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  1. #1
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    Cannondale Lefty in general

    I see alot of Cannondale Lefty forks for sale. I thought these were the forks to have. I was under the impression they are really good. I am conciderring purchasing the project 321 package. What am I not aware of about the Cannondale Lefty that everyone else is? I weigh 300 pounds so I was thinking of a 40/36 spoke disc wheel set with the Lefty speed shock and all the manucia that makes it turn key ready. Please fill me in as I am all ears!

  2. #2
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    Smile

    IMO of course, the Lefty is the fork to have so to speak. But remember that not all lefty shocks are the same over the years, which it's why you may see many for sale as people upgrade to a newer generation and sell their old one. Some are built for short travel xc bikes while others have much more travel for all mountain bikes. As peoples needs change then possibly so does the lefty they need on their bike.

    The general needle bearings have remained virtually the same until the 2013 models but the internal dampening circuits have evolved dramatically over the years. Some are air sprung (easily adjusted for your body weight and is a lighter weight shock) while others have internal springs inside which must be changed out to adjust to different rider weights. (which might not be possible at your current weight)

    Some models have very good small bump compliance while others did not based on internal valve dampening. Some models had externally adjustable compression and rebound controls while others must be opened up to make dampening adjustments.

    Some have lever actuated lock out valves (DLR), some push button (PBR), remote lever lock outs (XLR) and there was even an electric actuated lock out system years ago (ELO). Older lock out circuits were completely locked and can be damaged if left locked out on extremely rough terrain where newer lock out valving is very firm but will "blow off" if a certain pressure threshold is reached to protect shock internals.

    Besides valving changes there have been changes to the body design including forged one piece steering stems and lower legs along with carbon body tubes to reduces overall weight of the lefty.

    There are many more differences between leftys sold over the years not listed that may cause a lefty owner to sell their current one for a model that will meet their current needs, so don't be afraid to see many up for sale as it is just evolution of an amazing product.

    Just do your research on leftys before buying one for your project as the cheapest one you find may not meet your specific needs.

    Good Luck!

  3. #3
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    At 300 lbs, you'll want top consider a few things.

    Avoid carbon Leftys, hands down. The alloy forks have better overall chassis stiffness.

    I'd also consider an older fork, perhaps a Max 140 from the 2005 era. The newer OPI lowers have lost stiffness relative to their older cousins. Still stiff forks, but weight loss that the market compels, does lead to stiffness reduction.

    If you were 220, I'd still counsel for an older fork for increased stiffness, but a 300? You'll really appreciate it.

    They are new enough however, that you can drop modern guts into them, which is nice also, in your weight range, as finding the brown spring you'd need, will be tough, and the newer ones are air sprung, much more tunable for your needs.

    Woodman makes 36 hole Lefty hubs, not sure if anyone else does. Frankly? I have one in the case at the shop that I'm no longer using. So if you end up with a fork, drop me a line, I'll get it to you for a reasonable price.

    They are great forks. You may see an uptick in for sale ones due to the new design forks coming into stock, many of us geeks just want the latest and greatest....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    Avoid carbon Leftys, hands down.
    Are You really don't recommended to buy carbon lefty? I also wish to buy alloy PBR 2013, but my friend sell almost new carbon XLR 2012 for 800$, and I strongly think about it What would you do in my place?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pROsto View Post
    Are You really don't recommended to buy carbon lefty? I also wish to buy alloy PBR 2013, but my friend sell almost new carbon XLR 2012 for 800$, and I strongly think about it What would you do in my place?
    If you weigh less than 200lbs, and don't mind a tiny bit more flex, go for the carbon.

    Heavier? I'd go alloy.

    Carbon isn't bad, I'm not saying don't buy it. I work on hundreds and hundreds of forks a year. I see the carbons come in, and every time it's a heavier rider, I'll see decent wearing of the ano on the inner leg in the front as the fork flexes enough to created heavier contact with the bushing inside the upper leg. They work fine, don't break, but that flex isn't present in the alloys at any rider weight.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  6. #6
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    Ok,thanks, I'm about 190 pounds, decided, will wait new alloy lefty What's about lockout type, PBR/XLR, what's more reliably?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pROsto View Post
    What's about lockout type, PBR/XLR, what's more reliably?
    I like PBR, cheaper, and lighter, how often does THAT happen??

