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Greetings all,

First-time poster, long-time reader... :) :thumbsup:

Background: I have had an Cannondale M500 since it was new in '92. I am getting old, so something easier on my body is needed. Also, I am 6'4", 225lbs....

I've done 3 or 4 trail rides on the Kona. I -really- liked it, except it seemed that the frame was nothing special. It handled pretty well, fast downhills were a breeze. The Reba was very nice and predictable, and could help me be a better jumper. All in all, it was a good bike. But- the frame just did not make me feel like I was getting all that I could, I am not sure I could express what I was feeling any better than that...

I rode the Caffeine in a parking lot, no chance I can take one out on a trail. It -seemed- like it was lighter than the Kona, but I did not have them side-by-side. The bike rode fine, but I could not really get any real feedback to have a clue how it would ride on the trails. The Lefty soaked up anything, almost too much. Jumps were not as fun with it as the Kona, but I am told that could be a tuning issue (I have very little suspended-bike experience).

Anyone ridden both for extended periods? I can prolly get the Kona for $1100-1200, prolly not far from retail on the Cannondale. Anyone dead-set against the other?


To be honest, at this point I don't know what direction to go. I am hoping to get some wisdom from the redisent brain-trust here at mtbr.com.

TIA
 

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fahrvergnugen said:
Greetings all,

First-time poster, long-time reader.

Background: I have had an Cannondale M500 since it was new in '92. I am getting old, so something easier on my body is needed. Also, I am 6'4", 225lbs....

I've done 3 or 4 trail rides on the Kona. I -really- liked it, except it seemed that the frame was nothing special. It handled pretty well, fast downhills were a breeze. The Reba was very nice and predictable, and could help me be a better jumper. All in all, it was a good bike. But- the frame just did not make me feel like I was getting all that I could, I am not sure I could express what I was feeling any better than that...

I rode the Caffeine in a parking lot, no chance I can take one out on a trail. It -seemed- like it was lighter than the Kona, but I did not have them side-by-side. The bike rode fine, but I could not really get any real feedback to have a clue how it would ride on the trails. The Lefty soaked up anything, almost too much. Jumps were not as fun with it as the Kona, but I am told that could be a tuning issue (I have very little suspended-bike experience).

Anyone ridden both for extended periods? I can prolly get the Kona for $1100-1200, prolly not far from retail on the Cannondale. Anyone dead-set against the other?

To be honest, at this point I don't know what direction to go. I am hoping to get some wisdom from the redisent brain-trust here at mtbr.com.

TIA
Kona Unit or Haro Mary?

In any case get the bike the feels best to you ("Nothing special" can be pretty special if if the bike just disappears under you).
 

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Samsonite Tester
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IMO the one to buy is the Kona Unit 29 . A close second would be the Haro Mary.

Nothing against Cannondale and the Lefty , i just can't accept a single leg in front of me. When blasting through the rock gardens at 30mph. Cedric Gracia got paid to ride it, but any time course conditions were rough, out came a manitou. This speaks volumes when a pyscho like CG fears anything, and he fears using a lefty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
:madman:

Uh, that would be a Haro... Thanks Shiggy.

Evel, I hear you . However, it -might- be a psychological situation too, like with your own preferences. I can't completely discount the point though. Especially if there were a few folks that did as he did?

Seems like to me, one other possibility is to buy the Cannondale, sell-off the Lefty complete, and get a Reba in it's place.... Or is that not possible?

BTW, perhaps one of the mods might adjust the title to reflect a brighter first-time poster? :(
 

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Don't discriminate against the Lefty

Was it that the Lefty felt a bit squishy? It might need a stiffer spring, available from C-Dale, or it might have needed a bit more air. Might have the shop guru mess with the weight of the oil in the shock too, if that's the bike you go with. I know they normally come with 5 wt. oil and that might not be viscous enough for you with that fork. It might be possible that it wasn't set up correctly for you too. Air should be at about 85% of rider weight.

