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  1. #1
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    Converting my 2013 Scalpel 2 29er to 27.5..Help!

    OK, I was just about ready to post my 2013 Scalpel 2 on Ebay and get rid of it..So this is a last ditch effort before doing so..I'm 54 years old and simply bought the wrong bike..I raced expert in my 30's and 40's (expert? whats that you say?) so I'm far from a beginner in mt biking..I jumped on the 29er bandwagon and just hate the bike..I live on the east coast and ride the gnarliest **** around and the difference between 29 and 26 was much more than I expected.(way more) The 29er is awful on tight singletrack, climbing steep technical, and the overall BIG feeling on the bike makes for a lousy east coast bike. Don't even get me started on the "rolls over everything" myth! If I lived out west, I wouldn't hesitate to keep this..This is not a crack at C'dale either..Love the bikes..So, please, your opinions on if I can make the conversion on my 29er to 27.5 easily, and will it help me get more of the smaller, quicker bike I have with my 2001 Giant NRS ONE 26"?..I did a few searches but nothing substantial told me yes or no..I'm ready to sell this but would love some opinions on the conversion and if it will help me before I go through the whole selling/re-buying process..Thanks so much.

    Mike..

  2. #2
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    don't do it. the wheel base is a significant part of the problem. not to mention pedal strikes with a lower bb. mho: sell it and wait for a cdale demo event in your area / ride before you buy. good luck!
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  3. #3
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    Mike, I don't agree with your comments 29'r does not work on east coast terrain. Although that could be the difference between your Scalpel and my Flash 29'r. I feel my Flash carbon is a great climber and does well on tight single track. Could it possibly be a setup issue that is causing you such dislike of the bike? Again I can't speak to the Scalpel since I have never ridden one myself. I have yet for me at least to see a need for a FS bike and I am about to turn 47 soon. i have always felt I was faster then most on FS with my hardtail when I was racing back in the 90's and it still felt that way in a race I entered last summer for the first time in years. I remember how I used to feel after a race long ago and after that race last year I felt great and attribute the 29r to a more comfortable ride then my old 26r carbon hard tail I used to race. That course I was on last summer was pretty technical imo and I rode through areas others were walking/pushing their bikes. I would examine the setup of your bike before completely moving on from it.
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  4. #4
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    I would also like to suggest your setup and or if the bike is too big for you? The great news is you really dont like it, cannondales have an awesome resale value!!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash29r View Post
    Mike, I don't agree with your comments 29'r does not work on east coast terrain. Although that could be the difference between your Scalpel and my Flash 29'r. I feel my Flash carbon is a great climber and does well on tight single track. Could it possibly be a setup issue that is causing you such dislike of the bike? Again I can't speak to the Scalpel since I have never ridden one myself. I have yet for me at least to see a need for a FS bike and I am about to turn 47 soon. i have always felt I was faster then most on FS with my hardtail when I was racing back in the 90's and it still felt that way in a race I entered last summer for the first time in years. I remember how I used to feel after a race long ago and after that race last year I felt great and attribute the 29r to a more comfortable ride then my old 26r carbon hard tail I used to race. That course I was on last summer was pretty technical imo and I rode through areas others were walking/pushing their bikes. I would examine the setup of your bike before completely moving on from it.
    Thanks for the reply..

