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  1. #1
    Cannondale Snob
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    '06 Scalpel 1000 for AM riding?

    I'm debating between a Cannondale HT and Scalpel. I know they're both XC bikes, but I want something light-weight and that's where it's at.

    Does anyone have experience on riding a Scalpel on AM-style terrain. I'm mostly concerned with handling on steep downhills.


  2. #2
    Flying Goat
    Reputation: mrpercussive's Avatar
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    uuummm... no... it would break... if you're thinking of AM riding, get an AM bike. Depending on budget the can be in the low 30s... Though i dont think you'd feel comfortable riding AM stuff on a bike that light unless you're a flyweight like me...

  3. #3
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Not to say that it couldn't be done, but the Scalpel is so not designed with that in mind.
    Not even remotely. It's an XC/marathon race bike. It's not meant for what most here, or most shops and companies would now call "all mountain".

    I'd want a beefier chassis, and slacker angles for sure, with room for larger tires.
    If you want light and all mountain at the same time, you'll do better off with a nice slack angle trail hardtail than a pure race inspired XC machine.

    That said, if you've got the skill to ride it on ugly, steep terrain as an all mountain type ride, go for it.

    Two questions back at you.
    1. What's the highest weight you want to have in a bike setup?
    2. How much do you want to spend?
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  4. #4
    Cannondale Snob
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    1. What's the highest weight you want to have in a bike setup?
    (A) In the 25-25.5#s. This doesn't have to be the purchased weight, but I should be able to get it down there without replacing everything on the bike

    2. How much do you want to spend?
    (A) As little as possible, of course! What do I expect to spend? Between $1000-2000.

    That said, if you've got the skill to ride it on ugly, steep terrain as an all mountain type ride, go for it.
    Ugly steep long downhills scare me. I'm still pretty new to the sport and I'm growing into it pretty quick, but these are what give me pause. I figured a FS bike, even with such little rear suspension movement, would be easier on the downhills than the HT I'm now riding.

    The Cannondale '07 Caffeine F1 & F2 are the other bikes I'm considering. The F1 can be had for the same price as this close-out Scalpel

  5. #5
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
    Reputation: scrublover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiskEverything
    1. What's the highest weight you want to have in a bike setup?
    (A) In the 25-25.5#s. This doesn't have to be the purchased weight, but I should be able to get it down there without replacing everything on the bike

    2. How much do you want to spend?
    (A) As little as possible, of course! What do I expect to spend? Between $1000-2000.

    That said, if you've got the skill to ride it on ugly, steep terrain as an all mountain type ride, go for it.
    Ugly steep long downhills scare me. I'm still pretty new to the sport and I'm growing into it pretty quick, but these are what give me pause. I figured a FS bike, even with such little rear suspension movement, would be easier on the downhills than the HT I'm now riding.

    The Cannondale '07 Caffeine F1 & F2 are the other bikes I'm considering. The F1 can be had for the same price as this close-out Scalpel
    Take your $2k, go to test ride everything you can within that price range. Buy the one that fits/feels best. If you are wanting to swap parts out to get it lighter, there goes your budget, at least if you intend to do that right after buying it. Go get the max bike you can afford now, and buy new stuff/upgrade as parts wear or break.

    For $2k, your best bet is going to be a hardtail if you want to have something be beefy/durable and ~25 pounds. A worthwhile "all mountain" fully in the 25 pound range would cost you a hell of a lot more money. Or, one in that $2k price range will be much heavier. Or, you'll be riding a race bike built for an entirely different purpose, that will suck to ride the "ugly steep long downhills" and make them even scarier.

    All of that leads me to another question:

    What are you riding now, and what don't you like about it/what scares you about it on the downs?
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  6. #6
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    AM is such a lame term....what do "you" mean by AM riding? Most people think they do AM riding yet there is huge variability in what this actually means. AM riding on the North Shore would make most of us feel like girls and pee our pants...thus, something like a Knolly Delerium is labeled as an AM bike based on that relative definition. In other words, it is a relative term entirely.

