Cannondale Fatty SL Front Shock

3.86/5 (22 Reviews)
MSRP : $400.00


Product Description

Cannondale Fatty SL


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Reviews 1 - 15 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jeff Grove a Cross Country Rider from Elizabethtown, PA, Daphin

Date Reviewed: April 19, 2003

Strengths:    light weight, very responsive, I weigh 160#, got bike for trails and due to overall gerat ride, have been using bike for everything, just switch tires or wheels. have toured 7 states using this so far and can't believe I am no longer riding any of five other bikes!

Weaknesses:    just started to get loss of air in chamber after 10000+ miles of trials dirt slop rain. I guess I can't complain!

Bottom Line:   
I would buy another Cannondale with the Fatty Head shock again but this one just won't stop going. (Although I would like to get better info on repair of head shock). I do all my own repair / maintenance.

I own 3 other Cannondale bikes, 2 racing frames 1 touring (Plus a tandem a bent). The touring bike has over 80000 miles & I never thought I would ride anything else on week long road trips, with 80 to 100 mile days.
Due to the performance and comfort I get from this bike with the Head Shock I expect to get even more miles than the old touring bike on this one.
The fork is the whole reason I started riding this bike almost exclusively. This bike is so smooth and quick I go on "B" road rides and am usually in the front of the pack. Trails are essentially the same experience.
Thumbs up Cannondale.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   local shop

Bike Setup:   have rear rack and very large clip on bag for front. almost always have rear bag on rack. other than saddle & tire changes bike is essentially stock Volvo team bike

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Jeff Rolf a Weekend Warrior from Dallas TX

Date Reviewed: September 7, 2002

Strengths:    Great handling

Weaknesses:    This G-D piece of crap blows a seal on a monthly basis and if you do not have an extremely good repair shop who can get parts then expect many weekends of bike-less adventures because it takes the better part of a month to get it repaired-that is if the guys at the shop even know how to work on the stupid thing.

Bottom Line:   
It blows constantly!!!!!!!!!! I am saving up for a different shock. Worked great the first 6 months and has been a battle with performance ever since.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Cedar Hill

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $380.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Rock Shock Indy, Judy,

Bike Setup:   SV 500 -mostly XT components

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ren a Cross Country Rider from NY

Date Reviewed: October 30, 2001

Strengths:    Amazing tracking, very plush.... more than anything, light. The simple design of the heashok puts other clunky dual telescoping forks to shame. Excellent acjustability, excellent rebounding rate, plush and extremely quick.

Weaknesses:    The design rears of the front of the bike, limits amount of travel. Shrader valve is right in the crotch of the fork, which leaves it succeptable to mud and dirt. A sealing shrader cap (purchased at an auto parts store) keeps your valve dry and happy.

Bottom Line:   
If you're looking to make a DH fork out of a headshok, don't waste your time. Cannondale is not a downhilling company, really. If you want the quickest XC fork on the market, something capable of making scalpel turns, on the fly adjustments, and having lethal acceleration without sucking up your pedal stroke, the SL's for you. If you're a heavy person, don't get a headshok. The headshok is designed for people who weigh sub 170 pounds, want the quickest fork on the market which is designed to make you faster, not give a big fatash butter ride. I won't lie. The Fatty SL isn't some big sofa, but it's light and it's fast and it's worth it's weight in gold. It sucks up bumps to make you go faster, period. Best fork I've ever owned, best for I probably ever will own. I love air shocks due to ease of adjustability and (lack of) weight. I actually prefer the air version over the newer elastomer version cannondale came out with.

Buy it if: You're lightweight, and do seriouds XC racing.
Don't buy it if: You're a heavier person and do downhilling of any sort or are looking for some buttery ride. If you want something which can take huge hits and soak up bumps like crazy, go with a zocchi. nuff said.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anything with dirt

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   Anything on the market which can be used for serious cross country riding. I'm not big on downhill.

Bike Setup:   98 Cdale F2000, 98 Cdale Raven 2000

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Zack a Cross Country Rider from St John's NF Canada

Date Reviewed: December 18, 2000

Strengths:    i'm a small guy and this fork works well for me. there is not to much travel but enough for just rideing and raceing. (not good for freeriding)

Weaknesses:    well the ony bad thing is that it costs a fortune if something breaks.