    I have played with the set up..At this point its not an issue..The problem for me is that these bikes feel massive..Tall and long..I'm 5'11'' 165 lbs, a large size frame..The frame size seems right..This bike is nothing like my Giant NRS 26" when it comes to riding technical..Pointing this bike at slow speeds through tight, rocky, rooty singletrack is nothing but a chore..Momentum has so much to do with it..If your not above a certain speed for the terrain, the bike stops..Trying to "spin and power" your way out of a tough situation is nearly impossible on 29" wheels..And especially climbing steep technical..Theres too much bike to handle..Finding the center of gravity when standing takes way too long..I ride 2 of my favorite areas consistently with both bikes on different days..Stuff I have no problem going up/down on the 26 is either a fall over or missed corner on the Scalpel..The slow turning in corners and the even slower turning wheels for climbing steep is just unacceptable where I live..You can't throw this bike around or point it where YOU want to go..So that means basically hitting everything with momentum and speed and hoping the bike gets you through..To me, it feels like the bike is controlling me and not the other way around..Its hard for me to believe that riders like 29ers where I live..When group riding, I always get beat by the smaller wheels..I made a bad choice buying this bike and thought putting 27.5 wheels might help but I think at this point, selling the bike and cutting my losses is the best thing right now..Disappointing to say the least..

  6. #6
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    Converting my 2013 Scalpel 2 29er to 27.5..Help!

    There is a thread about swapping a headset spacer from the top to the bottom, slackening the head angle a bit. This made a huge difference in how the bike felt. It is much less twitchy and overall feel much better. This may be worth a shot....
    Last edited by jon.moab; 03-30-2014 at 04:00 PM.

  7. #7
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    Respect your opinion for sure but my experience is drastically different.

    I'm 6.0 165lbs, 53 with a large Scalpel 29er and ride WV-VA with a much bigger smile since retiring the 26" wheels. I actually sit slightly lower in the cockpit on my Scalpel then I did on my 26" Rush.

    Lower gears maybe ????

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    Thanks.. I did swap the spacer soon after I bought it..It helped greatly because it was jaw dropping bad my first few days out..it was a constant struggle keeping the bike straight..And still is, but better than original..Bird, I rode in Michaud last spring on my way down to S. Carolina and loved riding the area!..I only spent a few hrs there but can see how the Scalpel would be a keeper for me down there..Much more rolling terrain in general than this up and down white knuckle area I live in..Hell, I even emailed Jeremiah Bishop on this and he also mentioned asked about my set-up but also said he wouldn't use the FS 29er up here. Go figure..Anyway, without getting too crazy on this, I spent 5k on a light-weight XC race bike thats barely worth 2.5k now thats less than a year old and NEVER felt comfortable on..My mistake buying a great bike matched to the wrong terrain..

  9. #9
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    Hm, I ride a lot of gnarly terrain with my Trigger 29er (granted, different bike) and I got on with it extremely quickly and it feels awesome.

    Before changing bikes, I would suggest you try doing the following:

    Try wider handlebars, flat or with low rise (720mm-740mm)
    Shorter stem
    Use less pressure in tyres

    Note that 29ers reward steady cadence more than pedal mashing, and at least for climbing, I find them much better, plus larger wheels give more clearance over rocks. It's just a matter of approach. I can understand that you've used 26er for a lot of time, so it's hard to teach yourself different way to ride a bike.

    If all else fails, I'd definitely try swapping it for 26" if you feel it's better for you + cash.
    26" bikes go for peanuts nowadays and you can definitely find people willing to do this.

    It would be much better than selling the bike, not to mention converting to 27.5"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mallai View Post
    Thanks.. I did swap the spacer soon after I bought it..It helped greatly because it was jaw dropping bad my first few days out..it was a constant struggle keeping the bike straight..And still is, but better than original..Bird, I rode in Michaud last spring on my way down to S. Carolina and loved riding the area!..I only spent a few hrs there but can see how the Scalpel would be a keeper for me down there..Much more rolling terrain in general than this up and down white knuckle area I live in..Hell, I even emailed Jeremiah Bishop on this and he also mentioned asked about my set-up but also said he wouldn't use the FS 29er up here. Go figure..Anyway, without getting too crazy on this, I spent 5k on a light-weight XC race bike thats barely worth 2.5k now thats less than a year old and NEVER felt comfortable on..My mistake buying a great bike matched to the wrong terrain..


    Something is not right !!! You definitely have the right bike for the NE. At 5'11 a 29er should be excellent.