    Both have equal reliability....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by webphut View Post
    I see alot of Cannondale Lefty forks for sale.
    Ask yourself why that might be...
    Less isn't MOAR

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideknob View Post
    Ask yourself why that might be...
    If you look at all the tens of thousands that they have sold there is bound to be a percentage that isn't happy ?

  10. #10
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    Of course that's true of any product.

    Out of interest I did this:

    Googled "Cannondale Lefy problems" = 96000 hits.

    Rockshox Reba problems = 57800 hits.

    Rockshox SID problems = 46800 hits.

    Manitou Minute problems = 453000 hits.

    Just saying - I have had my Lefty fail twice, Cannondale techs down here (Australia) seem incompetent as it's never been rebuilt twice. And a work colleague has the same fork (Speed 110) and his has blown up twice too.

    I think it's fair for a prospective buyer to hear all points of view. And my point of view is that my Lefty has been not only the most unreliable fork I have ever owned, going back to the early 90's, but the most unreliable bit of MTB gear I've ever used.

    Which is a real shame as I love the way it feels when it's working and the Lefty tracking and stiffness that folks rave about is 100% true.
    Less isn't MOAR

  11. #11
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    Sorry mate, just done a search for "Cannondale Lefty Problems".

    Most of those hits are simply talking about Lefty's.

    The top hit is a someone having some issues with an ex-demo bike from back in 2010.

    I'm sure that everyone will agree that Leftys (like any other fork) have had their fair share of problems. However, leftys have massively evolved and improved since then.
    and no, I am not missing the other half of my fork....

  12. #12
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    And still poor Sideknob hasn't figured out the answer to his issues.

    Interesting to note several of his countrymen have however.....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideknob View Post
    Of course that's true of any product.

    Out of interest I did this:

    Googled "Cannondale Lefy problems" = 96000 hits.

    Rockshox Reba problems = 57800 hits.

    Rockshox SID problems = 46800 hits.

    Manitou Minute problems = 453000 hits.

    Just saying - I have had my Lefty fail twice, Cannondale techs down here (Australia) seem incompetent as it's never been rebuilt twice. And a work colleague has the same fork (Speed 110) and his has blown up twice too.

    I think it's fair for a prospective buyer to hear all points of view. And my point of view is that my Lefty has been not only the most unreliable fork I have ever owned, going back to the early 90's, but the most unreliable bit of MTB gear I've ever used.

    Which is a real shame as I love the way it feels when it's working and the Lefty tracking and stiffness that folks rave about is 100% true.
    If it has been so unreliable all these years then why do you bother with it? If I had a piece of bike equipment that continually gave me grief I wouldn't hesitate to look for an alternative, especially when it comes to MTBing, the last thing I'd want when heading for the hills is a fork that I don't trust..

    Regarding your google search, I'd imagine the majority of the 'Lefty problems' would simply turn out to be people's misunderstanding of them and how to look after them. Like the bearing reset procedure, in the earlier models it was an issue as the damper had to be removed to perform the reset, whereas modern Lefty's are so much easier to look after and maintain due to the split rings above the damper.

    I've been riding MTB's for the best part of 25 years. In that time I've tried, tested & serviced forks from all the major manufacturer's - Manitou, Marzochhi, Fox, Rockshox. Some have been ultra reliable while others not so much. Rockshox have always been one of my favourites but I've serviced brand new RS fork's, right out of the box, that have had no oil in the damper or oil bath so its not just Lefty's that fall into the trap of unreliability.

    I've been riding a Lefty of one kind or another for about 5 years now and I'm happy to report that they have been the most reliable forks I have used yet. I own an original 2001 Lefty that is still going strong after 11 years of use. Its old, ugly and very heavy but it has been well cared for & regularly maintained and IMO, in terms of suspension performance, it still out-performs any 100mm fork in its class hands down.

