2024 specialized TEST

2024 Cannondale Scalpel HT Carbon 2 off road test review opinions pros and cons everything you need to know



The 2024 Cannondale Scalpel HT represents a new concept of XC hardtail, designed to dominate races and aggressive rides. With a light and flexible carbon frame, a performance Lefty Ocho fork and modern geometry, this bike promises to be a real champion.

Off-Road Tests:

The testing terrain was a mix of forest trails, technical singletrack and challenging climbs. The Scalpel HT shined in every situation.


The lightness of the carbon frame and the rigidity of the Ai system are immediately felt when climbing. The bike springs forward with every pedal stroke, allowing you to maintain a fast pace even on the steepest slopes. The Lefty Ocho fork offers great traction and helps overcome obstacles and roots with ease.


The Scalpel HT is stable and fun on the descent. The modern geometries, with an open steering angle and a short rear stay, give the bike surprising agility. The Lefty Ocho fork effectively absorbs the roughness of the terrain, guaranteeing impeccable control.

Technical terrain:

On technical terrain the Scalpel HT proves to be excellent. The Lefty Ocho fork offers pinpoint precision, while the flexibility of the carbon frame helps maintain traction even on the roughest terrain.


Ai Carbon Frame: The Ai Carbon Frame offers a perfect balance of lightness, stiffness and flexibility. Ai technology increases the fork offset, creating a more stable and maneuverable bike.
Lefty Ocho Fork: The 100mm Lefty Ocho fork is a concentration of technology and performance. Lightweight, stiff and equipped with an effective damping system, it offers impeccable control in any condition.
Modern geometries: The Scalpel HT features modern geometries with an open head angle and a short rear end. This makes the bike agile and snappy uphill, stable and fun downhill.
High-end components: The high-end models of the Scalpel HT are equipped with high-end components, such as the Shimano XT drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes.


Price: The Scalpel HT is an expensive bike, especially the top of the range models.
Lack of a rear shock: While efficient and high-performance, the lack of a rear shock can limit comfort and traction on rough terrain.
Lefty Fork: The Lefty Ocho fork, although high-performance, is a little more complex to maintain than a traditional fork.
Expensive maintenance: the cost of spare parts is high, as well as overall maintenance requires experience and time.
Versatility: It's good in competition, but don't ask it to do anything else.

Who is it recommended for:

The Cannondale Scalpel HT is recommended for expert and competitive bikers looking for a high-performance, lightweight and versatile XC hardtail. It is an ideal bike for those who participate in cross country races, marathons and for those who love aggressive rides on technical terrain.


Some alternatives to the Cannondale Scalpel HT include:

Specialized Epic HT
Trek Procaliber
Scott Scale
BMC Twostroke


The 2024 Cannondale Scalpel HT is a top-notch XC hardtail. If you're looking for a high-performance, lightweight and versatile bike, the Scalpel HT is an excellent choice. However, the high price and lack of a rear shock may be a deterrent for some bikers.

Other aspects to consider:

Availability: The Scalpel HT is a very popular bike and may be difficult to find in some stores.
Sizes: The Scalpel HT is available in several sizes but may not fit riders of all heights.
Warranty: Cannondale offers a 2-year warranty on the frame and 1 year on the components, but it is often difficult to enforce it because it does not have an office in Italy.

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NDR: the photo does not refer to the specific bike being tested