You can also get rid of the Lefty and put on the Reba like you suggest. Cane Creek makes a reducer headset that allows you to run any 1 1/8 fork you want. FSA makes one too but it is junk. Not sure how much luck you'll have selling the Lefty though as they only fit on C-Dales.

Haven't tried the other two bikes but they do make a nice product. If you have hesitations about one, but not about the other, you already know which one to get.
 

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Let me get this clear. By Kona Mary XC you mean Haro Mary XC?:confused: If you are getting old, 6'4" and 225, I'd go with Mary. The steel frame rides much nicer than any aluminum frame, especially on longer rides. C'dales are nice, but dealing with a lefty fork is a pain. And like they said, if you were to change the fork, you will have to get a reducer head set for the c'dale. My suggestion, Mary HX (Haro), put some monkey lite bars, switch to lighter pedals, carbon seatpost, carbon stem and you will have a great ride that you can take out for hours at time with out feeling the aluminum pain on your back:thumbsup: . Later on i will consider Salsa delgado rims. I taco'ed my rear laser disc the first week of ridin'. I might've been just bad luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cobisan said:
Was it that the Lefty felt a bit squishy?
Actually, it was too firm.

Cobisan said:
It might be possible that it wasn't set up correctly for you too. Air should be at about 85% of rider weight.
It is more than possible it was not correct for me. As for pressure, he checked the chart on the bike and we got it within 5 lbs of the prescribed pressure, on the high-side.

Cobisan said:
Haven't tried the other two bikes but they do make a nice product. If you have hesitations about one, but not about the other, you already know which one to get.
Thanks. Well, I still have only one about the Haro, and that is the frame. Beyond that, it is a blast to ride.

I think I will go into the store when I have some time and get them to set it up for me as it should be, then ride it hard in the parking lot.

The cheaper price on the Haro is also a nice thing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CaballoLoco said:
Let me get this clear. By Kona Mary XC you mean Haro Mary XC?
As mentioned above, it is the Haro Mary XC.

CaballoLoco said:
If you are getting old, 6'4" and 225, I'd go with Mary. The steel frame rides much nicer than any aluminum frame, especially on longer rides.
Aluminum = stiffer ride, therefore you feel more beat-up by the end of it?

CaballoLoco said:
My suggestion, Mary HX (Haro), put some monkey lite bars, switch to lighter pedals, carbon seatpost, carbon stem and you will have a great ride that you can take out for hours at time with out feeling the aluminum pain on your back.
Why did you choose each of those components? Are they extra heavy on this bike? Also, what 'aluminum pain' are you refering to?

Thanks very much.
 

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Well, the Mary XC is not exactly a light bike (however, it rides great). It is not that the bars, stem, seat post and pedals are extra heavy, its just that they are standard stock parts that could be improved on. My only complain about the Mary is its weight, so I changed a few things to make it a little lighter. And the carbon bars and seat post help to soften up the ride a bit, and when I say a bit, i mean only a bit. You will still feel a nice hit. By aluminum pain I mean this. Aluminum is light and stiff. Very responsive and great for short races, but it kills you in the longer epic rides. It beats you up if you are riding a hard tail regardless of the wheel size. Steel feels much nicer. I can ride for hours, uphills, downhills, rock gardens, rolling hills, you name it. Then again, this is all my opinion and personal experience. I think that for the price, Mary XC is an excellent product.
 

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Evel Knievel said:
IMO the one to buy is the Kona Unit 29 . A close second would be the Haro Mary.

