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  1. #1
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    Scalpel vs. Rush

    I'm new to Cannondale. I've never ridden one of their mountain bikes (except around the parking lot). I'm looking for a new XC race machine for next year and Cannondale is tops on the list. I've heard a lot of good things about each bike, but I'm still not sure which way to go. I'm leaning towards the Scalpel, but the new suspension design has me a little apprehensive. In all likelihood, it's probably an improvement. The Rush is advertised as their "marathon" racer. I'm an avid racer. I've raced 2 full seasons, and I'd like to ultimately move out of Sport and into Expert. I was wondering if anyone could give me some extra insight that the website does not. Since I have not ridden a new Scalpel, and I have not trail ridden a Rush, I'm interested in opinions. Most of the races I'll do are the 90 minute Sport XC races... but occasionally I'll dabble in some 5, 12, and 18 hour races. Perhaps the year after next I'll try some 24 solo stuff... but I maybe not. Depends on how 12 and 18 hours feel. Longest race I've done thus far is a couple 5 hour "Enduros".

    Give me some opinions on these two bikes please...

  2. #2
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    It depends on skill level

    I have on 05 Scalpel and 06 Rush. They are both about as light as they can get. In general I am much faster on the Rush because of the more laid back position and lower BB and overall lower CG. If I am riding on fire trails or something I am faster on my Scapel, but on hilly rocky, technical stuff I am much more timid and have wrecked more on my Scapel. If your skills are up tot he Scalpel then it will likely be better, if not the the Rush is a safer bet.

    Good luck

  3. #3
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    I am in the same boat as yourself, I have a rush right now and just sold the old style scalpel I was faster and more confident on my rush but will say the scalpel did pedal better in some places. I live in the southeast and race sport I will hope to move up to Expert the end of the year, I want a lighter race bike but not sure which way to go myself. One point I will make and this is opinion the rush to me feels like your riding a BMX bike in the way you can ride off the rear wheel and float the front end more, which I happen to like that feeling. Plus in the southeast most of the coarses are tight and rooty so that favors the rush the rear wheel stays hooked to the ground better. The scalpel maybe aimed more toward world cup coarses that are not like what I race on. ?????????

  4. #4
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    Well, one of the reasons that I'm leaning towards a Scalpel is because I climb really well. I have a pretty good power to weight ratio, and fly up most hills. I live in Richmond, VA, and most of the trails around here are singletrack with quite a few roots. Nothing too crazy though. Although I'll probably do some races in the western part of the state next year, and that's when you get into the mountains.

    I'm sure either way, I'll have a sweet bike. Just trying to get the best bike for my buck. Ideally, I'd like to have both. But that's in a perfect world.

  5. #5
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    I always felt like the old style scalpel was chattery in the rearend and on roots an rocks the rear was of the ground and not moving foward at some points, but I will say the lighter i got the better it rode. I wonder if the new scalpel is better about that? I did do a test on a climb here local and I climbed a bit faster and the rush, and it was about 2 pounds more.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin153
    Well, one of the reasons that I'm leaning towards a Scalpel is because I climb really well. I have a pretty good power to weight ratio, and fly up most hills. I live in Richmond, VA, and most of the trails around here are singletrack with quite a few roots. Nothing too crazy though. Although I'll probably do some races in the western part of the state next year, and that's when you get into the mountains.

    I'm sure either way, I'll have a sweet bike. Just trying to get the best bike for my buck. Ideally, I'd like to have both. But that's in a perfect world.
    I'M LOCATED IN YOUR AREA AS WELL AND MOSTLY RIDE IN POCAHONTAS STATE PARK WITH MY PROPHET.
    THOSE TRAILS AROUND HERE ARE IDEAL FOR THE NEW SCALPEL IMO.
    I HAVE A PROPHET BECAUSE I JUST WANT TO HAVE A LIGHT DO IT ALL BIKE AND SINCE I'M IN THE MILITARY NEVER KNOW WHERE I MIGHT MOVE NEXT.
    IF YOU MOSTLY RIDE TRAILS LIKE POCAHONTAS OR BUTTERMILK TRAIL IN RICHMOND YOU'LL LOVE THE LIGHTER WEIGHT AND EVERYTHING ELSE THE NEW SCALPEL HAS TO OFFER I BET.
    ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE SERIOUS ABOUT RACING.
    "Common sense isn't always that common!"
    Custom Prophet and Custom "Leftified" Delta V

  7. #7
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    That's the way I'm leaning. I think the Scalpel would be fine for everything around the Richmond area. Singletrack, singletrack, singletrack. I also think it would improve my only strength, climbing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin153
    That's the way I'm leaning. I think the Scalpel would be fine for everything around the Richmond area. Singletrack, singletrack, singletrack. I also think it would improve my only strength, climbing.
    Shouldn't you aim at improving your weaknesses more than your strength?

    DAN.GEROUS.NET : MOUNTAIN BIKING : CYCLOCROSS : ROAD :

  9. #9
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    I'm going to work on that too. Isn't the saying, "Train your weaknesses and race your strengths." Or something like that...

