Weaknesses: Most unreliable fork I have ever owned and seems to take forever to get repaired. Not smooth. Can't use ordinary stems. Can't use ordinary hubs.
I got an '08 Rush with the Speed 110 Lefty on the front - I got a Rush because I liked the low maintenance, single pivot design - but the front end turned out to be high maintenance! Just outside of the 12 month warranty the lockout stopped working, resulting in a five week turnaround and a $150 bill. The Lefty came back feeling not quite the same - and clunked when locked out. A couple of months after this the whole lower almost dropped out of the fork, leaving my front wheel facing sideways. I am very lucky I didn't have a huge crash. So back to the shop again. This time it was fixed under warranty, for some odd reason. Hmmm... Again it came back with the clunk when locked out. I'm scared to ride this piece of overpriced gimmick junk ever again! Cracknfail fainboys would have you believe this is unusual - a friend of mine has had exactly the same problems with his. The DEALER admits these things are as high maintenance as a supermodel girlfriend. Fanboys will tell you the Lefty is amazingly smooth - it's not bad but if you ever felt an old Marzocchi you have felt smooooth and the Lefty isn't it. Want to change your stem - tough, it will cost you an arm and a leg. You are also stuck with the Lefty specific hub too. Yeah, the Lefty is stiff - but then again so are the latest QR20 forks too. Lefty might have been a boat load stiffer back in the Mag 21 days and forks with QR's, but now I don't think it has a huge advantage for XC and trail riding as claimed. Words cannot describe the disappointment I feel with the Lefty. I'd put a new fork on the Rush but it will cost my firstborn for a new hub, wheel build, headset or adaptor and the new fork so the whole bike is going and good riddance!
a Weekend Warrior
from Blenheim, New Zealand
Date Reviewed: July 25, 2010
Strengths: Extremely stiff, super plush
Weaknesses: A little too plush perhaps as it can nearly send you over the bars on steep descents
Amazing fork (well strut anyway). Always wanted to own a Lefty equipped bike, mainly to have something a little different, but am more than pleased with the purchase.
Amazed how well this thing tracks, and swallows everyhing thrown at it.
Would be nice if a "home mechanic" could service this (well, you can, but tools are harder to source, and no official manual for stripping/building available from Cannondale)
Have kept it away from moisture, and no problems as yet.
Similar Products Used: Can't really compare a normal fork
Bike Setup: Rize 3
a Cross Country Rider
from Almaty, Kazakhstan
Date Reviewed: June 12, 2010
Strengths: The lefty fork not only looks the biz but it is VERY tough. Low maintenance, no weeping, I'm careful about water. At high speeds it just swallows the bumps. Even stoppies are predictable on lockout, no twist - AMAZING! The travel is very progressive, and after I tightened it up it slides very predictably on steep descents under braking. Full control in most situations. The headclamps are very sturdy and have not gone out of line on any spills, so I'm impressed as i expected the straightening to be a bit of a nightmare. Bent and snapped a handlebar and it's still true.
Weaknesses: In Kazakhstan I'm worried about parts but I have enough trips to Europe to get spares maybe. Trouble mounting a mudguard without robbing too much travel space but it has never bottomed out yet. Heard about the water problem so I smothered on some repellant grease under the boot, which has no rips, made of sturdy stuff! not sure why my brake cable came outside the down tube, except for possible pinching?
This is an endurance fork with the added bonus of being able to remove the tyre easily, though why people think that a normal fork is a hassle I don't know. i guess in a race time might be an issue so there's another reason to have a lefty. I would use this fork on a long distance bike too if i could figure out a way of building a front rack. Maybe that is the only weakness...
Similar Products Used: Never had one before but saw one a couple of years back in the Netherlands. I remember thinking that it would be great at 3000m but in Holland??!
Bike Setup: Nothing special, my lefty is a bog standard speed aluminium on a Caffeine F2 frame. I got it cheap, as it was last year's model. I put mudguards on it finally but try and avoid the wet, but not always possible. At high altitudes a wet back and face is not fun. I look forward to putting it on another frame in the future, and the adapters avilable now make that a reality.
