Without a doubt, one of the most impressive aspects of
gravel racing is its lack of technical rules in regards to what
kind of bike you can ride. The run-what-ya-brung openness
brings a true populist feel to the start line that only adds to
the adventurous atmosphere. Under a steady mist in front
of the Granada Theatre on the main street of Emporia was
a collection of road bikes, cyclocross bikes, gravel bikes,
mountain bikes, touring bikes and, yes, even fat bikes.
Among them all, one bike stood out—mine. Thanks to
HEADSHOK TO LEFTY
Cannondale and the calendar date for Kanza, I was able
to wrest six-time national champion Tim Johnson’s one-off
cyclocross race bike away from him for a few weeks. Of
course, what made the bike so noteworthy was its use of
a Lefty suspension fork. When I first spied the bike in the
Cannondale pit at the Cyclocross National Championships
in Austin, Texas (RBA, May ’ 15), I knew right away—with its
30mm of front suspension—that the bike could be a game-
changer for my 100-mile, half-pint effort in Kansas.
Of all the bike brands playing in the fast-evolving tech
sandbox of mountain bike racing in the ’90s, Cannondale
definitely stood apart with their determined effort to do things
their own way. As opposed to everyone else who relied
on the traditional twin-leg suspension forks designed by
RockShox, Manitou, Marzocchi and RST, Cannondale
Thanks to a short-term loan, Zap got to ride Tim Johnson’s
one-off SuperX race bike mounted with a Lefty suspension fork.
The bike served as a prototype for the Cannondale’s 2016 Slate.
After a few modifications it was Dirty Kanza-worthy.
A HARD HUNDY WITH A LEFTY W T A L T
Borrowing a bike to make things easier