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  1. #1
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    To lefty or not to lefty? Cannondale Trail SL

    I'm really enjoying my Trail SL and decided I will probably keep it for a long time. So..... Being that my bike has a 1.5" headtube, I know upgrading the fork wont be easy since there's not too many 1.5" forks. But in any case, keeping to a budget of $600, am I better off piecing together an old lefty set-up (lefty, steerer tube, headset, stem, lefty hub) or putting my money into a fox fork....ect....? I am partial to the lefty set-up because I love the look and would enjoy being unique in the sense that not many Trails out there have a lefty on them.

  2. #2
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    BTW, there are a ton of 1.5" tapered forks out there but I haven't found not one new for 2014 1.5" straight. I know I can use a 1.5" tapered fork with the right crown but wouldn't that be defeating the purpose of my 1.5" headset?

  3. #3
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    The 1.5" headtube is probably the most flexible setup you can get. The tapered, internal setup isn't bad either, but 1.5 gives you tapered compatibility, with an external lower cup, as well as angled headset reducers, if you ever decide to mess with them. Tapered steerers are almost undeniably the best option for long travel single crown forks.

    Headset Fit Finder

    It's not working now, otherwise i would try to find your setup for you, but a zero stack upper and an external cup lower for a tapered fork gets you compatibility with everything, you just have to buy a headset too.

    The lefty isn't a bad option though. You'll need the lefty headset, which might be a weird size since older leftys had 1.562" diameter headtubes, and not 1.50". You'll also need a lefty stem, which may or may not come with the fork, and a lefty wheel, which will probably not come with it. The total package cost off the shelf is probably going to be as much as the bike itself (it's like $1000 retail for an alloy lefty, plus the stem, plus the headset, plus the hub, plus the wheel build). If you go used, you'll likely still need the headset, but you might be able to pick up a complete package with wheel and all that. There's also the possibility of running a "lefty for all" setup, which will probably fit in your current setup.

    If this hasn't completely confused you...just know that the lefty is a very decent setup, when well maintained and set up correctly, but it's very proprietary, so you do have to make sure you're willing to take the plunge.

  4. #4
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    For your budget a Manitou TowerPro tapered 15mm from Ebay
    with a Hope Pro2/ArchEx from Wiggle
    Manitou Tower PRO 29 100mm White | eBay
    wiggle.com | Hope Hoops Pro2 Evo MTB Front Wheel | MTB Wheels
    Drop down says Arch--it is Ex. Both move to your next build.
    $530 plus headset.
    Last edited by eb1888; 08-29-2013 at 01:02 PM.

  5. #5
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    Not bad for $400. I should be able to get the rest of the parts I would need for the conversion with $200 left over? Cannondale Lefty Speed DLR Front Suspension Fork 80mm 29ER Mountain Bike | eBay

  6. #6
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    Looks like $65
    Cannondale Lefty Headshok Headset SI CUP Bearing QHDST EBO | eBay

    46$
    Cannondale Lefty XC3 SI MTB Stem 90mm X 31 8mm X 5D | eBay

    And$150 ish
    Cannondale 29ER Lefty Front Wheel | eBay

    I would probably consider sending any used lefty you buy to mendon cyclesmith in western NY. He's adept at servicing these forks, has speedy turnaround, and charges between 50 and 100 to do the service.

    Personally, I wouldn't spend any more than $200 on a lefty that doesn't already have the PBR cartridge. The DLR2s have a metal negative spring which makes tuning the fork more difficult for anybody outside the specified weight range. And to change it, I believe you need the special cannondale castle tool. The PBR damper has an air negative spring, and it's so much better. I had a DLR2, which I sold on ebay for like $200 on the nose, and replaced it with a PBR 130 MAX unit. I paid less for the replacement than the one you're looking at.

    So...to circle back around....I think you're going to be looking at a larger up front investment to run the lefty, no matter how you slice it. There are a couple of alloy forks up that have the PBR damper for about $50 or $100 more than the DLR.

    The best value for your dollar is probably what eb1888 sez, which is to buy a tapered headset ($100ish), buy a tower (from Pricepoint, not wiggle, as pricepoint is having a sale right now), and then a hope wheel or whatever wheel you want.

    Don't get me wrong...I actually like my lefty fork. It's stiff, it tracks well, it's super supple...but mine came with my bike, and lets me run a 650b easily. The DLR I had was really pretty poor, the PBR I have now is a competitive fork, but I have rebound all the way out, there's no compression, and I'm forced to used a lefty hub and 80mm or longer stem.

  7. #7
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    I would do a Lefty but I am right handed:/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricBE2013 View Post
    I'm really enjoying my Trail SL and decided I will probably keep it for a long time. So..... Being that my bike has a 1.5" headtube, I know upgrading the fork wont be easy since there's not too many 1.5" forks. But in any case, keeping to a budget of $600, am I better off piecing together an old lefty set-up (lefty, steerer tube, headset, stem, lefty hub) or putting my money into a fox fork....ect....? I am partial to the lefty set-up because I love the look and would enjoy being unique in the sense that not many Trails out there have a lefty on them.
    I got a better reason to get a Lefty. They're lighter, stiffer, more plush. and just feel so dang awesome. Screw the looks. You should be looking down the trail as you ride, not at your bike... know what I mean?

    Yeah, like others have said, you can put any fork on there if you get the right adapter headset. Tons of good forks out there from Rockshox and Fox. $600 for a Lefty is kinda tight for budget, considering you'll need a new front wheel as well.

    If you go Lefty, make sure you get one 2006 vintage or newer. THe later ones can be upgraded with the new style air spring and damper... which is good because you can still get parts and service on it. Earlier forks, not so much. Also, avoid the Fox Lefty. Same issue... no parts available for it, and I hear they are finicky and delicate. Basically, you're looking for the Leftys that use the Shimano BB tool on the top cap and one piece forged lower leg/axle, not the earlier ones with the 8 sided bolt top cap with the welded Ti lower/axle.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    I got a better reason to get a Lefty. They're lighter, stiffer, more plush. and just feel so dang awesome. Screw the looks. You should be looking down the trail as you ride, not at your bike... know what I mean?

    Yeah, like others have said, you can put any fork on there if you get the right adapter headset. Tons of good forks out there from Rockshox and Fox. $600 for a Lefty is kinda tight for budget, considering you'll need a new front wheel as well.

    If you go Lefty, make sure you get one 2006 vintage or newer. THe later ones can be upgraded with the new style air spring and damper... which is good because you can still get parts and service on it. Earlier forks, not so much. Also, avoid the Fox Lefty. Same issue... no parts available for it, and I hear they are finicky and delicate. Basically, you're looking for the Leftys that use the Shimano BB tool on the top cap and one piece forged lower leg/axle, not the earlier ones with the 8 sided bolt top cap with the welded Ti lower/axle.
    I'll keep that in mind thanks!

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