Strengths: unconventionally beautiful, tracks like its on rails, no tools required to change tire or tube, excellent rigidity, needle bearings are like warm butter, adequate travel,pure beautiful simplicity,predictable rebound, and excellent stiffness.
Weaknesses: proprietary hub,but i dont really consider it a weakness as it is the nature of an unconventional design, and mounting on a roof rack that requires the front tire to be dismounted posed a problem but i solved that problem with the yakima king cobra. so really, none performance wise, and nothing that i would change about it.
all forks (or struts in this case) require maintenance and the lefty is no different. since this is a Cannondale specific item if you don't have someone that is capable of working on this item or you yourself are not capable of servicing it, you may look toward something more conventional. If you are a tinkerer or have someone who is qualified to service this strut,then you may consider this strut. i have overhauled my and it really is not that challenging. so if your willing to learn, then you may consider this innovative design.The design is tested and proven. I myself have wondered what a broken lefty might look like and what the first point of failure is. i googled it and every broken lefty I've found has a pretty lengthy story behind its untimely failure. overall, I love this shock and hope to see the next generation of this design. it feels solid (and it is solid) and its not something thats going to leave you walking off your favorite trail.
Similar Products Used: cannondale super fatty headshock, manitou p.o.s, several different rock shox
Bike Setup: about half stock. i upgrade parts as i break them and i've only had this bike for a year
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2009
Strengths: Performs Very Well
Weaknesses: I needed a firmer negative spring and I thought that cannondale should have let me have it for free sence the one that came in the front end dived to much and was harsh but still used full travel. See Cannondale Tech Notes if you are having problems.
Some people give the lefty a hard time. One said that the lefty plain dives to much and I say get a firmer negative spring which is what the set up guides say. Once I got the right negative spring all my worries went away! One also said that the lefty does not roll through the bumps and I thought that he probally means going downhill and here again with out the proper negative spring I think that I would of had the same problem. The spring was twelve dollars and install sixty. O-yea the new avid elixir cr with 203mm's are perfect for me at 220lbs. Sure I could get more power but for XC I think they are good to go for me. THe CANNONDALE RUSH 5(2007) is a good bike. If you stop to get the lefty in a best it can be working order it is really a good front end.
Similar Products Used: never used anything but lefty
Bike Setup: Cannondale RUSH(2007) 5 stock but for avid elixir cr's and an slx front crank.
from North Bend, OR, USA
Date Reviewed: December 6, 2008
Strengths: Shock was surprisingly stiff and durable. Lasted 3 years of daily abuse before rebuild was necessary. Never creaked or leaked. Plenty of mud clearance.
Weaknesses: $$$COST$$$ The Low end model started at 699 for a replacement and since its hard to successfully marry any standard fork to Cannondale's oversized headtube replacement would have cost alot of bucks for a 6-year old bike.
Bearings were soft and when hitting large drops they needed replaced annually. People asking silly questions about your fork did get old after several years.
I am 6'4" and 300 lbs. I raced or commuted nearly everyday of this poor forks existence.
Continually overpowered, it never broke or even budged. A marvel of engineering. Too bad I can't say that about ANY other Cannondale product. I destroyed and replaced ever part of that bike from snapped handlebars and frames to taco'd rims and broken crank arms.
a Weekend Warrior
from nottingham, nottinghamshire, uk
Date Reviewed: January 13, 2008
Strengths: Looks different, stiff and light.
Weaknesses: Water gets in the boot and the bearings rust, causing the fork to lock out completely. Why aren't these made out of a non-ferrous metal like all the other decent forks? If the bike will ever get wet, budget for a £100 rebuild every few months.
I would not go out of my way to buy a bike with these forks again, unless I lived in a desert.
a Cross Country Rider
from Trenton, Ont, Can
Date Reviewed: December 16, 2007
Strengths: Great fork once you stop looking down at it. Very stable and stiff, no flex what so ever! I find also its easier to fit between tight spaces (i.e trees) when riding.
Weaknesses: Not quite as fluid as a Rockshok fork but well worth not having the side to side flex that you have with a regular fork. I do find that it places the front end of your bike a little higher though so I just use a flat bar with a 0 degree stem, seems to solve the problem.
