Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups

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  1. #1
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    Cannondale Habit VS Cannondale Scalpel - 2016 - Your Thoughts?

    Hi All,

    I am in the market for a new bike and currently looking at the new Cannondale Habit (cross between All-Mountain/XC) and Cannondale Scalpel (XC). Currently ride a 2007 F29 and want something more nimble, more travel, and capable of riding wider range of terrain with the added comfort of FS. Anybody have any thoughts on the differences between these two for an all around XC/trail bike. Would prefer whichever is going to feel light, great at riding uphill, tight twisty track, and rock gardens. Would like to have lockouts on the suspensions to ride pavement too. Guess they both seem pretty similar except for geometry. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I have a 2013 Scalpel and just demo'd the Habit Carbon 1. I will be upgrading soon. I love the Habit. Based on what you have said, I would suggest the Habit. It will be a much better bike for your riding style!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon.moab View Post
    I have a 2013 Scalpel and just demo'd the Habit Carbon 1. I will be upgrading soon. I love the Habit. Based on what you have said, I would suggest the Habit. It will be a much better bike for your riding style!
    Cool thanks for the input. I have narrowed it down to the Habit Carbon 3 or the aluminum. Seems to be worth going with the carbon version overall. The only thing I am wondering on the Carbon 1 you rode is that it has a full lockout mode, I don't believe the models below do. Maybe I read the specs wrong on cannondale's site but Carbon 1 says full sprint mode. So not sure what that means. Either way I'm going with the Habit. Just not sure which for sure yet.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by abrown View Post
    Cool thanks for the input. I have narrowed it down to the Habit Carbon 3 or the aluminum. Seems to be worth going with the carbon version overall. The only thing I am wondering on the Carbon 1 you rode is that it has a full lockout mode, I don't believe the models below do. Maybe I read the specs wrong on cannondale's site but Carbon 1 says full sprint mode. So not sure what that means. Either way I'm going with the Habit. Just not sure which for sure yet.
    The lockout is not full, it simply valves the Lefty and rear shock such that it bobs less with travel. If you can swing the Carbon 1, I would go for it. While full lockout would be nice, I think it works great as it is spec'd. I used to have a prophet and the Habit is a great blend between a prophet and the Scalpel. While it is not a cross country bike, it certainly bridges the gap nicely.

  5. #5
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    Habit for sure. The reviewers have been going nuts and we had one at our shop that sold within a few days of it becoming available.

    "Climbs like a Scalpel and descends like a Trigger" is how one of our guys put it.
    => CannondaleExperts.com <=

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon.moab View Post
    The lockout is not full, it simply valves the Lefty and rear shock such that it bobs less with travel. If you can swing the Carbon 1, I would go for it. While full lockout would be nice, I think it works great as it is spec'd. I used to have a prophet and the Habit is a great blend between a prophet and the Scalpel. While it is not a cross country bike, it certainly bridges the gap nicely.
    I see. Having had both bikes, do you have a comparison on how the scalpel's rear suspension is vs the habit? I have never owned anything but hardtails and like the stiffness in the back. I mostly want FS for rock gardens, roots, and smoothing stuff out without losing efficiency in pedaling. Having a 29er I think has helped on a hardtail. But moving to a 650b tire and FS I am curious what the change would be like (drastic or subtle)?