    I would bet money (if I had any) that most people do nothing more than what a lot of other people would consider as XC riding yet call it AM riding cuz they got a 5" travel bike and have to justify that purchase.

    People do gnarly stuff on fully rigid bikes that is way more than a lot of us could do an any amount of suspension......so forget the AM label and think about what trails you will ride. A hardtail is fine for the vast majority of normal riding; may not be as comfortable over the course of a ride but unless by AM you really mean more than XC, you could very well be fine.

  7. #7
    Cannondale Snob
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    I currently ride an '03 IH Warrior Comp (HT). It has 100mm fork up front, weighs 32#s and seems to do what I ask of it. It has all Deore components except for the Haynes mech. disc brakes. This bike could do nearly all of these downhills (my best friend does most of them on his new Trek 4300).

    I'm not talking about down-hilling or free-riding. I live in FL so at best we've got moderately tall hills, though they can be as steep as anywhere else. We have some hardpack but much of the trail is loose dirt, sand, or mud. I like the Wierwolf 2.1s on my bike- they're grippy as hell and haven't slid out on me yet, though I'm not exactly charging every section of the trail. I wouldn't want to run anything less aggresive than these. I climb in the middle ring up front and somewhere in the middle of the rear, and usually climb pretty quickly. I haven't really figured out a use for the small ring up front...

    A "scary" downhill for me... Let's say about 50' tall, 45 degree slope or better, with small/medium rocks and roots and root-ledges between 1-2'. The ground on these is usually hard-packed and these are not usually laid out side-hill though some are. Most are more-or-less straight runs though some have trees to navigate around. These are what I'm growing into. I know I can do them, I'm just worried about getting too hurt to fly for a couple months and screwing up my schooling (training to be commercial helicopter pilot / flight instructor and can't fly with a broken arm or leg...).

    A descent I wouldn't consider while in school would be...
    A short, not very steep descent witch flattens out shortly before a large tree to the left, with a root extending perpendicular across the trail. Other side of that root is perhaps a 1' drop to a short, steep transition pad of pavers which ends in a 5-6' drop to flat. The flat is fairly sandy and has trees to the left about 15-20' after the drop. Immediately after the flat is a somewhat steep left-turn climb up the side of an embankment with many roots and small-to-medium sized rocks.

    I'm pretty sure the Scalpel could handle what I want to ride, and I won't be replacing parts shortly after buying the bike. Certainly not within a year as everything is under warranty. I figure it would be two years before I start focusing on bringing the weight down between 25 and 25.5#s However, if it's "twitchy" on downhills... it won't be the right bike for me. I don't want to "twitch" into the side of a tree at 30mph and go headfirst into a limestone cliff.

  8. #8
    Birthday Collector
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    For the trail that you say you ride now, the C'dale would be a perfectly decent ride - but do check out other bikes and don't buy something just because you like the price. If you are doing any "drop" of 5 to 6 ft, then you will break the Scalpel unless you weigh 120 lbs. Even then you might break it. Check the height of that drop - if you walk up to it and it is as tall as you are, you want a fairly burly bike. A 25 lb suspension bike is meant for XC racing or at best trail-riding, unless you spent cubic dollars to have custom built Ti and unobtanium, with Carbon fiber trim. Overall what you are doing sounds like trail riding to me, except for a 5 ft drop. NORBA and UCI race courses may have 1 ft drops and a few steps in them, but they are not very rough compared to a real "trail ride" and "All-Mountain" (in my definition) is rough trail riding with some bigger drops, ledges or very sketchy surfaces. I would not concern yourself with the overall weight of the bike as much as others have said here before, the ride quality and value. If that drop is more like 3 ft to flat a Stumpy FSR, as well as bikes from Kona, Jamis and others would do well. The Stumpy can be had for about $2k and will be 4 or 5 lbs lighter than what you are on today. The Jamis weighs about the same as what you have now, but nice suspension and could probably handle the 5 ft drop too. If you don't plan on the 5 ft drop being part of something you will ride, then the C'dale would probably work for you - but try everything you can in your price range and buy what feels the best.

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