Overall an excellent cross country fork, have had no issues thus far, even convinced a friend to buy one and he loves it too!! It is a little strange to get used to and you have to like people asking about it when on the trail.
Similar Products Used: Manitou SX, Rockshox Judy, Rockshox Duke Race and Duke SL100
Bike Setup: Scalpel 900 XC Race
a Weekend Warrior
from wilmington NC New Hanover County
Date Reviewed: March 18, 2007
Strengths: this LEFTY MAX will take you where ever you point it. no flex like standard fork. very responsive to all trail riding types.has held up well under alot of freeride stress that i have put it through.
Weaknesses: it has bottomed out on me a few times. once when doing a trail ride with some nice drops and a few others when landing hard TRYING to freeride. ( it was 2 years old when i got it so that might be why) rubber stantion cover ripped this first time i crashe it.
awsome all mountian, XC trail riding fork. will handle some drops and jumps if you know how to land correctly.if this thing EVER DOES go bad i will replace it with another left fork with out a doubt.
a Weekend Warrior
from Hilo, Hi., USA
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2005
Strengths: Excellent progressive travel and very difficult to bottom out. Very durable and dependable. Excellent steering response..especially under technical trail conditions.
Weaknesses: Moisture related problems such as corrosion. Needle bearings and race seem vunerable under these conditions. Smooth, quite action transitions into a somewhat gritty action. Need to keep water from entering these areas.
I'll sum up my assessment by saying that I'm sticking with this technology and am currently waiting for a Prophet 4000. Who should buy it? Anyone who can afford it!
Similar Products Used: All sorts of stuff...i work at a shop...so...
Bike Setup: Jekyll X.0 full w/ xgen front XTR cranks thompson monkey lites Rocket V team
a Weekend Warrior
from Broomfield, Colorado, USA
Date Reviewed: June 21, 2005
Strengths: This is for base FSR model: No flex, builds extreme confidence, weight, super plush travel of *5.5"*, the bike it was connected to.
Weaknesses: I'm too lazy to pull wheel to transport bike so bought Thule Big mouth rack (check out www.rockymounts.com). For a basic entry model shock it rocks!
This fork is amazing! Writing this review to share FSR model set up info; I am 208lbs, shock was too soft with red spring, before I went to black spring (as others have suggested here) LBS adjusted spring preload and it works great!
Clean clean clead shock top and work in clean area! Put rebound adjust all the way in (clockwise), loosen top crown clamp holding tube, support frame, remove top tube cap, adjust obvious pretension (a couple threaded finger nuts that go down big threaded shaft, 1/2 inch tighter in my case). Make sure rebound adjust is still threaded in, apply liberal grease, replace cap, tighten crown clamp. Ride with big grin!
I had a few minor setbacks in my Lefty conversion (scarcity of PBR internals, then my LBS cut the steerer tube too short, lol) but tomorrow I am FINALLY picking the bike up!
I was curious about the geometry change- I think my axle to crown or whatever is increased with the Lefty Max? Should I com ... Read More »
Hoping someone needs these wheels. They are barely used:
[url=http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showproduct.php?product=87817]UMA70 Husker Hope Lefty Pugsley Fatbike Wheelset - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories[/url]
I also have a Lefty ti fork recently rebuilt by Mendon for sa ... Read More »
Guys I need your help and advice :) I'm thinking of replacing my Lefty MAX with FFD daper (I think it's 2008. model) with Rock Shox Sektor (150mm travel, Dual Position Coil 120-150 and Motion Control damper). But I'm really unsure abouth this movement, will this be upgrade or downgrade :madman:
Oh ... Read More »
I've been running Lefties on my various bikes for about 5 years now... Santa Cruz XC, Ibis Mojo, now currently on my 2012 TallBoy 29er first with 2012 Lefty and now with 2013 Lefty. (Review on 2012 vs 2013 shortly)
My new bike will be here shortly (Ibis Ripley) and unfortunately they are using 51 ... Read More »
I need a replacement frame for an 09 Rize three, i found an 09 Rize three replacement frame but it's an XL, my current frame is a large. I'm almost 6'2" so i think the XL will be fine, but will my current lefty Max PBR fit on an XL frame, i thought i read somewhere that XL frames had longer headtube ... Read More »