Bottom Line:   
i would say that this fork is good for the smaller lighter person that has xc on thir mind not freerideing. i've done a bit of free rideing with it and i've doen a bit of damage, i evan crackes the small spring.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Canary Cycles

Bike Setup:   it's a 98 cannondale F3000 sobe/headshock tram bike

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Rich S a Cross Country Rider from Hoboken, NJ 07030

Date Reviewed: October 30, 2000

Strengths:    Super plush, handles medium bumps great.

Weaknesses:    if the fork isn't in perfect condition, it can't respond to little bumps, and not enough travel to handle the bigger stuff. It is a money pit for repairs.

Bottom Line:   
This was a sweet fork, for about the first month... then it started bleeding air. Not a big problem, I just pumped it up (I found it hard to get within 10 PSI of the desired presure due to it's small volume),... then the boot tore open on a ride. It needed a rebuild, which wasn't cheap. Even after the rebuild, it still had some sticky spots. I rode on some steep downhills one day in VT. and the shock blew, dumping all the oil. I wonder how much it'll cost this time to fix

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   SoMo

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Purchased At:   Came on bike

Bike Setup:   1999 F2000

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by chris ader a Cross Country Rider from saginaw MI 48603

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2000

Strengths:    THE FATTY SL. When it works it has the smoothest preload I've ever felt. very smooth afterload too.

Weaknesses:    This shock has taken me back to the shop 5 times in one season of riding and the latest has require it to be shiped to cannondale because it was beyond the repair capabilities of the bike shop.
This shock is so high maintainece and expensive when repaired its far from worth its attributes.


Bottom Line:   
When a company makes a product that is so high maintance,expensive and so difficult to repair without cannondale's "special tools" you'd think the company would have great customer service-- CANNONDALE'S CUSTOMER SERVICE was not very helpful. If you have cash to blow, buy a head shock, if not Rock Shock (with elastomere) shocks are a fraction of the price and more reliable than the fatty airshock.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   northcountry manistee

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1700.00

Purchased At:   grand blanc cyclery

Similar Products Used:   rock shock

Bike Setup:   CAAD 4 F1000 HARD TAIL

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mike a Cross Country Rider from Kent,Wa

Date Reviewed: June 18, 2000

Strengths:    Well 1st of all Cannondale has made me believe. its a great shock and i really like it. im not a very heavy person so that does help. if your a person who is over 200lbs. you may want to try something else. but otherwise its a nice one to have if your a cannondale fan.

Weaknesses:    none as of now. its soild.

Bottom Line:   
My next bike will be another Cannondale Raven as soon as I figure out how to get this Raven really broken in. Cannondale Raven and their head-shoks are very special indeed. Thank you Cannondale for such a nice ride. I won't ever ride a HT again. I have one in my shade as we speak. Good luck to you Cannondale riders. May you have great rides with your bikes. And always remember its all about personal reference when it comes to riding. It's what you can afford and what you can't afford? Anyhow good luck. Be safe on those trials. Well, im off to ride now. Peace boys and girls.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   N/A

Bike Setup:   Cannondale Raven 2000-98'

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Crash a Cross Country Rider from Buffalo, NY

Date Reviewed: May 25, 2000

Strengths:    Steering precision
Light weight
On-the-fly damping adjustment


Weaknesses:    Not user servicable (big weakness for me)
Poor location of air valve
small volume shock/hard to fine tune


Bottom Line:   
Unlike Answer's forks, Cannondale does not tell you how to do routine maintenance. So every "40 hours or one calendar year" you have to take it to the dealer and shell out $90. I just had mine done for the first time in two years...it feels great now, but I'm not sure how long it will last.
Durability hasn't been a very big issue for me.

Tunability is. First I tried setting it up according to the chart in the manual. Way too soft! I'm 210 lbs. and ride like a dump truck. Usually 145-150 lbs. works for me. However, the chamber is so small that it's very easy to put too much pressure in. If they developed a Headshok with a large volume chamber, the ride would be plusher and easier to tune.

I love the weight and stiffness. My whole bike weighs 22.6 lbs. and overall I like it. But my next purchase...a steel hardtail, or full sussy, will have a `zocchi shock. I have no problem doing my own maintenance -- I can rebuild my whole bike -- but not being able to work on the fork myself is a sore point with me.

