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Updated Cannondale Scalpel Gets 120mm Travel Front & Rear, One Piece Carbon Bar

29 U LAB71 Scalpel - BPT29 U LAB71 Scalpel - BPT
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If 2024 had travel, it would be 120mm. Most (if not all) modern cross-country bikes are letting their hair down and embracing the shredly side of racing. Cannondale tip-toed in the XC-plus or downcountry category in the last iteration of the Scalpel with the SE. Offering more travel and life to the bike, more than between the tape. The 120mm option was so popular amongst the Cannondale crew that it made its way into the big show, but with some cross-country race tweaks to make it purely Cannondale.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 front

The new Cannondale Scalpel will be the steed on which riders like Mona Mitterwallner will chase down their Olympic dreams. The bike that will lead Cannondale Factory Racing’s 2024 podium campaign. But, most importantly, it looks like an enjoyable and fast bike that we really want to ride at our local trails.

29 U LAB71 Scalpel - BPT
29 U LAB71 Scalpel – BPT

Whats new — Cannondale Scalpel

Cannondale’s updated Scalpel arrived with more than a few updates, so let’s take it piece-by-piece. The ethos for the updated design is not to redo the platform but to continually refine it.

The first Scalpel was launched in 2002, and each iteration leaned in more to the ever-changing cross-country race scene. The latest offering responds to more technical features, with the ability to feel like an extension of the rider while filling the demand for lightweight everything.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 flex stays

Updated Frame with Compatibility

The updated Scalpel frame moves away from press-fit and goes full BSA threaded. The new design keeps the same 55mm chain line as the previous iteration and adds a UDH hanger for easy replacement.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 post

Cannondale also includes two water bottle mounts for every size, from small to XL. The last version of the Scalpel, Cannondale did away with the Ai-Dished rear wheel and it keeps that design change for the 2024 model. Oh – and it will fit your 2.4 race tires just fine.

Cannondale Scalpel 120

More Travel and Less Material

The new Scapel boasts 120mm of front and rear travel, but the weight doesn’t increase much from the previous version. The design team credits Cannondale’s FlexPivot technology, which is nearly the same as that used in the Cannondale Moterra SL e-bike. The frame features flexing carbon sections instead of traditional Horst Link pivots.

The design is a super-light 4-bar linkage. The design is free from the additional weight and maintenance of chain stay pivot bolts and bearings. Plus, it mimics the stiffness and simplicity of a single pivot.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 rear

How does it feel? Cannondale says, “Because FlexPivot remains a true 4-bar system, it retains all the precise anti-rise/anti-squat tuning characteristics mountain bikers love and love from the design. Less moving parts also means greater durability and a lifetime guarantee backs every frame.”

Cannondale Scalpel 120 non drive

We agree, but I’ll wait for the final verdict until our review model comes in. It sounds like a clean design, but 120mm travel might embolden some extra sends from the down-county folks and some extra work for that carbon 4-bar design.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 fork

Proportional Response

Since the suspension and feel are such a character of the new Scalpel, the design team wanted to keep the feel uniform across the entire line, regardless of size. Cannondale customizes suspension kinematics for each frame size (five in total).

Cannondale Scalpel 120 all black

Updated Scalpel Geometry

I’m sure you know where this is going. Cannondale slacked out the head tube on the new Scalpel to a Slayer approving 66.6 degrees. The choice was made to create all-around stability. The new head tube angle plays off a steepened 75.5-degree seat tube angle and size-specific chain stay lengths. Cannondale says this combination is tailored to be the most efficient possible, whether pointed uphill, downhill, or anywhere between.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 geo

The new Scalpel is available in five small and extra-large models.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 tire

Lefty Ocho 120mm fork

The Lefty Ocho, 120mm fork, leads the charge on the top new Scalpel offerings. Launched nearly over 20 years ago, its unique design remains a favorite for those looking for a mix of lightweight and performance. The Ocho employs an updated needle-bearing design to minimize friction, internal rotation, and wear. All of these are to deliver smooth travel and super-long service intervals. I haven’t ridden an Ocho, but expect a full breakdown when our review Scalpel arrives.

Cannondale Scalpel 120 bar

SystemBar XC-One Cockpit

To top off the modernization of the Olympic year Scalpel, Cannondale introduces the SystemBar XC-One Cockpit. It’s lightweight, looks fantastic, and, from what we understand, is not a pain to service for cables and hoses.

