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  1. #1
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    Lefty DLR Bottoming out?

    I have a new 2010 RZ120-3 with a DLR Lefty. Although I love the overall feel of the bike and the travel, the front fork seems to want to bottom out almost all the time even when hitting the smallest drops (2 feet or less) or when hitting a log-over. And when it pops back, it seems to hit the top also. I think I am hearing metal on metal.

    I had the pressure set exactly for my weight, and it was pretty bad, I could bottom it out without even being on the bike. Went to my LBS to get it checked out and he recommended to "put more air in it". I put an extra 10 lbs in , then 20. Rode this weekend, in around 45 degree weather. Same problem. I have 20 lbs. more air in it now and my sag is now no where close to where it should be. Try to climb anything steep and the front end comes right off the ground.

    Is there an inherent issue with this fork that I am not aware of ? If so, is that a warranty issue? I have had the bike for only a couple of months. My son has an RZ120-2 with a PBR on it, and I could jump it off a 2 story building without bottoming it out.

    Any ideas? Thanks
    Last edited by A-Ray; 02-22-2011 at 10:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a stuck solo air valve, which causes to much negative air build up....
    Should be an easy fix for a competent Lefty mechanic which in this case sounds your lbs doesn't have...
    Does messing with your rebound change anything?
    "Common sense isn't always that common!"
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  3. #3
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    I have adjusted my rebound to about 3 clicks in from the slowest setting, and that seems to help a bit. It actually turns out that the red rebound knob itself was stuck, so when I thought it was all the way in, it wasn't even half way in (DUH).
    Also, if I have the lever in the lockout position, then slowly turn it to the wide open setting, is the compression being adjusted, or is it either "open" or locked out? If that lever is a compression adjustment and not just a lockout on off switch, then I will experiment with that and see what happens. Sorry if I sound stupid, but this whole lefty thing is brand new to me...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Ray
    I have adjusted my rebound to about 3 clicks in from the slowest setting, and that seems to help a bit. It actually turns out that the red rebound knob itself was stuck, so when I thought it was all the way in, it wasn't even half way in (DUH).
    Also, if I have the lever in the lockout position, then slowly turn it to the wide open setting, is the compression being adjusted, or is it either "open" or locked out? If that lever is a compression adjustment and not just a lockout on off switch, then I will experiment with that and see what happens. Sorry if I sound stupid, but this whole lefty thing is brand new to me...
    Open or shut. But like a door, the volume of flow through, reduces or increases as the door is getting to one point or the other. It's not designed to work as a compression adjustment though.

    Like cdalemaniac said, sounds like a bad Solo Air piston. Easy swap out for a decent shop, shouldn't cost you a dime either. The latest iteration of air piston solves the issue.

    Topping out clunk. Have you ever reset the bearings? Start there.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    Open or shut. But like a door, the volume of flow through, reduces or increases as the door is getting to one point or the other. It's not designed to work as a compression adjustment though.

    Like cdalemaniac said, sounds like a bad Solo Air piston. Easy swap out for a decent shop, shouldn't cost you a dime either. The latest iteration of air piston solves the issue.

    Topping out clunk. Have you ever reset the bearings? Start there.
    So even if I retrofit my dlr2 with a solo air piston kit KH054 I still need to buy the updated air piston?
    Or is it included in the newer kits?
    "Common sense isn't always that common!"
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  6. #6
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    Mine was exhibiting these same system in the middle of a 24 hour race. Also the lock out was no longer working. I put more air in to get by for the remainder of the race. Upon returning home and cleaning everything up I did a bearing reset and no improvement. I removed the boot and oil was everywhere. I took it to the LBS and we pulled the damping cartridge and the top cap had came loose allowing the oil to purge out. We refilled the cartridge and bleed it the best we could. It got me through the season but I'll be sending it to Mendon for a full overhaul shortly.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdalemaniac
    So even if I retrofit my dlr2 with a solo air piston kit KH054 I still need to buy the updated air piston?
    Or is it included in the newer kits?
    I don't have the dates/kit numbers in my head right now, but suffice to say, if you are not having issues, leave well enough alone. It won't "develop" symptoms, it either was crappy, or it wasn't.....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  8. #8
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    Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions, I am really learning a lot.
    I also Spoke to my LBS today, and will be bringing it in tomorrow to have it checked out again.
    Putting more air in it did help a little bit initially, but not enough to make me comfortable or confident enough on the next drop from doing serious damage.
    The owner is a very good mechanic, so hopefully he will be able to diagnose my issue and make it a quick fix. I may pull off the bottom of the boot though tonight and have a peek and see if there is a bunch of oil in there.
    OK, one more stupid question: Is resetting the bearings something that I can do at home?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Ray
    Putting more air in it did help a little bit initially, but not enough to make me comfortable or confident enough on the next drop from doing serious damage.Is resetting the bearings something that I can do at home?
    Adding more air, is simply overcompensating for the issue. You have air seeping over to the "wrong" side, creating an overly strong negative spring effect. Fear not, you won't damage anything.

