Cannondale Fatty Ultra Front Shock

4.35/5 (23 Reviews)

Product Description

Cannondale Fatty Ultra

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Reviews 1 - 15 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by parsifal a Cross Country Rider from denver, co, usa

Date Reviewed: February 7, 2008

Strengths:    No independent fork leg movement. Integrated lockout in stem.

Weaknesses:    NOT RELIABLE!! LEAKS AIR. Repeated service had not solved the problem. Not very supple. Limited travel. Considering converstion to 1 1/8 conventional fork.

Bottom Line:   
Don't do it. Too many problems. Odd design. A nightmare to service.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   fountainhead VA

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   conventional fork

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Christoph Zimmer a Cross Country Rider from Duesseldorf, Germany

Date Reviewed: June 13, 2003

Strengths:    - light weight
- stiffness (important for disc brakes)
- look (same paint as the frame)
- lockout (it's quiete easy to reach)
- no problems / no maintainance

Weaknesses:    - no damping adjustment
- only for cannondale frames

Bottom Line:   
I think that Ultra is the best fork for cc-race because it's super stiff and weights less than any flexy SID. You will never have a feeling of loosing control on track. the lockout is the best working one i ever had. no more monkey-style-action to reach a tiny switch on the fork... the big switch over the stem is the best solution if you can't afford a Lefty ELO.
So buy this fork and get rid of all setup and maintanance problems...

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   willingen

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   ebay (used)

Similar Products Used:   Rock Shox SID
Cannondale Super Fatty

Bike Setup:   Cannondale CAAD 4 - Mavic CrossMax - Magura Disc

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by John from Portland, OR

Date Reviewed: November 4, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Very precise steering. I'm a big rider and really value the fact that the Headshok design eliminates the sketchy handling characteristics that ensue when the legs of conventional forks compress and rebound asymmetrically. It's not real compliant over small stuff, but it keeps the rubber in the dirt when it really matters. Working on it's a bit of a chore, but it's been dependable enough where that hasn't really been too much of an issue. The ability to lock it out makes a big difference on longer climbs.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Ming Lee a Cross Country Rider from None

Date Reviewed: September 13, 2002

Strengths:    Dependable

Weaknesses:    Does not soak up small bumps

Bottom Line:   
Like it cause it's light, and dependable. Not much travel, find it rather stiff even with the right amount of pressure set in shock.

Question: Anyone out there who has purchased headset adaptor for regular Rock Shox etc set up? I'm thinking about getting a regular fork set up with special headset adaptors but not sure if the set up is dependable or not. I saw some pics of a guy with this set up on his mountain bike, looks really interesting. Please send me an email if you know anything about this type of set up, I'd be interested to hear what you thoughts are.


Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lantau Island

Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   Flying Ball

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   F4000SL

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Florian Sieder a Cross Country Rider from Austria

Date Reviewed: July 6, 2002

Strengths:    god damned stiff! it's the best fork for using disc brakes, it's also very easy to adjust the fork to your weight. the lock-out works very well, i use it at every chance, it really speeds the bike up!

Weaknesses:    you aren't able to adjust the damping without changing the oil!

Bottom Line:   
every one who gets the chance to ride a cannondale for try- DON'T DO IT! - you won't give the bike back! i think the 2003 series of cannondales is going to be the best one...
and may god bless the caad 5!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Too many...

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $450.00

Purchased At:   Hardcore

Similar Products Used:   nothing compares to a headshok!

Bike Setup:   Cannondale F 800 SL (you won't get this bike before september, thanks to my dealer, i've got the first one around 40 miles! :-)) with XT/LX, Magura Louise, Mavic X223, and hardly no CODA parts- just the pedals and front hub... :-)

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by XClydesdale a Racer from Talli, FL

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2002

Strengths:    Turns sharper and more predicatable than any double leg fork. Really like how smooth those '88 ball bearings' that the headshock rides on!

Weaknesses:    doesn't hold high volumes of pressure. kind of hard to fill up w/ pressure b/c of the location of the valve.

Bottom Line:   
Only purchase this fork/bike with a dealer/manufacturer warranty. Although, I haven't had any serious issues with the fork I would have slept better those first couple of nights when i found my fork bottomed out after leaving it sit over night after a long ride. I'm not sure why that happened, but the problem seems to have corrected itself?!?!

Also, you may find some brake compatability problems with this fork. My XT brakes squeel louder than a pig goin' to slaughter! Shimano rationalizes this by saying the headshock is so stiff that the brakes chatter. Toed in, Toed out, no matter how radicle; nothing seems to work.

Nothing steers quite like this. Ride a headshock, and everything else feels like slop...

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Nothing similar

Bike Setup:   F-900SL-----DiEE CODA----

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andy a Weekend Warrior from Portage, Michigan

Date Reviewed: August 14, 2001

Strengths:    Very smooth and has a great feel. easy to adjust the air pressure for different types of riding.

Weaknesses:    could be better on smaller objects. its the older one with out the lock out which would be nice to have.

