Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 2 Mountain Bike

Expert Review

Cannondale calls the Scalpel the most refined full-suspension cross-country bike on earth. With years of on-the-trail refinement and pro circuit victories behind it, it’s hard to argue with that. Cannondale designs their frames around components to glean the very best balance of weight and stiffness as a complete system, which rewards riders with a bike as lively as it is aggressive. Target a summit and the bike jets up like an eagle in flight or point it downhill and push it hard through the sketchiest lines and marvel as it doesn’t flinch once. The tight frame and short wheelbase slices and dices tight turns and singletrack just like its scalpel namesake.

Zero-pivot seatstays are employed to increase the suspension’s performance, with a ride feel boosted to even higher levels of delight from the 29er race-inspired geometry and perks like a reversible head tube spacer for hard-charging race handling or a more relaxed trail ride. A SRAM XO1 drivetrain highlights the Scalpel’s component package, joined by the Lefty 100mm fork, RockShox Monarch for 4 inches of rear cushioning, and Schwalbe racing tires. This is one of the lightest and performance-honed full-sus XC bikes out there, built for pushing the limits. An alloy version is available, as well as the dreamy (and pricier) top end Carbon Black Inc.Rating: 5/5

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