Cannondale Scalpel Si
The Cannondale Scalpel Si represents pretty much every advancement made to cross country racing bikes in the last few years. Cannondale uses the acronym Si for System integration to explain why so many parts on a Cannondale bike are specific to the frame. This bike in particular boasts several Cannondale proprietary parts such as the Lefty fork, Si cranks and specially built wheels. Although this can add to some complications when thinking about changing parts around, it does make for great stock builds that are sure to perform right off the sales floor. Along with Si, the latest Scalpel shares geometry with its hardtail counterpart, the F-Si. Both are designed with a very slack front end for stability over rough terrain, but have incredibly tight rear wheelbases thanks to Cannondale’s Ai offset rear wheel dishing. This feature which allows the frame to have very short chainstays, giving the bike a great deal of stiffness and agility. This translates to bikes that are super stable at high speed but wicked fast climbing and accelerating, all the attributes of a great cross country race bike.
If full suspension isn’t needed on your trails, or weight and climbing abilities are more important to you than saving yourself a little beating, the F-Si is for you. This bike is lightweight and lightning fast. Three years ago when Cannondale released the F-Si they called it the future of XXC. This referred to the increased technicality of modern cross country race courses on the World Stage. Although most of us will never grace the World Cup circuit, we can all benefit from technology developed for these courses. The Outfront geometry of the F-Si, precision steering of the Cannondale Lefty suspension fork, and light but durable Carbon and Alloys used for the F-Si frames make this bike one of the best hardtails available. A testament to the merits of this bike can be seen by how often pros sponsored by Cannondale use this bike. Even with the Scalpel Si at their disposal, more often than not, its the F-Si that is on the start line come race day.
The Cannondale Habit is a trail bike with a heart for Cross Country. 27.5 wheels and 120mms of travel front and rear allow riders to get a little more rowdy on features they normally roll over or skip on a typical cross country bike. If you like to ride everything on your trail fast with a smile on your face the Habit may be the bike for you. This bike is a capable climber and rewards on the descents making it a total quiver killer for the Trail Rider and occasional racer.
The Rocket is Niners dedicated full suspension racing bike and it is dedicated to going fast. Niner prides itself for having the only rear suspension linkage system especially designed for 29-inch wheels. Niner calls this system CVA, or Constant Varying Arc. This patented design uses a multipoint linkage underneath the bottom bracket that cancels forces from the crank that hurt pedalling efficiency. In layman’s terms, the system eliminates the bobbing effect typical of a full suspension bikes when the rider loses a smooth pedal stroke and is trying to find the right gear.. In addition to the incredible efficiency of the rear end of the bike, the front end comes stock with 120mm travel fork. This extra bit of suspension allows the rider to take the downhills a little harder and keep that speed flowing across the entire trail.