    I suspect the problem with your fork is with the mechanic that maintains it... not the actual fork itself..

  14. #14
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    All forks have issues, except maybe a rigid, but the 2008 Carbon Lefty has been the most reliable front end I have had while not running a rigid. Except until lately when the bottom half of the fork acquired a massive amount of side to side play. Sent it off to get worked on and am hoping it is salvagable!?

    Sorry Mendon Cycle Smith, wish I found you for the repair. You seem to know your stuff when it comes to the Lefty!

  15. #15
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Huber View Post
    All forks have issues, except maybe a rigid, but the 2008 Carbon Lefty has been the most reliable front end I have had while not running a rigid. Except until lately when the bottom half of the fork acquired a massive amount of side to side play. Sent it off to get worked on and am hoping it is salvagable!?

    Sorry Mendon Cycle Smith, wish I found you for the repair. You seem to know your stuff when it comes to the Lefty!
    They will fail without routine service, just like any other high performance product.

    Likely just some bearing cages gave up the ghost. Should be an easy fix.

    As long as someone competent is doing the job, no worries, glad you're happy with it!
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



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  16. #16
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    From what I understand, newer Leftys, 2008 to current are completely rebuildable even with some of the newer technology as long as there is no structural damage to the two main tubes. Is that pretty accurate?

  17. #17
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    True, all Leftys as far back as 2005 can be rebuilt and upgraded to the new style dampers. The only odd balls are the Fox Terraloggic/Inertia Valve versions.

  18. #18
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    Right on, I'm hoping a little TLC will get mine back on the trail, plus it's cheaper than a ponying up for a new one. Even though the new ones look killer!

  19. #19
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    I have one of the Terralogic Lefty's, they were produced for just one year back in 2006

    I downloaded a Lefty fork guide that says the Terralogic damper can be 'upgraded' or swapped out for the Fox RLC damper

    Therefore, I can only assume that if Fox RLC's dampers can be upgraded to PBR / XLR, that the same thing can be done to the Terralogic fork with some internal changes & possibly a new OPI lower leg..?

    I am only guessing though.

  20. #20
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    Sorry about the Terraloggic. It used a special inner leg that is not compatible with PBR and XLR. The leg can be replaced with a newer OPI and then upgraded to PBR or XLR. Being that it uses a carbon outer, the dollars should add up versus buying a complete alloy Lefty.

  21. #21
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    Mine is an 08 Speed Carbon SL 29er, so I'm pretty sure it can be restored well below the cost of a new alloy model.

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    No worries, I actually really like the Terralogic Lefty. Its a bit harsh compared to my other Lefty's but I like the idea of never going near it, just ride it and enjoy it..!

    Seal kits are still available for it and I managed to download a full service guide as well, so as long as I can keep it alive I am happy to go with it.. its 7 years old now and still going strong.. never given me problems in any way..

    My Lefty Max Carbon SPV on the other hand will most definitely be getting a PBR upgrade in the very near future.. love the PBR damper, superb piece of kit..

  23. #23
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    have about 5000 miles on mine. No mechanical issues, but it seems to have lost its plush... Time to move to 29!
    A bargain hunterís dream, CleanSnipe provides the best deals on outdoor gear and bikes from across the web all in one place.

  24. #24
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    Question on Scalpel 3 29er

    So I am a little confused about a difference in frame design on the Scalpel 3 29er. I have been looking online at this bike for some time, but haven't seen one in person as my local shop doesn't actually stock any Cannondales. While visiting KC, I went to a Cannondale shop that had a Scalpel 3 29er (medium) the exact bike and size I am looking for. I test rode it and confirmed what I suspected, I love this bike. However, the frame, specifically the top tube near the seat post, is different than every photo online I have seen. All the pics you see of this bike, even 2012 models, have a small section of double tubing near the seat post (1 picture). This one (2 pictures) is totally different. Is it because it's the Medium? The shop manager swears it's a 2013 and even had a receipt from Cannondale. I just am wondering why such a design variation would exist and why none of the bikes I have seen online look like this one. Please help if you have any ideas, info, or guesses. Thanks everyone and keep the rubber side down.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cannondale Lefty in general-img_1640.jpg  

