My next (dream) bike?

The 2nd generation of the winningest full suspension XC bike

After 3 years spent pedaling on my Prophet, I have come to a few conclusions: it's a great do it all bike. Geometry is perfect to excel going down and surprisingly well going up. Also, it's a tough, trouble free bike that can take care of it's rider in case you make piloting errors. No need to pick lines with precision on that thing, the bike deals with it. The Lefty Max is super easy to maintain and work on and is always ready for more with it's coil sprung smoothness. Just do a bearing reset now and then and you're good to go.

But for the riding I do, 90% of the time, I don't need 140mm of travel and a 27-28 pounds bike. I know it's not that heavy for such a heavy duty bike but I have taken a 24 pounds 2005 Scalpel for a ride last week and when I got back on my Prophet, it really felt like I was on a couch. 67mm of rear travel is not much though, compared to a Prophet, the current Scalpel almost feels like a hardtail so you have to pick good lines on nasty technical trails. That's not a bad thing, it just means the rider needs to be more involved in it's riding. Now fast forward to 2008 and here comes the next generation Scalpel, more precisely, the Carbon Team Replica...

The new Scalpel frame has been throughly refined, the travel is now up to 100mm and the suspension layout puts a more common shock size away from the mud collecting position of the first Scalpel. In the case of the Team replica, the rear suspension is taken cared of by the lightest shock in the bike industry, the DT Swiss SSD Carbon (which, as a bonus, seems to be one of the easiest shock to service yourself). The new frame has even less pivots in the rear triangle, a bridge between the chainstays and the carbon/alloy main triangle, built not unlike the double Tour de France stage winner System Six road bike, has an integrated headset like the Taurine and Carbon Rush. All that makes it a stiff XC racing missile.

Very light, very stiff and very black. Notice the new Maxxis fast tire

Other great news, the new Hollowgram SL crankset and it's BB30 bottom bracket with ceramic bearings is among the stiffest and probably the lightest crank setup on the market, even more since Cannondale re-introduced the two chainring spider. With such a light and efficient bike, a 29/44 crankset still lets you climb like a mountain goat. I am a big fan of 2x9 setups on that kind of bike. You shift more with the rear derailleur and less with the front and shifts on the cassettes are much quicker and smoother than between chainrings.

Of course it has the wonderful Lefty Speed SL, an integrated stem/steerer, a pair of Crossmax SLR, Avid Ultimate brakes with a 140mm rear rotor, SRAM X.0 and everything else, there are not many possible upgrades... maybe the brakes, I'm not a big fan of Avids. The bike, without any modifications from the stock specs, weighs well under 23 pounds... The only negative point of the bike is it's price tag but if you want a Porsche, don't expect to pay the price of a Hyundai. Oh and I almost forgot: it matches the colors of my blog! I think I don't have the choice, I have to get one for next season. Now, if I can just convince Cannondale to give me one to thank me for all the people I steered toward buying their bikes over the years...

1 comment:

James said...

I hear you Dan. As much as I love my Jekyll -- and I do love it, you understand -- I find myself wanting a lighter, shorter travel mountain bike. The Rush is too much like my Jekyll to entice me, but the new Scalpel....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Maybe I've been spending too much time on my 'cross bike.