Cannondale Testing 26″ Lefty Super Max Long Travel One-Legged Fork

Prototype Cannondale Lefty Super Max 26 inch 160mm long travel fork being tested

Need 26" graphics for a 29er fork? Simple, just cut out the 9 and flip it!

When Cannondale introduced the Jekyll “Over Mountain” all mountain bike way back in June 2010, they said riders weren’t likely to go for a one-sided “fork” on a 150mm bike, so they went with traditional forks from Fox.

But, with the introduction of the Trigger 29er and its 130mm Lefty Super Max, they seem to have changed their mind. Cannondale’s marketing manager Murray Washburn told us that while the normal Lefty is plenty stiff for normal short travel (up to 120mm), a thicker, stiffer version could go up to 180mm.

In reality,  it’s more likely to end up as a 150-160mm option on the Jekyll. Washburn says they have a lot of demand for something like that in Europe, and they’re testing it right now on team rider Ben Cruz’s bike.

While it seems like an easy transition to modify the 130mm 29er Max, Murray says it takes some time to get the damping characteristics and spring rates right for the intended application. Cruz is riding it now in training, but he’ll likely start the race season on Rockshox (his sponsor) until the project is a little further along. Even so, it should end up being available at retail by the end if this year. While C’dale was mum on the subject other than to say “we’d be foolish if we weren’t looking at it”, there’s no reason why the Super Max wouldn’t make a killer addition to a 650B trail bike, no?

In the meantime, as soon as they’re caught up on Trigger 29er bike production, the 29er Lefty Super Max will be available aftermarket…likely by mid summer.

Comments

lefty sucks - 03/01/13 - 8:14pm

What bad idea. “Hey how can I make my front end more flexy” I know, get rid of one of the fork legs. With the push for stiffer front ends this is backwards progress. I dont want to hear any lefty fans bs on how stiff they are. Ive owned leftys before and the are super flexy when cornering. Ill give it a cool look but the performance is horrable.

Chicken in a Biskit - 03/02/13 - 1:05am

That was the worst, most useless post ever. You’re just flat out wrong.

lefty sucks - 03/02/13 - 2:03am

Then prove me wrong.

burden of proof - 03/02/13 - 2:15am

@ Lefty sucks;

Here’s an idea. How about you back that up with some actual figures? The German press do that particularly well. You made the comment, you back it up.

What is a backwards step is not being able to accept engineering and subjectively evaluating things based on conventional aesthetics.

Peter - 03/02/13 - 4:25am

lefty sucks: try a lefty. no, just try one.

What? - 03/02/13 - 6:36am

Lefty is the stiffest front suspension platform out there. It has been proven (a simple Google would suffice). So when you say it has too much flex everyone knows they cannot believe another post you write.

I bet the problem with your bike was a crappy front wheel build.

Boby - 03/02/13 - 7:01am

“lefty sucks” i suupose youve never ridden lefty.
If you really think ““Hey how can I make my front end more flexy” I know, get rid of one of the fork legs. ” then why have you owned more than one ? Wasnt one enough so you understand you dont like it?
Lefties are great forks – work very well and are very stiff. The only downsides I can think of are the price and the need of special hub.

Great idea! 150mm Lefty would be very nice to have and I am sure that it would work perfectly.

ps
English

Boby - 03/02/13 - 7:02am

ps
English is not my native language so excuse me if there are some mistakes in my posts.

härbert - 03/02/13 - 8:28am

@lefty sucks
perhaps this helps a bit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WlRqcAQr2w

To overcome the “oh no the wheel is just fixed to one side” argument… think of wheelchairs!
o wait!
think of the wheels on all cars!

Be honest! Probably the most of your problems where caused by the wheels (tiny rims, sometimes 24spokes, …)! Because back in the days there wasn´t a real proposal with durable non DH stuff!

Your issues with performance are the only problems I would ascribe to these forks, because cannondale unfortunately had some bad luck with chosing some odd damping systems!
But there have been tuning options all the time!

pepe - 03/02/13 - 8:36am

what would be the advantage of this particular fork in this particular bike, in this particular MTB activity?

härbert - 03/02/13 - 8:54am

@pepe
if your question refers a bit to the perfomance issues I mentioned…
they HAD in some cases these performance issues but nowadays they´re just using dampers from RockShox and sometimes Fox and so they realy work great for me out of the box!

So I´m certain these new fork will work quite well with an advantage in weight, stiffness and hopefully their incomparable durability.
Until now cannondale lacked a fork with such an amount of travel.

