It’s not that I don’t like 120mm bikes, but like many others I tend to stick with long-travel, do-it-all bikes that can potentially replace an entire stable. I’d use the “Q” word, but it’s played out.
The problem with long-travel, all-mountain bikes is that they don’t do it all very well. They descend exceptionally well, but most of the time, climb as if nothing depends on it.
The Cannondale Scalpel SE-2 comes at this dilemma from a different angle, or a more popular angle for XC bikes now. Why not keep the climbing ability, and make it descend better, instead of the other way around?
And, that’s the intent of the SE2. Compared to the standard issue Scalpel, Cannondale ditched the Lefty for a Fox 34 with 20mm more travel, and pulled 15mm more travel out of the rear. It’s also got a more aggressive component package, which keeps the bike light, and adds confidence. Did they hit the mark? Let’s take a deeper dive and find out.