    I have a lot of explosive power and a very good power to weight ratio, so why wouldn't I want something that races those strengths? Wouldn't make sense for me to race downhill (although I wouldn't call downhill a weakness either). My biggest weakness is anaerobic starts. I blow up easily, which means I need to train harder. Kinda hard to find a bike that helps with that.

  10. #10
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    Try cross there's a anaerobic start for you. I did get a small amout of saddle time on the aluminum version of the the new scalpel. The problem was the Cdale truck only had a xlarge for us taller people; it was to big for me, so it was hard to get a real feel for the bike. Of coarse the scalpel frame would build up a light race bike maybe 23 pounds without going crazy thats light for a full suspension mountainbike. To race in the expert class you need to be at least 5 watts per kilo of body weight on a field test. For me thats a field test of 350 I am a little shy of that. I am at 70 kilos.

  11. #11
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    I raced cross for the first time this year and the anaerobic start is what killed me. I found that if I went out too fast, I'd finish dead last. And if I didn't go out fast enough, I was playing catch-up the whole race.

    I weight about 142 pounds (or 64 kilos). I don't know how many watts per kilo of body weight I produce. I'd like to get tested. I've only met one other person that can climb hills faster than me (I'm sure there are many, just haven't ridden with them)... so that's my basis for my assumption that I have a good power to weight ratio. This off-season, I'd like to try to get down to about 135 pounds (61 kilos). That would help a lot if I wasn't carrying around an extra 5-7 pounds. I don't think I can go any lighter than that. 135 might be too light. I'm about 5' 6".

  12. #12
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    Thats a great size for mountain bike racing I am really to big at 160 I do better on the road but I don't like it as much. 5 pounds is about 8 watts worth of savings. My son is 20 years old and is 5-10 and weighs 140 and does around 306 he goes up hill fast also, on our local road climb which is 3 miles he does 14.53 and I am at 16.44 thats at 330-340 but most the time I am at 17.00min. You need to be around 308 watts. its pound times 4.4 to figure your kilos to put in perspective armstrong avg. 435 up alp'duez at 69 kilos and that was 40 min.

  13. #13
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    Try here for weight conversion:
    http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/weight_conversion.php

    I'm 155LBS / 70.3 kilos, so I guess I need to be putting out 351.5 watts. I have no idea what I actually produce, but I do know that a half-hour at race pace leaves me gasping. Granted, this is on a 26.5LB Rush with a Camelback.

    Back to the original question. I believe the new Rush, with its greater rear travel than the old one, should serve you very well for the XC races and occasional endurance races. Buy the bike that suits the type of racing you do most often.

    I have a Rush because I very rarely race, but do enough "all mountain" trail riding to use the bike to its limits (or at least close).
    In the end it has less to do with the bike and more with the engine, so if what you ride leaves you with a smile, you've made the right decision.
    Same goes for women.
    '06 Cannondale Rush 1000 4" travel 27lbs
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  14. #14
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    For traditional XC courses it would be hard to beat the Scalpel, I like the Rush for the rough marathon courses, it helps to be able to sit and conserve energy after many hours on the bike.
    If your anaerobic starting is causing you to drop off pace later I would actually suggest you need more aerobic endurance. That is what enables rapid recovery from hard efforts. Do some reading, get a coach or a good training plan and remember there is no substitute for a lot of miles.

    Kevin

  15. #15
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    Yes, I do need to do build a bigger aerobic engine. I just started "seriously" riding again in '05 after 6 years off the bike due to a nagging knee injury. I doubt I rode a combined 200 miles in that time frame. I did 2,300 last year, but missed the last 4 months of the year because I crashed pretty badly and sprained my ankle (not your typical mountain bike injury) and that took basically 6 months of rehab. Again, this year I got in another 2,300 miles... but I was really only averaging about 50 miles a week.

    Most of the stuff in my area isn't very gnarly, or hardcore. Some rock gardens and roots are the toughest that Richmond, VA can throw at anyone. Some steep hills, but they never really give me a problem. I'm leaning towards the Scalpel because the majority of the races I'm going to do are going to be the shorter 90 minute variety. Maybe in a year or two (or whenever I come up with the cash), I can add a Rush to the stable. Too bad I can't buy both. But it's like that saying goes, "I'm just one bike purchase away from a divorce." Well, I'm not one bike purchase away... but if I bought two, I'd probably be contacting a lawyer...

  16. #16
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    Go for the Scalpel, either alloy or carbon would be a great bike (pity they dont do the alloy in BB30), to me it sounds like that would be the best choice for your riding and terrain. It will do great over the longer distances as well, after all Tinker did nearly all his marathon racing on a Taurine this year. I went with the Rush because I have low back issues and race grassroots endurance events in Arizona over rough and technical terrain.
    For building the aerobic engine nothing like spending some road miles. I have a CAAD 9 with an inexpensive build that I use for my road miles and plan on adding a Bad Boy to the stable for my 45 mile bike path/street round trip work commute.

    Kevin

  17. #17
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    I'm also now hesitating between those two bikes. I ordered a Scalpel 2, but I'm now thinking about changing my mind and going with the Rush Carbon 2. There's about 750$ difference between the two, and I do Marathon races. What do you guys think would be the best one ?