    Yes, resets can, and should be done by you. Simple, takes about 5 to 10 minutes, less once you know the drill....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  10. #10
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    OK, took it into the shop again today. Unbelievable, but I was told to put more air in it again for the second time, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my fork.
    My Owners manual states to set my air pressure at 105psi for someone my weight (waaaaay too soft for me). The demo on the shop floor at my LBS has 120 in it, and although I could bottom that fork out with a lot of weight on it, It felt like butter, like it was hitting a cushion when it hit the bottom. So, if I put the exact same air pressure in mine as the one on the shop floor has, and my rebound knob is set at the same spot, shouldn't they feel the same? Well, they do not. When my fork bottoms out, it feels like metal is hitting metal, and my rebound is still too fast. I am starting to get a bit frustrated. I am going to give it one more try. Honestly, if this doesn't get better I may be forced to just sell it and look for another bike shop to deal with.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Ray
    OK, took it into the shop again today. Unbelievable, but I was told to put more air in it again for the second time, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my fork.
    My Owners manual states to set my air pressure at 105psi for someone my weight (waaaaay too soft for me). The demo on the shop floor at my LBS has 120 in it, and although I could bottom that fork out with a lot of weight on it, It felt like butter, like it was hitting a cushion when it hit the bottom. So, if I put the exact same air pressure in mine as the one on the shop floor has, and my rebound knob is set at the same spot, shouldn't they feel the same? Well, they do not. When my fork bottoms out, it feels like metal is hitting metal, and my rebound is still too fast. I am starting to get a bit frustrated. I am going to give it one more try. Honestly, if this doesn't get better I may be forced to just sell it and look for another bike shop to deal with.
    If your "very good mechanic" can't feel what you are talking about, with a side by side demonstration, well, I'll stop there.

    It's new, it shouldn't clank, they simply don't do that. They do top out after riding hard for a while, but a bearing reset fixes that.

    It needs to go back to Cannondale for a warranty look see.

    Adding more air does not constitute addressing the issue at hand, but I do find that Cannondale's air rates are a bit off, and that personal preference is a far better way to set them up. Theirs is a great starting point.

    Selling it would be silly, don't do that
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  12. #12
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    LBS did say that if my problem gets worse, or does not go away with a little bit more air, that he would send it in to have it looked at under warranty.
    I will go through all of the motions, do the air adjustments (again), try to make sure my sag is set correctly, and give it one more try. If it does not work then it will go back to C-Dale.
    I would like to know how to do the needle bearing reset as well. I see that it is in my manual, but before i attempt it, I will need some real instruction...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Ray
    LBS did say that if my problem gets worse, or does not go away with a little bit more air, that he would send it in to have it looked at under warranty.
    I will go through all of the motions, do the air adjustments (again), try to make sure my sag is set correctly, and give it one more try. If it does not work then it will go back to C-Dale.
    I would like to know how to do the needle bearing reset as well. I see that it is in my manual, but before i attempt it, I will need some real instruction...
    Just have them send it back. Sounds like they don't work on them there, and as such, this will never improve under their watch. Sorry, but it really is a great fork, your dealer just needs to be more informed, then you wouldn't be wasting all this time.

    If it came in here (assuming I sold the bikes, which I don't) It would be pretty simple. "Yep, they don't make metallic noises at bottom out. You say you just bought it? Sucky, here's a loaner, lets have them fix this one......"
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  14. #14
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    OK, here is an update:
    I gave my bike to a friend to replace my drivetrain. While I was at it, I forwarded him the link to reset my needle bearings. He is a great overall bike mechanic, and had the bottom bracket tool, so he said he would give it a shot. With the DLR 120mm travel fork, my overall fully extended length should be 710mm from the very top to the very bottom. Well, it was at 687mm (23 mm off!)before the reset, and is now is at 710 where it should be. I was losing an inch of travel on every hit, no wonder why I was bottoming it out all the time. Needless to say, it seems as though my problem is solved for now. Rode the bike 17 miles yesterday with 120psi, and I could not bottom it out, even after some pretty decent drops. Very happy that things worked out.

  15. #15
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    Another fork sale, averted by a lowly bearing reset.

    Nice!
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



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  16. #16
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    WJW another LBS that has little to no clue regarding the Lefty. Why doesn't C'Dale offer training?. Such a great product and suck lousy support. Thank god for a few that really know this thing. Way to go Craig, saved another one.

  17. #17
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    Dumb question, but could flipping the bike over to remove wheels, add air to the fork, or general storage make the bearings move around?
    I just want to avoid doing any of that if it may somehow contribute.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dapozer
    Why doesn't C'Dale offer training?. Such a great product and suck lousy support.
    They do, but most wrenches are only at any given dealer for a year or four, and take the knowledge when they go. They also have great tech help, for dealers who will bother to pick up the phone.

    It's more about lazy shops, who'd rather blame the fork, than their lack of inertia.

    Get a few guys at the shop riding the forks, the shop gets behind them, and it's a virtuous cycle.

    Don't blame Cannondale, they offer scads of support for those willing to admit their knowledge isn't infinite....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by A-Ray
    Dumb question, but could flipping the bike over to remove wheels, add air to the fork, or general storage make the bearings move around?
    I just want to avoid doing any of that if it may somehow contribute.
    Nope, the only thing that makes 'em migrate is hard riding, so good on ya, keep it up!
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    Don't blame Cannondale, they offer scads of support for those willing to admit their knowledge isn't infinite....
    Can't count the number of times I faced a Bike machanic at an LBS who simply couldn't admit " I don't know" and garble some BS instead .....

    When I bought my Headshock DLR , it was loosing air like a cow farting , the LBS could only send it to CDale.
    I learned here on this site that there was a kit available , for 80$ that took care of the problem.
    Did it myself.

    The LBS didn't know about that kit and worst , didn't even called CDale to see if there was an easy solution. " It doesn't work: to Cannondale"

    With that attitude in the music buisness , I wouldn't work at all.

    end of rant
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

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