Ask Pinkbike: Lefty or RockShox, Clips For Park Riding, and Finding Fork Offset

Mar 8, 2016
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.

Pike or Lyrik?

Question: Pinkbike user Mudgey asked this question in the all-mountain, enduro and cross-country forum: I have a Lefty SuperMax on my 2015 Jekyll, but the fork is currently being warrantied for the third time due to it not holding its air pressure. I am of two minds about what to do. Should I stick with the fork and hope that there won't be any further problems, or do I look for an alternative, such as a 160mm RockShox Pike or a 170mm Lyrik? I like the idea of the burlier fork with slightly more travel.

bigquotesI'm a big fan of Cannondale's Lefty. I'll admit that part of the draw for me is that it stands out in a crowd, but there's also a case to be made for its chassis being the best on the market. That said, the truth is that RockShox's Charger damper (and Fox's FIT damper) are far superior to what's employed in the Lefty, and it'd be hard to convince me that a Pike, Lyrik, 34, or 36 doesn't make more sense on the front of a 160mm travel bike that's going to be ridden hard and fast. Considering the issues that you've had with your Lefty in the past, I'd probably recommend moving on to something else if you have the money to spend on a new fork. If you end up sticking with the Lefty and find that its air-holding issues are solved, you might want to look at the Andreani fork piston upgrade. I haven't tried it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if the kit, which was conceived with the help of Ohlins, offers a step up in performance.

So, 160mm Pike or 170mm Lyrik? If it were me, I'd go with a 160mm Pike to keep the Jekyll's handling stock (the Lefty and Pike are within 2mm of being the same length). The Pike and Lyrik share the same Charger damper, but the Lyrik sports a beefier chassis that is said to be torsionally stiffer. I've never found the Pike to come up short when talking about stiffness, however, and I'd bet that's the case for most riders who are under the 200lb mark or who don't hold a pro class racing license.
- Mike Levy

2016 RockShox Lyrik

Clipping In For the Bike Park?

Question: StefanProductions asks in the Downhill forum: I know a lot of people who ride clipless for XC/enduro riding, but when it comes to bike park they run flat pedals. What are the cons of riding clipless in a bike park?

bigquotesThe only real con of riding clipless in the bike park is the potential for remaining attached to your bike longer than you want to in the event of a crash. That, and the fact that throwing a no foot can-can is much, much harder. Bike parks tend to be where riders push their limits a little further, whether it's by learning a new trick, or venturing into more difficult terrain. Not everyone is comfortable being clipped in when there's an increase chance of bailing, which is why you'll usually see more riders running flat pedals in the bike park than you would on your local trails. It really comes down to what feels most comfortable to you - there's no reason you can't ride clipped in without any issues if that's what you're used to. - Mike Kazimer

HT X1 pedal review
Clips vs. flats is a debate that never seems to end...
Deity Bladerunner pedal review
But at the end of the day it all comes down to what you're most comfortable with.

Fork Offsets

Question: Pinkbike user WillHarrop asked this question in the Bikes, Parts, and Gear Forum: Can anyone tell me what the offsets are for the 27.5 Pike and Revelation? I can't seem to find it on the SRAM website.

bigquotesI'm not sure why offset figures are so difficult to find on most suspension companies' websites, but they are. So I spoke to SRAM today, and the official numbers for a Pike and Revelation are 26": 40mm / 27.5": 42mm / 29": 46mm.

But it's not a simple as that. The Pike is available as OE (original equipment found on complete bikes) and the CSU (crown steerer upper) is available to buy as a spare part with 46mm offset for 27.5" wheels and 51mm for 29" wheels. For the Revelation there is also a 51mm offset version which is available for OE or as a spare part.

