Cannondale has an enviable reputation for innovation in the cycling world. Aside from their prowess in lightweight frame design, their ideas for what constitutes the ideal for a mountain bike’s front fork is definitely out there in left field. As in their ‘Lefty’ single sided front fork.
Cannondale’s Lefty has been on the market since the early 2000s. Beginning with an idea that struck Cannondale engineers during a ride at Whistler, development began on a wooden prototype that duplicated the shape of the Lefty that we know today. This resulted in the first Lefty that hit the mass market in 2003. Riders were initially taken aback at several innovative design touches that were ahead of their time, and wouldn’t be seen in mainstream forks for another 5 years or so. Even today, the Lefty single sided blade is unique, but delivers performance on par with, or surpasses the performance of, standard telescopic forks in many ways.
Every performance cyclist’s concern is weight, and the Lefty delivers this. By eliminating one fork leg, today’s Lefty fork in XC setup weighs in at just under 1.5kg. By minimising the material used, and maximising the performance of the materials, Lefty’s Dual Crown inverted design allows for suspension loads to be evenly distributed through the fork and head tube, giving unrivaled strength and stiffness. Since the head tube of the Lefty is 40 mm, this lets the Lefty be stiff without the associated weight penalty, and allows it to resist the torsional side loads that are present in forks of standard design.
Cannondale is making a resurgence in the Malaysian market after a short spell away. This American firm’s range of carbon and aluminium frames, along with innovative suspension solutions such as the “Lefty” fork, promises much. Here’s a look at Cannondale’s history, and where they’re moving forward to.