Lefty Forks, What's the point?

The HutcH
The HutcH Posts: 107
edited January 2009 in MTB general
Saw these forks in the latest issue of MBUK and wondered what's the point in these forks, surely its odd to ride with these forks, plus i think they look hideous on a bike.
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Comments

  • probably a weight saving feature, but saying that, the single fork does look quite chunky.
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  • its basically a "unique selling point" for Cannondale, to make their bikes stand out from the crowd
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  • Andy B
    Andy B Posts: 8,115
    lefty's have the advantage of not having to remove the wheel from the fork if you get a puncture, you can remove the tyre & tube with minimal faffing.
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • as the previous two replies say it's a mixture of something behind handy and also having a unique look, like they've tried to for years with their in brand forks too. It'll generate some chat and keep the profile up, very clever if the innovation really is as such.
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  • poucher
    poucher Posts: 102
    Guys, can i ask you a question, have any of you actually ridden a Lefty??

    I've had one since 2005 and its absolutely fantastic, gives a very plush ride as there's no wiper seal stiction as on conventional forks and it just moves effortlessly on 88 needle roller bearings on a hexagonal centre shaft, plus its as stiff as a scaffolding pole! :D
    Have you seen how much telescopic forks bend when you hit the brakes?

    I change the oil in it every year and its been completley bullet-proof!

    Give one a go if you ever get the chance, or are you afraid you might like it?? :shock:

    Cheers,

    Poucher :wink:
  • Don't think i would like it, in my opinion it ruins the look of a bike.
  • Don't think i would like it, in my opinion it ruins the look of a bike.
  • The Lefty has been around for some time..Cannondale have always been unusual in their own suspension design..The aesthetics and design of Cannondales have always had a bit of a Marmite effect on a lot of riders.

    I like them but I think they have always been a bit overpriced but I like the fact they try and take their own path..

    http://gb.cannondale.com/bikes/09/ce/model-9FS0S.html
  • sniper68
    sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    Poucher wrote:
    Guys, can i ask you a question, have any of you actually ridden a Lefty??
    Yup tested one a few years back,looked daft,felt strange.Then again i don't much care for 'dales full stop.They tried all daft stuff like this on motorcycles throughout the late 80s/early 90s.Its just a gimmick,was on motorbikes is on Mountainbikes.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    They make for a very light and stiff fork. However you need a special hub, and they are notorious for maintenance.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    ive got one an as odd as they look, i think its cool and the gang. mine is in desperate need of an over haul but even in its gritty condition, its very compliant and well controlled and never leaks air even though its about 8 yrs old.

    i havent serviced it yet as i never ride it but i would imagine in top nick they are amazing as they run on bearings instead of bushes.
  • z1ppy
    z1ppy Posts: 103
    It's a definite marmite thing, but also depends on which side of the bike you look at it too IMO.
    I test rode one a couple of years back and then had chance to purchase one @ a reasonable price and am very happy with it.

    The stiffness is unbelievable, you might think you fork is stiff but when you've ridden a lefty you realize how flimsy QR forks are...
    Not had issue with it in the slightest and as mentioned, it is a talking point (even to ppl not interest in bikes), even if you don't like the look.

    BUT please don't suggest is crap just cause you don't like the look of them, ibbo68's commentd just suggest he's a crackn'fail hater and won't believe anything they've done to advance the mtb sport.. which is so untrue

    and to be fair there are now better forks out there performance wise for a lot less cash.


    Oh and you can get kits to make them fit normal 1&1/8 headtubes, as they are made to fit 1.5 headtubes from the factory.
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  • sniper68
    sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    z1ppy wrote:

    BUT please don't suggest is crap just cause you don't like the look of them, ibbo68's commentd just suggest he's a crackn'fail hater and won't believe anything they've done to advance the mtb sport.. which is so untrue
    You've completely got the wrong end of the stick mate and are assuming i made my comment because i "hate"Cannondales.I said i'm not a fan of dales BUT i also said these gimmicks were tried on motorbikes(where most MTB stuff comes from)in the 80s and 90s.Cannondale aren't advancing MTBing they're just recycling old motorbike ideas.Theres a reason most motorbikes and MTB forks have 2 legs.It is tried and tested and has been for almost a hundred years.Gimmicks come and go.
    The next "new"thing will be upside down forks,also used on Sportsbikes since the late 80s and they work well on motorbikes,but will be next to useless on an MTB used for anything other than going to the shops.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    usd forks do exist and have done for ages on mtb but as you say arent a massive thing
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    ibbo68 wrote:
    Cannondale aren't advancing MTBing they're just recycling old motorbike ideas.

    I can't think of any motorbike fork built on the same principle as a lefty fork- motorbikes with single sided fronts have hub-steer swingarm fronts rather than one-sided telescopics.

    (bit off topic!)
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  • z1ppy
    z1ppy Posts: 103
    ibbo68, on the face of that I retract my "hater" comment
    but I still have issues with your 'dislike', are you luddite? :wink:

    Your suggesting that we should be satified with the status quo of current fork design (or any design), why shouldn't news idea be tried out, yes they usually re-cycling old idea's - very little is new, most re-invented/updated.
    The single sided fork is hardly a flash in the pan, the c'dale lefty has been about since the early 2000's (can't find the exact date), but the idea is used on nearly all aircraft landing gear. Motorcycle have exisited with single sided swing arms for over 10 years or more (if not longer - the Honder VFR 750 or the BMW K1 being the first real mainstream "production" models I recall).

