2012 Cannondale Scalpel 29er Carbon 1 mountain bike with SRAM XX

Back in April, Cannondale showed us the first prototype of the Scalpel 29er mountain bike with frame weight claims of 1900g for the Large size.

Well, now there are all-but-production frames in the wild being demoed here at Eurobike (which means they’re rideable, which means they’re basically production spec frames) and we had a chance to weigh them just as Cannondale was packing up their demo booth for the day. Jump past the break for actual complete bike weights, specs and pics…

2012 Cannondale Scalpel 29er Carbon 1 mountain bike with SRAM XX actual weight

The size large complete bike weighed in at 23lbs 13oz without pedals. Spec is:

  • DT Swiss Tricon 1550 tubeless ready Lefty wheels
  • Cannondale HollowGram crankset with SRAM XX 39/26 rings and PFBB
  • KMC X10SL chain
  • SRAM XX shifters and rear derailleur
  • XO front derailleur, cassette and brakes
  • Truvativ Noir handlebar
  • Fizik saddle and seatpost
  • Lefty 29er Carbon XLR 100mm “fork” with Rockshox Solo Air tech
  • MSRP $7,600

The frame uses their BallistTec hi-mod carbon, which appears to be pretty tough, and uses their integrated stem and headset with their Lefty fork. Cannondale afficionados may notice that the 29er Lefty now has 100mm of travel, up 90mm from the prior 29er Lefty model. This should make it a bit more appealing for those interesting in their Lefty for All adapters.

Note that the wheels on this demo bike are built with Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Arch wheels, not the full DT Swiss wheelset, so actual weight on the showroom floor might be a bit lighter. Afterall, the prototype came in at just 21lbs 4oz for the same size…but it didn’t have paint, either.

2012 Cannondale Scalpel 29er Carbon 2 mountain bike

Oddly, Cannondale put their “team green” on the second tier build. The 2012 Scalpel 29er Carbon 2 comes spec’d with:

  • Stan’s ZTR Arch rims with Left SLR front/Sun-Ringle Dirty Flea rear hubs and DT Swiss Competition spokes
  • SRAM non-series 2×10 cranks with PFBB
  • KMC X10SL chain
  • SRAM X0 cassette
  • SRAM X9 front derailleur
  • Shimano XTR rear derailleur
  • Shimano XT shifters
  • Lefty 29er XLR 100mm “fork” with OPI integrated stem and headset
  • Avid Elixir 9 brakes
  • Fizik saddle and post
  • Truvativ Noir handlebar
  • MSRP: $5,300

2012 Cannondale Scalpel 29er Carbon 2 mountain bike actual weight

Complete bike weight for size large is 24lbs 11oz without pedals. This is probably closer to what you’ll see on the showroom floor because the spec is pretty much correct.

Both models use the 12×142 rear axle standard and SAVE flex stays that were shown on the prototype. In fact, the frame looks to be pretty much unchanged from what we saw at Sea Otter. Cannondale’s literature shows a claimed weight of just 1850g without shock. They claim it’s the lightest full suspension 29er frame ever, anywhere.

Frame details include their shortest SI head tube, allowing for a low overall stack height (pretty important for a 29er, and it looked pretty good in person), really short chainstays and a bolt-on “C Stay Bridge” that connects the seat stays in front of the seat tube. Cannondale says these frame characteristics address the three main issues with 29ers: weight, stiffness and handling by providing a light, stiff and aggressive bike. The bent seat tube offers clearance for up to 2.3″ tires with room to still shed mud.

That’s all well and good, you say, but what about those of us that don’t wanna drop north of five large? Answer:

2012 Cannondale Scalpel 29er Alloy 3 aluminum full suspension mountain bike

Two alloy models will be offered a little later on. The Scalpel 29er Alloy 3 (above) and Alloy 4 (below) will retail for $3,350 and $2,250 respectively with the expected spec downgrades like a SRAM X9/X7 mix, Elixir 3 and 1030 cassette on the Alloy 3 and an XT/Deore/FSA mix on the Alloy 4. Both still use the BB30 bottom bracket standard, a Lefty fork and get Formula hubs with Sun-Ringle rims.

2012 Cannondale Scalpel 29er Alloy 4 aluminum full suspension mountain bike


  1. I was ready to buy it until I saw it was 100mm. Why can’t they make 29ers in 120mm. This is too close to my race bike of 100mm with 26in wheels.

  2. Because the Scalpel is a race bike? And mind you, 29ers usually have less travel than 26” bikes, an AM 29er usually has 120 to 140 mm of travel, instead of the 26 usual 140 to 160.

