2017 Cannondale Scalpel Si 100mm XC race bike

A better climber and descender to win World Cup XC races

27.5 29er Cross Country
Mtbr riding the Scalpel.

Mtbr riding the Scalpel (click to enlarge).

Cannondale’s core strength

XC race bikes are Cannondale’s forte. They sell more Scalpels than any other model in their line-up. In German laboratory tests, they lead the class in weight and stiffness tests. But in this newest iteration, they spiced it up a little bit as they designed a bike that could go very fast in technical downhills as well. World Cup XC courses demand it and riding styles are changing to a more aggressive and fun descending style.

World Cup races don’t look like the old XC courses.

World Cup races don’t look like the old XC courses (click to enlarge).

Core to the updates are a 2 degree slacker head angle at 69.5 coupled with an increased fork offset of 55mm. Top tube has been increased 10mm and the chain stays shortened to 435mm. What it delivers is a new bike that handles rocky, rooty descents with confidence. The front end goes up and over obstacles that used to be momentum killers or endo-inducing encounters. The rear end coupled with this front delivers quick handling with excellent climbing traction.

Technical downhills are the target of the redesign.

Technical downhills are the target of the redesign (click to enlarge).

The Scalpel is still a 29er with 100mm of front and rear travel. There’s 8 men’s model and 2 women’s hinting at this bike’s importance to the Cannondale brand. All men’s bikes use the 29er wheel size except for the Small which uses 27.5. All women’s sizes use the 27.5 wheel size to ensure optimal fit. All models which use the 29er wheel size now accommodate two water bottles in the frame’s front triangle.

Scalpel is a 29er but smaller sizes use a 27.5 wheel.

Scalpel is a 29er but smaller sizes use a 27.5 wheel.

“Over the last few years, cross-country courses have been changing. The climbs are getting steeper and the descents are getting nastier. There’s no room for error and to win at this game, you need more than just light and stiff,you need capable and stable handling Scalpel-Si is literally built for the world stage,” said Scott Rittschof, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing.

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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • joe says:

    Not exactly the exotic frame that old Scalpel used to be, but looks like it can accommodate 2 bottle cages. Nice if expensive package (pricing for some of new bikes is just nuts).

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      It can accommodate two water bottle cages indeed, except the Small size. The rear shock was mounted in the top tube to do this.

  • bill cooper says:

    Looks like it can eat up just about any course they can throw at it! Looking forward to the first head to head test on that beast!

  • daniel says:

    2016 Scott Spark 29er Premium frame with shock, hardware etc 1900g
    2016 Scott Genius Lt tuned frame with shock, hardware etc 2450g. And this is a 170mm travel enduro frame.

    Lightest in class would have to go to the Scott Spark

  • Daniel says:

    I might be true, but limited riders weight can explain something…SCOTT max 100kg, CANNONDALE max 136 kg !!! I vote Cannondale

  • Poul says:

    Any recommendation for dropper post and front tire?

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