I have a mountain bike with a 2003 Cannondale Lefty DLR Ti fork. As I've been riding the bike this season, I've noticed that the fork is behaving strangely. It doesn't seem to lockout fully and it is a lot "squishier" than it used to be. Also, when it decompresses after a hard compression, I notice a strange noise -- it's hard to describe but it sounds almost like gurgling fluid. I've already tried adding air to the fork using a shock pump (the pressure was very low) and that did make it a little less "squishy" but it's still not working like it used to.

It seems to me that it's time to do some serious maintenance on the fork; possibly even a full rebuild. How complicated should I expect this repair to be? What specific skills and tools will I need? What is the procedure for doing a rebuild?

I would like to evaluate the level of difficulty of this repair so that I can decide if it is something I'd be comfortable doing myself.

  • Part of your question is whether or not you should tackle this. Your experience working with bikes is relevant information; perhaps adding that to your question will help people answer it. For example, what maintenance have you successfully performed on your bike already? Did any repair/upgrade projects stymie you? Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 19:12
  • @neilfein: In the interest of making answers as useful as possible to a wide range of bicycle owners, lets assume my bicycles repair ability is "average". I'll rephrase the question. Commented Sep 15, 2010 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


First thing you should do is read the tech sheet on your fork. I believe the link below is the correct one. http://www.cannondale.com/CMS/Technology/10_HeadShok_Tech_Pages_CUSA.pdf

There are also a bunch of manuals here but I didn't see one for the DLR Ti. http://www.cannondale.com/usa/usaeng/Instructions

As far as a rebuild goes it will be similar to rebuilding any fork with oil in it you'll only have one leg though. I found an illustrated tear down which might help you with the decision or whether this is for you or not. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=221683

The big question is, should you do this yourself. I do all my own maintenance, build wheels and the only thing I don't touch is forks. Most home users just don't have the facilities to really do this easily. If you have a nice shop stand setup and are mechanically inclined then go for it. I know I would if I had the space but I don't.


I had a friend who stripped down forks without using the service manual. They set up their phone and FILMED the entire strip down so they would have some documentation on how to rebuild it.

If you have the tools and the confidence, go for it. You may find it easier than you believe.

  • This is a good idea, but it could be written with a clearer style. Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 23:05

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