Bottom Line:   
Over all this is a heck of a shock for the type of rider i am. I can't belive how well the shock absorbs roots and rocks. this shock is great from small to larger people with its adjustability to its stiffness.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Fort custer and TK lawless

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Rock shox

Bike Setup:   XTR, Coda 2x9, thompson, Mavic 517

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Pedro a Cross Country Rider from Isle of Menorca, Spain

Date Reviewed: March 17, 2001

Strengths:    Stiff, light, simple, and good quality absortion

Weaknesses:    Small obstacles

Bottom Line:   
Good fork for a good bike, except the brakes CODA Expert: simply unnacceptable for the bike and the price.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Macarella

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   Ciclos Hobby

Similar Products Used:   Manitou

Bike Setup:   Jeckyll 2000 SL, but no CODA brakes, please

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Andrew a Racer from Macon, GA

Date Reviewed: March 4, 2001

Strengths:    Buttery smooth, looks great, rides better than anyother air fork i've owned or tested

Weaknesses:    hard to service, but i work at a LBS so i dont have to worry about it

Bottom Line:   
This fork is vecry smooth thanks to C-dales 88 needle bearing, the design works great, takes skill and time to service, but hardly ever needs it, slides smoother than any other air fork i've ridden, and spring headshocks are smoother than any other spring fork out there, the lock-out helps alot on long hills or sprints, deserves 10 flamin chili for overall alone, some i'll get it 5 on each

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Bike Tech of Middle GA

Similar Products Used:   SID, MARS, Flylight Bomber, SX-e, various other forks

Bike Setup:   2000 F4000 sl

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Jean-Luc a Cross Country Rider from France

Date Reviewed: October 17, 2000

Strengths:    -light
-looks good (in my opinion)
-very stiff
-works well

Weaknesses:    -you can't get it without disc brake mounts
-maintenance is difficult

Bottom Line:   
Although I've ridden this fork for a few rides only, I'm very pleased with it. The HeadShok system was actually the most important reason to buy a Cannondale.

If you are into tuning and if you want to service the fork by yourself, the HeadShok system isn't for you. So you'd better buy a "regular" fork, e.g. RockShox. Because the HeadShok unit consists of fork and headset, you need special tools - even to get the fork out of the frame.

I've chosen the Ultra fork because it uses an aluminum steerer tube and is therefore lighter. Functionality is awesome. The Fatty Ultra is very stiff and you are able to lock it out by turning the knob on top of the steerer tube. Damping characteristics are very race-like. This fork is not comfortable, but it takes the real hard bumbs.

If you get the fork with the bike, the price is okay (5 Chilis). But if you want to buy it separately it is way too expensive (1 Chili) - I will give it an average 3 Chilis for Value Rating.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   came with bike

Bike Setup:   2001 F900 SL

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by gav a Weekend Warrior from canada

Date Reviewed: October 5, 2000

Strengths:    Light, point and shot, best looking fork on the market

Weaknesses:    special tools needed for maintanance, flimsy yellow boot

Bottom Line:   
There is more than one way to skin a cat, and Cannondale proove it with the head shock. The ultra is stiff and light, and more important it does what it is ment to, soak up the trail. I also like the ease of adjustment, this coupled with the on the fly lockout means I ride it alot plusher than recommended. I just flip the dial and no bobing on the climbs. Lastly, being a Cannondale I know if something does stuff up I will be looked after. It's just a pitty I can not retro fit these to my steal frames.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   all

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Purchased At:   came with bike

Similar Products Used:   all sorts, from sid's to head stem shoxs (which I like)

Bike Setup:   Raven 2000sl

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by t-rav gofast a Cross Country Rider from S.L.C. utah

Date Reviewed: October 4, 2000

Strengths:    light weight! Very stiff.

Weaknesses:    no dampening; none,zero, zilch!!!

Bottom Line:   
If I could just get this thing to be as plush as my Judy SL.
It has the Judy beat by far in the stiffness dept., it tracks wonderfully, and its one of the lightest shocks out there. Now if it just didn't beat the hell out-of me every time I ride. This shock has more deflection than my SL; this I think is due to the stiffness. If we could just get RS and CODA to merge on a fork the world would be a better place. Do these forks have aftermarket kits? An enguland Air kit or something like that; perhaps a spring, oil kit- anything?. I need something!!
I give this thing 5 flamin chilis for value- I proformed them. three for overall rating due to the fact that I feel like I have been using a jackhammer when I get done riding.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   goose berry mesa

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Purchased At:   proformed

Similar Products Used:   Judy SL, Judy XC.

Bike Setup:   cannondale F-3000

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Stephen a Racer from Winston-Salem, NC

Date Reviewed: July 31, 2000

Strengths:    Lightweight, lockout, stiffer than conventional fork. 70 mm of travel.

Weaknesses:    The boot tears easily on certian car racks. Annoying disc brake mount, its there and makes me mad because I know I will never get disc brakes.

