CANNONDALE SCALPEL SI
Cannondale built the Scalpel Si with the explicit goal of giving riders a tool that could confidently negotiate the steepest, rockiest and gnarliest terrain, but still be light enough to be competitive on the climbs. And of course, it also needed to carry two water bottles in its main frame – something the Specialized Epic and Pyga Stage also achieve.
Cannondale’s interpretation of ‘new generation’ is what they call ‘OutFront Steering Geometry’, which pairs a 69.5° head angle with a lengthened 55mm fork offset. The Scalpel Si’s front centre was also lengthened, further improving stability. Compared to the previous Scalpel, chainstays were sliced and diced to 435mm, complementing front- end agility.
Our testers’ summary of the Scalpel was that it’s a versatile package that could navigate the test terrain with speed, balance and precision.
Chris described his experience as “expecting an aggressive ride, from its appearance, but feeling relaxed and comfortable when riding it – a great all- rounder”.
Unique to Cannondale, the carbon Lefty 2.0 offers superb rigidity and locks out completely, with James mentioning this as the highlight of his time on the Scalpel. Paired with a RockShox XX rear shock, the Lefty balances the marathon racer’s need for energysaving efficiency versus bodysaving and confidence- inspiring plushness over long days in the saddle.
The Scalpel 3 we tested was a 2017 model, and the only bike with Shimano brakes and drivetrain – a break from SRAM domination. The 2018 Scalpel 3 will offer the same spec, so expect similar pricing and performance.
With regard to Shimano versus SRAM, testers felt the Scalpel’s 11-46T cassette was a bit limited compared to the Eagle’s 12-speed 10- 50T; but in terms of actual shifting performance, it comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. If you love Shimano and 1x and are looking for more gears, there are a host of aftermarket ‘ wide- range’ cassettes (such as SunRace’s 11- 50T 11-speed cassette) that will solve this challenge. And the braking performance by the XT brakeset was most certainly up to scratch, so no compromise there.
All in all, the Scalpel’s a bona fide racer, and certainly capable aiding you in achieving your best.