Out back is a little different but still very good.
This isn’t an all mountain rear end. The Zero Pivot design sits where Cannondale want it to sit. Some place between a super plush linkage design and razor / hard tail precision.
To do that, you’re not going to get a silk pillow, but the 100mm of travel and the rear design soak up far more than you think they should given the tracking and control.
The Scalpel’s back end stays very well connected to the ground and the RP23 gets a full work out. The combination of control and bump soaking is really impressive. Once you go Tubeless, get your shock preload pressure right and add in the fine tuning selection that the Fox’s ProPedal gives you, you’ll have a ride than handles like a hard tail except the bumps go away…
The only XC condition where tossing in linkage would be a bit of a benefit and would be in fast and continual choppy sections where quicker smoother action under heavy, rapid fire compression and rebound becomes a little more critical due to a bit more limited travel of an XC bike. Frankly that same condition pummels other XC suspension designs where I am and just plain wigged out another companies compubrained unit. But I mention it to those that heard me talk about all mountain.
I’m happy to sacrifice the bit of extra smoothness for the overall better control and tracking that comes with the Zero Pivot design. Even then, it’s only because I’m asking an XC bike to do more than it reasonably should. If XC is your focus, you really loose nothing in the Zero Pivot system and simply gain tracking.
That the rear isn’t as incredible as the front is a compliment to the front not an insult to the back…
The Frame itself is solid. Full high Mod Carbon Fiber sits under the stock paint job.