    First thing I would do is take out all the spacers in the stem. That will liven up the steering immensely.

    Second, did you take the tubes out of the tires and run them tubeless. I am shocked at how many people leave the tubes in. Tubes in tubeless wheels will make the bike feel slow and sluggish. (It's a goofy recommendation but like I said 'something isn't adding up here')

    Three, don't even dream of turning it into a 27.5er. IT WILL NOT WORK !!

  11. #11
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    i don't like the 29r either.. I want one, just for certain rides, they are fast and do let you carry speed. but they are big and generally have long chain stays, for me they feel kinda boring to ride.. my preference is 27.5 and I am in ohio.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by turnerth View Post
    i don't like the 29r either.. I want one, just for certain rides, they are fast and do let you carry speed. but they are big and generally have long chain stays, for me they feel kinda boring to ride.. my preference is 27.5 and I am in ohio.
    EXCELLENT point..I feel the same way..If all of us could afford one of each, we'd have one of each..So right..There are some rides where a 29er would be the poison of choice but... MOST rides, a 27.5 will be ideal, and I think that is the consensus with not only me, but the whole population in general, including the manufacturers..I can NEVER see the 29er market outselling the 27.5 market once this takes hold, which it already has....

  13. #13
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    All I can add is, I live on the east coast, and have been riding 29er since before they were cool, and most of the guys I ride with, are now too.

    Rooty, rocky, muddy, tight, fast, twisty, and you can pry the wheel size from all of our cold dead fingers. Why I'd want less of the advantages they offer, is a question I won't bother exploring.

    Can't speak for the bike, don't know the geo, but a low BB in the east would suck. Long wheel base would suck too.

    I'd offer the concept of needing to ride the bike for a while to learn how to ride it, just like any new bike, the body language required, is different, and the wheels add a second layer to that learning. I get back on a 26 every now and then cause I feel sorry for them, just hanging there. Can't stand the way they ride.

    Count me out as part of the population in general, in my general population, we need 650B or 26 (unless you're perhaps, 5' 2") like we need a pinkie finger in the middle of our backs.
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  14. #14
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    Regarding 29er's agility...

    Not Cannondale, but not too bad IMO

  15. #15
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    Converting my 2013 Scalpel 2 29er to 27.5..Help!

    I'm on a 429 but if I rode knarly east coast ALL the time I would prefer a 27.5. I had a scalpeli and it's not the best trail bike IMO because of the geo.


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  16. #16
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    I live in Virginia and I too have had a different experience. I just rode today on a local trail that is full of huge roots. Coming from a hard tail, I can definitely feel the difference in control that the scalpel gives me. Coming from an aluminum frame, I can definitely feel the difference in weight and acceleration with the scalpel. I absolutely love it. I feel like superman on mine.

    That being said, if you don't like it, you don't like it. Maybe you did buy the wrong bike for what you wanna do. The post above this one (Marin) has some good suggestions.

    The scalpel is made for "xc" speed and control (not for comfort or for drops, etc). If you are looking for something different then you did buy the wrong bike. The scalpel is not going to offer you a plush ride. It's just enough to help you keep control on those bumpy descents.

    You need to lower your handlebars if you are having problems climbing cause I'm climbing real hilly, loose rock, root filled terrain with ease.

    I do agree there is a huge difference in feel of a 26 vs 29 and it just may not be for you.

  17. #17
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    OP - I think the Scalpel is solely designed for smooth, groomed XC race courses with some mild chunk thrown-in....not real world NE trails. If you wanted a super light trail bike, the Trek Superfly 29er is better suited to your riding conditions.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    OP - I think the Scalpel is solely designed for smooth, groomed XC race courses with some mild chunk thrown-in....not real world NE trails. If you wanted a super light trail bike, the Trek Superfly 29er is better suited to your riding conditions.
    Is this a joke? Scalpel slays a Superfly in every situation and does not have frame breaking issues.

