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  1. #1
    el Rappazapator
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    New question here. Once more - "Lefty tuning"

    I'm looking for some advice in tuning my Carbon DLR Lefty.

    I'm about 187 cm tall and weigh in at about 82 kg. I've got relatively long legs and long arms and a somehow compact torso. A view weeks ago I bought a large sized Scalpel 3000 and find it quite hard to get a good setup of the suspension. Especially the Lefty causes me some headache. Before the Scalpel I had a Merlin Mountain 18.75" with a Pace RC38 fork which provided just 63mm of tight travel. Having now about 100mm of bottomless travel makes it hard to dial this thing in for me.

    Actually I have about 160psi of air pressure in the Lefty, according to the manual of Cannondale much to much. But also with this high pressure setup the sag is about 1" and the bike tends to bump up and down under hard pedal load? What to do? Cut of my head to take some load off the front of my bike??? Any better idea would be highly appreciated!

    In seated position on uphill climbs the fork tops out very harshly, like hitting the end of travel without any damping – is this normal??? My dealer says so, but I can't believe this. I think the negative springs should prevent the fork from toping out. Is an audible and noticeable hit of the upper limits of the Lefty common or is it just a problem of my bike? If it is just something that applies to my Lefty what has to be changed or repaired?

    And last but not least also the red damping dial located in the center of the larger black lock out knob seems to act strangely. I can turn it about 1170 degrees but it seems to have just on the last 90 degrees any effect. This behaviour makes it very hard to dial in the damping because a turn of about 5 degrees will have a mayor effect on the damping. Again my bike shop sys that this is common to Leftys…

    Many many questions, but I'm confident to get some profound answers through this forum. Pleas excuse my very bad English, I live in Switzerland and my native language is "Schwizerduetsch" so its quite hard for me to explain my questions and findings in English.

    Thanks for any help and happy trails!
    Josef
    Last edited by joschi; 04-21-2004 at 06:35 AM.

  2. #2
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    Idea! Advice ?

    Hello Joschi,
    A couple of months ago I purchased a new Cannondale F800 – Large Frame. I am 6'1"(185.5cm) and 190 Lbs(87kg), just about your size. I couldn't imagine myself on a medium size bike. Are you sure this bike fits you properly?

    Anyway, I have experienced a top-heavy or flip-over-the-handle-bars feeling when going downhill. I have come to the conclusion that the spring in my Headshoc Lefty Jake is undersized. I have ordered a stronger spring kit. Unfortunately this advice won't help you with your 'air' type Lefty.

    I have more for you to read on my post under the Cannondale forum. Scroll down the list until your find "Lefty – Spring Size". This post has some Cannondale web links to manuals and my crash story.

    My only advice I can offer you is to try riding a 'large' frame and replace the stem to adjust for your short torso.

    Ken
    Georgia, USA

  3. #3
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    first, to the poster above, he is riding a Large... reread the post.

    Joschi, the things that you are describing are not normal. If the fork tops out harshly, more than likely there is air in the damping cartridge. Leftys don't have top out springs (acutally, the Lefty Max, might but I am not sure), instead they rely on the damping cartridge to soften the blow, if you will. When there is air in the cartridge, the final bit of rebound is undamped, allowing the cartridge to extend fully and go 'thunk'. Have a COMPETENT shop bleed the cartridge.

    That should also help the damping adjustment, though it still won't be linear and most of the adjustment will be in the last few turns. While the shop is inside the fork, you could have them put a heavier oil in it to increase the compression damping. I personally found them to be overdamped, but some people felt otherwise.

    Hope this helps, drop me a line if you have some more questions.

    -James

    Quote Originally Posted by joschi
    I'm looking for some advice in tuning my Carbon DLR Lefty.
    I've got relatively long legs and long arms and a somehow compact torso. A view weeks ago I bought a large sized Scalpel 3000 and find it quite hard to get a good setup of the suspension. ...

    Actually I have about 160psi of air pressure in the Lefty, according to the manual of Cannondale much to much. But also with this high pressure setup the sag is about 1" and the bike tends to bump up and down under hard pedal load? What to do? Cut of my head to take some load off the front of my bike??? Any better idea would be highly appreciated!

    In seated position on uphill climbs the fork tops out very harshly, like hitting the end of travel without any damping – is this normal??? My dealer says so, but I can't believe this. I think the negative springs should prevent the fork from toping out. Is an audible and noticeable hit of the upper limits of the Lefty common or is it just a problem of my bike? If it is just something that applies to my Lefty what has to be changed or repaired?