I guess I can't complain too much, considering the price -- $700 for the frameset!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   RockShox Quadra

Bike Setup:   F2000 frame with USE seatpost, and mix of Shimano/RaceFace drivetrain.

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by alex the biker a Racer from montreal/quebec/canada

Date Reviewed: May 22, 2000

Strengths:    very smooth, very stiff and vey light

Weaknesses:    break very often, need a lot of work to keep working

Bottom Line:   
when it works, it works grea, the 2000 models, the dl, is much better, it needs a lot less work. i higly recommend this product, but it breaks very often, i've been waiting 3 months for a new cartridge for my headshock, the guaranty is rather crumby...

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   ste-anne

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Similar Products Used:   manitou, rockshox, marzocchi

Bike Setup:   super v 1000 1999 model

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by mad wrench a Weekend Warrior from the heart

Date Reviewed: March 24, 2000

Strengths:    great idea, smooth when it works. Good bearings in the headset. thats about it. Great idea

Weaknesses:    Where do I start? I am a wrench at a LBS, and have the displeasure of working on these POS forks. Like I said it is a great idea, but the exicution is sh!t. The cartrige never keeps its oil inside, it eather blows its seals or its end caps come unscrewed and dump all the oil. the ai chamber is sealed with only one small o-ring at the top. It goes and "smack" no fork. Now for the best part! Those great bearings in the fork. Wouderful little things! The main flaw in the fork. There is nothing to keep water, sweat, mud, dust, or other grime out of the bearings. So all kinds of sh!t gets in and goes to work on them. Then its time to replace them, but don't look to ole C'dale for help nooo. You must take your >$1000 bike to a auth. C'Dale dealer. What? you don't have one in your area? Tough sh!t we can't help you!
So what am I saying? No customer service from C'Dale. and the bearings are not much fun to replace(even with C'Dales little tool $et)


Bottom Line:   
A great idea but C'Dale forgot the rider/owner. If it is a pain for me to service with all the tools, just think what will happen if it needs some TLC at a race or 1/2way into a ride? If you are going to design something make it serviceable! Not some frigging puzzle that you need a grands worth of tools to work on!!!!
OK enough with the ranting I do not hate C'Dale bikes (i ride a R500 on the road) and the frames are ok. BUT dealing with the company is not fun. They have been very rude to me, everyone else at the store and our customers. Warranty?
Not likely. By the time you jump through all the hoops you will be too old to ride.
There were 6 C'Dale dealers in this area , now there is only one. Our store dropped them in Jan. Just got tired of their attitude and poor service.
I don't care what brand you ride but if they treat you like dirt why support the company? so one chilli for value, and I'll give it three for a great idea(it is good when it works).no I take one back because they were jerks the last time I had to call them.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anything sick!!

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Similar Products Used:   I had a SV900 with a DD60 for a year, sold the bike becouse the fork kept dieing.


Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Brad a Cross Country Rider from Tecumseh

Date Reviewed: January 17, 2000

Strengths:    Its light and i must say that cannondales claim that it is very adjustable and it precice handiling but.....

Weaknesses:    over all this fork is well a pile, ive blow to of the cartriges out during races this is a terible fork. It was good for 2 weeks but then problem arose like the constant oil leakage, I dont know how you other cannondale riders feel but this has been a big disapintment (the fork i love the frame) please email me of your feeling or any specific setup tips, thanx.

Bottom Line:   
This fork is pile sorry cannondale ut until you fix that constant oil leak i shal feel the way i do.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Marzochi Z-1, Headshock Fatty D

Bike Setup:   Cannondale F900 disc, Sram Esp 9.0sl, XTR

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Nick a Weekend Warrior from Tacoma WA

Date Reviewed: December 3, 1999

Strengths:    
NO Lateral Flex - Stout!
Extremely Adjustable
No Maintenance!


Weaknesses:    
Could use a little more travel
Not very plush (oh well, it's an air shock)


Bottom Line:   
For bigger guys (who dig a light, fast aluminum frame), this fork works really well. In two years I haven't had any problems with air leakage or contamination. I've only had to lube it up after every 3-4 rides. I would buy one all over again (if they hadn't come out w/ the Lefty - I want one!)