  3. Except for the Lefty….Oh Hell yeah!! I’ve been waiting for this bike! As for thos that are whining about the travel. You don’t need long travel on a 29er I ride a fixed gear-rigid with no problem!

  4. how can cannondale claim “short chainstays” at 17.5″? 16″ to 16.5″ would be considered short and 18″ long

    80mm to 100mm is fine for a xc race machine. a longer travel “all mountain” 29er will follow next year.

  5. I too was originally stoked when I heard about the Scalpel going 29″, but soon there after I realized that it really isn’t the Scalpel of old…. It now uses a pivot in the rear triangle, rather than carbon flex-stays like the 26″ used to. Is it just me, or was there something about it being pivotless made the ‘ol Scalpel so chichi.

    Personally, I’d rather go with a FUNK La-Ruta. Lower price, pivotless, 29er, and still made in the USA.

  6. I’ll consider it when Cannondale offers real dealer support and educates mechanics on how to work on their lefty suspension. For now I’ll take anything not Lefty.

  7. I have gotten to demo one at one of their dealer demos and its a sweet bike. Climbs well and bombs down the hills. Cannondale has their own tune on the rear shock which gives it a spring curve that feels like having 120mm travel while it only has 100mm. The wheelbase is supposed to be the same as their flash 29ers. It’s a quick nimble bike. And they dont say its a race bike like the 26″ scapel. And full squish 29ers feel like they have more travel than a 26 with the same travel because the bigger wheels.

  8. Having test ridden the Scalpel 29er 2 several weeks ago this thing is worth the money. As far as the travel question is concerned those who are skeptical dont have enough time on a 29er or a Cannondale. Its a 29er race bike. Why more than 100mm? Im on the east coast and having worked with the same bike company since 2006, I can tell you, if you can’t get proper service on your lefty at your lbs then consider switching shops. or wait the 5 days (max) for Cannondale to rebuild (and most likely upgrade) your lefty. Been waiting for years for this bike and you better believe I’m spending the money.

  9. Our shop has done Lefty rebuilds since the first year they were introduced and all our mechanics learn them. It isn’t science. The new generation of Lefties are even easier to service. I have my 2012 Carbon 2 on order, should see it in 3 weeks.

  10. I purchased the 2012 Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 1 a few months back and feel inclined to report on my results. I buy a lot of things on the web and have never written a ‘review’. That is not my style. I inclined to do so now because of this bike. Hands down, this is the best mountian bike I have ever ridden!! I have been riding since 1993 and ride about 3 times a week. I have ridden all over the world and consider myself an advanced XC rider. I have owned a range of bikes over the years.

    This bike is stiff, responsive, and fast. 23lbs fully loaded (computer, pedals). It is absolutely amazing. I am a technology guy and keep track of all my rides. Consistently I have taken 15% time off my rides. It is absolutely amazing. I am turning 3 hour rides into 2:30 hour rides. That is right, 30 minutes off a ride. Massive gain in performance. Simply amazing.

    FYI, I am not sponsored or affiliated with Cannondale in any way and have nothing to gain by this post.

    Be careful if you test this bike. You better have your check book ready to purchase!!!!!!

    I only have one major gripe. I had the bike built with the stock rims and tires (racing ralphs) tubeless. Acccording to Cannondale, both the rims and tires are tubeless ready. Big mistake. The shop and I could not get the Schwable Racing Ralphs to stay on the bike in a tubeless setup. In fact, the front tire blew off the rim on my bike! The bike tire would keep leaking and required be to add air on every ride. Schwable redesignet the RR tire for 2012 and I think there are problems with the trim/tire combination in tubeless format. I also have a good friend who bought the exact same bike and had similar problems. Hopefully someone can sort this out. I ended up putting a Panasonic Panaracer on the front rim and a Maxxis Ignitor on the back rim in a tubeless format. It added a little bit of weight but gave me more tread and made the entire system rock solid. Cannondale was very helpful sorting out this issue. I have no idea if the problem would also exist if you ran the bike with tubes. I never tried it or intended to ride it that way. Someone else may comment on their experience with stock rims/tires and tubes.

    I cannot over emphasize how awesome this new ride is. Save your pennies and buy this bike!!!!!

  11. Has anyone used non-lefty conventional Fox type forks with the Cannondale Scalpel Hi-Mod Carbon frame? I’m interested, but not keen on going the lefty fork route.

  12. I have a 2013 and will be building it with a Sid 120 fork I am stoked on this build and not sure about the lefty I just don’t think I can get the type of rebound dampening that I am looking for

What do you think?