    And last but not least also the red damping dial located in the center of the larger black lock out knob seems to act strangely. I can turn it about 1170 degrees but it seems to have just on the last 90 degrees any effect. This behaviour makes it very hard to dial in the damping because a turn of about 5 degrees will have a mayor effect on the damping. Again my bike shop sys that this is common to Leftys…

    Thanks for any help and happy trails!
    Josef

  4. #4
    el Rappazapator
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    Hi Ken

    Of course I've got a large frame; it was a mistake with medium size and should be corrected meanwhile. The frame seems so fit reasonably well, not as aggressive and responsive as my Merlin but still a good choice for long distance and XC racing. I never had the opportunity to test ride a XL sized Scalpel. Nobody has one in stock and they just want order one if they're sure that it will be sold right on the spot. It seems to be very very lagre and cause of this hard to be sold. So I went with a large frame and it seems to fit not to bad. Maybe one of the sizing professionals in this forum may tell me if my decision was right?!?
    Anyway thanks for your information. I will definitely read through your Lefty thread carefully.

    Regards
    Josef

  5. #5
    jcw
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    Quote Originally Posted by James@GearReview
    first, to the poster above, he is riding a Large... reread the post.

    Joschi, the things that you are describing are not normal. If the fork tops out harshly, more than likely there is air in the damping cartridge. Leftys don't have top out springs (acutally, the Lefty Max, might but I am not sure), instead they rely on the damping cartridge to soften the blow, if you will. When there is air in the cartridge, the final bit of rebound is undamped, allowing the cartridge to extend fully and go 'thunk'. Have a COMPETENT shop bleed the cartridge.

    That should also help the damping adjustment, though it still won't be linear and most of the adjustment will be in the last few turns. While the shop is inside the fork, you could have them put a heavier oil in it to increase the compression damping. I personally found them to be overdamped, but some people felt otherwise.

    Hope this helps, drop me a line if you have some more questions.

    -James
    Hmmm, as I read the original post I thought, "yep, that's normal". Every Lefty I've ever ridden does "top out" while climbing, and with my first lefty I found this to be quite annoying. All in all though I thought it was a small price to pay for the performance gain of the lefty. Over time, like anything else, you get used to it, and it probably helps to develop a smoother pedal stroke while climbing. Also, my experience has been that if there is any air at all in the damper, it will allow a bothersome bit of movement when the fork is locked out. If you do have some play when the fork is locked out then the air in the damper a good diagnosis, but if it's solid then I'd say it's normal lefty behavior.

    If my conversion is correct, you weigh about 10 - 15 pounds less than me, but are running 40 psi more than I do. I'm 5' 11.5" and weigh 190 - 195 pounds and run around 120 psi front and rear on my Scalpel. Since the lefty is so plush, a result of the needle bearings, you do get quite a bit of bob if your pedal stroke is not smooth or if you stand and sprint. One thing that I do that works really well for me is to lock the fork while climbing, but leave the rear active - the reverse of what most others do. The bike climbs great like this with no noticable bob. I recommend it to everyone that rides a Scalpel.

    And finally for fit, the size sounds right for your height, but as a bike fitter I can tell you that you long legged folks are the hardest to fit to any bike. At least it sounds like you have corresponding long arms to make up for your short torso. Any shops in your area offer a professional fit? It costs a bit of money up front, but it's something you can use for the rest of your life and is one of the best bike related investments you can make IMO.
    "The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule by fictitious miracles."
    John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 1815

  6. #6
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    i'm 185 and run 115 psi in my front and i was told it was set up stiff by my local cannondale shop, but thats the way i like it, and i do find that when i stand and sprint that the fork bobs, but it has a lockout. Use it

  7. #7
    el Rappazapator
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    Good job! Most problems solved

    Well, thank you very much for all your helpful tips and advice. Meanwhile I've adapted to my Scalpel and feel very comfortable on it.
    First of all I've found that a mayor problem was my shock pump. It didn't fitted properly to the valve of the Lefty. On the pump I had a reading of about 160 psi but inside the lefty where maybe just 110 psi. The use of an "Eko Sport Airtight Pump Adapter" fixed this problem. In fact the suggested 135 psi work very well with my weight.
    The somehow not linear damping adjustment of the Lefty leaves me a little unhappy but it's something I can live with. What really disturbs is the remote rear lockout lever. On a bike in this price range I really expect something more useful then what Cannondale has done here. I'm working on a solution for this problem and will post some pics as soon as it really works.

