Dreaming of warmer weather and dry trails? Same here. While we wait for the upcoming season over here though, things are in full swing in South Africa with the conclusion of the 2020 Momentum Health Tankwa Trek presented by Biogen. The four day stage race looks like an awesome event for both amateurs and professionals alike. And for 2020, thanks to the Cannondale Factory Racing pro team, we might have gotten a look at the next generation of the Cannondale Scalpel. With the last major update for the frame in 2017, Cannondale could certainly be very close to launching a new version soon. Maybe this will be the 2020 Cannondale Scalpel? 2021?
Unfortunately for the Cannondale Factory Racing team of Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini, a major mechanical was suffered 12km from the finish by Fumic during stage one. Apparently a rock kicked up from the front tire destroyed his chainring and caused them to lose almost 30 minutes on the first stage. Stage two wasn’t much better when according to the Stage 2 racing video news, another mechanical for Fumic involved a broken derailleur hanger 25km from the finish.
In spite of winning both the third and fourth stages, it proved too big of a set back for the duo to come back from. But still, winning 50% of the stages (and all the stages without a mechanical) is pretty impressive.
Fortunately for us, that second mechanical meant a solid close up of the potential prototype Scalpel from Tankwa Trek’s excellent video coverage of the event (you can check out the highlights and race news from each stage on their facebook page here).
One of the biggest changes that we noticed from the (likely) new Cannondale Scalpel is a revised suspension linkage on the solid colored, logo-less frame. While the shock is still in roughly the same location as the current Scalpel, there is no longer a link hanging down from the top tube and connecting to the lower shock mount.
Instead, there is a new lower shock mount protruding from the seat tube, and what appears to be the potential for an all new pivot location at the chainstay. If you look closely at the screenshots above, you’ll see what looks like covers that could be meant to conceal the location of this pivot. Note that the black covers are found on both chainstays, left and right, and appear to be split on the underside like it was a rubber cover that snaps over the pivot. They’re too far back and too short to be part of the chainslap protection elements, and there also would be no point to having one on the non-drive stay if that was the case.
What’s underneath? Who knows. The bulk and shape seems to imply that it could just be a standard bearing pivot. Though Cannondale could just be fooling us and maybe there’s really some kind of advanced carbon pivot-less system underneath? (Spoiler alert, it is a new pivot-less chainstay).
Compared to the current frame (above), there is definitely a revised main pivot, with the chainstay mounting inside of the seat tube rather than around it as shown. This would also indicate that the chainstays are now one solid piece, rather than separate halves on the current gen. This also seems to support the idea of a new pivot location since it would be a way for Cannondale to maintain or improve frame stiffness with the addition of a chainstay pivot location.
The cable routing looks to be slightly revised, and the frame in the screenshots has some interesting reliefs in the carbon under the water bottle mounts. Clearly, the Lefty is still in the picture, though the pros aren’t using the lower headset cup spacer. To be clear, they apparently weren’t using it on the previous generation, but it could mean that the geometry has been tweaked to eliminate it on this version.
What do you think? Is this the new Cannondale Scalpel? See anything we missed? Drop it in the comments below.