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Does anyone have any feedback regarding Cannondale's Head Shock system? I have narrowed my decision regarding a new bike down to either a cannondale F600 or 700 or a Specialized Rockhopper. The deciding factor for me will lie in what dirt I can find on the head shock. I know that I should buy what feels right when I ride, but I would like some feedback. You guys have been really good in the past with my questions.
Thanks in advance for your replies.
02-23-01, 08:45 AM
I'm generally a big fan of Specialized products, but in this instance, you're probablly better off with the C'Dale. The headshock was developed to eliminate the flex(front to back and side to side) of a telescopic fork. Most telescopic fork have a beefed up brake arch to help eliminate this problem. All of these types forks flex to some degree. The one that minimizes the flex the best is a Marzocchi, but it's also heavier. With that said, try to flex a headshock. It doesn't! Primarily because both fork blades are integrated and the shock is obviously in the head tube. Although this is great for flex it causes a couple of problems which may not be of concern to you. The first is standover height. C'dales are taller than other bikes because of the headshock. Secondly, the Headshock is limited in travel (60 to 80 mm depending on model). Most other new forks are getting 80 mm as a minimum. Now back to the "pros" column of the Headshock. C'Dale offers a couple different options depending on the model you buy. Some offer a lockout which is desirable on long climbs. Other models have a five position damper which controls how slow or fast you want the fork to return to the extended position. Reliability is very good with the Headshock. The system is comprised of a squared off bearing surface with needle bearings on each side. (simple yet smooth). Now another "con". You need special tools to service your Headshock. This means you have to take the bike into your LBS for them to service the fork. The last "con" is cost. C'dales are usually more expensive than other similarly spec'd bikes. However, you get what you pay for. A made in the USA frame and fork and a superior suspension system, and an expansive network of dealers nationwide.
BTW, I sold my Specialized FSR (which I loved) and bought a Cannondale with the Lefty.(whick I like, but miss my FSR) Although I'm somewhat partial because of my current situation, I don't think any of my statements can be argued to the contrary. I think both companies offer great bikes and have each individual "better points". If you're making your choice based on the fork alone, you're better off with the C'dale.