding a size small or size XL frame.



Frame Details

Thinking of XC racers, Cannondale have engineered their own on-the-frame storage stash. On the water bottle mount, there’s Dynaplug's new ultra-light carbon plug tool, a Fabric multi-tool, and a spot for a CO2 in an easily accessible yet out of the way location. If that’s too much weight for you, you can take that off and put a blank plate in its place.

Upgraded from the previous Scalpel SI, the Scalpel now has new hardware in all locations to save weight and make maintenance easier. The frame design is clean with internal cable routing throughout, tube in tube routing in the rear end, the rear-end “chainstay garage” plugs into a cutout in the back of the seat tube nice and clean.



Cannondale use their Ai - “Asymmetric integration” offset drivetrain to give more tire clearance by moving the drivetrain 6mm to the right. They also claim that this system creates a stronger and stiffer wheel, although it does meant that the wheel is dished to the frame, adding a little bit of work if a spare is needed in a pinch. Additionally, there is a “quicker release” thru-axle in the back to speed up wheel changes by only having to thread into the drive-side of the dropout.

Last but not least, there are mounts for two water bottles, a standard for XC and Marathon XC bikes.

Geometry

Scalpel

Scalpel SE

Geometry-wise, the new Scalpel with 100mm of travel has a 68-degree head tube angle, a 74.5-degree seat tube angle, and 436mm chainstays with a reach of 435mm on a size Medium. The Scalpel SE utilizes the same exact frame but ups the travel to 120mm via a longer stroke shock. This puts the head tube angle at 67-degrees with a 74-degree seat tube angle and 430mm of reach, on a size medium.



Specifications

The Scalpel line up consists of two different bikes, the Scalpel and Scalpel SE, which use the same frame but with a different stroke length shock. Each bike is available in a number of different builds.

Scalpel Carbon 3 - PD

In North America, the Scalpel is available in three different models, the Scalpel Carbon 3, Carbon 2, and Hi-MOD 1. All bikes feature 100mm of travel and utilize Cannondale's Lefty Ocho fork. The 3 is built with a mix of Shimano SLX and XT components, Deore brakes, and Stan's Crest S1 wheels with Fox Float DPS Performance Elite suspension and sells for $4,500.

Scalpel Carbon 2 - PD
Women s Scalpel Carbon 2 - PD

The Carbon 2 is a full Shimano XT build with HollowGram carbon wheels, and Fox Float DPS Performance Elite suspension. It weighs 23.6 lbs / 10.71kg and sells for $6,000 USD. There's also a women's version of this bike with a different color and touchpoints.

Scalpel Hi-Mod 1 - PD

The Hi-MOD 1 Team Replica is the top-of-the-line build. Utilizing a Fox Factory shock, HollowGram wheels, and an XT/XTR drivetrain with XTR brakes, an ENVE seatpost, and carbon Cannondale bits throughout. The bike weighs 21.5 lbs / 9.76 kg and sells for $9,000 USD.

Scalpel Carbon SE 2 - PD
Women s Scalpel Carbon SE - PD

Looking at the Scalpel SE, the 120mm bike is available in two different builds, plus a women's build which features a different color and touchpoints. The bike is spec'd with Cannondale's DownLow dropper post. The women's bike is available only in sizes S-L. The SE Women's and SE2 both feature a SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain with a RockShox SIDLuxe Select + rear shock and SID Select fork. The bikes both sell for $4,000 and weigh 27.2 lbs / 12.35 kg.

Scalpel Carbon SE 1 - PD

The Scalpel SE1, which I've been riding comes with a Shimano XT build kit, RockShox SIDLuxe Select + rear shock, SID Select+ RL fork, and HollowGram carbon wheels. The bike tips the scale at 24.5 lbs / 11.2 kg and sells for $5,500 USD.


Ride Impressions

At 5'10" tall, with a short wingspan and long legs, I chose to ride a size Medium in the Scalpel. I've had the Scalpel SE for a few weeks now and have been riding it at every opportunity, but my impressions are somewhat limited given COVID related trail closures.

The SE sports 120mm of travel and is very appropriate for most of the lighter-duty riding around me in western North Carolina. I set the bike up according to the handy charts on the frame and fork and felt no need to make too many adjustments from there.

Climbing, the Scalpel SE is an efficient bike that doesn't wallow or want to bog down when getting on the pedals. The traction that the suspension system provides is exceptional for an XC bike, and not once did I find myself reaching for the blue lever on the rear shock. The reach is a touch short for my liking, at 430mm, but it was indeed a comfortable fit for an all-day ride.

When descending, the amount of traction was impressive - the Scalpel felt more composed in technical sections that the pointy, nervous XC bikes of the past. Rather than ping-ponging off of various trail obstacles, I was able to pick a line an stick to it without get rattled around too much. RockShox's new SID suspension is impressive, and while the fork feels great, the back of the bike feels even better.

Spec-wise, the Scalpel SE 1 is well-equipped for a $5,500 bike. The XT build kit coupled with carbon wheels keeps the weight at an impressive 24.5 lbs. Cannondale spec's the bike with their DownLow dropper post which functioned well, but it has a bit of a ramp-up at the end of its compression and takes quite a bit more force to move down than most other posts on the market.

