Cannondale Lefty Fork Technology and History - Sea Otter 2010

Apr 26, 2010 at 0:09
Apr 26, 2010
by Mike Levy  
 
You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login

Although the single sided Cannondale Lefty fork has been in production for a decade, it's still a misunderstood piece of technology. While at this year's Sea Otter Classic we tracked down Doug Dalton to give you the hows and whys of their venerable fork. Inside you'll find two videos that will show you how it's done and the different Leftys throughout the years.

Read on...

Sit back and let Doug Dalton explain the latest Lefty technology:

Views: 26,431    Faves: 8    Comments: 2




Watch the video to see the Lefty evolve from wood to the latest carbon tubed wonder forks!
Views: 20,018    Faves: 15    Comments: 4



Visit Cannondale.com for more info.
Must Read This Week









81 Comments

  • + 34
 lol riding a lefty is like getting head from a dude, its all good until you look down. I rode a lefty max for quite some time on my prophet, I beat the hell out of it, and eventually the fork lost, but it took a lot, I was really surprised. I wouldnt mind having another one. I wonder if anyone is running leftys on anything other than a cannondale now...
  • + 20
 So you are saying you wouldnt mind getting head from a dude again? weird??
  • - 9
 Whats next on your list of sick forks? The Cannondale Head Shock?
  • + 7
 how about i start a list of things i forked, we will start with your mother, then moving down the list we have your sister. shut your face man, just because it isnt a downhill or burly freeride fork doesnt mean it sucks.
  • - 10
 My favorite fork is my Fox F100 on my 4x bike, weighs 3.3lbs, can use any 15mm wheel and has two effing leggs like a normal fork!
[Reply]
  • + 12
 I have two and have had others in the past. I worked in two shops that carried Cannondale and I have NEVER heard an owner or customer testing a LEFTY complain. I love my LEFTYs and do so little to maintain them. Rock solid perfo rmance and technology!
[Reply]
  • + 14
 I want a DJ lefty.
  • + 29
 no tail whips, bar spins or x ups for u then Razz awesome fork tho, cool idea
  • + 22
 well you could x-up in one direction and then there is always the solo lefty (although its not even rated for xc let alone dj).
  • + 8
 true)) i rode leftys a couple of times..they are veeery good imo
  • + 11
 i want a DH lefty
  • + 4
 this fork's looks very cool tup and tailwhip's are sucks Razz better go big and do some normal trick's tabletop's whip's or something like that Wink
  • + 10
 I want that wood lefty !!!
  • + 3
 that wood lefty is prety guettho!
  • + 2
 its cool i geuss but i wouldnt be able to use it for my riding
  • + 2
 That guys cool lol
  • + 1
 Chase used to ride it in killingtime movie many years ago. That was amazing
  • + 4
 needle bearings? genius!
didn't know they are running needle bearings but thinking about it why do other manufacturers not?