29 U Scalpel Crb 1 - RRD

The new SystemBar XC-One Cockpit is 760mm wide, with a 0 deg rise, 8 deg back sweep, and 5 deg upsweep. The stem 60 or 75mm, and the entire unit weighs a claimed 265g. Better yet, we were told the 1.5-inch top and bottom headset cups make the cable routing very easy. The internal cable routing on the new Scalpel goes through the headset. With the 1.5-inch bearing size, routing should be easier and quicker.

The SystemBar XC-One Bar comes stock on the Scalpel Carbon Lab 71 and Scalpel Carbon 1. If you’d like to upgrade your ride, the Lefty Ocho 120 and the SystemBar XC-One Bar will be available for aftermarket sale.

29 U LAB71 Scalpel - BPT
29 U LAB71 Scalpel – BPT

Cannondale 2024 Scalpel Models

To better supply its customers, Cannondale is offering a mix of Scalpels, differing from the North American and European markets. The European market will see more Lefty options, leaving the North American market with a single Lefty-equipped bike on the top end.

What replaces the Lefty? For some, it will be the Fox Step-Cast 34; for others, it will be the Rock Shox SID, both 120mm. Lefty Ocho 120 will be available on the Scalpel Carbon Lab 71, Scalpel Carbon 1, and Scalpel Carbon 2 Lefty models (Europe only).

29 U LAB71 Scalpel - BPT
LAB71 Scalpel

LAB71 Scalpel

The LAB71 model comes with every top-end bell and whistles a cross-country racer could want, including new DT-1200 wheels. Cannondale went with DT-Swiss for the Scalpel’s bike spec, which also means a custom DT-Swiss Lefty-compatible front hub.

Scalpel Carbon 1

The Carbon 1 model arrives with top-end gear but swaps out the Lefty Ocho for a Fox Factory SC 34 120mm fork, shock, and dropper. The drive train is SRAM Transmission XO with DT-Swiss 1501 wheels.

Scalpel Carbon 2

The Scalpel Carbon 2 has SRAM GX Transmission, Hollowgram carbon wheels, and a Rock Shox suspension package.

Scalpel Carbon 3

The Scalpel Carbon 3 is the first Shimano spec’d Scalpel offering in the 2024 lineup. The Carbon 3 arrives with Shimano XT-12 speed, Stans Crest wheels, and Rock Shox SID suspension.

Scalpel Carbon 4

Scalpel 4 is the entry into the line, but certainly not entry-level. The Carbon 3 arrives with a Shimano Deore drive train, Stans No Tubes rims laces to Cannondale hub, and a RockShox SID suspension setup.

Cannondale Scalpel Pricing

  • LAB71 Scalpel: $14,000.00, CAD $19,095.00
  • Scalpel Carbon 1: $9,500.00, CAD $12,960.00
  • Scalpel Carbon 2: $6,500.00, CAD $8,865.00
  • Scalpel Carbon 4: $4,000.00,CAD $5,455.00

Availability — Cannondale Scalpel

The Cannondale Scapels are shipping now in stock at Cannondale dealers.

Stay tuned for a full review as we receive a demo bike for the upcoming cross-country season.


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30 days ago

Actually the Lefty was designed in the late 90’s which makes it well over 20 years ago that this fork has been around. The single crown Ocho has only been around for 5-6 years.

29 days ago

Almost looks like the Epic with a Lefty (note I said ‘almost’ – doesn’t mean I don’t like it).

On a different note has anybody watched the Absa Cape Epic marathon XC race that took place last week? Either I didn’t read the captioning properly or it mentioned something about a rider’s (thought it was Mona Mitterwallner) ‘health issues’, I thought Mona appeared a bit ‘bloated’ in her face and belly. Did she recently give birth or actually has some health issues?

Jason DW
Jason DW
29 days ago

That bike is just as expensive than the Epic with Flight Attendant! What warrants the huge price tag?
Cool bike but dudes they’re so expensive

29 days ago

I was all over this until I read the Lefty is only available at the $14k price point in the US. The Lefty is half of what makes a Scalpel a Scalpel! Why on earth are they limiting it to the top end only?!

Oh well, I guess I’ll be hanging on to my current one a while longer.

26 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Agreed, this is a mistake – why not at least offer the Lefty as an option on the top 3 models?

23 days ago

Really cool bike. Does the absence of pivots on a 120mm travel rear suspension give anyone else the willies?

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