Cannondale's on-frame tool storage came in handy whenever I had to make adjustments to the bike, and the design is simple and practical. We'll see how the bits and pieces fare in the long term, but it's nice to see new on-bike storage solutions coming to market.

We're going to continue riding the Scalpel for some longer-term impressions, which will include a cage match against its closest competitors - stay tuned for a more detailed shakedown.






228 Comments

  • 171 4
 OMFG they have Shimano on stock builds!!!
  • 92 7
 They are damm right about the Shimano drivetrains on their builds,I'm tired seeing brands with SRAM drivetrains good job Cannondale!!!.
  • 36 53
flag A1990ToyotaHilux (May 21, 2020 at 6:20) (Below Threshold)
 About the only thing they did right (and maybe not going with a lefty).
  • 13 3
 @fantaman: This seems to be a common theme. Maybe if more and more bike companies start listening to the consumer, we'd have less Sram and more shimano. Problem is, packaging sram drivetrains and rockshox suspension allows them to get deep discounts, which inevitably leads bike companies to sram.
  • 37 33
 @nmilot92: what makes shimano inherently better than sram? ive had both on bikes and imo sram has crisper shifting and weighs less for comparative price points
  • 38 9
 @Gideonbez: I have 12sp SRAM cable on one bike and 12sp Shimano on the other and my experience is they aren't even close. The SRAM needs constant adjustment and exact thumb pressure to shift clean. The Shimano is set it and forget it and fires clean shifts every time even if you fat thumb it or lean thumb it.
  • 56 1
 @fantaman: Well to be fair, Sram released Eagle in 2016, 4 long year ago. Shimano started shipping XT and XTR late last year... Shimano only has themselves to blame for most OEM builds getting Sram drivetrains over the past 5 years since they were just so late to the game.
  • 10 5
 @Gideonbez: Pinkbike comment section for one. And did you see the new Deore 12 speed? I mean shit, game changer. Or should I say game ender.
  • 5 1
 @nmilot92: Cannondale put his own crankset,so maybe they have a little more room to choose whatever they think is great for the bike. My Jekyll have a mix of 11 speed SLX/XT with the Cdale crankset and it works great,no need for an upgrade for 1 more speed or more fancy looking.
  • 5 8
 The so called:
Ai - “Asymmetric integration”
Came already stock on the 2009 Specialized SX series and Demo.
  • 15 3
 @Bobo-the-Clown: sounds like you're having some bad luck. I've got the feared SX Eagle and it has always worked well and never needs adjustment. I think a lot of people just aren't really great at setting up their drive trains and that leads to constant issues and always having to tweak things. If you get it setup perfect from the start, it'll generally work well until you crash hard enough haha.
  • 2 1
 @endurocat: ...and was a PITA when I tacoed a rim, built a new wheel up, installed it and went "WTF?"

Few memories are as vivid as the pain spent perfectly dishing that wheel and then realizing the rear end on those bikes was asymetrical. Live in learn ...
  • 12 0
 @DylanH93: This is very true. As much as we gripe about the lower end 12 speeds not shifting great, they're honestly pretty good, especially with a good setup from the start and no crazy cable routing corners. If you want worse shifting, definitely make some sharp corners for your cables to go around...

However, one thing that has been overwhelming with all 12 speed drivetrains and that is not exclusive to the low-end models is lower tolerance to "external adjustment." You might say that the 12 speed 'trains are not robust to noise from the real world. They're great pieces of machinery, but the slightest tweak of a hanger or significant mud loading throw the shifting performance out the window, even compared to 11 speed.

I would beg that the industry popularize fewer than 12 speeds for what is now considered a lower-end build ($4000-). Shimano Deore is really stepping in the right direction, and Sram GX (non-bird) was pretty good. Please stop adding more speeds. The range is there, and the shifting performance is good even with 500% and 10 steps, so just go with that. It's possibly the most frustrating thing when your $120 derailleur has the slightest bend SOMEWHERE and you can now only use 4/12 gears.
  • 9 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: Yup. Give me 9 or 10 cogs with the right range. Why on earth peeps need 13 or 14 speed I will never understand.
  • 1 0
 @endurocat: My 1999 Mountain Cycle Shockwave had it too... but that's only because the swingarm was welded so far out of alignment I had to custom dish the wheel. Maybe it was welded after 4:20? Ha ha.
  • 4 8
flag nurseben (May 21, 2020 at 22:32) (Below Threshold)
 @nmilot92: but no one likes Eagle cuz it shifts like crap, SRAM brakes fail all too often, and RS couldn’t design a damper if they wanted too, so yeah, packaged bikes that ride terrible, no thank you.

I’ll take build your own, ala carte, like GG offers on their bikes.
  • 4 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: The valid points you make about lower tolerances to external adjustments on 12 speed makes me wonder if the new Deore 10 speed 11-51 drivetrain might be the way to go if you don't mind having bigger gaps between the gears and a little more weight.