    The Scalpel chainstays are the same as the Giant you have. I went from a 29 to a 27.5 and sold it 3 days later due to the same issues, turned like crap and did not go over and climb well compared to my Scalpel.

    Just sell it and get something else. IMHO

  19. #19
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    Holy necro thread batman!

    Based on everything the OP posted in this thread, it seems to me he bought the wrong size frame. Let's look at these three statements from the OP:

    Quote Originally Posted by mallai View Post
    The problem for me is that these bikes feel massive..Tall and long..I'm 5'11'' 165 lbs, a large size frame..
    Then he says "The frame size seems right". Umm...

    I'm also roughly 5'11" (a bit over) and I would describe (for me) a large frame size Scalpel exactly the same way. He should have bought a medium or a different bike - blaming the wheel size seems very misplaced to me. I would guess that converting the bike to 27.5" fixed nothing for him if he tried it. Smaller wheels aren't going to magically shrink the frame. The importance of proper frame fit can't be underestimated. It breaks my heart to watch a rider get their heart set on a certain bike and then try to fudge a bad fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    OP - I think the Scalpel is solely designed for smooth, groomed XC race courses with some mild chunk thrown-in....not real world NE trails.
    Go on...? I've ridden and raced in NE, so I'm very interested in hearing more about your thinking on this.

    edited for grammer/clarity
    Last edited by Yerts; 3 Weeks Ago at 02:27 PM.

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    Hi, I have the same exact bike as you do but in a medium frame, I'm 5' 9" and ~150 lbs.
    I ride mainly in north east Maryland on mostly rooty, rocky, single track. Contrary to your experience I am continuously amazed how agile the bike is and with it's ability to roll over everything in it's path. I do agree though that on very steep climbs I have to
    remain seated for optimal traction. I have experimented with various positions while standing up the steeps but I find the rear wheel breaks loose easily. I rode a 26er, and still do on occasion, for over 25 years and really don't feel I have conceded anything except the steep climbing ability. All I can suggest is maybe a medium frame would suit you better or another 29er with a different geometry, Good Luck

  21. #21
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    Do you feel the traction issue while climbing comes from the chainstay length or handlebar position? Or neither?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    OP - I think the Scalpel is solely designed for smooth, groomed XC race courses with some mild chunk thrown-in....not real world NE trails. If you wanted a super light trail bike, the Trek Superfly 29er is better suited to your riding conditions.
    Let's look at some numbers between two comparably sized Superfly and Scalpel frames (the identical 17.5" seat tube frames from each):

    The Superfly's chainstays are 8mm longer (452 vs 444).
    The Superfly's wheelbase is 32 mm longer (1131 vs 1099).
    The Superfly's BB height is 2mm lower (330 vs 332).
    The Superfly's standover is 24mm higher (771 vs 747).

    Last time I rode Velociraptor over on the south side of the Holyoke Range (MA), I'm pretty sure a longer wheelbase, longer chainstays, less standover, and a lower bottom bracket were not what I was wishing for.
    Last edited by Yerts; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:29 PM.

  23. #23
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    Bigger wheels are either heavier or weaker than smaller ones. That makes them slow to accelerate and more reluctant to turn due to increased gysoscopic forces...IMO it's critical to get the weight down on 29er wheels in order for the bike to ride nicely. I even see decent Cannondales come specced with what I would say are quite heavy wheels.

  24. #24
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    Converting my 2013 Scalpel 2 29er to 27.5..Help!

    Long stem and 71.5deg HA, and you are surprised it hangs up on everything?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimification View Post
    IMO it's critical to get the weight down on 29er wheels in order for the bike to ride nicely.
    I remember riding much heavier 26" wheels back in the early nineties (comparable rims and tires weighed noticeably more on average back then) and all those bikes still rode nicely. Are you sure "critical" is the word your looking for here?

    Now if you're talking strictly XC racing, then I wholeheartedly agree it's critical.

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