The easiest way to check which offset a fork has is to locate the sticker on the right-hand leg where the offset, wheel size and travel are displayed. But again, not so simple; the sticker may have gone walkies or the CSU may have been replaced. The difference in offset is in the CSU, not the lowers, and you should be able to find the correct value stamped on the underside of the crown. Finally, if you are considering swapping to a different offset CSU, it must be from the same fork model. For example, the Pike, Lyrik and Boxxer all use 35mm stanchions but the widths between the legs differ slightly.
- Paul Aston

RockShox Pike Offset
Check the right-hand fork leg to find the offset value for your fork, then double check underneath the upper crown.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


  • 73 9
 Sorry, rant coming up... - I test rode a Cannondale Jekyll. And yes, I was impressed. With the adjustable suspension, it really climbed like a crosscountry bike. And it descended way better (in a monster truck way) than I have any business doing (in fact, one of the reasons I don't have a 160mm bike is that most of them require so much speed to come alive that it would get me in trouble all the time). But that's not really the point of this rant.

No, my point is, the lefty, and that rather ingenious bit of rear suspension on the Jekyll, are proprietary. I was told that the rear suspension would require service every few months - and would require being sent in to Cannondale for said service. And that the Lefty, if it in fact proved itself reliable (big if, apparently) would also require a fair amount of away time for routine maintenance stuff.

So here's the thing - the Lefty may in fact be a better fork than a Pike or Fox 34 or 36 on some level. But even if that's true - unless you have other bikes, or a spare fork, or don't mind being off the bike for a while whenever you need it worked on, why would you buy yourself that kind of trouble? And that's while it's relatively new. Do you really think, three or four years down the line, you'll be able to get parts for that rebuild anymore? SRAM are making metric crap tons of Pikes; same with Fox and their 34s and 36s. Same with their shocks. If you need to rebuild one of those in a few years, hey, there'll be parts. Lefty?

This is not the first proprietary suspension product from Cannondale. And then of course there's all the proprietary stuff that Specialized brought out over the years. And frankly, I refuse to buy any bike that requires that amount of trust in that one supplier to stay viable over the years. And I have to seriously question the judgment of the product planners who believe that their limited resources are better spent on proprietary suspension bits and bobs to "differentiate" their bikes, rather than optimizing their platforms. Hell, if your bike is that special, how about you just get a special tune from Fox or SRAM? Unless the bike it allows you to build is a serious, real step up (to the point where anybody who rides one instantly puts down a deposit), you're just screwing over your customers.

And hey, consumers - don't fall for this crap.

OK, I feel better now...
  • 11 7
 I love my carbon Jekyll but I agree. That's why I run a fox 36 up front. As far as the rear dyad pull shock, it is pretty awesome. It does require a little more servicing but I'm in Santa Cruz with a "friends and family"account at Fox so it's super easy and quick to get it serviced.
  • 15 2
 In defence of the Lefty, it can be fitted to normal bikes and there are people other than Cannondale these days who can service them. I was still able to get part for a Lefty Max TPC a few years ago too, although again not from C-Dale. The Lefty is a genuinely unique piece of technology versus Specialized's favourite habit of taking a standard shock and making it both a weird length and proprietary mounts. That's just... well it's exactly what we expect from Specialized.
  • 15 7