  18. #18
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    I have the rush 2 and I love it so much. I just rode for about 3 hours today and it felt like nothing. Its such a great climber, and descends as well as any 4 inch bike could ever hope to. For longish rides is a very comfortable position. Plus the fox lefty is out is sweeet.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemieujp
    I'm also now hesitating between those two bikes. I ordered a Scalpel 2, but I'm now thinking about changing my mind and going with the Rush Carbon 2. There's about 750$ difference between the two, and I do Marathon races. What do you guys think would be the best one ?
    And is the $$ difference really worth it ??

  20. #20
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    I have not yet ridden a new Scalpel, so I can't give a real opinion on it. I suspect that it would be my first choice, but I'm not worried about trying it, as I know I can't afford one. The question about whether it is worth over $700 more for a new Scalpel over a Rush is a very good one, and I don't have the answer. I love the fact that Cannondale has improved the Scalpel, but it would have been nice if they could have kept the price closer to the old one and the Rush.

    I ride an older (06) Scalpel, and have spent a lot of time on a Rush comparing the strengths of each bike. I am way faster downhill on the Rush, not so much because of the greater rear travel, but mostly because of the slightly slacker head tube angle, which really inspires a lot more confidence on steep technical stuff for me. The new scalpel splits the difference on head tube angle between the old one and a Rush, so I'm sure I would like it better (though I have never found the Rush handling to be a problem in fast tight sections, so overall I think I would prefer the slacker head tube angle of the Rush). But my Scalpel feels faster on climbs, and even more importantly much faster on flat big ring sprints. To me, the Rush has a lot of bob in the big ring even with pro-pedal. The Rush actually feels pretty great on steep climbs in the small or middle ring, but the Scalpel is still a little better. Now, hopefully the new Scalpel retains all the climbing and sprinting ability of the old one even though it has longer travel. As I said, I haven't tried it, so I can't give an opinion on that. I think my preferred bike would be an old style Scalpel with the 69 degree head angle of the Rush. If they would just make something like a 120 mm travel Lefty I could put on my old Scalpel, I might love that.

    Now, one issue I have noticed with both the Scalpel and the Rush - for large or extra large frames, the head tube length is ridiculously short. It sure would be nice if Cannondale would make Lefty's in different sizes to work with different head tube lengths for larger frames. I ride a large frame (which is about the right top tube length), and with the saddle at the right height, I have a lot of seat tube showing (x-large doesn't help - it only increases top tube length, not seat tube length). The new scalpels have a shorter top tube than the old ones for the same frame size (they now match the Rush), but also an even shorter seat tube (they also now match the Rush there as well), so I would need even more seat tube - too much I think. Anyway, back to the head tube length issue - I have to use a 1.5 inch hi-rise handle bar to even get close to the right handle bar height. I still have a lot of drop from my seat to the bars. I've tried using a higher rise stem, but for me that totally ruined the handling for some reason. So, with the hi-rise bar and 5 degree 120mm stem, I am able to get an acceptable, very aggressive riding position on a large Scalpel or Rush frame, but I would really still prefer at least a slightly longer head tube and definitely a longer seat tube than the on the Rush or new Scalpel. For these reasons, I suspect that my next bike will not be a Cannondale, but we'll see. For now I still feel faster on my old Scalpel than any other bike I have tried.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkJ70
    I have not yet ridden a new Scalpel, so I can't give a real opinion on it. I suspect that it would be my first choice, but I'm not worried about trying it, as I know I can't afford one. The question about whether it is worth over $700 more for a new Scalpel over a Rush is a very good one, and I don't have the answer. I love the fact that Cannondale has improved the Scalpel, but it would have been nice if they could have kept the price closer to the old one and the Rush.

    When I said about 750$ difference, it is the Rush Carbon 2 that cost about 750$ MORE than the Scalpel 2. Mostly because the Rush has better wheels (XTR), crank (C'dale SI), BB30 and other components.

    Now, knowing that, would you go with the Scalpel or the Rush ?

    Thanks for your opinion.

  22. #22
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    [QUOTE=MarkJ70
    The new scalpels have a shorter top tube than the old ones for the same frame size (they now match the Rush),[/QUOTE]


    Not true. It's .1 inch longer plus the seat tube angles is steeper on the new model, by .5 degree. This also makes the front of the bike longer if the saddle is in the same position over the BB. The scalpel should also be longer then the same size carbon rush even though the horizontal top tube length is the same. Rush STA is 73.5 and scalpel is 74. Maybe a ~.5cm difference.

    I own and race a large 2004 scalpel with a 120mm stem and small riser bar as well. I've test ridden a new model and loved it. Every thing i would change about mine, the new one has. Lighter, seemed a little stiff, rear end is 1 cm shorter and the barely slacker head tube angle is also nice. I've ridden a alloy rush, my wifes, which is too small for me but i feel about the same as you comparing the two. The rush i think is a better all arounder but i've just got to have the faster, lighter, more nimble bike.

    The shorter chainstays is one of my fav. part of the new scalpel. Huge difference. The new scalpel really is like the old but just better.

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