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Why do some Cannondale bikes come with only half a fork?

DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
edited September 2009 in Commuting chat
Well why, what is the logic behind it?

CANNONDALE-bad-boy_w500.jpg

Yes I'm aware of product differentiation and innovative design but is there any real logic to it?

I suppose it's lighter, but what, if any, are the other benefits?
Food Chain number = 4

A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
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  • AidyAidy Posts: 2,015
    Mud-shedding ability.
    Being able to change the tube without taking the wheel off.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    :shock:

    Well I'll be....

    :shock:
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • it just looks a bit wrong to me! Wouldn't there be more lateral movement forces as well which could make the wheel twist on the side which attaches to the Fo (Half a Fork) :D
  • Greg TGreg T Posts: 3,266
    Aidy wrote:
    Being able to change the tube without taking the wheel off.

    I liked that the first time I read it then thought - hang on - popping the front wheel on and off takes no time at all. Also having the wheel off the bike is a good idea when you are getting the tyre off and on the rims.

    Actually I want to tke the wheel off.

    Also the bottom bracket is eccentric and has a tendency to wobble in its mounting. (word from my LBS)

    It's a gimmick.
    Fixed gear for wet weather / hairy roadie for posing in the sun.

    What would Thora Hurd do?
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,598
    It started on mountain bikes. Their Lefty suspension forks are superb - Stiff, light and good performance. It was also uniquely Cannondale. There have been a couple of imitators over the years, but generally if you see a bike with a one sided fork, you can be almost certain you're looking at a Cannondale.

    Using it on a rigid is almost certainly just a gimmick though.
  • AidyAidy Posts: 2,015
    whyamihere wrote:
    It started on mountain bikes. Their Lefty suspension forks are superb - Stiff, light and good performance. It was also uniquely Cannondale. There have been a couple of imitators over the years, but generally if you see a bike with a one sided fork, you can be almost certain you're looking at a Cannondale.

    Only other one I can think of is a USE SUB - are there others?
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,598
    I seem to remember at least one other, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was...
  • rich_erich_e Posts: 389
    I remember first seeing their 'Lefty' forks on people riding the trails at Whistler a good few years ago now.

    Always struck me as being a little less safe, if you are chucking yourself down hill I personally want something strong, and a well tested type of construction. I'd just be worried that a 'lefty' fork was going to break or come loose.
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    Surely a design like that is asking quite a lot from the QR skewer?
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    whyamihere wrote:
    It started on mountain bikes. Their Lefty suspension forks are superb - Stiff, light and good performance. It was also uniquely Cannondale. There have been a couple of imitators over the years, but generally if you see a bike with a one sided fork, you can be almost certain you're looking at a Cannondale.

    Using it on a rigid is almost certainly just a gimmick though.

    +1

    Lefty suspension forks work differently to more standard ones (telescoping bearings or something?) so the single leg makes some sense, but for rigid forks it's probably just more of a Cannondale motif or design cue than anything else.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,598
    Jamey wrote:
    Surely a design like that is asking quite a lot from the QR skewer?
    Indeed. Fortunately, they don't use a QR skewer. They use a solid axle through the hub, similar to a motorbike one.
  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    looks cool.

    There were good reasons for it on MTB's (not that I really bought into those either), but on a rigid essentially it is about looking cool and being different.
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • Serous questions. Do they only do left sided versions or is there a choice? If not, is there a particular technical reason for having the left sided fork rather than the right? Does it help to balance the drive forces better?
  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    They only do lefty's as far as I know.

    Maybe because disk brakes are designed to be on the left?
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • TempestasTempestas Posts: 486
    The main benefit on a commuting bike is that it gives cars more room when passing.....

    Honest :roll:
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    Weight I would guess. Remove 1 fork leg and take away x in weight.

    I think the Cannondale Scalpel single sus fork mtb's are pretty light.......
  • Stuey01 wrote:
    They only do lefty's as far as I know.

    Maybe because disk brakes are designed to be on the left?
    Ah, good point, that would make sense. Never thought about that with disc brakes, not having had them.
  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    duncedunce wrote:
    Stuey01 wrote:
    They only do lefty's as far as I know.