Proprietary? Long wait times? Have you ever asked a shop to look at your Lefty? They take under 30 minutes to fully rebuild and are dead simple to work on with no proprietary tools...
  • 3 2
 I have a Cannondale trigger 1... so therefor a lefty. Performance aside (no problems, love it all!), I am currently dealing with that very issue of which you speak. In the end I have been servicing my suspension far less often than I am suppose to else missing a race. Unfortunately when I did send out my lefty a few months ago it took about four weeks to get it back. Thats too long to be without a bike in my opinion when you can service the seals on a top end fork like a talas in your garage in a few hours.
  • 21 2
 Lefty, because its not right.
  • 6 3
 Ya but try riding no hands with a lefty. Impossible.
  • 8 0
 They should do a righty
  • 4 1
 @swamper1 You really shouldn't have to have it sent out. Any shop that can rebuild a pike, or bleed a reverb can handle a Lefty. If they're sending it out try another shop.
  • 8 5
 There is something seriously wrong when an individual relates every response gauged on their own experience. Examples I did, me, my point , I always, its all about me myself and the I etc. Nothing news worthy but that self-righteous mentality continues to expose weak the minded. The only solice is how easily spotted and exploited they can be.
  • 14 5
 @fecalmaster Dude it's called an opinion and perspective. Something you don't like hearing from someone else apparently. Which is somewhat ironic...
  • 6 3
 Enough about me lets talk about me.
  • 7 0
 Lefty's are super easy to work on unless you need to service the bearings and races (which is admittedly a pain in the ass, but also a rare event). The damper and spring are simple garage jobs you can do yourself with standard tools. There's no reason to send it off unless you're also afraid of servicing any fork at all.
  • 1 0
 a couple of years ago i picked up a VGC 8 yr old F700sl with the headshok (aware of the horror stories). At first it was a Pita randomly loosing air i tried changing the schrader core a few times to mixed results. So i sent it off to be rebuilt by a specialist and i told them my weight and they seem to of cured it. Biggest problem was the rebound control shaft sheared luckily at a suitable rate. It now gets used as a commuter several times a week, and its possibly the most accurate fork i've used.
  • 4 0
 The proprietary argument is a weird one; if you can make a product with much superior performance but to do so you have to introduce proprietary components or servicing methods, is it worth it?
When the CCDB came out i was warned that i wouldn't be able to service it myself, performance and cost was worth it for me though.
When offered an Evil uprising frame at a good price, with proprietary bearing sets that cost 150 a pop, the performance didn't outweigh the negatives in my mind.
It all comes down to how much you value the benefits of these types of products compared to the added costs of dealing with proprietary systems, because some companies do see it as a license to print money.
  • 1 10
flag nwmlarge (Mar 9, 2016 at 2:22) (Below Threshold)
 Who keeps their bikes for 4 years?
  • 14 1
 People who don't drive Audis...
  • 2 0
 Don't forget your armbands
  • 3 0
 On my 2012 Jekyll I killed the Dyad Pull shock. it was sent to Mojo via my LBC. it was covered under the two year warranty and returned in a few weeks in the form of a new unit. I would assume the Leftie service work can be carried out by Mojo also ?

PS. my canyon shape shifter shock has "broken" and currently the wait is 9 weeks for the new one.

The moral is- don't buy all the custom one off crap, unless you are willing to deal with the down time.
  • 1 0
 @bluumax, @HVAC-MATT - yep, that's exactly the issue. I don't think anybody would mind a proprietary solution if it resulted in a much better product. So if the Lefty were so awesome that everybody who rode one could never be happy again with a Pike, hey, more power to them. Same with stuff like the Dyad pull shock on the rear end of that bike - it's good, but has anybody ridden a Jekyll, then ridden, say, a Nomad, and decided that they just couldn't live without the Dyad anymore?

Mind you, performance gains are a personal thing, as are the tradeoffs. If I had more than one MTB, then I probably wouldn't care so much about a few weeks wait time that might occur once a year for a major service. And I would be less averse to solutions like the Shapeshifter, where you can get parts only from one source, and if they're backordered, you're screwed. I made a decision to invest a bit more into my main bike rather than have a spare, though - so I need to make arrangements around that to ensure I'm not stuck without if stuff goes wrong. That means I ended up buying something that has about nothing proprietary, and can be fixed within days if needed.

I don't mind manufacturers doing proprietary solutions where there's a real performance benefit. In that case, they, it's innovation, and eventually others will license the technology, or it will trigger some great innovation elsewhere as others try to catch up. It's the unnecessary stuff that drives me mad. And yes, I admit, what's necessary/unnecessary is not a universal thing with a clear set of criteria that are the same for everyone.

