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It’s been talked about since Greg Lemond rode the first RockShox fork across the pavé of Paris Roubaix: suspension on drop-bar bikes. More recently, rumors have surfaced of brands testing suspended ’cross bikes, and even road bikes, but little has made it out into the open until last fall when Tim Johnson was spotted riding a Lefty suspension fork on his Cannondale SuperX cyclocross bike.
More recently, former Cannondale Pro Cycling rider Cameron Wurf has been spotted on another drop-bar bike with a Lefty fork, and from the few photos we’ve seen on Instagram, the bike being ridden by Wurf looks to be more of an adventure or gravel bike.
Cannondale’s Bill Rudell had no comment on Wurf’s bike, and said of Johnson’s bike, “Tim likes that bike as a ’cross bike and we’re just trying to help him out with his racing.”
At the USA Cycling cyclocross national championships earlier this year, Johnson, who was sitting out the race, had his Cannondale SuperX with the Lefty at the venue. We were able to chat with Johnson, though he wouldn’t get into specifics of the Lefty.
“We’ve tested a couple of different travels. It’s less [travel] than an enduro bike, and more than zero,” Johnson teased.
“It’s not cross-country travel, but it doesn’t need to be. The geometry still needs to stay functional for what it is. It’s a ’cross bike, and it needs to turn. You get stability with the suspension. You don’t need the bike to be splayed out.”
We asked Johnson why and his response made sense, though we’re still holding off judgment until we get to ride one — assuming it makes it to market.
“This is a really fun bike to ride. If you jump into a ’cross race at 2 p.m. on a Sunday and they’ve run the same course for two days in a row, you have braking bumps, and all of these sloppy sections that don’t feel very good on a bike. This is something that really smooths it out.”
Some in the VeloNews office are more eagerly awaiting dropper posts to be commonplace on ’cross bikes, but Johnson downplayed a dropper post’s worthiness in a U.S. cyclocross race.
“If the future of American cross has more difficult courses, like we hope, then why not? That technology is getting lighter and easier to use. There’s no reason for it now.”