Hybrid Needle Bearing Technology
The new sealed Hybrid Bearing Technology allows Cannondale to get rid of their lower shock boot, which has been a trademark of the Lefty design since its introduction.
Because it’s impossible to seal a square structure, Cannondale have made the new Lefty’s Teflon-impregnated, hard-anodized lower leg round. This means they can incorporate a wiper seal at the bottom of the upper structure. Just above the seal you find what Cannondale are calling a ‘slide bearing’, which is what we commonly refer to as a bushing.
Because the bushing sits in a fixed position on the outer leg and the needle bearings roll into the fork with the inner leg, Cannondale can make a legitimate claim that their fork gets stiffer as the fork gets deeper into its travel. Unlike traditional forks, where the bushing spacing is a constant, in the Lefty the distance between the lower bushing and upper needle bearings increases as the fork moves through its travel. This adds stiffness. Cannondale say it’s this feature that allowed them to bring Lefty to the longer-travel Over Mountain category.
Cannondale also take advantage of the Lefty’s inverted design and new lower seal to incorporate an oil bath, which lubricates both the bushing and needle bearings as the fork moves through its travel.
“Our system takes advantage of the inverted design and fills the cavity [between the inner and outer legs] to create a lubricating oil bath,” said Hanna. “In traditional forks, gravity is taking the oil away from you at all times, and with our system it keeps the oil in place. Essentially, it’s completely encased [submerged] throughout its riding life.”
Setting sag is easier too, as Cannondale now place an O-ring on the lower leg so that sag can be set visually, as with any other fork. Previously, riders needed another person to manually take the measurement.