First Look: Cannondale Scalpel-Si

After hearing many mumblings about a new Cannondale and then spotting an unbranded prototype at the Absa Cape Epic, it was clear that there was a new bike coming soon. And here it is, introducing the all-new Cannondale Scalpel-Si.

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An all-round nip and tuck with super slick cable routing

Cannondale have applied what they call System Integration (Si) to the Scalpel range to create a complete package that works seamlessly. This means that each bike is now race ready out of the box, no need to change out things like flimsy tyres. They’ve also tailored the set up across the size curve including 650b wheels on the XS and S and women’s sizes.


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While plainly a Scalpel, the Scalpel-Si has brought the design up-to-date with straighter lines and a refined look. Most obvious is the new suspension design which tucks part of the rear shock into the top tube resulting in an elegant lining-up of the seatstay, shock and toptube. There is also now space for two bottle cages in the front triangle. It’s not just all looks either, Cannondale claim the new Scalpel-Si carbon frame is one of the lightest dual suspension mountain bike frames in the world.


The new internal cable routing system plays its part in keeping the Scalpel-Si looking neat. The ports on the redesigned head tube provide an easy way for the cable to enter the frame while also holding the cable neatly in position with a “lockable system” to keep your cockpit neat while riding. Should you desire to run a Shimano Di2 drivetrain, Cannondale have designed a system for mounting the battery inside the top tube just above the shock mount. There is also provision for an internally routed dropper post.


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Geometry updates to improve handling and performance

While the bike may still look much like the Scalpel of old, the geometry has seen a complete overhaul with a number of changes resembling what we’ve seen happening on trail bikes. The previous Scalpel is a take-no-prisoners race bike geared at covering distance and conquering climbs. While the Scalpel-Si still claims to do the same, it acknowledges the technical challenges of modern cross-country courses with a number of dramatic geometry changes to help riders negotiate the tough stuff.


Cannondale Scalpel-Si -28.jpgThe Scalpel-Si Carbon 4.


To improve handling and traction, Cannondale shortened the chainstay length by just under a centimeter to 43.5 cm (on the 29er models) in part thanks to the new, straight seat tube. In order to squash the wheel in a small space (and without having to implement Boost 148), Cannondale shifted the chainrings and front derailleur 6 mm outboard to create more space. At the same time they adjusted the rear triangle to match, allowing for a more evenly dished rear wheel - resulting in more strength and stiffness. Cannondale call this Asymmetric Integration Offset Drivetrain (Ai).


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The 6 mm offset drivetrain and straight seat tube create space for shorter stays and wider tyres.


To complement the handling improvements of shorter stays, the head angle has been slackened to 69.5 degrees from around 71 degrees (depending on frame size) on the previous Scalpel. A slacker head angle generally puts the front wheel further in front of the bike which allows the fork to soak up more of the trail and helps to stop the rider pitching over the handlebars. To counter the sluggish handling a slacker angle might cause at slow speeds, the Cannondale have custom designed the Lefty with a 55 mm fork rake through the use of an off set front axle. Cannondale are calling this combination their OutFront steering geometry. The seat tube angle remains 73.5 degrees, keeping the weight over the pedals for power and traction. The Scalpel-Si also sees a slightly lengthened reach which allows Cannondale to fit a shorter stem for more accurate control.


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Cannondale developed a custom off set front axle with a 55 mm rake to avoid sluggish steering at low speeds.


No more OPI stem and a sleeker rear triangle configuration

Good news for tinkerers, Cannondale have given up on the proprietary steerer standard in favour of a slightly more standard 1.5” which should improve the aftermarket stem options for the Scalpel-Si. The new steerer sizing means that older Lefty forks are not compatible with the Scalpel-Si. The changes in the Lefty’s rake mean the new Lefty hub has also seen some sizing changes and as a result is not backward compatible, although the older hubs can be used on the Scalpel-Si with an adaptor.


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Cannondale have abandoned the OPI stem with the latest Scalpel-Si.


The rear suspension on the Scalpel-Si has also gone under the knife. The previous Scalpel had an awkward bolted together collection of parts fixing the seat stay to the rocker. The new LockR system uses an expanding thru-axle connecting both sides like a single piece without the need for special tools. To improve the performance of the flexible seat stays, flat brake mounts are moved from the seat stays to the inside of the chain stay to allow for better flex.


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When suspension isn’t what you want, Cannondale worked with RockShox to make an integrated single-push lockout control for the Lefty and shock. The rear lockout travels internally down the top tube which contains the top of the shock.


Cannondale have been brave with the Scalpel-Si. While many manufactures remain committed to the traditional cross-country/ marathon bike formula, Cannondale have clearly taken a page from the progressive geometry and packaged it into a serious racing bike. We can only hope that this means fewer queues and more smiles on the single track at our local marathon events.


Cannondale Scalpel-Si -1.jpgThe Scalpel-Si Carbon 3.


Local availability

The local distributor expects the first full shipment of the new Cannondale Scalpel-Si to land in September. Details about each model in the lineup are available in the official press release. The Scalpel-Si Alloy 6 is a model unique to South Africa which will feature Shimano SLX kit with a RockShox fork.


For an early look at the Scalpel-Si, the bikes will be showcased at Sani2c this year for those attending.