My bike came with XT 11 speed 11-46 and while I love Shimano shifting it's just too finicky for me. Looking forward to downgrading to Deore 10 speed to try it out.
  • 1 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Huh, that's surprising to me. I feel as though I would want the hyperglide+ capabilities that come with 11 speed deore, and that I think are lacking on deore 10 speed. Maybe don't "downgrade" if it costs extra money though. Definitely wait for something to break first.
  • 3 0
 @tgent: It's about the $. SRAM gives it to OEM and charges the shit out of you aftermarket.
  • 1 0
 Right on Mangler! Glad to see you making great videos.
  • 4 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I don't think I'd call my SLX 11-46 finicky so much as clunky. Setup properly I get a perfect shift every time but it's a bit noisy and you can definitely get the odd crunch/bang if you're not gentle with it. I am going to continue to complain that they aren't making 11 speed with hyperglide + as that would have been ideal. Oh and funny enough the shifter mechanism on my SLX 11 speed is worse/clunkier on up shifts than the 10 speed SLX that came on the bike which was butter smooth. Go figure.

I've only ridden a bike with SRAM once and the shifter for me is a no go. Didn't like the ergos and being able to grab 2 shifts on the downshift is a must.
  • 2 0
 @friendlyfoe: But what if the gears had less closely-spaced ratios so that you didn't need to upshift (into a harder gear) two at a time? Just giving you a hard time here—I too think that feature is amazing.
  • 6 2
 I don't get why people are so jazzed about shimano. I've got 200 miles on my xt m8120 brakes and they've already been replaced for code RSCs. The random bite point still is a thing, but I will say they are the best Shimano brakes I've ridden yet. Their levers are also made from 1/16" stamped steel and they bend super easy. You can't get blades so you have to buy a whole lever. After the 2nd one I just bought codes.

My xt 12 speed drivetrain has been good so far, I hope it holds up. I had issues with 11 speed xt chewing the ends of the shift cable and getting sloppy pivots pretty quickly.
  • 5 0
 @UtahBikeMike: Shimano brakes are garbage. I just ordered a frame only bike partly because I already had a fork and partly because having to sell the brakes off a brand new bike would have annoyed me. Ordered some magura mt5, 4 piston for about the same price as 2 piston xt. Heard nothing but good things.

The shift cable getting chewed up has to be a setup thing. Either cut it shorter or put a kink in it if you're concerned. As for sloppy pivots maybe I should have a look lol, but after a season and a half mine still shifts fine.
  • 2 0
 @Gideonbez: i agree with u but my fat fingers accidentally down voted instead of upvoted...sorry.
I have the same situation as you and also prefer sram...absolutley no issues with my sram setups and no constant adjustments needed at all. My shimano equipped bike is fine but i prefer the shifting of the sram models.
  • 3 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: Couldn't agree more. 11 speed sram (xx)1 has been almost maintenance free after being swapped between three bikes. My eagle group has constantly required little adjustments here and there and even when shifting well feels vague.
  • 1 0
 @Bobo-the-Clown: Your hangar is bent, have it checked.
  • 2 0
 @rspen:

I did. It was fine
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe:

There shift cable thing I think was a shift cable routing. I saw another guy with a mk3 nomad like mine doing it and a couple other bikes specifically. Once I went to gx I had no issues
  • 2 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: On top of that, on mid to low end drivetrains the 12th cog adds a significant amount of weight (compare the weights of 11 and 12 speed cassettes). If XC is your thing that shouldn't be overlooked. I agree to prefer a well spaced 11s, Garbaruk's 11s 10-46/48 is very good for XC duties.
  • 1 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: definitely agree with you about those small tolerances. I've got SX Eagle on my FS and microshift advent 1x9 on my hardtail. I like the bigger gear jumps personally, less shifting. But it's so obvious when looking down at both of them, the 12sp is so thin in comparison and all the spacing is tight and delicate. I hope as well that we start going down in total gears but continue the great range of eagle. 1x9 10-51t, man that would be the ticket!
  • 80 3
 So these days 4000$ carbon bike gets you SRAM SX as the drivetrain... F#ck.
  • 36 0
 I can almost remember when $4000 was performance suspension and GX Eagle.
  • 17 5
 Yeah, but's it's a 27 lb $4k bike with SX, which sure seems like a better starting point for some limited upgrades than the 30-33 lb. $4k bikes with SX/NX that other manufacturers are cranking out.
  • 18 1
 Appears even the $9000 version only gets you to an XT cassette, not XTR.
  • 20 0
 @jmd07aa: I mean it's carbon bike aimed at Cross Country so i think that SX doesn't even has a place there. Upgradable components should be on budget friendly bikes not 4000$ bikes
  • 2 2
 @Drew-O: lame for team issue..
  • 6 0
 @jmd07aa: Point me to a carbon 100mm travel bike that isn't sub 30lbs regardless of price.
  • 5 1
 @Drew-O: I wouldn't want the XTR casette...give me the XTR shifter Damnit.
  • 8 0
 Insanity, should be GX at an absolute MINIMUM. I get their R&D for the frame is probably crazy but that's still a ridiculously bad spec on a $4k bike. The SE 1 seems at least appropriately priced per spec.
  • 4 1
 @kellyro8: The main issue I see when is a bike has an SX or NX cassette (at this price point) is that there is little room for an upgrade before you have to worry about a new driver body. In a sense this all boils down to new standards, but if companies are coming out with these standards they should be on these bikes. Specing a Deore, SLX, or GX cassette leaves more room for upgrade and most definitely should be seen at this price point. The SX and NX cassettes have their place and it is great that there are affordable bikes that come with 12-speed groupsets but a $4,000 build is not the place.
  • 1 1
 @Drew-O: and no dropper
  • 1 1
 It's got a 65 degree head tube brah.
  • 3 1
 Yeah, that's unacceptable to me. Acting like this is a $800-1,000 bike.
  • 2 1
 @Drew-O: For even more money (CAD $13,500) you can get the Scalpel-Si Hi Mod World Cup or Scalpel-Si World Cup for (CAD $13,400). For this kind of money, you may think this bike is for the dentist, but maybe this "SCALPEL" might be best suited for surgeons...