    Just because an idea not taken up by the mainstream, I don't believe it should be mocked - no doubt some where down the line it's just be re-invented as the next new mainstream thing..

    I know you not really a luddite, but couldn't let it lie.. :lol:
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  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    The lefty is also a dual crown fork - this increases stiffness. The top end lefties are lighter than a SID.
  • Is their "dual geometry" stuff any good? the full sus that lets you change the angles for dh/xc riding positions? Just something I saw which intrigued me, i'm all for stuff like that in mtb if the kind of innovation is a good yet easily done.
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  • So some people like it, some don't. Fair enough. It is different il give it that but i personally dont like the look of it. Also do they feel slightly unbalanced at the front? Or do they feel the same to ride as any mainstream fork balance wise?
  • cheehee
    cheehee Posts: 427
    usd forks do exist and have done for ages on mtb but as you say arent a massive thing

    I've had USD forks on a few of my bikes .............only when I'm crashing though :wink:
  • Daz555
    Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    Northwind wrote:
    I can't think of any motorbike fork built on the same principle as a lefty fork- motorbikes with single sided fronts have hub-steer swingarm fronts rather than one-sided telescopics.
    I can't either - for today's bikes.

    However, there have been a few experiments in this regard in the motorcycle world. I seem to remember back in the 80s that for a couple of seasons we saw single sided forks appear on 500cc GP bikes here and there (maybe just one team/bike?). They also made it onto a couple road bikes over the years as well. The idea seems long dead now however.

    A few modding companies also make single sided fork options for those who want to customise their bikes - and probably ruin their handling!

    The hub center steering idea is always hanging around though but never quite seems to get off the ground.
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  • I am not sure if Cannondale are trying to advance MTBing with the Lefty fork or not. The Lefty has been around for around 10 years now.Cannondale have always been unusual for one of the big bike brands in that they spec their own bikes with in house designed suspension technology rather than just use one of the traditional suspension companies. Cannondale have however been at the forefront of MTB'ing in both design and racing for a long time and have no doubt had a major influence along with many other companies and individuals in the shaping of the sport we all love today.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannondale ... orporation

    There have been many design changes over the years that I have been into MTBing and hopefuly this will continue for years to come.

    Upside down forks were used on the Trek 69ER from a couple of years ago. They may catch on in the 29er brigade but I doubt it will be the next big thing.
    j16q6o.jpg

    I'm also sure that the now defunct Girvin did some upside down forks in the early 90's but I could be wrong on that?? And Pro-Flex also had some rather mental suspension (with elastomer) designs back in the day. And does anyone remember the Ritchey suspension stem??

    The next big thing in 1996
    qq2t6c.jpg

    And for the record I don't own a Cannondale and I prefer to ride fully rigid :D
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    More reinventing the wheel, er, fork:

    32589684__1230307592__1__1-c0df7d0b91c5b27acf46f506f11cd5c8.__big__.jpg

    Secretly I want this :lol:
    Daz555 wrote:
    However, there have been a few experiments in this regard in the motorcycle world. I seem to remember back in the 80s that for a couple of seasons we saw single sided forks appear on 500cc GP bikes here and there (maybe just one team/bike?). They also made it onto a couple road bikes over the years as well. The idea seems long dead now however.

    The Elf Honda GP bikes were swingarm/hub steer too. Talk about heroic failures... There was some nutter racing a Bimota Tesi 2 in thunderbikes this year as well, saw the bike at the Excel show. "So, Phil Read Jr, it's got a 1000cc Ducati engine" "yes" "And it's hub-steer" "Yes" "And it cost you £15000 for the bike" "Yes" "And another £20000 for the race prep" "Yes". "And it's still slower than an SV650 and a decade old CBR600" "THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER!"

    Ah, but there was a Gilera with a telescopic single sider. CX125 apparently.And some vespas and other scooters with the leading-link singles.

    (and that Whyte up there uses the same hossack concept as most modern BMWs)
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  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Doesn't the telelever have the whole headtube pivot to maintain a constant head angle? Can't remember, not up on bikes with engines!
  • sniper68
    sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    usd forks do exist and have done for ages on mtb but as you say arent a massive thing
    Yeah i know.KTM have a DH prototype out,saw a photo in a mag,they reckon it could go on sale in 09.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Been loads of USD over the years! Zocchi Shiver, RAC, Stratos, White Bros, RST XXL and Sigma, DUC, SUC etc.
  • sniper68
    sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    z1ppy wrote:
    ibbo68, on the face of that I retract my "hater" comment
    but I still have issues with your 'dislike', are you luddite? :wink:
    I know you not really a luddite, but couldn't let it lie.. :lol:

    Its not really a dislike,more of a "Not my cup of tea"i'm not a fan of Marin or Orange bikes either.Good job we all have different tastes or it would look a bir boring out on the trails.
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Duolever IIRC actually rakes out on compression, though it could be built to keep head angle the same, or to shorten it on compression, just depends on the linkages. All assorted complicated ways to make bikes that don't work as well as proper ones on telescopics :wink:
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  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Got to admit I kinda like linkage forks, have a slightly J shaped axle path (most of them) which means great small bump performance! But certainly more complicated, and ugly as squashed hedgehog.
  • sniper68
    sniper68 Posts: 2,910
    Its usually the things that've been around years that suddenly become the next"big thing"Sonic........might be GTs next :wink: