The Scalpel has been Cannondale’s flagship cross country race bike on the World Cup circuit since it was introduced. While it’s gone through many changes, including last years major update to the new “XXC” inspired geo, for 2019 the frame remains the same. The dual-suspension race rig does receive a major upgrade, though, in the form of Cannondale’s Lefty Ocho single-sided fork.
The new one-sided single crown fork was introduced as part of the update to Cannondale’s hardtail cross country race bike, the F-Si. For 2019, the Lefty Ocho has been added to the full-suspension Scalpel Si range.
The new Ocho is a major evolution from the iconic Lefty fork, which first introduced the world to single-sided mountain bike suspension. The new fork provides significant weight savings and a cleaner look without compromising Cannondale’s commitment to never produce an XC fork with an unnecessary right leg.
Cannondale brings Ocho to XXC
As with previous generations, the 2019 Scalpel Si is a thoroughly race-oriented machine. Whether you target cross country events, marathons, stage races or Strava leader boards, Cannondale intends this bike to be ridden as fast as possible. It floats on 100 mm of suspension, front and rear. Both are activated by a single remote lockout lever on the bar. Sizes medium to XL roll on 29″ wheels, while small frames stick to 27.5″ hoops.
With Cannondale’s updated XXC geometry, the Scalpel Si is designed to be as capable pointed downhill as it is on the ascent. In response to increasingly technical World Cup courses, the updated geo includes a 69.5-degree head tube angle, matched with shorter chainstays and a slightly longer 46.6cm reach. The Scalpel is not quite on the extreme edge of geo, with some more aggressive XC bikes coming out since its release having pushed that envelope even further.
The bike is definitely more comfortable on steep and technical terrain than the previous generation of 70+ degree HTA designs, though. Paired with 760 mm wide bars, the modern approach to XC race design was certainly appreciated when I was heading out onto some of the more challenging trails around Victoria, B.C. while testing the Scalpel Si 3.
Scalpel Si 3 upgrades wheels and build kit for new year
The Lefty Ocho isn’t the only change for 2019, through it is certainly the most eye catching. For 2019, the mid-range Scalpel Si 3 moves to Fox Suspension, with a DPS Performance EVOL controlling the 100 mm or rear wheel travel.
Both 29″ and 27.5″ versions now roll on Cannondale’s own carbon fibre HollowGram 23, Superlight Hi-Impact Carbon wheels. These are tubeless ready, as you would expect, with a 23 mm internal width. Tires are the new Schwalbe Racing Ray 2.25″ on the front, and Racing Ralph 2.25″ on the rear, both in the Addix Speed compound with Snake Skin protection.
Drivetrain and brakes are now provided by SRAM, giving the Scalpel Si 3 full 12-speed Eagle gearing range. Chainring, cassette and shifters are all GX Eagle, while an XO rear derailleur gives shifting a little more snap out back. SRAM Level TL brakes provide stopping power, pulling on a 180 mm front and 160 mm rear rotor combo.
Cannondale provides the rest of the component spec, except for a Fabric Scoop Flat Elite seat post.
This combination of smart parts spec, mixing in-house carbon fibre wheels with GX/XO drivetrain and in house components, leads to a MSRP of $6,900 for the Cannondale Scalpel Si 3. The only colour option for the 3 level build is the border-line neon “Acid Red,” with black and grey accents. It is definitely eye catching, and turns heads wherever you ride it, but without being ostentatious or kitschey.
The range runs from the aluminum frame Scalpel Si 5, which sells for $4,000 all the way to the top drawer, team-ready Scalpel Si Hi-Mod World Cup edition.