Sneak Peek: Cannondale’s Scalpel 29

Cannondale showed us its brand-new carbon full-squish wagon wheeler.

Words by: Kevin Rouse and Ryan LaBar
Photo and Video by: Ryan LaBar

One of the bigger sneak-peeks at this year’s Sea Otter Classic, the new Cannondale Scalpel 29 marks Cannondale’s entry into the full-squish 29er market. In typical Cannondale fashion, the bike is no burden on the scales. Featuring 100 millimeters of travel front–which is new for the Lefty 29–and rear, the bike takes cues from both the 26-inch Scalpel and the new Jekyll. It borrows the pivot-less rear dropouts from its small-wheeled sibling, while the two 15-milimeter through-axles found at the pivots are a design feature pilfered from the Jekyll. The bike also features a 142×12 rear end like its longer-travel stable mate.

Hitting the scales at 21.7 pounds fully-built (sans pedals), the frame and shock run around 1900 grams, a respectable fighting weight for a size large. Cannondale plans to offer a full size range for the Scalpel 29, which is noteworthy as this marks the first time they’ve offered a size small in their 29er range. As for geometry, the size large features a 70-degree headtube angle paired with a 73.5-degree seat tube angle. Paired with an extremely short wheelbase, it seems sure to be a rather lively ride.

The Scalpel 29er will be available later this year as 2012 model.

Cannondale was still prepping its new Scalpel 29 when we arrived at the booth.


Less than 22 pounds without pedals, the Scalpel 29 is lighter than many hardtails in its class.


The Scalpel 29 rocks 100 millimeters of rear travel–a touch more than the 26-inch version.


The front derailleur is attached to the chainstays for maximum shift performance throughout the bike’s travel.


Cannondale switched from standard BB30 to SRAM’s Pressfit 30 for an ultra lightweight bottom bracket shell. Additionally, unlike the the 26-inch version the Scalpel 29 rocks a real swingarm pivot, instead of just flex stays.


Post-mount brakes and a 142×12 through axle in back. Cannondale is paying attention.


The bike’s seatstays are designed to flex and act as the rear pivot.


The Scalpel 29′s headtube junction is massive.


Taking cues from the Jekyll, the Scalpel uses through-axle pivots for better stiffness.

Cannondale’s Director of Mountain Bike Product had this to say about the Scalpel 29.

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  • Daniel

    Can’t wait to get one.

  • Nate Taylor

    pleasssssssse do not jack the colors up on the new scalpel I want one

  • jtm

    KEEP THE GRAPHICS COOL AND MINIMALIST LIKE THE CARBON FLASH 29ERS PLEASE.

    CANNONDALE, YOU EITHER GET THE GRAPHICS SPOT ON OR SUPER DUPER HOKEY AND KOOKY.

    LOOK TO THE CARBON FLASH 29ERS FOR GRAPHIC DIRECTION PLEASE.

  • XC Pilot

    Hope this sucks less than the current 26′r bike. I made the mistake of buying a 2011 Scalpel 1; £5000 of problems, distress and inconvenience. This bike is way too fragile, especially in conditions that are remotely wet. My bike started to fail in a number of areas after its third ride (first time wet); Chain Stays, Bottom Bracket and Lefty Strut. Best of all, Tri UK, the retailer, and CSG, who now own Cannondale, have both washed their hands of this shabby product. Yes, its light and rides OK, but unless you are sponsored, ride only in the dry and have a mechanic on tap with a spare bike and van full of components, think twice about blowing a lot of cash on something that will rapidly turn to scrap.

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  • Erik

    what’s XC pilot talking about? I have one of the 26ers, it’s done 8 stage races on a privateer budget with few issues (ie. just wear and tear parts). And it’s not even the new frame design where the stays and BB are one piece, it’s the glued version.

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