By the way: you can fix a flat while the fork reamins on the bike…

ascar larkinyar - 03/02/13 - 12:04pm

all my lefty forks are stiffer and lighter than any suspension comparable length fork.

they also work better.

dude - 03/02/13 - 12:56pm

I had a lefty 140mm on a Prophet several years ago. It was light and stiff, and worked great on medium to big impacts. I eventually replaced it with a RS Revelation (the old style “Pike with an airspring”), which has much better small bump compliance and was just as stiff, but was over a pound heavier).

The Lefty also has a problem with bearing migration. I could ride the thing for months on easy-medium difficulty trails with no migration, but an hour on an expert level technical trail with many square edge hits would cause me to loose 1/2″ of travel. Sometimes I would stop, pop the thing open and reset the bearings mid ride. Since the fork didn’t experience bearing migration on milder rides, I don’t think there was anything wrong with it. I think bearing migration during high force impacts is an issue inherent in the design.

On the plus side, if you find you don’t like a Lefty, used models sell for a crap ton of money on eBay, enough to finance a new ‘regular’ fork purchase (although you’ll need a new wheel and maybe a headset as well).

I would be willing to try one out again to see if the bearing migration and small pump issues have been fixed. I wonder if the new one will work with a standard 1.5 or tapered headset.

dude - 03/02/13 - 12:59pm

I will also mention, that the stiffness of the Lefty is much more dependent on the front wheel than a standard fork, and although the bearing migration issue was kind of a pain, the reset process is very simple and only takes a minute.

dude - 03/02/13 - 1:04pm

I used to own several CDales, and stuck by the brand for over 10 years, but they’ve fallen behind in suspension technology. If they came out with a short link 4-bar like vpp or maestro, I would go back in a heartbeat, but I’m not spending 5 grand for a single pivot bike like the Jekyll.

dude - 03/02/13 - 1:21pm

My guess is that the people signing the praises of the Lefty are XC riders who ride a higher spring rate, don’t care about small bump performance, don’t ride trails with high impact force/high shaft speed hits, are 180 lbs or less, and got a model with good tolerances. The quality of Lefties seems to very greatly from bike to bike.

Tyler (Editor) - 03/02/13 - 3:48pm

All – Cannondale has revised the internals to remedy the bearing migration, check this post:

http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/06/23/2013-lefty-forks-stiffer-lighter-stronger-more-durable/

It was a known issue for them. I’ve ridden them over the years and when they revised the shock rate recently, they definitely lost a bit (only a bit) of that super soft small bump compliance, but they also wouldn’t dive through all their travel on every small drop. Unfortunately, it does seem like that’s a tradeoff that has to be made to some extent, but it’s still a very smooth feeling fork and we haven’t noticed any undue flex. That said, we have a Trigger 29er coming in for long term review, so we’ll be able to put plenty of miles on it for a thorough test. Stay tuned.

Antipodean_G - 03/03/13 - 6:00pm

“….but I’m not spending 5 grand for a single pivot bike like the Jekyll”.

And just for good measure, we’ll introduce the single pivot vs. 4 bar etc. argument.

sean - 03/31/13 - 11:00am

Is cannondale using the “single pivot” rather than a Horst type linkage simply because they don’t want to pay Specialized to license the design? It seems like they could come up with a way around it.

Cdale Paul - 04/23/13 - 3:29am

The linkage on the Jekyll is specifically designed to work with the DYAD Rt2. It works especially well with long and short travel modes, but more for the l/t since it allows the bb height to drop and the front triangle to rake the front end out almost 2d…. I can assure you that it has nothing to do w/ “wanting to pay Specialized”.

Mazza - 06/08/13 - 4:58am

Does anyone have any news on this? On their website they’ve got a 29er 130mm version – sort of, their websites a mess! But yet no news on this.

Mazza - 06/08/13 - 4:59am

also.. are the a-c lengths comparable to normal forks?

Cdale Paul - 07/14/13 - 6:54pm

No 26″ SuperMax Mazza, sorry. Not for 2014 anyway, but maybe 2015.

Mazza - 07/23/13 - 7:52am

Thanks for getting back Cdale Paul – least it shows some cannonade awareness in the cycling community!
Very dissappionted to hear that, plenty of people would have bought it – i guess i’ll have to rethink my dream build! Is it a ‘nailing the details issue’ or a ‘see where the market is going’ i guess the 650B version (gah.) will be coming out at the same time?

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