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
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...
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.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 13, 2002
Weaknesses: Does not soak up small bumps
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.
a Cross Country Rider
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!
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!
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... :-)
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.
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...
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.
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.
Bike Setup: Jeckyll 2000 SL, but no CODA brakes, please
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
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
Similar Products Used: SID, MARS, Flylight Bomber, SX-e, various other forks
Bike Setup: 2000 F4000 sl
a Cross Country Rider
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
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.
Strengths: Light, point and shot, best looking fork on the market
Weaknesses: special tools needed for maintanance, flimsy yellow boot
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.
Similar Products Used: all sorts, from sid's to head stem shoxs (which I like)
Bike Setup: Raven 2000sl
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
Similar Products Used: Jett C, Headshock Lefty, SIDs
Bike Setup: Cannondale F1000SL.
a Cross Country Rider
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Anyone got a manual for the Fatty Ultra DL headshok on my 2003 F1000SL. Bought second hand and the shock is topping out on me on almost every stroke. Am around the 200lbs mark and pressure is set at 118 psi. No other controls appear to be on the fork aside from the air pressure valve on the bottom. ... Read More »