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Suntop, Mt. Rainier

Duration Product Used:   
2 Years

Similar Products Used:   
Halson Inversion
Judy T2 (complete S*@t!)


Bike Setup:   
'98 CAAD 3 w/ XTR drivetrain, Magura Brakes, Time ATACs...

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Jim Ryan a Weekend Warrior from Los Gatos, CA

Date Reviewed: October 15, 1999

Strengths:    
Light, Handling, Control


Weaknesses:    
Looks goofy


Bottom Line:   
This shock is the best shock I've used. The first thing I noticed was the improvement in handling. The steering was precise like that of a ridgid fork only better when I have to maneuver in the rough stuff. The next thing is that the shock is light. It is also provides a fair amount of travel. One of the best features is the ability to adjust the shock while riding. Who wants to stop, adjust one side, then the other and then get back on the bike and proceed? Especially while racing? Great Shock. It will be a long time before I go back to the old style shock.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
Flume Trail

Duration Product Used:   
1 Year

Similar Products Used:   
Rock Shox


Bike Setup:   
Cannondale CAAD3

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Alex a Racer from Madison, WI

Date Reviewed: October 3, 1999

Strengths:    
Tracks well, reasonably light, disk-ready, stiffer than heck.


Weaknesses:    
Tough to tune, bearing contamination, heavier than a SID XC (Judy SL too?)


Bottom Line:   
When I first got this fork, it was WAAAAY to soft (I could bottom it by pushing on it hard.) After I raced a muddy race, the fork completely froze up. All the bearings got pitted, and something in the fork needs replacing, and C'Dale needs to send the part. One hassle too many for me. Other than that, the stroke was very smooth, and the fork tracks wonderfully!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
White Rim

Duration Product Used:   
6 months

Similar Products Used:   
Manitou SX Carbon


Bike Setup:   
C'Dale F3000. XTR V's, Race Face cranks, ESP 9.0, blah, blah, blah.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by DENNIS M a Weekend Warrior from SF C.A.

Date Reviewed: October 2, 1999

Strengths:    
On spot steering
No-flex !!!


Weaknesses:    
would like it lighter
then again if I can afford the ultra?


Bottom Line:   
Tried a lot of new bikes but never been satisfied with their design. Cannondales are expensive for my budget. But they're one of the best out there. They really put a lot of effort in the bikes. Now if I can just afford te get lighter parts hmmmm?!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   
SKAGGS MT.

Duration Product Used:   
6 months

Similar Products Used:   
Sid
manitou
marzocchi


Bike Setup:   
Super V 400, stock but upgraded to sl shock and still going...(lighter)

Reviews 1 - 15 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


Fatty SL replacement suggestions

I broke the oil/air damper in my '99 Cannondale Fatty SL headshok yesterday so I'm looking to replace the front fork. I'd like to start up-fiting my super light F1000 frame and eventually get to a full 29er...so looks like I'll be starting with the front shock/tire/etc. I've seen all kinds of sugg ... Read More »

99 Fatty SL DIY Boot replace and regrease? What PSI to run?

99 Fatty SL DIY Boot replace and regrease? Anybody ever do there own boot replace and regrease of the the bottom race area that is under the boot area? I've never done it, and don't want to get into the internals of the shock, but I think this is a reasonable DIY project. Any experience ... Read More »

Headshok Fatty SL Help

I have a 1999 Cannondale F1000 hardtail with a Fatty SL Headshok that needs to either be fixed or replaced. Is the shock repairable? By local shop or at C'dale? Can I replace with another brand shock? How?? Except for the shock, this bike is still in great conditon and I still regularly race & win ... Read More »

Fatty SL repair or trade in question

I picked up a used Fatty SL just to play around with taking a Headshok apart to see what was involved. It was cheap enough that if it was junk, I at least would learn something and not feel bad about the cost. The Headshok had no oil in it and didn't hold air. Also, the top plastic cap (I guess y ... Read More »

Lefy vs FATTY SL

Hi, I am looking for some advice on the Lefty forks vs FATTY SL. I left Riding Mountain bikes in 2002 and went to road. I am now returning. I never had the experience to try the Lefty forks and wonder about the different models, and how they compare to the Fatty SL forks of their time. I am lo ... Read More »

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