This 2019 Cannondale Scalpel-Si Limited Edition with Shimano XTR is Right On Time
The all-new Shimano XTR M9100 MTB groupset was first announced late May of 2018, with ride tests from varying news outlets coming out in June of 2018. In August of 2018, Shimano sends an update saying a factory fire and manufacturing issues created the perfect storm of delays. As of today, Shimano still hasn't released the new XTR to the aftermarket, and many major brands have outright cancelled their planned 2019 XTR models to regroup for 2020. Luckily for us, we were able to snag some of the few 2019 Cannondale Scalpel-Si Hi-Mod Limited Edition bikes with an XTR drivertrain in the United States. It's worth the wait. This Scalpel-Si receives some of the best components available at any pricepoint: a ENVE M525 to Industry Nine wheelset, Schwalbe Racing Ray/Racing Ralph tires, a Fox Factory Float DPS EVOL shock, and a ti-railed Fabric Scoop Flat Race saddle. Naturally, it uses the new Cannondale Lefty Ocho Carbon fork, a Cannondale-exclusive that we like quite a bit. In a move that runs counter to the “everything stiffer always” movement of the cycling industry, the new Cannondale Lefty Ocho is 14 percent less stiff torsionally than the old Lefty. They say it’s to improve the bike’s tracking ability in rough terrain; we like that the fork now works with standard tapered headtubes, making this the perfect upgrade for that XC bike you’ve been mulling. We also like that the new Ocho is much more sensitive to small bumps than before, which is no small feat considering the already-high performance of the previous Lefty fork. By using a keyed, triangle stanchion (as opposed to the previous four-sided design), and moving to four sets of roller bearing assemblies, dynamic friction (during movement) is reduced by 75%, and static friction is cut by a whopping 141% compared to a Rockshox SID or a Fox 32 Stepcast fork. On to the star of the show. The new XTR M9100 is as-advertised, if a bit behind schedule. Shifts are instantaneous and definitely approach electronic shifting in the whole "shift when you want, the drivetrain takes care of the rest" ordeal. The brakes, even in the two-piston XTR Race guise, are typical Shimano: plenty of initial bite, with consistent feel. Maybe the biggest difference is that it feels a bit less on/off than typical Shimano, which is a welcome change. We're hoping to get our hands on more of the new Shimano XTR group, and we hope that more people will be able to have the choice between the new SRAM Eagle AXS groupset (review HERE) and the new XTR M9100 group. It's a difficult choice, but one that we're sure this happy Scalpel-Si owner won't lose sleep over. Have any questions about the 2019 Cannondale Scalpel-Si Limited Edition, Shimano XTR, or SRAM Eagle AXS? Send us an email any time to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call during business hours.