  7. #7
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    Looking forward to seeing exactly how well my Habit climbs when it arrives soon.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by abrown View Post
    But moving to a 650b tire and FS I am curious what the change would be like (drastic or subtle)?
    I just made the same switch, HT 29er to 27.5 FS. It's definitely noticeable and will take a little getting used to both the wheel size and rear suspension. I set mine up pretty firm 15-20% sag in the rear and really love it. I have a Giant Anthem SX and the rear end really doesn't bob noticeably on climbs. You'll probably notice the 27.5 won't roll some stuff as easily, but for me seems to be much more nimble and I just generally have more fun on it. Habit looks to be a great bike...enjoy!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2m2hs View Post
    I just made the same switch, HT 29er to 27.5 FS. It's definitely noticeable and will take a little getting used to both the wheel size and rear suspension. I set mine up pretty firm 15-20% sag in the rear and really love it. I have a Giant Anthem SX and the rear end really doesn't bob noticeably on climbs. You'll probably notice the 27.5 won't roll some stuff as easily, but for me seems to be much more nimble and I just generally have more fun on it. Habit looks to be a great bike...enjoy!
    Thanks much for the input. When you stand up and hammer is it noticeable on a FS with the lockout?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by abrown View Post
    I have never owned anything but hardtails and like the stiffness in the back. I mostly want FS for rock gardens, roots, and smoothing stuff out without losing efficiency in pedaling.
    Try a new Beast of the East before buying a fancy carbon 27.5 full sussie. I've got the feeling you will welcome the wheel size similarity to 29", the added grip of fattie tires at lower PSI's and the stiffness you never wanted to get rid of.

    Quote Originally Posted by abrown View Post
    Having a 29er I think has helped on a hardtail. But moving to a 650b tire and FS I am curious what the change would be like (drastic or subtle)?
    Mostly, when "downgrading" FROM 29" to 27.5" standard, you might feel that

    a) OMG I just got slower, this reminds me 26" wheels a bit
    b) These wheels make one harsher ride
    c) But hey!, I am more agile on more twitchy singletrack

    That being said, from my personal experience I've never felt 20mm of added travel on a shorter wheel size bike have positively affected my ride. It's actually reverse. But marketing departments of bike manufacturers want you to think otherwise. Plus wheels sizes are the only thing from the "latest greatest thing" that seems to make sense.
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  11. #11
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    other options

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmetless View Post
    Try a new Beast of the East before buying a fancy carbon 27.5 full sussie. I've got the feeling you will welcome the wheel size similarity to 29", the added grip of fattie tires at lower PSI's and the stiffness you never wanted to get rid of.



    Mostly, when "downgrading" FROM 29" to 27.5" standard, you might feel that

    a) OMG I just got slower, this reminds me 26" wheels a bit
    b) These wheels make one harsher ride
    c) But hey!, I am more agile on more twitchy singletrack

    That being said, from my personal experience I've never felt 20mm of added travel on a shorter wheel size bike have positively affected my ride. It's actually reverse. But marketing departments of bike manufacturers want you to think otherwise. Plus wheels sizes are the only thing from the "latest greatest thing" that seems to make sense.
    Thank you for the added perspective. I agree that a healthy dose of skepticism is required to weed through the difference between selling bikes by simply making changes for the sake of "newness" and improvements that actually help the consumer. That is why I decided to wait and am still researching to make a good decision. I really wasn't even aware of the beast of the east or the 27.5+ bikes until the past few months as other options. The other thing that would help is understanding frame geometry and my shoulder. I have a shoulder impingement and an aggressive position is not preferred. Was curious if the Scalpel, Habit, F-Si is any more friendly in that respect if anybody can share? I would assume the scalpel would be the most comfortable, but its hard to tell just staring at specs online... Any feedback from those who have any of these bikes would be cool. Thanks!

  12. #12
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    The Scalpel and FF-si hardtails are very aggressive with steep head tube angles. The Habit is quite a bit more relaxed/slacker and I'd think much better for your shoulder. If you're riding properly you should be able to ride either style without putting weight on your hands, but that's going to be easier on the Habit. Also, the 27.5 is not a downgrade. If you like it better, then go for it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2m2hs View Post
    The Scalpel and FF-si hardtails are very aggressive with steep head tube angles. The Habit is quite a bit more relaxed/slacker and I'd think much better for your shoulder. If you're riding properly you should be able to ride either style without putting weight on your hands, but that's going to be easier on the Habit. Also, the 27.5 is not a downgrade. If you like it better, then go for it.
    Not to throw monkey wrench in this one, but anybody have thoughts between the trigger and the habit? I think the habit is my first choice now, but curious how/why they offer the trigger when it is similar to the habit in geometry (shock technology aside).

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