  8. #8
    singletrail lover
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    Saletti Joschi
    For your Info - I have a '04 XL Scalpel Frame with Lefty Carbon DLR. I am 188cm with about 93 legs and 85kg. 110-120psi on the front and 150 psi in the back (FOX ProPedal) suits me fine. I had a Lefty ELO before and loved the easy lockout, because with 10cm travel and no 'brain', I need the lockout frequently. In the back, I never lock out, I do not feel a need to. Removing the remote lockout mechanism saves weight, and I can still easily grab the lever behind the seat. Doesn't hurt to have your bike checked by a good bike shop if it didn't happen at purchase time. C'dale Europe has a bad reputation - my frame was delivered with only half a headset and the wrong shock. They have delivered Lefty's without oil before...
    Congrats to your Cristalp Pic - you will be faster with your Scalpel this year... :-)
    Machs guet!

  9. #9
    jcw
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    Glad to hear that you've got it mostly figured out, but the following bit has me a slightly puzzled...
    Quote Originally Posted by joschi
    What really disturbs is the remote rear lockout lever. On a bike in this price range I really expect something more useful then what Cannondale has done here. I'm working on a solution for this problem and will post some pics as soon as it really works.
    I think the bar mounted lockout is awesome - no more having to ride one handed and hunt around for the little lever, it's right there at your fingertips. Is someone else out there producing a superior system? I have yet to see one. Before I had the bar mounted lever I almost never used the lockout except on the roads to and from the trails, but now I use it constantly.

    As for the damper adjustment, I agree with you. It seems like they could do away with about 95% of the dial movement and just use a quarter or half turn dial, but that's been my experience with most cartridge style dampers I've tried.
    "The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule by fictitious miracles."
    John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 1815

  10. #10
    el Rappazapator
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    Idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by jcw
    I think the bar mounted lockout is awesome - no more having to ride one handed and hunt around for the little lever, it's right there at your fingertips. Is someone else out there producing a superior system? I have yet to see one. Before I had the bar mounted lever I almost never used the lockout except on the roads to and from the trails, but now I use it constantly.
    Hmmm… It seems that you have a Fox damper or something like that. The DT Swiss 210 found on this years Scalpel is very hard to operate, even with the original lever right on the damper it takes some effort to turn it. The remote lockout lever from Cannondale is designed to operate a mechanism that works smoothly. I've tested it on a Jekyll with a Fox damper where it's really very handy to operate. But on the Scalpel with the DT Swiss Damper it is so hard to operate you will think twice about locking out or not.
    My workaround is still functional, hope to find some time to make some pics and post them here )

  11. #11
    el Rappazapator
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by offpiste
    Saletti Joschi
    For your Info - I have a '04 XL Scalpel Frame with Lefty Carbon DLR. I am 188cm with about 93 legs and 85kg. 110-120psi on the front and 150 psi in the back (FOX ProPedal) suits me fine. I had a Lefty ELO before and loved the easy lockout, because with 10cm travel and no 'brain', I need the lockout frequently. In the back, I never lock out, I do not feel a need to. Removing the remote lockout mechanism saves weight, and I can still easily grab the lever behind the seat. Doesn't hurt to have your bike checked by a good bike shop if it didn't happen at purchase time. C'dale Europe has a bad reputation - my frame was delivered with only half a headset and the wrong shock. They have delivered Lefty's without oil before...
    Congrats to your Cristalp Pic - you will be faster with your Scalpel this year... :-)
    Machs guet!
    We will see - it will be hard for the Scalpel to beat the Merlin. Maybe it will be an easier ride, specially in the downhill sections, but faster??? Only this years Cristalp will show the truth…

  12. #12
    singletrail lover
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    DTSwiss Lockout

    Quote Originally Posted by joschi
    Hmmm… It seems that you have a Fox damper or something like that. The DT Swiss 210 found on this years Scalpel is very hard to operate, even with the original lever right on the damper it takes some effort to turn it. The remote lockout lever from Cannondale is designed to operate a mechanism that works smoothly. I've tested it on a Jekyll with a Fox damper where it's really very handy to operate. But on the Scalpel with the DT Swiss Damper it is so hard to operate you will think twice about locking out or not.
    My workaround is still functional, hope to find some time to make some pics and post them here )
    .... well, then this one should help. pic taken from dtswiss.ch but you have probably checked this out already.
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