What The Pros Ride: Candice Lill’s Cannondale Scalpel Hi-Mod

Jon Minster |

Two-time Olympian Candice Lill recently left her opposition in the dust to win the South African XCM champs in Paarl, cementing her reputation as one of the country’s best long-distance mountain bikers. 

A marathon pro of her calibre deserves a fast bike, and her Cannondale Scalpel Hi-MOD 1 fits the bill. She switched out the in-house Cannondale HollowGram carbon wheels, which have a 25mm internal diameter, for a Ratheberg carbon wheelset from Belgian performance parts-makers Berg. The Ratheberg has a 30mm internal diameter for greater tyre stability on the rim, but each rim still only weighs 270g. (Berg claims the Ratheberg is the lightest 30mm-internal rim on the market.) 

Those dreamy carbon wheels are shod in Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25” EVO tyres front and rear, with 100mm sealant in each and no inserts.

Lill and Jacobs Dominate FNB Wines2Whales

The drivetrain is SRAM AXS, with an X01 derailleur and cassette and a Cannondale HollowGram crankset with a Stages power meter. 

Riding in South Africa often demands a little more than a traditional XC bike with 100mm of travel can offer. Candice is running a longer-travel 120mm Lefty Ocho fork with remote lockout, and she uses a lightweight 125mm Divine SL dropper post from German parts company BikeYolk. All in, her trail-slaying, marathon-ready Scalpel tips the scales at 10.4kg.

“Oh, and I never go to a race without Sahmurai Sword plugs in each side of the handlebar,” Candice says. “And my Ciovita Apex bibs, of course.” 

Candice’s Cannondale Scalpel 

  • Hi-MOD carbon frame
  • 120mm Lefty Ocho fork with remote lockout
  • 115mm Fox EVOL Kashima-coated rear shock with remote lockout. 
  • Berg Ratheberg carbon wheelset
  • SRAM AXS shifter, with X01 derailleur and cassette 
  • Cannondale HollowGram cranks (172.5mm) with a Stages power meter and a HollowGram spider chainring (34t or 32t, depending on the course) 
  • SRAM Level Ultimate brakes 
  • Crankbrothers Candy 11 pedals 
  • BikeYolk Divine SL 120mm dropper post
  • Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 EVO tyres 

A Dropper Post is a Game-Changer

Weight weenies flinch at the idea of a dropper post, because it’s just so much heavier than a rigid carbon seat post; but for Candice, a dropper is essential to be able to tackle technical sections of trail at speed:  Her BikeYolk Divine SL dropper is one of the lightest around: the 125mm model weighs only 450g.

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