Cannondale is a technology driven company. They are obsessed with making bikes better by including non-gimmicky features (self-proclaimed too!). One of those technologies is the Lefty fork. I am often asked by skeptical observers if it pulls to one side or makes your bike unbalanced or if it even works. After riding my first Lefty, I probably won’t go back to a traditional fork. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. It is stiffer than competing forks. Thanks to the dedicated axle, double clamp design, and roller bearings, it does not flex like other forks without adding weight. This translates into better handling. When you turn the handlebars on a Lefty, the wheel points where you tell it to go!
2. It is lighter than it’s traditional counterparts. Not quite 1/2 the weight, but it is lighter. The Lefty works with Cannondale’s System Integration stem/steer tube combo. This is the lightest combination on earth, as well as one of the strongest.
3. It is smoother through the stroke because unlike all other forks, it does not slide on rubber/plastic/Teflon bushings. The fork actually rolls on needle bearings! Because there is no friction, the Lefty can absorb the smallest bumps. That technology is patented, that’s why nobody else uses it. Also, those bearings won’t loosen over time so it will feel just a great 10 years down the road.
4. It is more durable as well.Looking inside other forks on the market, they use lots of plastic parts that get brittle over the years. Not Lefty.
5. Cannondale has taken the Lefty chassis and worked together with Fox and Rock Shox to develop new internals. The result is a Fox Lefty with the adjustability of a Fox RLC fork with the other benefits of a Lefty. The newest Lefty includes a cartridge developed by Rock Shox (SRAM) to provide push button lockout and rebound adjustment. SEE CLARIFICATION BELOW.
No, the wheel won’t fall off. Your car’s wheels are bolted only on one side if you look at it. BMW motorcycles use a single sided rear as well, and that has a motor on it! Yes, you can change flat tires without removing the wheel. Pretty clever, huh? You’d better believe the Lefty turns heads on the trail. Only Cannondale has it!
These are the facts. You won’t understand what a big difference this all makes until you ride one. Come give one a try.
Cannondale works with partners like Fox and SRAM. However they do not design the cartridges. For the RLC Lefty many of then internal components are the same as used in Fox’s RLC forks. Cannondale designs many additional parts to make those parts work in the Lefty. For the PBR, Cannondale licenses the Solo-Air technology but the all the parts are designed by Cannondale. And the Push Button lockout is a 100% in-house design.