www.cannondale.com/en-ca/bikes/mountain/cross-country#sort=%40msrp%20descending
  • 1 0
 All they care about is that the bike gets paid for, out of the door, and then into the owner's garage for eternity.
  • 72 9
 Can i pay extra for the rest of the chainstays?
  • 19 4
 Those worry me too, and led me to just look up Cannondale's warranty, and I think after reading it I wouldn't buy this bike. Here it is for reference. Frame warranty: lifetime HOWEVER Swing Arms, Chainstays, Seatstays, and Shock Links of Full Suspension Frames: Five years from original retail purchase. Lol so lifetime warranty on the front triangle only...
  • 14 0
 Let's see it in the huck-to-flat test!
  • 6 0
 @tgent: that’s actually very common. Trek only changed theirs to include rear swings in 2019 and had walked away from covering them in 2012. Whole industry waffles on warranty based off of what the other is doing but all of them will handle it the same. Warranty doesn’t mean you get a free bike when you hand off your beer and say watch this. Casing a jump and shearing a head tube isn’t warranty in anyone’s handbook.
  • 4 0
 @usedbikestuff: it is for any carbon bike/component from giant inside the first 2 years. Technically, it’s their “composite confidence” program and not called a warranty as such, but naming aside, it’s a nice extra layer. There is some fine print, but basically, any damage done while riding is covered (so far, includes: getting whacked with a car, smashing into a guardrail, chipping carbon on the road, and chipping carbon in a rock garden have been fully covered that seen). Their traditional warranty is comprehensive, and their crash replacement cost for older stuff is very generous. Companies like Enve now have lifetime crash replacements. Trek is doing some 2 year no questions asked replacement stuff on their wheels too. I hope that becomes the norm!

There’s a few good companies out there if you’re looking for a good warranty - and if you’re buying new, it’s definitely something to consider. Specialized, for instance, is pretty bad about helping out if you crash your bike IME. I saw a guy with a week old venge crack it in its first race and they offered him 20% off MSRP for a frame. It was still gonna be $4500 with that, so he took it as a loss and got a propel frame instead.

Relevant to this article, I processed a charge fatbike frame with cannondale (broke at the chain stay), they didn’t have any left - and instead sent out a complete fat caad with a carbon fork, better drivetrain and brakes within a few days. The customer was riding by that weekend.
  • 5 1
 At 2:23 you can see the flex pivot is very wide, so it has just as much tubing as any other stay, only flattened out so it can flex the right way. I put thousands of kms on flexstays on both a Spark and Spark RC without a single problem. And I'm the same person that cracked 6 Giant Anthems, which didn't have flex stays. So, I'd buy this bike without a worry. And as Daniel says and the video shows from 2:00, there is very little movement at that point. I was amazed how little movement there is - you need a straightedge to even see it. And note that the 'neutral' point of the flex will most likely be at the sag point, not the unweighted point, which means most of the time it isn't flexing at all. And it isn't aluminum, it's carbon.
  • 1 0
 @kpickrell: Not sure about them flexstays though? If they did, we might see it be cannonballed...
  • 1 0
 @tgent: Don't matter. Bikes are obsolete in less than 2 years. Zero warranty on obsolescence.
  • 1 1
 @usedbikestuff: aaaaand that’s why I own a Santa Cruz, full lifetime warranty on everything including bearings. Just because the industry isn’t doing it doesn’t mean you as a consumer should accept it. Vote with your wallet, if a brand is selling a Bunch of bikes because they have a good warranty and customer support others will follow suit.

