With a history spanning over a decade long of racing at the highest level of the sport, the Cannondale Scalpel has earned its place as one of the most successful full suspension race bikes in the world. Having originally set the bar for superlight full suspension race bikes, the early versions of the Scalpel featured a short-travel design that aimed to provide more comfort than a comparable hardtail, without a huge weight penalty. Today, mountain bikers are still faced with the same dilemma when it comes to choosing between a hardtail and a full suspension bike. But the answer remains the same. If you’re only riding on smooth trails and you want the lightest option possible, then go for a hardtail like the Cannondale F-Si. Need something that’s more capable of riding rougher trails and longer races? Then the short-travel Scalpel F-Si offers more traction, more comfort and more stability than its hardtail sibling.
As one of the most recognised names in the mountain bike world, the new Scalpel certainly has a big reputation to live up to. For 2017, Cannondale redesigned the Scalpel frame and fork, which is now called the Scalpel F-Si. The main priority for the new bike was to increase its capability on modern XC racecourses, which are getting rougher and more technical than ever before. As such, the new Scalpel F-Si is slacker in its head angle, and is also longer in the top tube to help increase stability when the trail points down. It features 100mm of suspension travel front and rear, with the iconic Lefty fork up front keeping things light and stiff. Cannondale has retained the Scalpel’s intuitive handling by keeping the rear chain stay length nice and short, and making the new frame stiffer laterally compared to the previous model. Large tubes and oversized junctions at the head tube and bottom bracket ensure that the Scalpel F-Si is nice and taut from front to back, making for a snappy and responsive ride.
You can get the Scalpel F-Si in both alloy and carbon versions, though each Scalpel model is built with the same geometry and 100mm travel Lefty fork up front. The top-end Black Inc model features a no-compromise build kit with ENVE carbon rims, Chris King hubs and Shimano Di2 shifting.