Bottom Line:   
The best fork out there in my opinion, super lightweight and stiff. Has just enough travel for racing, not too much or too little (70mm). Lockout comes in handy on super steep hills and smooth flat areas. However this is a more race specific fork, those looking for more travel should check out the Headshock Lefty.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Sugar Mtn.

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   Jett C, Headshock Lefty, SIDs

Bike Setup:   Cannondale F1000SL.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chris a Cross Country Rider from bowmanville

Date Reviewed: June 26, 2000

Strengths:    Stiff, responsive, adjustable, light, disc only is kinda cool.

Weaknesses:    I wish i could work on it at home... i saw a post saying it was easy to work on and maintain... i dont know where he is coming from. ... although its not hard to take it into the local dealer. you can however buy a bunch of specialized tools and do it yourself, but i've heard the needle bearings can be hell to work with.

Bottom Line:   
It is truly incredible. The fork doesnt have the show-room feel that a lot of us have come to expect. Your in the shop, you toss a leg over it, and compress the fork... ooh so plush, this thing is great... thats how a lot of forks are. this is kind of scratchy (all of them are... and i have compressed a lot) but you dont notice the scratching when you ride, only when you are compressing it with your weight. You can lock it out, which is pretty cool, but i prefer just to run a high pressure and leave it fairly stiff (it still tracks well over the small stuff).

anyways, its a judgement call. these forks are shot down because of their looks, but performance is more important... and the look will grow on you.

ride hard,

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   hardpack

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Similar Products Used:   Bomber z1 BaM, Z2, Z3 light, fatty sl, SID sl, sid XC, judy's. this is the best so far.

Bike Setup:   '00 f2000 with use xcr post and time pedals

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Jeff a Racer from Pittsfield, MA, USA

Date Reviewed: May 16, 2000

Strengths:    Great tracking, light weight, lock out

Weaknesses:    Wow, where to start.
Although this fork has gotten great reviews so far I have some bad news. This fork has NO dampening above 140psi(about the pressure for a 130 pound rider).

So here goes:
1) Mine came through installed wrong, oil leaked and upon looking at it a seal was crimped and installed wrong.
2) Installed new seal kit and 7.5 wt oil hoping to get more dampining out of it. No such luck on the dampening, I ride the fork at 180-200 psi.
3) The fork has had some shim problems that create a 'great' top out noise, and this is compounded with the lack of rebound dampening means a big noise!
4) I have worked on and off in the industry for the last 10 years. Talking around to friends (most of who are still wrenching) and this fork is a nightmare.
5) They list the problems as follows: no dampening, many carts needing to be waranteed due to oil leaks or no ability to lock out, shim problems, and a host of other less common problems.
6) The Cannondale rep has acknowledge these to me and stated that they are working on them. They have allowed up to a 10wt oil to try and get some dampening

I will switch to 10wt oil and see if that helps, but this is not a great fork for larger riders or people that like a lot of dampening AKA bomber tuneability

Bottom Line:   
A great tracking fork that still rides okay in light of it's lack of dampening becuase the fork is so torsionally stiff but not a well dampened fork.

An improvement in the weight department of the Fatty line, but they have to get the dampening issue worked out for this to become a truely great fork.

Current problems with dampening, installation and servicing all hurt the rating on this fork, but the tracking is still one of the best out there.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Similar Products Used:   A whole slew of high end forks

Bike Setup:   Cannondale F1000SL bought in July/August of last year.

Reviews 1 - 15 (23 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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

'11 Scalpel 3 Lefty vs. Fatty Ultra questions

Hello, I am new to the forum. I recently purchased a used 2011 Cannondale Scalpel 3 bare frame. The bike was originally equipped with a Lefty that had 100mm of travel. I would like to know if there would be any problem with putting a Headshok Fatty Ultra with 80mm of travel on this frame? My con ... Read More »

Headshok Fatty Ultra DL compressing under lockout?

I just replaced the stem on my Headshok Fatty DL. The process was quite straightforward, I thought - unscrew the bolt holding the lockout lever, remove the lever, replace the stem, replace the lever, screw the bolt back. However, when I checked to see if everything was working fine, I locked out th ... Read More »

Fatty Ultra DL - travel not perfectly smooth

Hi all. I'm having some trouble with my Fatty, I hope you guys will be able to help me at least pinpoint the problem. A while ago I bought a C'dale frame along with the Fatty Ultra. I've been collecting other parts during the winter and it's ready to be assembled. The lockout is working just fine ... Read More »

Fatty Ultra DL80 oil bleed

My Fatty lost oil (again). I had it serviced (all seals replaced) by only trained C'dale mechanic in my country. He said that he found nothing wrong with it - all previous seals were in good condition and the rest of the assembly too. But after few months of sitting at home, waiting to catch some sp ... Read More »

Headshok Super Fatty Ultra DL 80mm Maintenance Parts

I picked up a 2007 F4 with a Super Fatty Ultra DL 80mm Headshok for cheap and plan to use it as a city / bike path bike. I haven't done anything with the headshok yet but it holds air and I guess the bearings seem fine. I can tell it's low on oil though. I've searched a lot and looked into this ... Read More »

Read More »


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