I think we can all agree that Specialized doesn't gain much performance by spec'ing their shocks with mount points 90 degrees offset from everyone else. That's just asinine. Canyon's Shapeshifter - well, they're trying something different, and it's a worthy concept. So some people will say that's worth it, others (like me) will be more conservative and shy away from that. Lefty? Hard to argue that the thing is soooo much better than a Pike - I have a hard time seeing how the money they spend on that wouldn't have been more productively used to optimize some other aspect of the bike.
  • 3 0
 Not saying its right, but when you buy a companies proprietary product they have you locked in with them, therefore its generating almost guaranteed extra revenue down the line for them. That's why they pull that shit.
  • 1 0
 @somismtb - lock-in is certainly a desired effect. But it's short sighted - they don't make crap tons on replacement Lefty forks, or Lefty parts, for example. Evil's proprietary suspension bearings are not a major profit driver for them. Dyad pull shocks are not a gold mine for replacement parts - if anything, having to stock that sort of stuff (since the suspension companies won't) is costly long term. If it's not a better product, then over time people will just become upset with it.
  • 1 0
 @scott54: LOL.... you can do it but you have to lean on the right side!
  • 47 9
 "My Lefty is So Rad, everyone loves it, it was on last years Crankworx winning bike."

  • 3 0
  • 4 2
 I actually once met a guy who justified his lefty by saying some guy won an enduro race on one so it must be good
  • 3 8
flag Longtravel (Mar 8, 2016 at 18:53) (Below Threshold)
 I can't agree more...if it's so freaking awesome then why is it not on winning bikes.
  • 3 0
 That was an awesome race run. Kevin Aiello was pissed
  • 8 0
 I was there, couldn't believe my eyes. Really took the soul out of me. A course that was tough on my downhill bike just got desecrated by a trail bike with half a fork. I quit.
  • 35 2
 depends if you're throwing sweet 1-footed tables.....or like me falling a lot
  • 1 0
 1-foot tables are no problem with clips. get out before take-off, get in when riding out. no foot cans on the other hand...
  • 25 2
 Clips in the park is so much fun! especially if you've ridden in the park a lot with flats. It just changes it up and changes your perspective on lines.
  • 17 4
 i agree. way more controlled
  • 23 8
 Clipless is where it's at!
  • 17 0
 I see no reason not to clip in. Once you get the hang of it, you have a lot more control. And I always come unclipped when I crash without even thinking about it. Same for putting a foot down on turns.
  • 1 1
 Clip forever !
  • 6 0
 I am at a 40/60 mark, it depends on what I wanna push the boundaries on. For fIat out speed and uItra techy terrain I Iove the added controI with my cIips, for the rest and especially new parks, I run fIats. My biggest issue is those rare times I try to cIip back in after a foot out turn and my coordiation decides it has better things to do...
  • 8 0
 I don't understand it when people say clips give you more control. Ask Van Sam Hill, Danny Macaskill, any trials, street or mtber or BMXer that have super human skills. I've been racing in clips for over two decades but if you ask me to get on to a picnic table, I'll be swapping to flats.
  • 11 0
 The control gain concerns rough terrain, where clips provide a more secure connection to the bike. Not to say they don't bring their own compromises, but this is their second biggest benefit after pedalling efficiency Sam Hill is immense, no doubt, and eternally confounds this point. But in terms of stats, World Cup DH is dominated by clips in every respect. As AG proved at Leogang, the pedalling counts for little, and pedalling efficiency must count for even less.. It's the positive connection they want. Particularly with the latest generation of flat-clips, which offer the same support and feel under foot as a flat, together with the secure connection
  • 1 1
 I spent months of riding 3 times a week on clips. Could not grow to like them. I rode clips on the roadie for 3 years before so was well used to the footwork needed but just couldn't get my flow on like I did on flats. The only thing I liked about clips was the ability to really lay some power down coming out of slower corners, but on flats was more inclined to hit the corner faster and carry more speed through, thats about it though. I've already done nearly 500 miles this year and just over 80,000ft of climbing (training for and racing enduro in NZ) and never once thought that I would like to be clipped in again. Flat pedals just seem to work for me, and no I don't shout about it either "flat pedals win medals" and all that crap, I just get out and ride my bike and enjoy doing it. That's good enough for me
  • 37 12
 Ditch that Lefty, it's a turd!
  • 7 7
 I upvoted you bro, don't believe the hate, you speak the truth.
  • 19 1
 Rode flats for the past 2 years, then switched back to clip-less and hit several downhill PR's even after spending last year injured. Clipless for speed, flats for fun.
  • 20 5
 Clipless, Refers to no toe clips, this was useful in 1994.... Can we commit to calling them just , "Clips" Or Clip-in. Please.
  • 10 1
 I still ride with toe clips on my dh bike. Who u callin irrelevent!? Jk
  • 3 0
 Oh I know what they are referring to as I rode with toe clips for years. I'm with you though, the name needs to be changed.
  • 3 0
 @ryan83 knows whats up. There are two types of pedals; flat, and clip-in.
  • 2 1
 But then speed is fun?
  • 10 0
 Big fan of these articles, easy to read and learn from. As per the recent poll, definitely keep these articles coming in 2016!
  • 14 1
 Clips for the car park.
  • 13 2
 I can't wrap my head around a Lefty. I'm just more of a right-winged type.
  • 5 0
 right wingers need no brakes
  • 11 17
flag pushingbroom (Mar 8, 2016 at 14:34) (Below Threshold)
 Look at your car's front suspension.. and a fighter's front landing gear. alllll lefty's
  • 1 2