We’re already seeing this in the carbon wheel segment of the market. Lots of brands switching to lifetime warranties because the brands that have them are killing it.
  • 1 1
 you get to pay extra when they break
  • 2 4
 I wouldn't worry, Cannondale isn't likely to still be in business in 5 years from now anyway.
  • 1 1
 @tgent: there is nothing in life where you can break it and just get a new version for life. They are limited lifetime warranty which isn’t the same thing. Direct from scb’s site:

The warranty for damage arising from accidents, crashes and other impacts is limited to offered replacement at a reduced charge as set forth above. Any implied warranties (including without limitation the warranties of merchantability and fitness for particular purpose) which may not be disclaimed under applicable law are limited in duration to the period set forth above or the applicable statute of limitations, whichever is shorter.
  • 2 0
 @usedbikestuff: giant just sent me a warranty triangle 6 years later. I kind of feel like even if it was 10 years down the road they would have done something for me.
  • 1 0
 @friendlyfoe: I’ve definitely heard of people getting stuff when they shouldn’t. ESP if it is the old stuff still hanging around the warehouse. Doesn’t mean you were entitled to it and that’s what a lot of people don’t understand about warranty.

People seem to think bike manufacturers are paying their insurance policy on bikes. If you crash or break anything else in life it’s your insurance that makes you whole and you pay for that
  • 1 0
 @usedbikestuff: You're missing the point of a warranty. I'm not saying a warranty is valid if you crash the shit out of your bike and it breaks. A warranty is valid if you're riding it under normal use and it breaks. A component such as a flex stay that moves by design is much more likely to break than something like a bearing. I would want Canondale to cover that under warranty if it breaks and they don't...

I have no idea what point you're making.
  • 1 1
 Remember people that 'Lifetime warranty' is the lifetime of the component, not the lifetime of the purchaser. If Cannondale put a warranty of five years on chainstays, then five years is the lifetime of the chainstay. If it breaks under normal use they will replace it. If it breaks under normal use in six years, they don't have to (they might, if they have a bunch of old swingarms hanging around, as mentioned above). Five years is plenty of time for the product to fail if there is a manufacturing fault. My Anthems all cracked within 8 months, some a lot less than that. That means there was a design or manufacturing fault (in this case design, because they always cracked at one or both of two places). I can't think of an MTB product that is more likely to fail over time (i.e. sitting in the garage unused) than with use. Five years is a good innings for an MTB if you ride it say, five hours a week.
  • 41 5
 looks like an old stumpjumper
  • 36 2
 That Scalpel SE has a lefty combined with a righty. Looks like Cannondale might me on to something there.
  • 17 0
 yeah, its the new bothy. cant wait to here more.
  • 28 0
 Looking forward to the Huck to Flat Video of this.
  • 7 8
 They won’t it’ll just explode
  • 3 2
 That thin rear triangle.........
  • 4 5
 @fedfox: target market is the weight conscious but I think a 200 gram penalty would be worth the increase performance and durability of a regular Horst link.
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: I have a 2018 scalpel si, and I can agree that the beefier Horst link is pretty durable, and have had no problems with it
  • 7 0
 GMBN has a video up with a clip of the 50:01 guys hucking the swingarm to flat on a Habit
  • 9 0
 @kingbike2: specialized ditched the pivots on the epic because they didn't even really rotate. Y'all are freaking out about nothing, flex pivots aren't unreliable.
  • 1 0
 @clink83: I think most will agree, it’s just Cannondale’s flexing carbon making them nervous
  • 24 3
 Looks sharp. I do miss seeing a Lefty on recent Cannondales though.
  • 4 13
flag NotSorry (May 21, 2020 at 6:23) (Below Threshold)
 Insanely disappointing isn't it?
  • 5 0
 @NotSorry @sngltrkmnd considering the Lefty Ocho only comes in 100mm, it would be hard to test ride it on the Scalpel SE which is designed for 120mm. All of the Scalpels come spec'd with the Lefty still!
  • 12 3
 so IMHO the lefty, structurally, is superior to traditional forks. Its inverted. Its DC. Its weight competitive. The main issue was damping performance and QC. If they get those sorted out (they seem to on the ocho) then they could make killer AM/Enduro leftys. Whether they would sell or not is a different story.
  • 10 0
 @hamncheez: the Lefty’s biggest asset was roller bearings instead of bushings.

Its biggest failure was needing specific hubs and head tubes.

If they could get those roller bearings into a traditional two legged fork, now thatd be interesting. #modernMoto
  • 5 2
 @PHeller: I think the ocho uses standard headset hardware. The Lefty could also easily be changed to use a traditional 15x110 hub without any performance hit.

The biggest failure was that the lefty didn't sell. It was too polarizing.

The difficulty with a single sided design is fitting the damper and air spring on the same side and still having access to the internal compression/rebound adjustments. I want the Lefty to return. It looks so cool to me.
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: have you seen that single-sided normal hub design that Adroit was proposing on it's "linkage Lefty" variant? Some pretty neat engineering happening there. I think if Cannondale could produce a Lefty that could be sold aftermarket without the need for new wheels or new headsets or new head tube designs, it'd do better. The Ocho has struggled because hardly anyone is buying 100mm forks, and if they do, they want to use wheels they've already got, so Fox 32SC and SID win that battle. A revived 170mm 29er Supermax, incorporating the Ocho's technical improvements, no special parts required, with performance of a 38 and the weight of a Pike would be so rad.