granted its harder to make, but the perforce should be higher.
  • + 1
 HAHA just noticed the wood one! throw that on a road or fixie or ss park bike! haha get flex for suspension as long as it doesnt break!
  • + 8
 gracia used to race 4x with the leftys right?
  • + 1
 he did a good job on selling it to me but i am too excited to see next years to buy this years version.
  • + 3
 simons gonna take over the world
  • + 1
 gracia (and anne caroline) dirtjumped a lefty too..he was bustin x-ups easy
  • + 2
 Try servicing a Lefty and you'll understand why no one else uses roller bearings.
  • + 1
 ah fair enough, i can see it being pretty difficult, but for those racer types i can not see it being that much of a problem?
  • + 1
 Most racer types will probably service their suspension/kit more often than a non racer, I know I do anyway.
  • + 1
 thats what i mean, racers service their kit more so surly extra maintenance from needle bears can not be to much? (as i mean for the added complexity)
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I gotta say, Cannondale has done a great job of pulling the wool over the market's eyes. These forks were an absolute nightmare for the shop that I worked at which had customers riding them in demanding conditions. A torn boot means an hour rebuild to get all the dirt and water out. The damper units feature unreliable sealing and frequently came out of the box from Cannondale leaking. The Lefty hub disc side bearing has poor sealing and needs to be replaced more often than on any other front hub I have experience with. To top it all off the bearings need to be reset on a regular basis and depending on the specific tolerances it could be once a week. It is tough to convince a customer that a little bit better steering performance is worth the headache of constant maintenance.
I know that there are people out there who have won the Lefty sweepstakes, I also know that there are people out there riding on five year old Marzocchis with the original oil, that doesn't mean that every person who buys one will get that performace. My experience has been that the 'reliability' of a Lefty is that it will need more service than any other fork I could sell (except for those pesky two step Totems . . )
[Reply]
  • + 3
 It can't be rubbish, coz seems like they have put a lot of effort and money designing these creatures. Is SIMON the first fork on the market, which has brain????? Seems like the future forks (Like 2015-2020) will defnly all get Electrical brains, THIS IS NUTS!!!!! Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
  • + 10
 But will Bikes that think for us not take all the fun out of it ??
  • + 3
 Specialized created a xc frame with a brain rear shock, imagine that frame with a Simon Lefty O.O
  • + 2
 There was actually a K2 (remember them?) fork back in the nineties that had a wee piezoelectric valve doing something similar, and it worked well. But the forks worked about the same when you took the battery out, and nobody replaced them.
  • + 1
 Interesting. Probably would be a different story nowa days, with the micro technology we see, a LiPo batt in a 4 pound smart fork would be awesome.
  • + 1
 That specialized brain was all mechanical though, there were no electronic components...but yeah, electronic sensing stuff will probably become standard in a bit over 5 years I'd guess.
  • + 1
 Specialized has a included a mechanical brain on a fork already. I believe they have it on their s-works stumpjumper.
  • + 1
 It will be interesting to ride Simon compared to the Specialized Brain. In my experience the Brain has a distinct bump/nudge as the valve opens on a bump. It would be amazing if Simon could open the valve seamlessly. If they can get it to ride as good as they are touting, it will revolutionize everything. Imagine a Simon fork and rear shock!
  • + 1
 Erlkonig, It was the K2 Smart shock made by Noleen, they also made a matching rear shock.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 They obviously work, and pretty damned well considering the lack of actual reports of any suckiness. But I still keep wondering - if they can make a one-sided fork that does the job despite having to overcome colossal engineering disadvantages, how awesome could they make a fork with the proper number of legs? It would be the best fork ever.
  • + 3
 203mm DH Inverted awesomeness, with no flex period! probably around 6 pounds! whoo!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 using inspiration from a piece of wood to build a fork is dumb. someone was smokin drugs when they thought, lets build a fork that looks like this piece of wood I found in whistler
  • + 2
 You might also notice certain aircraft also using the same principle which i'm guessing was also a big part of it... At least as much as a random piece of wood like the video points at.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 lefty's were designed on a stick!
  • + 1
 Wonder if that stick, is the same stick, that was the inspiration to the Mc-pherson strut ??? Exciting...

But it is an amazing peace of art.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Any one know the retail cost on the Simon is?
  • + 1
 There is currently no cost for Simon from Cannondale.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Let's face it, 2 legs are better than one. Give it up already, Cannondale. The amount of money they must have wasted over the years trying to make this fork design work could probably feed the world for a year. A classic example of blind overengineering. Now it seems they're just doing it to prove they can do it, but just because these forks work in certain circumstances doesn't make them a good idea. They break. I watched an XC guy break his arm when his Lefty failed on an easy downhill grade. I was on the chairlift so I was able to see the front end break off for no reason. The guy was riding super slow and cautious, he wasn't pushing that fork in any way. I had talked to him earlier in the lift lineup and he swore up and down that the fork was strong, amazing, this, that, etc etc. Well, he got one run out of it and we had to truck him down the hill and send him off in an ambulance.
  • + 1
 if you push it hard enough anything will break, i rode one for a year doing a lot of dj and a bit of free ride, nothing too huge as far as drops, everyone makes them out to be the devil, but there are definitely some dedicated followers for a reason, if you are looking for a freeride fork dont buy it, if you are looking for a light all mountain fork that performs well, try it! i was skeptical till i got on one.
  • + 0
 only thing is, in the experience I described, the guy wasn't pushing it. I think there are dedicated followers specifically because it is different, and this makes people feel like they belong to some exclusive club. They will defend the thing in spite of the evidence. Not saying they don't work or that you can't have a positive experience with them, it's just that the chance of failure is exponentially higher than any other comparable fork.
  • + 2
 There's a reason evolution tends to make things in pairs - you don't see too many animals hopping around on one really great leg, watching everything through one really good eye, and listening to everything with one giant ear. there's only one appendage most creatures come equipped with one of...
  • + 4
 Come on, F16 planes have almost the same suspension design on their wheels Razz
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i have used a lefty and loved it, now i am left wondering why they havent explored making it a bit more stout and addapting it over to motorcycles? just think there are a bunch of people that live on 2 wheels that would go nuts for something like this. i know i would love a set of matching bikes.