Nothing against Cannondale and the Lefty , i just can't accept a single leg in front of me. When blasting through the rock gardens at 30mph. Cedric Gracia got paid to ride it, but any time course conditions were rough, out came a manitou. This speaks volumes when a pyscho like CG fears anything, and he fears using a lefty.
Fear???:rolleyes:

How tough is a Lefty and referenced in that thread : Ridemonkey post
So Gracia cased a backflip and still the Lefty rocks on? He seems to have had Accepted it very nicely ...You really should try it before you knock it, your own misgivings aside.
The Lefty Kool-Aid goes rather well with the 29er Kool-Aid or so I have gathered from this forum.. Accept it, Ride it, Love it....:D

CaballoLoco said:
Let me get this clear. By Kona Mary XC you mean Haro Mary XC?:confused: If you are getting old, 6'4" and 225, I'd go with Mary. The steel frame rides much nicer than any aluminum frame, especially on longer rides. C'dales are nice, but dealing with a lefty fork is a pain. And like they said, if you were to change the fork, you will have to get a reducer head set for the c'dale. My suggestion, Mary HX (Haro), put some monkey lite bars, switch to lighter pedals, carbon seatpost, carbon stem and you will have a great ride that you can take out for hours at time with out feeling the aluminum pain on your back:thumbsup: . Later on i will consider Salsa delgado rims. I taco'ed my rear laser disc the first week of ridin'. I might've been just bad luck.
Francois/Overlord Caffeine riding impressions...
I gotta say, people who have ridden my Headshock or even Lefty bike came away impressed. No Indifferent " hey thats ok ' type comments..More of a 'Wow, that thing is Solid and smooth' kinda comments....

Fahr, i hope you give the caffeine a chance on the trail befoe you buy...
:thumbsup:
CDT
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
CdaleTony said:
Fahr, i hope you give the caffeine a chance on the trail befoe you buy...
:thumbsup:
CDT
I am willing! Finding someone to let me have a ride on one will be the trick. The store is a bit nervous about loaning one...

Thanks for the links, I will have a read.
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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Yeah, Lefty fear is often just embarassed lust in disguise :D If Gracia feared the Lefty, post the link here, to the article that says it! He rode it quite happily and successfully for many years. I guess it didn't hold him back too much.

Tuneing, particularly if you are not used to suspension, is critical, be it a Lefty, or a Reba. All the tuning options mentioned are possible, but for the most part, with the Lefty Speed in question, air pressure will be enough to get it proper for you, then adjust rebound (red knob on top) to make it feel controlled upon returning to top. Happy shopping!
 

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trapped in the soul cage
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I've been a Cannondale abuser since 1992, and have had every iteration of headshock, Fatty, MotoFR fork, SuperV, KillerV, you name it - except the Raven, of which I was basically going to break (I'm 6'3", 210, and not shy about flying off stuff). They just delivered my XL F29 last week, and it's everything it should be. It rolls big, the wishbone seatstays fool you into thinking you're NOT on an aluminum frame, and the lefty has adequate travel for technical trails & average jumps/drops - but the Lefty is a known quantity. They've managed to make this thing turn like a 26" bike, although you can carry tons more speed through the corners and over obstacles, but that's the 29" wheels doing their job. If you want a mtn bike that is just that, plus bling factor of a SOLID fork, decent travel, and a stiff but comfy frame, you can't go wrong, especially if you've had C'dales in the past. To all those worried about only 1 fork leg - just go ride one. If it didn't work, no factory rider in his right mind would use one. And why are there multiple threads here (& elsewhere) extolling the virtues of adapting a Lefty to Niner & other framesets? It's not the end-all/be-all of forks, but it ain't a wet noodle either. I've ridden a Dean & a Niner before I got the F29, and they are both quality rides. It's your $, and you're the one that's got to live with whatever you buy. For under $1700 out-the-door, you can beat the snot out of it, and buy another one in a year or two. But hey, I'm old & been riding since before suspension was the norm, what do I know?
 

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I am not a Lefty expert, so I am not going to comment much abou that issue. I am sure it is a hell of a fork. However, if you are the proud owner of a lefty shock, you will have to take it exclusively to a c'dale dealer to get it serviced. That could be somewhat inconvinient if you are out of town and you blow a seal or something and the only c'dale dealer is 80 miles away. I can get my reba serviced pretty much anywhere. Just something to think about. However, I have nothing bad to say about the lefty performance as a quality shock.
On the frame side, well, what can i say. Steel is real, and that is that. I choose steel over aluminum at any time. And I am making this statement based on years of riding on both, steel and aluminum (and Ti every now and then when I can borrow my buddy's Seven)
But in the end, it comes down to personal preferences. Choose whatever bikes fits you the best. And what is up with that crap about the c'dale dealer not letting you take a demo out on the trails? How are you supposed to make a councious desicion?
Good luck with your bike shopping experience. In the end you are the one who wins regardless of your choice! Enjoy your new bike.
 