1) see how the axle is almost solid part of lower leg so it doesnt bend or fall of? and wheel ataches from one side just like your cars?
2) see how the lower leg has sgare profile on the upper half, fitting into square profile of upper leg? In order to resist the twisting forces between steerer and wheel often better than traditional fork? And for needle bearing stripes to roll on providing sensitivity?

thats all that is into lefty fork really
and 3) not a very good spring/damper maybe due to overcrowded space one leg provides.. who knows..
  • 13 0
 Nah, my cars front left wheel has a righty...
  • 6 0
 @gabriel-mission9 maybe it's just a backwards lefty Wink
  • 6 0
 they have zero offset. HOW DO WE TELL WHICH SIDE IS WHICH MY GOD
  • 8 0
 You'd almost think there was no such thing as "Google Search" ...
  • 4 1
 If you took the chassis stiffness of the lefty and combined it with the damper performance of the big players youd have the ultimate suspension. I ride both, a lefty and now a durolux. The lefty is so stiff and precise the chassis design speaks for itself. It is superior in that regard. Oh and lower axle to crown as well just like a dual crown fork vs single crown.
  • 6 1
 Anybody else wonder why they're called clip less pedals when you quite literally have to 'clip' into them? Am I missing something or am I just retarded?!
  • 5 0
 As far as I understand, it's because before "clipless" pedals, there were pedals with toe clips (the strap that went over your toes). Then, the newer style of pedals attached without the toe clip, hence clipless. But, yeah, it's still a silly name. The current clipless pedals should be called clip in, or something.
  • 4 1
 If I am racing i will use clips. More control over the bike, but if I am just at the bike park I will use flats to have more of a fun factor and better when you want to try some new tricks.
  • 5 2
 Have to agree with the flats forever comment.

Surely zero offset is preferable albeit impossible unless you own an Stratos S8.

And please Cannondale fix the lefty and make a 8" version.

Computer says flaming imminent Smile
  • 1 1
 length of stanchion required inside the fork leg, in order to keep things stiff, means they can't really go any longer on the lefty, without having the upper actually stick up above the bars.
  • 1 0
 Damn shame.
  • 19 0
 What if they had two stanchions in tandem on the left side? Surely then they could afford less stanchion inside each fork leg, and hence more travel.

Or, if we want to get really radical...two stanchions, but one on each side of the wheel!
  • 6 0
 i think you might be on to something with that second idea
  • 5 1
 Wow hoId on, you wanna put TWO stanchions ? but what about the nonexistent probIem with a baIanced, structuraIIy sound fork ??
  • 3 1
 I like flats because I never have to think about my feet, they are always in the exact same spot no what what, unless they arent, but then you just clip back in... I have the HT X1's and the platform/ clip combo is primo. That being said it is a lot easier to send it for the boys with a pair of flats and some rubber soles.
  • 7 1
 Lefty is the only dual crown you can x-up. Just saying...
  • 2 0
 "I'm not sure why offset figures are so difficult to find on most suspension companies' websites, but they are"