    Maybe because disk brakes are designed to be on the left?
    Ah, good point, that would make sense. Never thought about that with disc brakes, not having had them.
    They can be run in reverse on the right though so not sure this would be the only reason,see the cotic roadrat for an example.
    Of course lefty has been around in MTB world for ages, early days of disc brakes so they may not have considered this back then.

    The point in MTBs was that they were able to build an ultra stiff double crown fork that was lighter than the two legged single crown XC forks on the market.
    Mud clearance is pretty good too :wink:
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Missing the most important point - it looks flepping awful!

    On the other hand, perhaps I should set a trend and saw one of my own fork blades off for the same look :lol:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Rolf F wrote:
    Missing the most important point - it looks flepping awful!

    On the other hand, perhaps I should set a trend and saw one of my own fork blades off for the same look :lol:

    There's one of these in the Evans near my office. Must say I agree that I don't like the look of it either. Not sure why - far too often I'm all for pointless gimmicks. :lol:
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • Rolf F wrote:
    Missing the most important point - it looks flepping awful!

    On the other hand, perhaps I should set a trend and saw one of my own fork blades off for the same look :lol:

    There's one of these in the Evans near my office. Must say I agree that I don't like the look of it either. Not sure why - far too often I'm all for pointless gimmicks. :lol:
    Are the people who don't like the 'half-fork' look the same people who felt queasy when they saw a bike with a single pannier?
    :wink:
  • markp2markp2 Posts: 162
    I always thought they were the economy model!

    Seriously though, I have a Lefty mountain bike and the fork is brilliant. Servicing is a specialist job though. We are lucky here in East Devon in having the UK lefty service centre about five miles away.
    Genesis Croix de Fer - my new commuting mount
    Saracen Hytrail - the workhorse - now pensioned off
    Kinetic-One FK1 roadie - the fast one - hairy legs though!
    Cannondale Jekyll Lefty MTB - the muddy one which keeps tipping me into gorse bushes!
  • JameyJamey Posts: 2,152
    So how does the axle attach to the fork then, if it's solid?
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    duncedunce wrote:
    Are the people who don't like the 'half-fork' look the same people who felt queasy when they saw a bike with a single pannier?
    :wink:

    As long as the single pannier is on the same side as the single fork leg, it's OK. Otherwise the bike will just fall over, obv :lol:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • sarajoysarajoy Posts: 1,675
    Someone was telling me that in front suspension on mountain bikes, the real suspension is often only in one side of the fork anyway, with the other side just there as a guide, or maybe a bit of damping if you're lucky. So apparently it wasn't that much of a difference to just remove it.
    4537512329_a78cc710e6_o.gif4537512331_ec1ef42fea_o.gif
  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    sarajoy wrote:
    Someone was telling me that in front suspension on mountain bikes, the real suspension is often only in one side of the fork anyway, with the other side just there as a guide, or maybe a bit of damping if you're lucky. So apparently it wasn't that much of a difference to just remove it.

    that's not that far from the truth. My current forks (Rockshox Pikes on one bike and Rockshox Revelations on the other) have a spring in one side and the damping circuit in the other.
    Years ago I had forks that had springs and elastomers in each side and the damping cartridge in one side, it wouldn't be much of a leap to see that by uprating the spring and if you could make it stiff enough you could lose one fork leg altogether.
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,598
    Jamey wrote:
    So how does the axle attach to the fork then, if it's solid?
    It's bonded to the lower leg IIRC. The hub slides over the axle and is secured on the other side with a bolt. I seem the remember that the hubs are specific to the fork.
  • sarajoy wrote:
    Someone was telling me that in front suspension on mountain bikes, the real suspension is often only in one side of the fork anyway, with the other side just there as a guide, or maybe a bit of damping if you're lucky. So apparently it wasn't that much of a difference to just remove it.

    I had the forks on my old MTB to bits at the weekend - clean, grease, put back together. And it's true - one side has a big spring in it, the other appears to have nothing but (uncompressed) air.
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    had the forks on my old MTB to bits at the weekend - clean, grease, put back together. And it's true - one side has a big spring in it, the other appears to have nothing but (uncompressed) air.

    Which is just as well as Fox springs are £25 a go!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • In a similar vein, Cannondale do have a bit of history with these innovations. Some of their older MTBs have the "head shock" set up which is front suspension but in the head tube rather than the forks.

    Anyone used that? Is it any good? What's maintenance like?
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
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