    Cannondale Lefty in general-img_1639.jpg  

    Cannondale Lefty in general-scalpel-3-29er.jpg  


  25. #25
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    Yes, it is the medium that makes it different. I'm sure Cannondale wants to keep the linkage shapes and locations the same for each size, but in order to keep things the same over the size range they have to extend the seat tube on the large and add the extra piece of top tube for reinforcement. So you can think of your bike as the standard and the bigger bikes as the oddballs

  26. #26
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    Random hijack

  27. #27
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    Mystery solved?

    Thanks Chili.
    That is what I suspected and the more I look at pics, the more I see that the only variation is that 1 piece of extra top tube. I think I am going to get the bike, I just have to come up with the chunk of cash to pay for it.

  28. #28
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    In fact, the "hole" created by the extra reinforcing tube is quite a bit larger on the XL than the L as I recall. It does make it easy to tell what size any Scalpel 29er is when you see them.

  29. #29
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    The gary fisher hifi 29ers had the same extra top brace on larger sizes. It bothered me at first but in the end the correct size is more important than the aesthetic appearance of the frame.

  30. #30
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    Sideknob is not a happy camper

    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    And still poor Sideknob hasn't figured out the answer to his issues.

    Interesting to note several of his countrymen have however.....
    I'm interested to read your comments on stiffness of the alloy per 140 Max. I have the 2012 damper and its been a great fork.

  31. #31
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    I have just fitted a lefty speed to my 99 raven. Having a few problems with fitting it thoufh. I didnt get a steerer with it so have used one i had from my jekyll which was off an older dlr lefty.
    Problem im having is as the bearing sit inside the frame and not in a cup like they did on the si headset on the jekyll plus it looks the clamps on the speed are thinner. This is giving me a gap approx 2 or 3mm bettwen the top of the lower clamp and the bearing.
    Anyome got any ideas? Should i try one of the si steerer things??

  32. #32
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
    Anyome got any ideas?
    Off the cuff? Are you using the rubber/steel "shower cap" for the top bearing? Spacing needs sound about right if you aren't currently.....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  33. #33
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    Im not running anything between the upper bearing and the clamp but the i know the bit you mean and the gap at the bottom is bigger than said bit

  34. #34
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
    Im not running anything between the upper bearing and the clamp but the i know the bit you mean and the gap at the bottom is bigger than said bit
    Clamp spacing for the bonded clamps (other then the XL clamp of the last several years)has been the same over time. If the shower cap isn't enough to take up that space, all the steerers or SI stem/steerers in the world aren't going to do a thing about it. Spacers don't exist to deal with differences, because there aren't any....

    So that leaves clamps having been spread by someone not knowing how to remove the fork, and bending them in their efforts.

    I'd take it to a competent Cannondal shop for inspection, and while you're there, measure the clamp spacing on another bonded or SI clamp fork just for comparison.

    I know what you mean with the lack of headset cups on the Raven, same forks went onto them, no special Raven issue forks were made.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  35. #35
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    Is there any advantage to the titanium version of the lefty? Also, can the shorter travel lefties be converted to the lefty max? Given that I weigh 230+, should I look for a lefty with a spring? I appreciate any information.

  36. #36
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    The ti forks are older. 100 mm is all they will ever be.

    No advantage really, just the material used for the axle is all.

    No, they cannot be made longer, sorry.

    Do you need a coil? Mmmm, not really. Issue will be, finding a brown which is what you'd need for your weight. Easier just to pump to the desired pressure and go......
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  37. #37
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    I have a 2013 F29 1 alloy. All I can say is this thing is a bad a$$ bike!Faster you go the better it handles. Great bike! Took it out today and it gets better each time!
    2013 Cannondale F29 1 Alloy
    2013 Cervelo S5 Rival
    2012 Trek X01 cross
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