Cannondale’s lightning-fast XC race machine takes another leap forward.



Cannondale’s longstanding XC platform, the Scalpel, was last updated in 2021 and in the intervening years race courses, especially at the World Cup level, have become burlier and more demanding. To keep up with the trends, the newest Cannondale Scalpel gets a bump in travel to 120mm front and rear, and tweaks to the geometry while retaining the simple, but effective Flex-Pivot 4-bar rear suspension design.



Cannondale decided to keep things light and simple for the newest Scalpel. Of course, the new bike is Carbon Fiber, with travel at both ends jumping to a thoroughly modern 120mm (up from the previous models 100mm.) Paired with that, the Scalpel sees head and seat angles come more in line with the current crop of XC bikes. Head angles drop to a respectable and on-trend 66.6 degrees while seat angles steepen to 75 degrees. Reach grows across the board as well with a modest 10mm increase at the smallest size to a 40mm increase on the XL model. Paired with stack numbers that stay similar to the outgoing frame, this should help accommodate more rider’s sizing needs across the 4 frame size range (Sm, Med, Lg, X-Lg.)

Gone is the asymmetric rear triangle in favor of (now) normal Boost 148 spacing. Gone too are press-fit bottom brackets with the new frame seeing threaded BSA fitment and a 55mm chainline. Frames are all SRAM T-type compatible via the UDH “standard” that is quickly becoming the norm.

The new Scalpel offers no in-frame storage but is compatible with the brand’s Stash line of tools and accessories. This helps keep weight to a minimum, and let’s face it: when you’re breathing out of your eyeballs during an XC event, the last thing you need is the complication of rooting through a frame compartment looking for repair items.

All frame sizes accommodate 2 water bottles in the main triangle, something Cannondale was an early adopter of on full-suspension bikes. Following another trend, the Scalpel has adopted Thru-the-Headset routing for all control lines (for better or worse) and all frames are dropper post compatible with internal routing. Tire clearance is ample with 2.4” tires being standard spec across all models.

The Scalpel’s rear suspension carries on with its flex-stay design. Flattened areas near the dropouts of the one-piece carbon fiber chainstays mimic a horst link layout and provide the snappy pedaling expected of an XC bike without the added weight of a traditional bearing-style pivot assembly. Damping is carried out by a linkage driven shock from Fox or RockShox depending on the model.


Up front the flagship Lab71 iteration is adorned with a 120mm Lefty Ocho Fork while the Scalpel 1 receives a Fox Factory 34 SL and all subsequent US models are outfitted with varying RockShox Sid 120mm travel forks.



Pricing starts at $4000 for the Scalpel 4 (Deore 12sp, w/ Rockshox Sid suspension) and tops out at $14000 for the SRAM XX SL Eagle AXS, T-Type equipped Scalpel Lab71 which sports the aforementioned Lefty Ocho 120mm fork, and rolling on DT/Swiss XCR 1200 Spline carbon wheels. Other highlights of the Lab71 are the new one-piece SystemBar Carbon bar/stem combo and wireless RockShox AXS reverb dropper post. Our test sled is in the pipeline for delivery so check back soon for a full long term review.

For more information please visit Cannondale’s website.

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