You're right though, the challenge of cramming everything into a single tube and expecting big stanchion long travel performance is one that require a lot of innovation.
  • 18 0
 That's a clean looking bike. The SE work well as an East Coast trail bike.
  • 1 0
 What, pray tell, is an EAST COAST TRAIL!
  • 2 5
 Cannondale: proprietary rubbish on any coast.
  • 2 0
 Cannondale: get vintage 2012 geometry today and pay handsomely for it!
  • 1 0
 @Kylnman: Guessing he means lots and lots of roots and rocks and no sustained climbs or descents. Up down up down up down.
  • 13 3
 I feel like CDale has been all over the place lately. With the introduction of the Habit (an amazing bike, BTW) they had no unified industrial design or suspension philosophy. I feel like this new scalpel is a move in the right direction. Its Horst link(ish) like the Habit, and has similiar looks. Now they need an enduro habit or something to unify the line (the Jekyll isn't my favorite bike).

Also, IMHO, a multi tool without a chain breaker is pretty much worthless.
  • 12 0
 I largely agree about the multi tool but it does seem for this one they’re going for more of a “save your race” XC type tool. Plug a hole, CO2, keep going kinda thing. If you break your chain in a race you’re pretty f*cked chain breaker or no.
  • 4 0
 @BamaBiscuits: Unless you're middle name is Holmes.
  • 2 1
 This is a good looking bike. Their parent company has had an open job req posted for an industrial design manager up for several months. Lists QuarkXPress as a required skill, hmmmm.
  • 14 5
 Cannondale has always been one of my favorite brands. Never owned a bike from them but would love to one day, maybe a jekyll or trigger. Just love how they do things their own way, even if it doesn't always work out. Such a cool brand in general!
  • 8 0
 Good to see the real scalpel is back with the flexing chain stays. I've had the 2003 and still ride the 2008 version with these. They're waaaaayyyy more durable than any bearing pivot. I'm over 250 lb and I've ridden that bike at Moab, around Australia and all around my home trails around Ottawa. The suspension just works perfectly. So at least I can now buy a new scalpel with 29: wheels.
Maybe Cannondale can hurry up and bring back the longer travel Lefty's for the SE, No bushings in my forks ever!
  • 2 1
 @bencoinc weird I remember them having a very high failure rate and they all seemed to snap in the same place right behind the bb.
  • 1 0
 I don't think I've ever seen someone from my town in the pinkbike comments, the SE is a perfect GP bike. And great for XC side of Fortune
  • 10 0
 thats light.
  • 2 6
flag JohanG (May 21, 2020 at 7:33) (Below Threshold)
 "1900g for frame and shock" is suspicious. Maybe for the XS. The weight numbers suggest its more like 2300g for a size Large.
  • 1 1
 @JohanG: it should be 1900. My 2016 XL Oiz was 2000ish with a BB. Probably a heavy build.
  • 2 0
 @clink83: I'm not stating anything dogmatically; but my spidey sense is tingling.
  • 6 0
 It looks a lot like some Stumpjiumpers but has a real rear damper instead of the stupid brain shock. Cannondale put the rear swingarm on the Habit and let their wrecking crew try to kill it. No breakage!
  • 6 2
 A YT Izzo vs this seems like an interesting comparison. While the Izzo May have 10mm more front and rear they both seems to have similar design philosophies. Bikes that are meant for trail riding and lean towards the more XC side than Enduro.
  • 3 0
 Lol wut? The scalpel is a middle of the road 100/120mm race bike.
  • 4 0
 Put this Scalpel up against a Rocky Element if you want to see how it compares to an XCish sled with steep/rough capability.
  • 9 1
 Looks pretty exciting
  • 7 1
 First time I've wanted a Cannondale in FOREVERTY! Compare it to the new Hei Hei please...battle of the flexstays!
  • 5 0
 Minimally janky, way to go Cannondale. Most every part can be replaced with off-the-shelf components, excluding crankset. This is what we WANT!
  • 7 1
 looks pretty badass if I do say so myself
  • 5 1
 These are sick! Been toying with the idea of putting an XC bike into the quiver when I don't need 170mm Enduro for local trails. The SE seems like a cool option...
  • 5 0
 Relatively low anti squat levels for a climbing bike.
Does anyone know if this is usual for short travel XC frame's?
  • 6 3
 Yes. Very common. You want the suspension to remain active under pedalling forces because on a XC bike your expected to be pedalling most of the time. Provides more comfort and traction on climbs. More reliance on the damper and lock-out switches.
  • 1 0
 Not so much. Most XC bikes these says are linkage driven single pivots with lots of antisquat. I think the low levels of AS, which is probably why specialized moved away from it in the epic.
  • 1 0
 Er sorry the low levels of AS are common with host links
  • 7 0
 SE 1 build is killer!
  • 4 0
 Love that grey color. The bike looks good. Waiting for the new enduro bike,that same color and the hidden shock could made a beautiful looking bike.
  • 6 0
 That chainstay is really as thin as a Scalpel.
  • 6 0
 1900 gram frame weight is very good.
  • 4 0
 I think this is for the full-on race Himod frame, probably not the bike in this article!
  • 4 0
 @sevn: Yeah, I agree, it is just like many companies. Their light race bike frame is more expensive then the main production bike. It is still very good that they have a frame to get that light.
  • 2 0
 The cannondale website states the Scapel SE1 is specced with the RockShox SID Ultimate NOT the SID Select+ RL fork as stated in the article. That means that the fork has 35 mm stanchions instead of 32. Might make a difference.

