Strengths: Great fork! stiff, offers excellent contol
Weaknesses: only 63 mm of travel, not 80 mm like Cannondale says needs a lot of maintenance stupid cartridge construction (travel is limited by cartride cap - that can blow cartridge)
The ride with this fork is excellent! I mostely ride single track in a wood with lots of roots and Trees in your way. I never felt, that the fork is a its limits. The ride is much softer than with a SID. A psylo offers a softer ride, but none has the steering accuracy of the fatty! Cornering is verry fast! But on a Yekyll your tail feels a little too plush, a little out of ballance.
There are a few things to think about: The fork has roller bearings. If water or dirt get's into the fork, it's done. So look under the boot regulary, keep it clean and grease the racings regulary! The travel is only 63 mm with the Fatty D 80 cartidge and not 80 mm as discribed by cannondale. My Dealer says that is normal, no fatty fork has 80 mm. The construction of the cartridge ist stupid, because hard drops can blow off the cartidge head. That is, because the travel of the fork ist limited by the cartridge cap and not by the limit stop under the lower collar. This means, that every time you need the whole travel until the limit, you weaken the thread of the cap. (The cap is made of plastic - a kind of nylon ..) There is no "security space" inside the cartridge. So, no wonder, some guys blew their cartridges!! I asked Cannondale for a comment, and they wrote me an e-mail, saying that the travel of the fork is limited to 65 mm, depending on the cartridge and that limitation of travel by the cartridge cap is normal, because they use lots of different cartridges in one fork and they couldn't make the D 80 cartridge shorter. (For me it's a mistake!!!!!)
Fork maintenance is complicated. You can do an oil change by yourself, but the disassembly of the roller bearings requires special skills. My dealer ordered a Cannondale-tech-video for me, that discribes the whole issue. My first do-it-yourself-maintenance-program took three hours, because I could'n get the bearings back into the fork! Now I know the trick and I guess next time I can do it in less than one hour.
My opinion is that a fatty is great for a hard and soft-tail. I would not recomend it on a fully with more than 70 mm rear travel. I will ride the fork untill it's done. Than I will change to 100 mm of travel, to get the right ballance between tail and front. Also I will look for a fork, that is easier to service (like e.g. manitou).
Weaknesses: Not very plush, only 80mm travel, Beats the crap out of you in the singletrack. This fork is more suited for a smooth course without a lot of rocks and roots. If you race on the east coast then switch this fork out with something better. Get a set of problem solvers headset reducers or a CLC cannondale adaptor and get rid of this mild mannered fork for something a little smoother.
If you're a recreational rider then this fork might be ok but if you ride tough technical singletrack and race the way I do then you need something a little more plush. This fork is pretty dependable however I blew the cartridge in it in about 6 months or so. If your cartridge breaks you'll get an annoying top-out clunk that sounds like your headset is loose but it's not. You also have to pay big bucks to get a new cartridge.
Similar Products Used: Manitou mars, Rock Shox Judy, just purchased a Duke 100 to switch this thing out, I'll let you know how it goes.
Bike Setup: Cannondale jekyll, Rock Shox Duke, hand built 517 rims and hugi hubs, titec 118, avid ti levers and xtr brakes, eggbeater s pedals,xtr derailleurs.
a Cross Country Rider
from mission viejo CA
Date Reviewed: June 11, 2002
Strengths: worked ok for a year. Moderately light, no complaints with weight. Seemed to have no stiction, never needed a hit to activate. Pretty stiff all in all.
Weaknesses: Service nightmare. Everything that cannondale sells generally has to go back to Pennsylvania for service, most stuff can't be done by your local shop; this means a month w/o your bike. I have had this shock serviced 3 times for the same problem in the last 6 months, 3 of which were spent waiting for it to be returned. Oil leaked right out the bottom of the fork each time I got it back, and rebound damping went away. Bret the service guy at Cannondale is giving my guy at REI a hard time too. I had to call myself to get them to do any more to it.
Keep it dry, that may have been my problem. It worked for about a year, but after that it has been nothing but a headache. I am looking into getting an answer manitou mars super, sounds like a good deal. I am glad that Headshok does not sell this fork, but that it is only found on cannondale stock. My opinion, buy your forks from the pros cannondale.
Similar Products Used: Fox Forx Vanilla RLC/Headshok Lefty/Rock Shox Judy XC
Bike Setup: 2001 Cannondale F600/All XT drivetrain/Easton CT2 carbon h'bar/weyless carbon seatpost/selle italia octavia gel saddle/panaracer fire XC pro 2.1 tires (blue)/shimano PD-M545 pedals/
XC rider from PA
Date Reviewed: May 25, 2002
Strengths: smooth for the first 4 months
Weaknesses: - im 135lbs and blew out the cartridge 3 times within 1 year of riding -after the 1 year of riding you have to pay for the shock to get fixed because the warranty runs out -the only adjustment you could make is the air pressure -when the cartridge blows out you feel like youre on a pogo-stick
If you plan on getting a cannondale leave yourself with enough money to buy reducer cups, a headset, a stem, and a quality front shock, because my friends i ride with have the same problems.