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Proud owner of a 20# 20" Aluminum Blingle Speed. Also a Steel taiwan welded (looks like a 10year old's first day) nice tube set. The Blingle speed sits while the cheap sloppy hubbed 26#+? Steel SS gets used over and over again. The Blinges pedals are on the other and not going back. Why? you ask > The ride of steel has a tuning feel atone to the human body. Its is the same reason there are no aluminum hammers. Steel is what you use to pound.

Motorcyle suspension has been around a long time. The single leg therory is not going anywhere in that world is it? Some virtues I've seen for the C-dale system are a smooth rolling hub. Half the stiction of other forks. Little less weight. Tire change ease.
I've built a few C-dales while shop ratting. No trail experience just alley rides. I like to ride no handed. The lefty didn't. Something is off balance. maybe a built in Hopey would do it. I ride singe piviot and like it ease and plushness. But selling the lefty I was plain lying when saying its as good as anything the other makers are putting out. Why not cave in like Turner and do a dual leg fork. If your inards are so good then a dummy leg should be nothing. Sqaure tube on rollers revolution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
CaballoLoco said:
And what is up with that crap about the c'dale dealer not letting you take a demo out on the trails? How are you supposed to make a councious desicion?
Well, I have only hinted to my interest in doing just that. I understand they don't want to try to sell something as new when it is not... But then again they might understand my indecision because of the extended ride on the Haro...

I will ask when time permits.
 

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My Take

I have ridden the F-29 extensively and now have the haro mary XC built up.

Here's my take:

Lefty: Works fantastic, you certainly can ride it no handed, and it gobbles bumps like nothing else.

F-29 frame: Cushy like aluminum shouldn't be, slight flex in the bottom bracket, tight, flex free front triangle.

F-29 as a complete package: Long wheel base = slower handling in the tight twisties than alot of other choices. (Including the Mary XC) Not very good rear tire clearance. Short in the top tube for it's designated size. Kind of tall in the front end.

Mary XC: Slightly flexy in a torsional way in the front triangle. Gobs of tire clearance. Downtube routed cables may turn off some. Derailluer hangar in aluminum that's a bit too soft. Be careful of impacts to that part. Rides like a good steel frame should. Faster handling than the F-29, which in itself may not be good, depending on your trails. Low head tube, you can get quite the saddle to bar differential here.

In the end, it's a tough choice. I would choose based on my trails and intended use. For me here in the Mid-West, the Mary XC makes alot of sense. It leans more towards the classic hardtail XC type bike. For endurance racing, casual long rides, or long, wide open type trails with big sweepers and long sight lines the Cannondale would be the hot ticket.

Pick yer poison. They both have their merits.
 

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fahrvergnugen said:
Well, I have only hinted to my interest in doing just that. I understand they don't want to try to sell something as new when it is not...

That is why they should have a demo. Many bike companies have a demo program. Then the bike shop sells the demo bikes at the end of the season for less.
Well, I am done here. I hope you enjoy your bike, whatever it ends up being. Time to hit the trails.:thumbsup:
 

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trapped in the soul cage
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Guitar Ted seems to share my view on the F29. I, just for fun, rode the F29 up & down my block "no handed" to test a certain theory.

<insert loud buzzer sound here>

Rolls fine, hands or no hands. Nearly as rock stable as my Madone SL. Nearly.

But much better in the whoops.

The reason Cannondale doesn't put another leg, "dead" or active, on the Lefty, is the very reason they took it off in the first place. Weight reduction. The Lefty is marginally less rigid than my old MotoFR (dual leg Cannondale predecessor to the Lefty), and much less than half the weight. 'Nuff said.
 
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