THE ALL NEW LEFTY OCHO
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.