well got to go, still looking at the drafting table trying to figure out a single side springer.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have used the entry level Lefty MAX 2005 for 12000 k and had one rebuild and will get another. Other guys may have had their problems but I've only had a boot replacement and regular maintenance. I wish they made it in 160mm and forever USA.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I rode the 2003 Lefty and it handled 4 foot drops to flat landings with no problem and it loved riding up stairs. The problem was that being proprietary, if I decided to swap to a traditional fork, I had to buy a new wheel and brakes too. I sold the bike instead.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I want a 160mm Lefty at 1600g Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 5
 no righty?
  • + 1
 There is a righty....Check the Cannondale website...
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I don't think it can be called a fork. Maybe a knife?
  • + 5
 Presenting the cannondale spork.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 sweet, love to try 1 of these out
[Reply]
  • + 1
 fck that shit it looks so ugly and gay, seriously it looks ridiculous on a bike, LOOKS FCKING RETARDED! i know i said "looks" 3 times...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I started my mtb "career" on a lefty. loved it. Also, Doug Dalton got me a free frame on crash replacement when I definitely didn't deserve it, love that guy!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 you cant figth the laws of the mechanics, and nature wasnt inspired by buisness profitBig Grin
  • + 2
 exactly, elod88. If this were a good idea, we would have evolved into monopods a few million years ago.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 my mate's bike used to have a lefty, always thought it looked a bit strange, he bought a pike 454 in the end for it though Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I trust cannondale and all, but that shit is sketchy ahahha i would be to scared to ride one ahaha
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i just cant trust them, they scare me when i take a hard turn or drop......
  • + 4
 cedric raced one quite successfully in 4X for awhile, hell, even Chase DJ'ed and but down some serious street abuse on a lefty..... the new lefties are flippin' sweet with the one piece casting. got a few of them on bikes at the shop right now, definitely an improvement. the technology is solid.
  • + 2
 yea but its just the feeling of not having your wheel supported on both sides...
  • + 6
 Its a bolt on axle on all Lefty's so from the wheel security standpoint it's actually better than a standard QR. Fully understand where you're coming from though....I have rode lefty's on some of the harshest trails in Utah and never once been let done in performance or security.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Does somebody know when the 1 1/8 Lefty versions come out?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 it would be great if they made suitable 50mm stem ♥♥♥
[Reply]
  • + 0
 if its so stiff try to make a downhill fork
[Reply]
  • + 0
 i reckon a rigid lefty is the way forward
[Reply]
  • + 0
 80 more moving parts to break. Pass
[Reply]
  • + 0
 look prety cool but you wouldnt realy want one
[Reply]
  • - 1
 "10 years of Lefty" and I still don't give a F#@K and plan on NEVER owning or riding one!!!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Does anyone know the MCU in it?
[Reply]
  • - 3
 i bet you my 190lbs fat ass could break it. def for the weight weenies or xc guys. all of cannondales "all-mountain" bikes run the fox 36 talas or something along those lines.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Sydney Olympics (Australia) was in 2000 not 2002 !!!!!!!!Confused
[Reply]

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2014. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv16 0.037263
Mobile Version of Website