Scalpel durability & reliability
I am considering buying a Scalpell 2000 but I am sceptical about the durability and reliability of the frame -especialy the carbon chain stays. I am concerned that they would get hit in a fall or scrathed by the chain too much and the composite would delaminate. I've been riding since 1989 but only bought two bikes so far. So when I buy something it is for the long run. I am also somewhat concerned about the level of maintenance. I have always done pretty much everything on my bikes myself so far -fork oil change, misc component replacement etc. Does the scalpel require a lot of maintenance?
The alternative is a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR but there it's the number of joints that bother me, hence the choice for a softail to minimize the weak points.
Any feedback from users with a few years of experience would be welcome.
I haven't had my Scalpel for very long, but in response to your concern about the chainstay delaminating from chain slap, I solved that problem by putting on a Bushwood chainstay protector (basically 3mm neoprene closed up with velcro). The Scalpel comes with a fairly thick plastic transparent chainstay protector that can be replaced when it wears out, but like you I don't like the idea of the chain slapping on the chainstay, plus I hate noisy bikes.
Cannondale also asks you not to use poor gear ratios (ie small chainring & smallest cog) as the chain will drag across the chainstay, or to fit different sized large chainrings as the tolerances for front derailleur setup are so fine. Having said that, it sounds more trouble than it actually is, but as you rightly asked, take the advice of long term owners.
In terms of durability, I wonder how heavy you are? I'm only 68kg (150 lbs) and pick my way through obstacles rather than blasting through them, so I can make a light bike last a long time.
I've got my Scalpel 3000 now for about half a year. Haven't had any serious problems with the frame or fork during this time. I'm 83kg and I prefer something I call "fall line biking". So don't worry about the stability of the Scalpel frame or the Lefty. I do a lot of serious, race oriented, XC and some downhill, where only the smoking brakes make me slow down or stop for a moment ;o)
As I said, the Scalpel frame and the Lefty aren't a problem. But I had a lot of problems with the Shimano XTR components and the Mavic CrossMax SL wheels. The new XTR stuff is much to light weighted so it wears ways to fast and all the plastic crap breaks or just falls off for no reason. For the CrossMax I've to say, that these are great wheels for XC racing or Sunday outing, but they're not built as every day and training wheelset.
If your not a weight weenie go with a cheaper Scalpel than the 3000 or the team replica. It may be a little heavier but hopefully the components mix may be more durable then what's found on the top models.
The maintenance is fairly low, not as little as on a hardtail but still less then most FS bikes. The Lefty is well wrapped up in it's fork boot, so you just may do some maintenance once or twice a year. Also the rear triangle doesn't need a lot of attention, always clean the damper after dirty or dusty rides and check all the joints and screws one a month - that's all!
If you're a self made man the Lefty and the front wheel may make you worry a bit. You will need some special tools to service the Lefty and a special adapter to place the front wheel in a truening stand. The rest of the required tools is almost the same you need so service a usual bike.
PS: If you plan to use your bike also for packed touring don't go with the Lefty, there is no way to fit some panniers on, get a model with a classic HeadShock instead.
Last edited by joschi; 08-17-2004 at 05:10 AM.
Light stuff craze
Thanks for the feedback. It just confirms my choice to go for the 2000 scalpel. The Shimano XT hardware and the Mavic X819 rims should be more ruged than the XTR and SL rims of the 3000. As far as weight, all I've got to do is loose a pound myself and that will compensate for the heavier bike! I am not a fan of super light components, you've got to put things in perspective and look at the total weight on the bike !!
Originally Posted by joschi
I have a Scalpel 2000 however it's fitted with XR components. The mian wear items are chainrings. Everything else wears better than XT.
I'd say for durability and relaibility the 2000 is an excellent choice and it's not much heavier than the 3000 if you aslo fit those Xmax wheels.
I don't want the Xmax because they're expensive to repair and spokes are hard to come by.
Asfor the frame and suspension I can't fault those at all. Superb and well engineered. A mate o mine has the 2001 model ball burnished 2000 and it is still going strong. Stays are intact and the pivots have notbeen serviced.
The Lefty is as plush and sure tracking as the day he first rode the bike.
Mine is now nearly a year old and it is the very best bike I have ever purchased.Glad I did not go with an Epic because a lady, Annette who rides with us, had her Brain shock have a brain fade and the bike wasa hard tail from them on till the shock ran out of air and then it just bottomed.
She had to stop riding.
Also shehas just last week replaced all the pivot bearings due to wear. The bike is just over a yea old. She's buying a Scalpel now...
I don;t know where the crack n fail name comes from but this Scalpel is my thrid Cannondale and I have not had a single one fail on me yet, nor crack.
great bikes, just buy it, ride it clean it and forget that it there till you need to ride it again.
Meanwhile I've managed it to rip my DLR Lefty but you really have to do some very stupid things with this fork to make it gone and I'm sure you woun't
This just as a completion of my prior post ...
I've had my 2003 Scalpel 800 for nearly 2 years now.
IT has seen some abuse with narry a scar or damage to show.
The frame / headshok / carbon stays have held up to everything I have thrown at it.
Mainly agressive XC riding. No extreme downhill/freeride stuff.
some racing. I really like it .
and I weigh 200 pounds.
= Scalpel Durability + What price my Scalpel =
I can echo all the comments so far in favor of the Scalpels durability. I have had my 1000 for just over a year now and have NO issues. I have ridden tuff XC + some mild downhill and it has been a dream. Stable, Solid, Great uphill pedalling and superb braking from the Magura's.
With regard to the potential wear on Chainstay, I still have the original plastic protector and it is fine. I have no measurable signs of wear despite use almost every weekend.
This brings me to the sad suggestion that I need to sell the beast, a few months ago I had a Turner 5 Spot built up for more challenging trails at Skeggs Pint and up at NorthStar. Since then my Scalpel has only had short pavement rides near my house and I cannot avoid the wife's suggestion that I sell the Scalpel.
What price could one ask for the following in good condition:
03' Scalpel 1000 0n ball burnished Alu (photo's when gotten around to it).
Titanium Lefty with lockout
Fox Float rear shock
Mavic 3.1 rims (predessesor to 717)
Magura Marta brakes (fabulous and light)
XTR front and rear derailleur
Easton alu flat bar
Fi'zi:k Nisens seat
Currently wearing Panaracer XC UST's
Contact through site, or email@example.com, or 650 255 5822.
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