Cannondale’s Lefty For All Kit Puts A One Legged Fork on Any Bicycle

independent-fabrications-lefty-fork1

Until now, unless you a) own a Cannondale or b) had a frame custom made to fit their standard, you couldn’t run a Lefty suspension fork on your bike.

Assuming you’re not put off by the look of it, there are few reasons you may want to. First, some models are lighter than any normal suspension fork on the mark, bar none.  Second, they’re very smooth because they use needle bearings rather than bushings sliding on a stanchion. Lastly, they’re very stiff torsionally…we’ve ridden them and the tracking is very precise.

Now, Cannondale has introduced their Lefty for All program that uses reducers and adapters to let you run a Lefty fork on any straight 1.125″ or tapered 1.125″-to-1.5″ headtube. The kit includes the spacers, adapters and appropriate steerer tube for $80. For $10 more, you get the full kit with bearings. Three different headset styles are available: Standard, ZeroStack and Hidden.

UPDATED 8/19/10 – corrected installation notes after the break.

Hit ‘more’ to see how it works…

cannondale-lefty-for-all-suspension-fork-hs-adapter

The top and bottom pieces shown on the included steerer tube are the reducers. Lefty’s typically clamp onto about a 1.5″ steerer, so the reducers let it clamp onto the steerer tube with adequate force to keep it from slipping. The fork should not be clamped onto headset spacers.

From there, the headset cups are pressed into frame, bearings inserted and the steerer tube is slid up into the head tube.  Put the upper bearings in, the top cap, any necessary spacers and the upper reducer. Clamp the fork down and put spacers above it as necessary, or remove the steerer and trim it to stop just above the top clamp.

cannondale-lefty-suspension-fork-adapter-kit

Cannondale offers two steerer lengths with different spaces between the clamps to accommodate any size frame: standard at 137.7mm and XL at 163mm.

The tricky part about installation comes if there is an odd distance left between the top of the upper headset and the upper clamp. You (or your favorite shop) may need to, uh, customize some spacer heights to get the gap filled nice and tight. On the carbon Lefty’s it’s not so much of an issue since the clamps are moveable on the fork leg, too. On the alloy Lefty’s though, the upper is one piece as shown here:

Yeah, pretty much all of the above paragraph was wrong, here’s the deal: Both the carbon and alloy Lefty forks have fixed clamp locations. To make the included 5mm, 10mm and 20mm spacers work, the upper reducer that goes between the clamp and the steerer tube is taller than the clamp, allowing you to slide it up and down to remove any gap. That should make installation much, much easier.

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Shown here on a standard Independent Fabrications frame, the Lefty for All adapters fit the fork onto the bike with no frame mods.

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The adapters let you use any Lefty fork as the fork itself doesn’t change. This is good, because you get the full range of options, and they’ve done some cool things with the internals for 2011, which I’ll cover in a separate post shortly. This also means you can run this with their 29er Lefty forks, as shown here on the Indy Fab.

Comments

Gillis - 08/07/10 - 12:58pm

I think its important to note the necessary wheel upgrade too.

Bikerumor - 08/07/10 - 1:36pm

Good call, you’re absolutely right Gillis, thanks. In order to use the lefty, you’ll need to have a Lefty compatible hub, which is available from several major wheel manufacturers.

oilcanracer - 08/07/10 - 3:38pm

project 321 adapters has had this out for many years already……….

leftyfrizzell - 08/07/10 - 8:59pm

clamps on the carbon lefty are riveted in place and don’t move

Alex - 08/07/10 - 9:26pm

Begs the question: If I want to do this, where do I get the Lefty fork (assuming I don’t have a Cannondale I want to take it off of just to put it on another bike)? Is finding a used one on eBay the only option? Or is Cannondale going to start selling Lefty forks separately from their bikes?

Bikerumor - 08/07/10 - 9:30pm

Yes, Cannondale will sell the Ledty fork separately. We’ll be posting about the forks with pricing soon.

Shaun - 08/08/10 - 8:03pm

I’d also check with the frame manufacturer that they’re ok with twin crown forks as a Lefty or twin puts different stresses on a head tube than a traditional single crown fork.

james - 08/09/10 - 7:13am

project321 adapters have been around a long time and are a proven product and also much lighter. Why would you bother with this?

MickAllan - 08/09/10 - 12:12pm

Great idea, it’s a great fork but the longer I look the more I fail to see how it’s possible to correctly adjust the head bearings. The difference between a correctly adjusted headset and an incorrectly adjusted headset is less than half a turn of an M5 bolt when using a regular expander or a fangled nut. Do Cannondale seriously imagine that your average high-street bike-store mechanic is capable of manufacturing spacers to such microscopic accuracy? Have I missed something? If they said that the preload adjustmet was provided via the ‘tapered washer within a clamp’ system of the type which was once standard equipment on Marin bikes I’d be more convinced. The technology exists, it appears that they’ve simply failed to use it.

scotty - 08/10/10 - 2:01pm

The biggest problem is the stack height of the C-Dale lefty forks. I’m 6’1″ tall and ride a 20″ 29er frame. A left fork would add nearly an inch in height to my stem/handlebar position. The current generation of Lefty forks is not adjustable in that regard.

Cyrjm - 08/11/10 - 8:36am

I’ve been running the Project 321 adapter on my Salsa Selma for about a year. I love the design and it installed without any problems. I will ALWAYS have a Lefty in my collection of bikes….I have two now. 80mm carbon and 140mm PBR on my Rush. Sadly, I’m selling my PBR Lefty for a new build but I will be keeping my Salsa for a looooong time!

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=619646

Cyrjm - 08/11/10 - 8:38am

“Shaun – 08/08/10 – 8:03pm

I’d also check with the frame manufacturer that they’re ok with twin crown forks as a Lefty or twin puts different stresses on a head tube than a traditional single crown fork.”

Good point….I called Salsa and they said it would be fine but will void my warranty.

mtb-blog.nl - 08/11/10 - 1:42pm

Would be a cool upgrade for non-cannondale bikes, but perhaps the cannondale owners will feel less unique this way ;)

[...] Lefty’s are generally the lightest front suspension option, and with Cannondale’s new Lefty For All program, you can install them on most any [...]

Oscar Ekstam - 11/20/11 - 12:34pm

If you want to go really light you also have the Experimental Prototype steerer for 1 1/8″, Cannondale AND Tapered frames.

Weight from 75 grams. With all sorts of color options on the rings.

Here´s the website: http://hellore.se/experimentalprototype/?page_id=15

Josep Barberà - 10/11/12 - 3:41am

This also applies to riding my Cannondale Lefty on Frame, Cane Creek Angleset direction?.
I vary the angle of my bike, and I think it would be cool!.

Where can I buy this accessory?.

Best regards.

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