New Cannondale Lefty Ocho Carbon 120: "120mm smooth as silk"

Mountain bike 18 feb. 2021 15:02 Migue A.

Cannondale has just presented the Lefty Ocho fork with 120mm of travel. What for many is the best current fork for mountain biking "grows" to 120mm to adapt to new trends and disciplines, such as trail or downcountry. 

Cannondale Lefty Ocho Carbon 120mm: travel and much more

120mm smooth as silk. That is how the presentation of Cannondale's new fork begins, the Lefty Ocho 120mm, which joins the 100mm Lefty introduced in 2018. Apparently the same, this new Lefty Carbon 120 has been almost completely redesigned to support a higher torsional capacity, typical of the discipline it is aimed at and its longer travel.

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Aiming to focus on all types of riders, the Cannondale Lefty Ocho Carbon 120mm maintains the weight/stiffness/softness ratio that has been so successful in the 100mm version, but to do so they have had to redesign its interior.

Firstly, and as is clear, the big difference is the travel. Obviously, Cannondale have decided to broaden the spectrum to all types of cyclists and to do so, they have redesigned the Lefty's structure from scratch to seek not only that greater travel, but also to improve in terms of stiffness and smoothness, even reducing friction and noise from the fork.

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Cannondale's superb smoothness doesn't conflict with steering precision. We know that the Lefty Ocho is a proven fork, there is no doubt about that.

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The smoothness of the Cannondale Lefty Ocho 120mm is achieved thanks to the Delta design of the inner needle bearings arranged in tracks. This is the heart of the whole system. It provides stiffness and, above all, a much smoother ride than the competition. In this Lefty 120, both the material of the tracks and the bearings themselves are now much stronger than in its 100mm version.

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They didn't want to sacrifice an ounce of control or sensitivity. The Lefty's control has always been brilliant, so this Cannondale Lefty Ocho 120mm retains it and remains one of the most precise XC forks on the market. It does, however, retain the hallmark of being the stiffest lightweight fork on the market.

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Although the new Lefty Ocho 120 is fully compatible with remote lockouts, the truth is that it does not incorporate it and is designed to be locked and unlocked manually. This is to keep the handlebars clear, where this type of MTB is supposed to control the seatpost, and to simplify the system.

The Cannondale Lefty Ocho 120mm is very light: only 1550 grams, which is always a good thing if you're not just going downhill. Obviously, this result responds to that brilliant idea that one day germinated in Cannondale: eliminating half of the fork and obsessing about optimising the other half.

This weight leaves it at only 104g more than the 100mm Lefty, which is more than manageable for 20mm more travel.

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Cannondale claims to have also created a completely new chassis to manufacture this new Lefty, a chassis that can also be used with 110mm models and goes perfectly with this 120mm Lefty Ocho 120mm.

The fork walls have been made thicker to increase stiffness and to counteract the forces that a long travel fork experiences, which is unavoidable in order to leave such an impressive finish.

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The cartridge has also been redesigned to adapt it to these longer travels and increases its flexibility right from the top, which added to the adjustment it allows, makes it able to respond to any cyclist's needs. More progressive or less progressive, it's up to you.

In terms of brakes, the Lefty Ocho Carbon 120mm is designed for 180 mm discs, but will accommodate up to 203 mm if you need braking power of this calibre. 

The quick release system will also be present on this Lefty Ocho 120, undoubtedly one of the most appreciated features by those who already have a Lefty with this system. Although it should be noted that the easy release is not available with the adapter for 203mm discs.

This 120mm Lefty Ocho joins forces with the smaller 100mm version (which we tested here at Brújula Bike) and aims to bring these principles of control to the whole spectrum of cross-country. In fact, they intend to test it in the middle of the World Cup, so we'll see it riding in the elite. They are going to cover everything that can be covered with the Lefty name, and that is to be welcomed.

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At the moment, the Cannondale Lefty Ocho 120mm will only be mounted on the Scalpel SE LTD model, which goes on sale in April at a price of 8399€, and is expected to be available to buy separately from July for 1,599€.

In short, and as its own slogan indicates: more travel, more stiffness, more Ocho.

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