Estimated pricing

  • Scalpel-Si Black IncR 195,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si TeamR 150,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si RaceR 135,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si 1R 110,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si 2R 100,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si 3R 80,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si 4R 70,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si Alloy 5R 55,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si Alloy 6R 40,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si Ladies 1R 100,000.00
  • Scalpel-Si Ladies 2R 70,000.00


Larry Montana, Apr 29 2016 11:10

Here.... take my money now..!!!!!! damn they look awesome

Suidwes Boytjie, Apr 29 2016 11:13

It was and still is the sexiest bike out there... But that price tag  :eek:

Headshot, Apr 29 2016 11:25

S works Epic will be hitting R200k too I hear. Its a bad joke.

karma, Apr 29 2016 11:29

S works Epic will be hitting R200k too I hear. Its a bad joke.


that's R65k more than the top of the range Niner RKT9 RDO XTR model.


Iwan Kemp, Apr 29 2016 11:32

Great to see sensible, real life tech on bikes. Clever stuff and good to see Cannondale going all in and not just launching a slightly different Scalpel.

Meentb, Apr 29 2016 11:34

Prices are mad. Seems like my 2015 Scalpel race will have to do till I die

Nick, Apr 29 2016 11:39

The local distributor reckons that the Scalpel-Si Carbon 3 and 4 (pictured in the article) as well as the alloy models will be their best sellers.

shaper, Apr 29 2016 11:42

Some people got more money than sense....

Aydie, Apr 29 2016 12:09


Koei, Apr 29 2016 12:10

When will Cannondale finally make up their mind between internal / external cable routing!?

Matchstix, Apr 29 2016 12:24

Sjoe 200k for a baiesukkel

Suidwes Boytjie, Apr 29 2016 12:30

Well, i guess there is only one person to blame for this ridiculous prices...   

CogitoErgoSum, Apr 29 2016 12:31

that's R65k more than the top of the range Niner RKT9 RDO XTR model.

Put a lefty on the Niner then you are sorted... 👤

But seriously, the Niner RDO XTR is mindblowingly sexy. Now THAT is a ride to wish for

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karma, Apr 29 2016 12:34

Put a lefty on the Niner then you are sorted...

But seriously, the Niner RDO XTR is mindblowingly sexy. Now THAT is a ride to wish for

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk


and some change. that RKT comes with the RS-1, which is about double the price of the carbon lefty (AS included) 

CogitoErgoSum, Apr 29 2016 12:37

and some change. that RKT comes with the RS-1, which is about double the price of the carbon lefty (AS included)

Wait what? Is that the price of the Niner with the RS1? Nice. This is definitely my n+1

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karma, Apr 29 2016 12:39

Wait what? Is that the price of the Niner with the RS1? Nice. This is definitely my n+1

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**Hi-jack ON**


OK - R55K less than the Dale...sorry


**Hi-jack OFF**

CogitoErgoSum, Apr 29 2016 12:46

**Hi-jack ON**

OK - R55K less than the Dale...sorry

**Hi-jack OFF**

***Hi-jack reinstated***

If only Niner would do something to that fugly triangle on their MTB full sus frames.

But still, damn sexy bikes. (Even if some are fugly. The more you look, the hotter they become...)

*** Hi-jack killed***

The new Cannondale frames look much better in appearance. Not like some fong kong rip-off

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RocknRolla, Apr 29 2016 01:03

so many zeroes in those prices!!!

Ttocs, Apr 29 2016 01:23

The black edition is one sexy machine but R200k

Let's put it into perspective, there are 60,095 cars listed on autotrader.

Of that 30,520 are listed for less than R200k.

Ofaniy, Apr 29 2016 01:30

Well, if public is to believed it will be the most awesome bike ever... I mean who would admit making a 195k mistake.... 

RocknRolla, Apr 29 2016 01:40

For a litre class motorcycle (lots of similarities, 2 wheels, chain driven, handlebars etc) one pays about R1000/kg. Can go faster than 200km/h


If the top of the range bicycle weight in below 10kg.. it means it will cost about R20 000/kg (Average speed excluding pro riders, 22 - 25km/h)


And you still have to pedal it...

NicoBoshoff, Apr 29 2016 02:33

Yeah you can Zuma and ZAR all day long but even at R12/$ (which is fair value imo) it's still nearing R150k. Bikes are just becoming unsustainably expensive. It's embarrassing.

ChUkKy, Apr 29 2016 03:10

Fools and their money are soon parted.

R200k for a bicycle, you have to be a special kind of idiot to pay that.


How do you justify that expense for a bicycle, where like RocknRolla points out a motorbike that can do 200km/h+ is a similar cost.


Theres far more engineering and tech in this than a bicycle.


KTM Superduke.JPG


Maybe Im missing something somewhere, someone please explain the R190k price tag on the bicycle.

Mr X, Apr 29 2016 03:18

No thanks I`m not sponsored I have to pay for my bike - Silverback Sesta for me. Sesta frame design seems superior at like 50% of the price of a Cannonball.

RossW, Apr 29 2016 03:28

Am I correct in that the top of the range does not even have Di2?


I'm looking at XT brakes and mechanical XTR RD and shifter.