Yeah... Race Bike Focus is here again to easy you into your Sunday morning. So grab a brew, stick another dollop of Nutella into your porridge and settle down for a little nosey around someone elses XC race rig.

In this weeks Race Bike Focus we take a look at the custom 2012 Cannondale Scalpel of EHF Velopro Racing's Chris Harley. A build created out of a 'need for speed' and a desire to have something with a unique character, whilst also keeping a keen eye on a limited budget.

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Now I know what you're thinking, so lets deal with the elephant in the room before we get started. Chris has built his race machine around the 2012 Cannondale Scalpel frame and those keen-eyed amongst you will have already spotted the glaringly obvious adaptation Chris has made...

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Chris has swapped out the standard 26" wheelset (remember them!?!) and given the Scalpel an extra inch (and a bit) with a swanky 27.5" carbon wheelset. At just 1350gs, these Light Bicycle 650b rims with Sapim cx ray spokes on Dt Swiss 240s / funn works lefty hub's are an extraordinarily quick and light addition. Add into the mix a set of Schwalbe's very rapid Thunder Burt's (2.25 front & 2.1 rear) and you have to admit that when it comes to the rolling bits Chris has it pretty much nailed!

So how did he manage to keep these racey little numbers within budget? Well, I asked him... "These took a lot of time and patience; the rims came from China, hubs from Poland and the spokes from Germany! Sounds mad but it saved me a fair whack and they have come in at a 1350g carbon wheel set."

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Although the original 26" wheels are now long gone, the iconic Lefty is still taking pride of place up front. A 2013 Lefty PBR fork with custom graphics has no problem handing anything that a modern XC course can throw its way and maintains a light, stiff and responsive front end. The obvious advantage to lefty fork with this build is the lack of a fork brace, therefore not limiting mud/tyre clearance on the oversized front wheel.

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Lets move briefly onto the rear end. It's a Prologo zero 2 saddle (in EHF team colours) atop a KCNC ti 8000 seat post giving Chris the perfect perch from which to enjoy his custom 'dale Scalpel. The rear squish is controlled by the Rockshox Monarch, a firm favorite amongst the XC racer on a budget. Easily tunable with predictable performance, the Monarch is wise choice when putting together a XC orientated fully suss rig - and one that won't melt the credit card in the process.


On the stopping front Chris has the XC focused Formula R1 to help hold the Scalpel at bay. A Silver braided hose kit from Superstar components does a stella job, and at only 65g's per 3 meters helps to keep weight down while also adding to the individual feel of Chris' build.

We also see from the picture above the SRAM XO Grip shift connected to the Easton ec70 (685mm) carbon bar, this gives a supple feed through to the standard Shimano XT cassette. A fuss-free cockpit is now the trend amongst modern XC race rigs and when you combine the Sram Grip Shift with Chris' favoured 1x10 set up, you have a bar that is as fuss-free as you can get (without going single speed).


The first port of call for Chris' ample power is a set of Crank Brothers Eggbeaters connected to the light weight (and colour matched) Sram XO Crank. A works components Narrow Wide Chainring manages to keep a firm grip of the rather splendid KMC X10EL gold chain, limiting the chance of any dropped chain mid race.

Full Spec List

Frame: 2012 Carbondale scalpel

Fork: 2013 pbr lefty with custom graphics

Rear shock: Rock shock monarch with custom graphics

Wheels: Light bicycle 650 carbon rims - Sapim cx Ray spokes - Dt Swiss 240s/ funn works lefty hub - Custom graphics on rims and dt rear hub

Tyres: Thunder burt 2.25 front 2.1 rear

Groupset: 2012 sram xo 1x10

Grip shift

Xt cassette

Works components N/W chainring

Kmc el chain

Egg beaters

Brakes: Formula R1 - Superstar silver braided hose kit

Finishing kit:Easton ec70 685mm carbon bar - Opi 100mm stem - Kcnc ti 8000 post - Prologo zero 2 saddle

So with a keen eye for a bargain and with a little time and effort applied, Chris has built himself a fully sussed 650b XC race machine that is lighter than most hardtail rigs out there. With its custom frame from Slik Graphics and Lefty by BK Stickers the Scalpel has been given a fresh and individual feel, and when you factor in the change in wheel size this Cannondale has been given a new and exciting demeanor - fast, ferocious and race ready!

And now we get to the all important weight; how does it shape up in comparison to bikes a few years its junior?? Well I can tell you that Chris' 2012 Cannondale Scalpel with it's 650b adaptation comes in at a wonderful 9.2 kg's!!!

A huge thanks to EHF Velopro rider Chris Harley for submitting this wonderful machine. Why not give him and the team a follow via Twitter  - @beanfield1980 and @EHFVelopro or click the image below to visit the teams Facebook page.