Bike Setup: jekyll without any original parts except the headshok
a Cross Country Rider
from Milford MI
Date Reviewed: January 2, 2002
Strengths: Very plush compared to my old DD50 shock. Compression is a major upgrade due to the air cylinder which can help with preload adjustment.
Weaknesses: Would love to have rebound control knob instead of just oil weight changing.
Retro fitting this shock on my current bike was a huge upgrade over what I previously had. I wish it had rebound adjustment externally as it needs to be slowed down due to my clydesdale like stature over the rough stuff. Other than that it has made a huge difference already in the 2 months I have been riding it.
Great fork, would never change it against Rock Shox or Marzocchi (or whatever is on the market). I've used my old Fatty D for more than 3 years and never had any problem. This one seems to be even better, because of the larger amount of travel and the the fine-tuning by an appropriate air pressure. The lock-out works great on paved roads or climbs.
Similar Products Used: Headshok Fatty D, Rock Shox Jett T2
Bike Setup: Cannondale Jekyll
a Weekend Warrior
from Turku, FINLAND
Date Reviewed: June 26, 2001
Strengths: Weight, stiffness, low friction
Weaknesses: Needs constant care and service. Only for XC-use cause of the limited amount of travel.
One year behind: - One exploded valve -> damage here and there -> warranty repair. - Compulsory oil change after every 900 miles /1500 kms (until now five times). After that there will be slack on the beginning of the travel. - Oil change and repair CAN be done rather easily by yourself, only some special tools needed. - Thin oil must be added to the bearings every now and then for smooth action: bike upside down, open the fork boot from upper tie and dropp oil to bearings. Pump the fork few times to spread the oil and close the boot. - Condensation water MUST BE REMOVED from inside the fork boot regularily. Rusty bearings will not work... When you remember these and don´t abuse the fork with hard freeride/DH, SuperFatty will be excellent.
This fork is outstanding for x-country conditons. It can't be beat in tight, winding, technical single-track. It's very stiff around corners and easily absorbs ruts/roots. On-the-fly adjustment/lock-out is a welcomed feature as you approach the steep inclines. Isn't meant to take more than a few rides down the super rough stuff. Say, a weekend of riding at Kilington (VT) or Snowshoe (WV).
This fork needs more attention than an insecure chihuahua. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know how to service a headshock, but a personal friend who takes care of it for me asks me to bring it in atleast once a month to have a look at it. He usually finds something. God forbid you get a hole in the protective boot and allow the outside in. If you don't mind giving it that type of attention, it's a great x-country fork.
Great performing x-country fork that's not worth the maintenance aggravation. I'll give it 4 chilis for that reason. As far as value, the amount of cash put out for maintenance on it so far could've given me a nice start on replacing it. It gets 3 chilis for that reason.
Favorite Trail: Hartschorne Woods, Clayton Park, Snowshoe Mtn (WV)
Duration Product Used: 2 Years
Purchased At: bike n' gear (edison)
Similar Products Used: 00 Marzocchi Z1 MCR
Bike Setup: 99 Super V Raven 700
a Cross Country Rider
from Mission Viejo, CA
Date Reviewed: February 11, 2001
Strengths: Cost Effective Unmached rigidity and steering capability Zero longitudinal play (forward and back) Ultra Responsive to "mini-bumps" Extremely Light (bike weighs a little over 20 lbs.) Lock-out is a leg saver on climbs Disk capable (for some $$$)
Weaknesses: Pain in the butt to tune Looks really weird fork specific tools, must take it to pro for most work needs special fork pump for 150+ psi
The features outweigh the service drawbacks If you need a light fork, super fatty d is perfect If you need precise steering, ditto Make good friends with your dealer and service monthly to prevent failure!
Similar Products Used: Manitou xc Rock Shox Judy XC
Bike Setup: 2K1 Cannondale F600
a Cross Country Rider
from Winchester, VA, USA
Date Reviewed: October 11, 2000
Strengths: the whole damn thing
Weaknesses: the air valve on the bottom is inconveinent but who cares
This is a lightweight good shock. People who say tehy ride it too hard and it ain;t durable are full of crap. I have rode solid for 6 months and i broke it trying to change the shock boot. I took it in got it fixed and it works just as good. If the boot makes noise like some one said earlier it is because the quick ties aren;t on tight enough. If you have any questoins please e-mail me cuase there ain;t no one that can tell you about this shock any better than me
Hoping I didn't screw the pooch on this one.
Last night I was replacing my 120mm stem with a 55mm one, and ran into a huge ass problem. While trying to remove the cap on the fork, it turns out that I removed the while pin - sorry damn stupid on the tech term.
I put on the new stem, and tri ... Read More »