Cannondale Scalpel-Si Black Inc review

Race-rocket frame with ultimate high-tech XC kitlist

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £9,000.00 RRP | USD $12,790.00

Our review

A searingly fast racer that still knows how to have a good time
Buy if, You want a seriously fast XC rig and are looking for a premium kit list to boot
Pros: Power-efficient but ultra-light frame with the suspension to match; more trail-friendly than most racers, with potential to play proper dirty; cost-no-object kit, plus whatever shifting you want
Cons: Premium parts come at an unashamedly high cost
Skip to view product specifications

If you like ENVE carbon and electro techno, Cannondale’s latest Scalpel, the Cannondale Scalpel-Si Black Inc, is the ultimate-spec example of the new breed of XC bike, combining race weight with a touch of trail attitude.

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The frame, wheels, cranks and cockpit are all seriously stiff, so every muscle twitch creates tangible torque through the rear tyre

While it’s seriously light (2.1kg, large with shock), the Scalpel mainframe is no waif. A massive 1.5in head tube blends into a broad down tube and the fat top tube hides the front end of the shock and the battery for the electronic drivetrain. Super-skinny seatstays allow pivotless suspension flex, while splayed-out seatstays accept Cannondale’s ‘Ai’-spaced rear wheel (which shifts the drivetrain 6mm to the right) but scuff immediately. There’s room for knobbly 2.35in tyres and two bottles.

ENVE rims and a Chris King hub make up probably the ultimate tough yet free-rolling wheel pack. Cannondale’s own Si cranks are gorgeous, stiff and lightweight, and you can opt for one ring or two.

Shimano’s XTR Di2 offers impeccable programmable shifting, along with a clunky mechanical interface and extra weight. There’s an analogue XTR ‘Race’ bike or a 1×12 SRAM Eagle ‘Team’ model available too if your budget can’t stretch to the Black Inc.

The Lefty fork increases stability beyond normal XC twitchines
The Lefty fork increases stability beyond normal XC twitchines
Andy Lloyd

However you choose to change gear, expect a whole lot more upshifts and fewer downshifts than normal, because the Scalpel accelerates and climbs with voracious velocity, even for a race bike.

The frame, wheels, cranks and cockpit are all seriously stiff, so every muscle twitch creates tangible torque through the rear tyre. A single remote gives a fully rigid, double-ended lockout too, so smooth sprinting is brutally efficient.

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The suspension has a progressive feel that adds drive and cornering traction over roots and rocks, but it stays shy of full travel unless it has to deal with a big slam or landing. While the suspension character is resolutely ‘race’, the 69.5-degree head angle and 55mm offset on the super-accurate Lefty fork increase stability beyond normal XC twitchiness. If that’s how you’re likely to use it, though, a shorter stem and stickier tyres are a must.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Scalpel-Si Black Inc
Brand Cannondale

Available Sizes XS S M L XL
Saddle Prologo Zero II CPC Nack
Wheelbase (in) 45
Top Tube (in) 24.5
Standover Height (in) 29.9
Seat Tube (in) 18.8
Chainstays (in) 17.1
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.1
Stem Cannondale C1, 90mm
Shifters Shimano XTR Di2
Seatpost ENVE
Seat Angle 73.5
Rims ENVE Carbon M50, tubeless ready,28h
Brakes Shimano XTR
Rear Tyre Schwalbe Racing Ralph EVO SnakeSkin 29x2.25in
Rear Hub Chris King
Rear Derailleur Shimano XTR Di2
Head Angle 69.5
Handlebar ENVE Sweep, 770mm
Front Tyre Schwalbe Racing Ralph EVO SnakeSkin 29x2.25in
Front Hub Lefty 60
Front Derailleur Shimano XTR Di2
Frame Material 'BallisTec' carbon fibre
Fork Cannondale Lefty 2.0 Carbon, 100mm (4in) travel
Cranks Cannondale HollowGram SiSL2
Frame size tested L