NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts!
Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame
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I've got a Cannondale with the Lefty on it. I've got to say that the lockout is a nice feature, but I don't utilize it as much as I should.
I've got the F2000 model, a hartail, and the bike is pretty firm as it is, and I forget (or don't need) the lockout for 75% of my riding. I usually climb without activating the lockout during my casual rides.
The times I do use the lockout is when there is a long sustained climb and I want to use all my input to get to the top. I also use it when I'm hammering down a long straightaway.
The thing to consider is that the Cannondale lockout does not have a blow-off feature that other forks have. IOW, if you forget to turn it off, and hit a big jump, it won't blow through the lockout feature. The C'Dale lockout is mechanical and it'll feel like you're riding a rigid fork if you forget to turn it off!
As with everything else, the lockout feature is getting better and better with every year. The newer forks are easy to shut off and on and you'll see racers reach down and do so right before a climb. The new RockShox World Cup forks have a cable actuated lockout with a thumbshifter at the handlebar. NICE! but it's also an $800 fork, OUCH!
I agree with Woody, that it really depends on your suspension design as to whether you really need a lockout for the rear shock. The Giant's 4-bar design is good, the new VPP design that Santa Cruz and Intense is now producing claims to eliminate bobbing, as does the Ellesworth design. The Specialized has the new "Epic" that states will automatically lockout, and their FSR-XC design almost doesn't need a lockout except for serious racer types. Almost all single pivot designs will benefit from a lockout, especially when climbing steep stuff because bobbing is inherant in the design when in the granny gear!
To answer your question as to whether it's a novelty kinda depends on the rider. If you're just using the bike for FUN, then you could save some $$$ and skip the lockout feature. If you race then the advantage is worth the extra cha-ching!
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger