Neo Carbon Lefty 1 vs Carbon 2

Chris McDonald

New Member
All

New to the board and would appreciate any insight you can provide on the two bikes above I'm considering.

A little about my situation. Just moved to an area that backs up to gravel and mild single track trails. I’m “hill locked” at 800’ and some of the hills are fairly steep. Foresee me using the bike 40% on pavement (to get to trails), 40% smooth gravel and 20% mild single track paths. I had my heart set on the Neo Lefty 3 but based on discussions with Cannondale, they won’t have availability till summer 2021.

With so little inventory I was able to test drive a medium Carbon 2 (I’m an XL – 6'5" and 220) and small analog lefty 3 on payment and smooth gravel (probably looked very silly). Bottom line is I got a vail real world experience.

The Carbon 2 is very appealing but no suspension in the front is a big concern as I don’t like being beaten up (elbows start to hurt after a while even on rough roads). I could add a ShockStop Suspension Stem but unsure how effective it is or how it would change the bikes characteristics. Could add the lefty fork hub and wheels but that gets me almost to the cost of the Lefty 1 (Shock, hub, wheels and tires are $2000+).

The Lefty 1 is $2,500 more which is not chicken feed. Concerned that I don’t have higher and lower gears than the Carbon 2 for hills or on the street but that might be irrelevant with the Bosch motor. Also concerned that the wide tire will not work well on the road but electronic shifting seems impressive based on the reviews.

I see a few people on the board have the Carbon 2 and Lefty 3 so any real world experience would be appreciated.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
You may need to just start calling around all over the place looking for that XL Lefty. I did the same thing in early August when I was looking for a Yamaha Civante, and when a guy in a shop 100 miles away amazed me by saying they had one, I was in the car and on the way in twenty minutes.

I suspect you are correct about the suspension, and especially the wider range of gears. That’s the one that will be with you every single time you get on the bike as long as you own it.

There’s a couple people here with the Lefty, and it sounds like a terrific bike. Good luck at any rate!
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
I'm a new owner of a Neo Lefty 3 and I LOVE IT. 🥰
It's awesome on gravel roads and easier trails (I don't do hard trails) and is also awesome on pavement. It's a fantastic all-round ebike.

I would have loved a Lefty 1, but up here in Canada it's at least $3000 more (at the very least, and probably more). I couldn't justify the extra cost, but I do miss having electric shifting. The Shimano shifting unit is really clunky. Definitely the thing I like the least about the bike.

The gen 4 Bosch motor has tons of power and I seldom use more than level 2 (tour) for 90% of the hills I tackle.

I do enjoy riding this ebike, but unfortunately I'm back to my carbon road bike for awhile, as my Lefty 3 is back in the shop with a possible motor problem (clicking sound when pedalling and getting louder).
 

Chris McDonald

New Member
SD - completely agree and what I've been doing the last several days. I actually found a Carbon 2 XL and why its still on the short list.

DB, appreciate the insight and exstatic to hear its a fantastic all-around bike which is exactly what I want. Its great to hear its good on payment as well as gravel. My goal is to do 50/50 riding but may turn out to be more pavement than anticipated.

Sounds like your not missing the wider range of gears like your road bike - is that fair to say? Does the lefty really smooth out the bumps on gravel and road vibration on pavement?

I'm leaning towards the lefty 1 and if I do more pavement riding figure I can run on less aggressive tires and lock the shock when/if necessary.

In the PNW but family is in Courtenay and CR. Sorry to hear about your bike and assume you have to go the capital to get it fixed which I know is not next door. Since were in the same climate, will probably hit you up for fender recommendations shortly.

Thanks both for your insight.
 

Mike_V

Active Member
Hi Chris,
Have you ridden a Lefty for many miles?
Mine always pulls left and I must continually steer right.
Despite weight saving: I'm not sure Lefty is a 'feature'.
& Be critical as you test an eBike because, you're a big man and many eBikes are under powered and lacking a 'throttle'
For example:
When you're done pedaling XYZ miles and want to relax, cool off and sightsee while gliding home?
Mike
Seaweed_Cove.JPG
 
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tolovan

Member
I love my Carbon 2 as well. I have not ridden it proper off-road yet, so I cannot comment on how harsh the rigid carbon fork is, but we have pretty rough pavement here and so far it is a waaay more comfy ride compared to my old rigid Sirrus. The kingpin works very well and I don't miss front suspension yet. I'm planning to get a Shock Stem in future and eventually go for 40mm tubeless tires when the stock ones wear out. I really appreciate the wide range of gears and low weight of the bike (37 lbs for my small frame) which makes it easier and more fun to ride without assist. As @Deacon Blues pointed out the Bosch motor (Performance Speed in case of Carbon 2) is pretty powerful and offers wide range of assist. Like you I'm hill locked to on a 15%+ grade. With the gearing provided and the motor I can go from "I really wanna workout" to "this is insaaane (aka Turbo mode)" very smoothly (even uphill).
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
I find I have more than enough gears with a single ring up front. My Defy Advanced Pro 0 has two chain rings but 95% of my riding is on the big chain ring. I only use the small chain rink for steep hills.

