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Cannondale blends cross-country speed with 100 millimeters of front and rear travel on its speedy Scalpel-SI Carbon. It’s an ideal pick for XC racing or for tackling steep ups and downs of mountainous terrain. Riders who like to climb just as much as they like to descend will love the Scalpel’s quick steering and responsive pedaling platform.
While it excels on steep, technical climbs, the Scalpel also has an updated 69.5-degree head tube angle that improves high-speed steering and stability on descents. A tight 75-millimeter trail measurement makes it ideal for threading the needle on tight singletrack.
The long 1,113-millimeter wheelbase provides confidence when pointed downhill while short 425-millimeter chainstays make for a snappy ride that is easy to flick between ruts and roots. We loved the Scalpel’s zippy ride for a stint on the rocky Colorado Trail just as much as a quick spin on the mellow trails closer to home.
Don’t be fooled by the relaxed XC geometry, however, the Scalpel is still a cross country bike a heart and needs a little extra coaxing with rocky and technical trails. With 100-millimeters of travel front and rear, you can’t rip down tricky descents with the same ease and speed as a trail bike with slacker geometry and bigger travel.
The PF30 bottom bracket lends stiffness to the platform for improved pedaling efficiency when charging up climbs. The Women’s 2 model weighs a svelte 25.06 pounds (size medium) for an XT build with Stan’s ZRT Rapid 25 wheels. Swap out a few components for lighter options and you’re entering the promise land of XC bikes: light, nimble, and confident on moderately technical terrain.
Component Highlights: Shimano XT drivetrain with Cannondale Si 36/26 crankset and XT 11-40 cassette; Shimano XT M8000 hydraulic disc brakes; RockShox Monarch RL 100mm shock; Lefty 2.0 fork with 100mm of travel; Stans ZTR Rapid 25 wheels