www.cannondale.com/en-us/bikes/mountain/trail-bikes/scalpel-se/scalpel-carbon-se-1
  • 2 0
 Good catch. But it is confusing, in the Highlights there is a different fork than in the Spec sheet...
  • 1 0
 @sevn: Yeah I see that. Not sure which fork is actually on there.
  • 7 3
 I just want to know when cannondale will start selling those beautiful chainrings for other cranksets.
  • 4 1
 They have an offset not very used by other bikes. It is more like a fat bike setup. The chain line is quite good,never ever drop a chain. Another thing it made last a little more all the components to my own experience. They are expensive too. The look is quite unique, I like it a lot.
  • 6 0
 Good look Cannondale
  • 5 0
 nice clean look good idea to save space - shock mount, tool box love it
  • 6 0
 ESI grips? Give me two.
  • 1 0
 Looks great! Curious the ride it and compare rear suspension to previous iteration, the previous was definitely a bit wobbly under pedaling. So the frame is the exact same for Scalpel and Scalpel SE, and you get 120mm of travel with a different shock stroke @Cannondale ?
  • 5 0
 Best looking dale Ive seen for a while!
  • 1 0
 In 2013 I bought my first mountain bike, a Cannondale F29 with the Lefty. I raced that bike in XC for several years before moving to AZ where it was really inadequate. Even though the damper kind of sucked in that generation I think I will always want a Lefty.
  • 3 0
 FOLKS - your current ENVE's, Weareones etc... likely will not work in the rear. You are stuck with the Hollowgram Crank. Great Bike but a deal stopper for me.
  • 2 0
 You just have to dish out the rear wheel. Although not an at-home job if you don't own a truing stand and dish tool. Pretty quick job if you have access to a shop though. But yeah, one of the reasons I didn't get a Jekyll.
  • 1 1
 Ask your wheel builder buddies how dishing a wheel 6 mm makes them feel. If you have asymmetric / offset rims it really complicates it. @swenzowski:
  • 1 0
 @dldewar: yeah not going to be fun, but it's not impossible. And the spokes should reach. Might have some warranty issues with wheel manufacturer though I never considered that.
  • 1 0
 As a previous owner of a Scalpel with a lefty fork, thank goodness that is a thing of the past. Sooooo unreliable. Also, is the chain stay designed to flex? The Scalpel I owned relied on this flex for rear suspension, while it cut down on weight because there was no rear shock, the continual flex in the carbon led to eventual failure requiring a new frame. I hope Cannondale haven't gone back to this.
  • 1 0
 We need pics of different frame sizes! I don't know how many times I've been excited by a new bike design, see it in XL, and it looks super naff. Frame size dicrimination is real!

The fixing point for the shock/yoke at least looks better now. The previous gen had this plumber-ish slab of metal dangling from the top tube.
  • 16 12
 First non hideous bike they have made
  • 4 0
 455mm reach on a Large? Is this normal for modern XC geo?
  • 3 0
 They were too conservative for sure. Even if you take a 60mm stem into account.
  • 2 0
 The spark is 456 so its pretty standard. It's an XC bike not an enduro bike.
  • 1 0
 Why not size up to an XL if you want a larger reach?
  • 10 6
 Someone’s been rummaging in Specialized’s bin.
  • 2 0
 The SE would definitely be nice for my local trails.... A 120mm Lefty would be nice on it, but that would drive up the price and make for more headaches later on...
  • 2 0
 I’m interested in what kind of lifespan the flex point has. Or if there is any sort of noticeable degrade in performance over time.
  • 2 1
 Is the actual (not effective) STA slacker than the head angle or is it just an optical illusion from the photos?

Good luck to tall folks with their weight behind the rear wheel when seated pedalling.
  • 1 0
 The STA is 74mm which is actually slacker than the XC version that has 74.5mm. One thing that sucked on the old SE, and one thing they didn't change becuse that would mean having a different frame than the XC version.
  • 2 0
 @swenzowski: That's the effective seat tube angle (a measurement between the bottom bracket and the middle of the saddle at some specified height.) the actual angle of the tube the seat goes into is way more leaned back than 74 degrees and, visually, looks slacker than the head angle. This means if you are tall and have the saddle extended further your effective seat tube angle gets slacker.
  • 2 0
 @Patrick9-32: yep, I misread your comment my bad. My Intense Carbine is like that too is sucks. I was so focused on my quarrel I brought my own inferences unrelated to your comment lol. As a 6ft dude with a 35" inseam I struggle with this issue
  • 2 0
 @swenzowski: No worries man. I feel the rearward seat, saddle slid right forward on the rails, closed body position pain.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike, since when bumping up longer shock is leaning head and seat angle? u mean forks, right?