Possibly because is doesn't make too much difference? I mean 2mm? I'm running a pair of boxxer 27.5 forks on my 26" dh bike, seems to still go downhill and go around corners ok...
  • 2 0
 How does one run two boxxers on one bike?
  • 2 0
 An English expression chap.
  • 2 0
 I know, I'm just being difficult
  • 3 0
 Fair enough, nothing wrong with a spot of light trolling haha!
  • 2 0
 Glad you agree!
  • 13 7
 Flats forever
  • 1 0
 Awesome, thanks for answering my question PinkBike! Love the lefty but the fact the fork had to be warrantied 3 times in less than 2 months was a bit frustrating, I really love the design but knowing it could fail again, especially when I am away on a riding holiday, has left me ordering an alternative. I'll hold on to the Lefty as I wouldn't mind giving it another go with the wave washer fix and an updated damper!
  • 1 0
 As for the "proprietary" design of the Lefty, some of C'dale's older patents have expired, such as the original needle bearing idea:

A "U-fork" variation of the Lefty also appears to be expired:

So why aren't Lefty knock-offs being made? Cost? Groupthink?
I'm a fan of both the Lefty (10+ years on Raven 900SX), and Pike (1 year on Specialized Enduro).
Also, shameless plug, today that Raven Y-frame went on sale here @ PinkBike.
  • 1 0
 Raven sold in 1 day. Guess some people still like the Lefty.
  • 2 0
 The only time clips become a problem is if you throw some seriously dirty whips and tables. You can get pretty sideways without a clip popping out.
  • 2 0
 I agree/disagree with everything in the article. I will tell everyone why they are right/wrong as well.

Feel free to delete as appropriate to your beliefs.
  • 2 0
 What i cant understand is how cannondale can make a single fork with no side to side slop but no one can make a dropper post that doesn't wiggle.
  • 1 0
 Lefty-like square-section seems almost obvious for the moveable part of a dropper. Wouldn't wiggle. It must have been tried. Anyone know?
  • 3 0
 Buy a fox fork and sell your lefty...wait nevermind
  • 5 4
 I don't care what facts and statistics Cannondale provides, I will always believe that Leftys are some sort of hoax. I'm a conspiracy theorist.
  • 2 0
 Clipless, helping to throw your knees out even faster! Been on em' for the past 2 season's and going back to flats.
  • 2 0
 @HARv379 - Have you tried clipless with some float like Time ATAC? Noticeable difference in feel vs the 'totally locked in place' feeling of some brands (like Shimano). Feels better on my knees.
  • 2 0
 @WasatchEnduro I haven't. I really do love the feeling of being clipped in since i can't squeeze the frame which i am used to doing like on a moto but since switching to flats and letting my feet be in more of a 'natural' position rather than a set up based off fit measurements, they've already started feeling better. Perhaps i will give the Time's a try! Thank you for sharing!
  • 6 5
 Did some one really actually write "Lefty or Rockshox".....???? Those two words shouldnt even go in the same sentence!!
  • 2 2
 Attn: wanted- Stradalli road bike. Any condition. Scratches/ bent der. hangers OK. Carbon/ di2 models preferred. Will pay cash....Lol
  • 1 0
 flats, because it could get hairy. clips if its gonna be a long day of hurt.
  • 1 0

A propos lefty cannondale promised dissecting lefty as well!
  • 1 0
 Who makes internals for lefty? Anyone knows?
  • 6 0
 Manitou in the mid 2000's, then Fox, and most recently the Lefty Super Max has the same damper unit as the Pike from Rockshox.
  • 1 0
 Cheers, that's good enough for me!
  • 2 1
 If you ever get a reliable Lefty, buy a lotto ticket that day.
  • 1 0
 100% committed. 100% clipped in.
  • 3 3
 Hmmm... I'm sorry that you like the lefty
  • 2 2
 Park brake bumps without clips, is like.....
  • 1 0
 A good shag while not wearing a condom, you realise what you have been missing out on while you thought it couldn't get better
  • 2 2
 No lefty. Im republican far right.
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