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Cannondale Lefty Custom Wheelbuild

The Cannondale Lefty is a fantastic suspension fork, no doubt about that. There are lots of people who don’t like them but they generally seem to be in the camp of never having ridden one and unable to overcome the psychological hurdle of a single sided fork.

Custom spec wheels for the Lefty are a bit rarer. Cannondale isn’t famous for supplying particularly inspiring wheels on anything other than range-topping bikes, and even then you may not be happy (the wheels on the Slate are a bit disappointing, for instance). 

The Lefty hub itself is fantastic. Incredibly light, good bearings and well designed. The bearings are pretty easy to change too, which is a bonus. Other companies (Tune, Project321, Chris King, Circus Monkey etc) make exceptionally expensive Lefty-compatible hubs, and it’s great to have the option but unless you are desperate to have a fancy colour or an unusual spoke count, Cannondale’s own is generally the most cost-effective option.

This Lefty wheel is to replace the factory original on a Slate Apex1. Weighed side by side with the original wheel and dressed in the same tyre and tube, the new wheel is 250g lighter despite using mid-range parts. When the rear wheel is built to match, it’ll be a weight saving of half a kilo, which is really quite significant! The higher spoke count and stronger butted spokes should also make it more reliable and comfortable.

Original WheelNew Wheel
HubLefty “50” 28-hole, blackLefty 32-hole, white
RimMavic Xm419 27.5″, 28HWTB Frequency Team 27.5″, 32H
SpokesDT Swiss plain, blackSapim D-Lite double-butted, silver
Rim tapeMavicWTB
TubeMichelin AirstopMichelin Airstop
TyreClement XPlor MSO 650x42bClement XPlor MSO 650x42b
Total weight2000g approx1750g approx

A point to note: The original wheel was supplied with Alu nipples. They didn’t survive their first winter and were replaced by Cannondale with brass. Most sources say that this makes the wheel 17g in total heavier than originally specified. Not so significant in the greater scheme of things.