And those wheelbase numbers, im 190cm and wouldnt ride anything under 120-121cm wheelbase,
  • 1 1
 Cannondale is still going with long-offset forks, years after everyone else figured out that short offset is the way to go. Now they're all the way down to 68° head tube and the steering trail figure is still only 90 mm. This bike makes an Epic Hardtail look aggressive.
  • 4 0
 This vs Oiz please!
  • 3 4
 Get the OizSmile
  • 3 0
 checkers r wreckers.....my new go to quote on the trail.
  • 3 0
 Looks like a Stumpjumper with weird chainstays?
  • 6 3
 Send it to Hambini for BB alignment check :>
  • 2 0
 At that frame weight these are XC / trail bikes.
Easy to build up a 25 pound or less bike these would be a blast to ride.
  • 3 0
 The only cannondale I would consider owning.
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike: "We'd like to use this bike in our next series of Huck-to-Flat tests" Cannondale: "Uhhmm.."
  • 2 0
 There's a very thin line between envelope-pushing frame design and future warranty claims.
  • 2 0
 Almost worth firing up the mtbr forum to watch them roll in
  • 1 0
 It s a good looking bike and the frame is pretty light, I m wondering if it’s sturdy enough.. I m not an expert but the bearings don’t look so big.
  • 1 0
 Hold the sales spiel! "Its got a conventional air shock and upper and lower linkages, and some flex "designed" into the rear triangle."
  • 2 0
 Very similar geometry to my Kona Process 111. XC bikes have come along way recently.
  • 3 0
 Why the tiny logo?
  • 3 0
 I think it looks super classy (to the point that logos can be classy)
  • 4 2
 Was hoping for a new Jekyll
  • 3 0
 Simple Awesome!
  • 2 1
 $4k for a bike with SX?? That is so absurdly overpriced, even for Cannondale.
  • 2 0
 XC meets downcountry?....sounds like a new bike category is needed
  • 1 0
 TeXC
  • 1 0
 Is 1910g the weight for the SE or just the Hi-MOD?

If it's Hi-MOD, whats the frame weight for the SE?
  • 1 0
 Got an answer, SE is 270g more than Hi-Mod
  • 2 0
 this is the first bike that would make me consider buying a cannondale
  • 2 0
 Looks like a sessio... epic.
  • 1 0
 Spotted Daniel riding this bike last week in DuPont, it made quick work of the Hickory Mountain climb and descent.
  • 1 3
 If you want riders to get excited, to generate excitement of this bike, don't make it a depressing rainy day grey color. At least it's glossy shiny paint. But that's it. Where are the bright blues, the bright greens, maybe an aqua, and bright yellows to awaken the rider. And spirit? And be sure to tell us you're ashamed of your product by placing your name on it in tiny tiny letters. Keeping things quiet. As they should be on this bike. You're trying to sell us. WHO called these shots? Is anybody awake? Making decisions, the important ones that can make or break a bike, a brand, those all important sales? Did someone mention pricing it out of the market? Yes, no one will see you coming. No one will want to. Remember the good old days when Cannondale owned their marque and it didn't conglomerate under an umbrella of a host of other brands. By the same owner who bought Brazil's Caloi. Is it made down there, too? Caloi used to have some mighty fine bikes in the 1990s when the Caloi family owned the brand and factory.
  • 2 1
 im glad they brought their forks back, be a shame if they LEFTy them out.
  • 3 3
 Did notice on some of these that they forgot to put the leg on one side of the fork.
  • 1 0
 YoU cAn'T cLaMp ThE dRoPper PoSt ShAfT *insert spongebob meme here*
  • 2 1
 430mm reach on a medium? What is this, a bike for ants?
  • 2 0
 This looks.... fragile!
  • 2 1
 Jeffsy and Stumpjumper had a child
  • 2 0
 Looks great
  • 2 1
 I feel dirty ever time I see a Lefty fork... I love it.
  • 2 3
 too bad about that Ai offset. could have been a contender. [Crosses cannondale off list]
  • 2 5
 Am i the only one who isn't excited for this bike? There are lots of bikes who do the trail, xc, marathon thing much better. Outdated and it just came out. Give me a Top Fuel, Sniper or Spark any day.
  • 1 0
 Just curious in what way you prefer the Sniper? I get that Intense updated the linkage for 2020 so I wouldn't mind trying it.

Although, my one issue with both the Sniper and the Scalpel SE is that both frames are the same as the XC 100mm counterparts. If they designed the frame to work with 100mm of travel, I would expect that performance would suffer when slapping on 120mm suspension with no change to frame geometry. That was a major downside to the previous SE, and most of the reviews mentioned that the extra travel slackened the ST angle, which is also true of the new SE and Sniper T.

I could be wrong about the Sniper T now that I think about it, and Intense may have used a different link than is used on the Sniper XC.
  • 1 1
 That chainstay looks like a disaster waiting to happen.
  • 2 2
 Who makes a bike that short in 2020?
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Horst Link!
  • 1 2
 The Cannondale Time Machine Takes you back to 2015
  • 2 3
 cannonlized


^^*)
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