Cannondale’s top of the heap XC Scalpel Team edition gets dirty. Doubt everything about the bike from the funky fork to a rear end missing at least two joints, but like everything else, a ride tells the story.
Cannondale is “that other American brand”. Frankly they’ve always done a better job designing and building bikes than they have at marketing them. That’s a bold statement coming from a goober like me, especially when you consider that, along with prototype testing or R&D, a company’s marketing guys usually run the media show…
But please understand that I don’t mean it as a swipe at Cannondale. Frankly, if a few companies engineers (the ones that actually have engineers that is…) spent more time in original thought focused on what works better, rather than in playing catch up to a marketing departments ideas about what sells, well, they would be Cannondale. Some of the best examples of that have consistently been in their development on the Mountain side, and the Scalpel Team is no exception.
The easiest thing to note here, and the first thing every casual passer-by notices is the Lefty fork. It’s been in the product range long enough that nobody (with any brains) is calling it a fashion fork (especially guys trying to design something competitive). The latest version on the Scalpel, the Lefty Speed Carbon SL is a relatively close cousin the Max Carbon (tested by Mtbr site manger Gregg on the Rize) and represent the best of the bunch and offer fantastic performance.