Australian Mountain Bike - - Fast Track -

At the Alb­stadt World Cup, Can­non­dale had some­thing they were very ex­cited about. Not only had they re­designed their F-Si hard­tail, but there was a com­pletely new Lefty at the front of the bike. One that is lighter, more re­spon­sive and longer wear­ing than any of its pre­de­ces­sors.

“In or­der to push per­for­mance fur­ther with Lefty, we had to start with a clean slate,” said Jeremiah Boo­bar, Can­non­dale’s Direc­tor of Sus­pen­sion Technology. “We needed to bring Lefty back to its XC roots, and re­think the en­tire struc­ture from the crown on down.”

The new Lefty Ocho looks noth­ing like the Lefty of old, ex­cept for be­ing sin­glesided and run­ning on the left side of the bike. The sin­gle-crown fork means the bar height on a Lefty Ocho equipped bike can be a lit­tle lower, but the big dif­fer­ence is weight – the Ocho saves about 250g off the pre­vi­ous Lefty Car­bon.

Run­ning on a tri­an­gu­lar shaft, the Lefty Ocho re­sists flex and uses Delta needle­bear­ings for a sup­ple stroke. Along with a big neg­a­tive spring, this means the ini­tial stroke will be more sup­ple than any­thing you have felt be­fore. But there’s more – the re­mote lock out only fork has a self-bleed­ing damper to keep the Ocho per­form­ing at the high stan­dard rid­ers de­mand.

Catch­ing up with Cy­clinic’s Ai­den Lef­mann, who is not only a long time Lefty afi­cionado but also one of Aus­tralia’s only Lefty Ocho ser­vice gu­rus, he was quick to point out the ad­van­tages of the Ocho that mor­tal rid­ers will no­tice on the trail or be­tween the tape.

“Weight was a re­ally big thing that has changed, and the sen­si­tiv­ity,” said Lef­mann. “Just about any com­plaint about pre­vi­ous Lefty mod­els has been ad­dressed with the Ocho. It’s said to be 11% stiffer than a Fox 32 SC, and I think it is safe to say it is the stiffest 100mm XC fork on the mar­ket.”

Ask­ing about whether they move from a four-sided in­ner leg to a three-side one made the stiff­ness in­crease, Lef­mann was quick to point out the true ben­e­fits.

“That has other ben­e­fits, mostly that it hasn’t taken away from the stiff­ness but it has im­proved the ser­vice­abil­ity of the fork as there are 3 and not 4 sets of bear­ings, and in­creased the sen­si­tiv­ity. The sen­si­tiv­ity in the tele­scopic ac­tion is so much smoother than any pre­vi­ous Lefty, or any other fork. Just com­par­ing a chas­sis with no air spring – the Lefty Ocho is far more sen­si­tive than any­thing on the mar­ket.”

“If you go feel a Fox 32, or 34, or any Rock­Shox fork on a shop floor, they feel very sen­si­tive in the top of the stroke. The Lefty had been poor there in the past. But with the Lefty Ocho the break­away force at the top of the stroke is bet­ter than any­thing else on the mar­ket.” A move to a much thin­ner oil is a big part of the change in stic­tion as well, so the new Lefty Ocho will re­ally make a big im­pact on small bump sen­si­tiv­ity, trac­tion and rider fa­tigue.

While 2019 Can­non­dale mod­els will come with the Lefty Ocho – can we up­grade to it?

“This will be a choice af­ter­mar­ket up­grade for rid­ers, when stock is avail­able in Aus­tralia,” said Lef­mann. “There’s no 120mm op­tion, but for the ap­pli­ca­tion of run­ning it on the F-Si or Scalpel Si, 100mm is suf­fi­cient. It would be ob­vi­ous to ex­pect a 120mm model at a later date and some­thing even big­ger down the track, given the dra­matic im­prove­ments to the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Lefty with this de­sign.”

We’re look­ing for­ward to an op­por­tu­nity to try one for our­selves, so watch this space.

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