For winter riding I bought a set of SKS Mtb Blade fenders.

I find with the 11-42 cassette and a 42T front chain ring I often run out of gears at faster speeds. While my bike is in the shop I've asked them to replace the 42T with a 46T, which in found on the Lefty 1.

I'm also in the process of looking for another set of wheels and tires. I don't really need them, but you know how it is. :p

This Bosch motor has power! While riding up a very steep trail I had the bike in Turbo and gave an extra hard push on the pedals. The bike did a wheelie and over I went.

As for only having a shock on one side, I can feel any difference to riding a bike with dual forks/shocks. Zero steering pull.
 

Chris McDonald

New Member
All

Truly appreciate your insight which has helped me narrow things down. Its been extremely difficult to make such an expensive purchase when not able to do a test ride.

Decon Blues - if you had to get rid of your road bike, would you be happy riding the Lefty strictly on pavement. I'm sure you'd go with less aggressive tires but curious on your thoughts. Been checking out riding trails and looks like I'd be riding on more pavement than anticipated.

Based on comments, seems like I would be happy with either bike and make some adjustments as necessary.

Thanks again
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
I'm going to get another set of wheels (possible carbon) and tires for my bike. I'll probably go with less aggressive patterned tire, like the Pathfinder Pro 2Bliss Ready (by Specialized), since 85% of my riding in on pavement and smooth gravel pathways.

Looks like my Lefty is ready for pickup from the dealer. Looks like it will be coming home with a new motor.
 

tolovan

Member
I'm going to get another set of wheels (possible carbon) and tires for my bike. I'll probably go with less aggressive patterned tire, like the Pathfinder Pro 2Bliss Ready (by Specialized), since 85% of my riding in on pavement and smooth gravel pathways.

Looks like my Lefty is ready for pickup from the dealer. Looks like it will be coming home with a new motor.

So it wasn't the hub after all, but the motor. Glad to hear that they replaced it.

By the way, I had my first tumble this weekend. I did the exact same thing in your profile picture. Got stuck in recessed railroad tracks and flew off the bike. Luckily the bike fell on me, so bike is fine :)
 

Chris McDonald

New Member
Yes, great news that there taking care of you with a new motor!

Pulled the trigger on the Carbon 2 and can't wait to pick it up, maybe even this weekend if I'm lucky 😄. Allows me to upgrade to the lefty with wider tires if needed in the future, has the wider gear range for a higher top end and I'm in the process to confirm if I'm able to upgrade to electronic shifting in the future. Bottom line, it gives me a good base and flexibility/$$$ to dial it in exactly for me.

Now I just need to figure out flat pedals and lights that will work with the pre-wiring system - any suggestions?

Thanks again for all your input - was invaluable.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
I really miss electric shifting. I've been riding my 17.5 pound road bike, with Di2 shifting and it has been a lot of fun. Having said that, I'll be really happy to have my Lefty back home tomorrow.

Tolovan, sorry to read about your spill. Are you clipless, or do you use flat pedals? A couple of weeks ago I was riding up a really steep trail in turbo. I pressed down a bit too hard on the pedal and went right over backwards. 🤬
Turbo is almost overkill on this bike.

Chris, great to read about your new purchase. You'll love your new bike.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
Just got back home from picking up my Lefty from the dealer. Turns out the motor was okay. The ticking sound was from a bolt somewhere near the crank, just inside the motor case that was loose.
The shop said the noise was gone, but I haven't ridden the bike yet to be 100% convinced.
 

Chris McDonald

New Member
Deacon Blues - sounds like it was an easy fix so hopefully this issue is behind you.

Tolovan - did you ever put lights or fenders on your Carbon 2? Any suggestions? REI is looking at options for me but hoping for real world experience.
 

tolovan

Member
Chris - I did put Light & Motion Vis-E integrated lights but I wouldn't recommend them. They have limited mounting options, are functional but not very well thought out lights. I do recommend integrated lights in general though. You can control them directly from Kiox and you don't have to worry about batteries.
I did not add fenders yet. Make sure that they keep the rear fender mount that comes with it.

Deacon Blues - I use platform pedals. I'm not ready for clip ones yet. I hope your bike is noise free now.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
I went for a 62km ride today and all is well.
The only problem I'm having with my bike is on longer rides my thumb and next two fingers, on both hands, often go numb. It happens a bit on my road bike, but nowhere near as bad as it is with my Lefty.
I bought and installed a shorter stem, with a steeper rise, thinking that a slightly more upright position would take some weight off my hands and result in less numbness. Unfortunately, nothing changed on today's ride.
My next step is to change the angle of the handlebars slightly to see if that makes a difference. If it doesn't I'm considering converting to flat bars (swept-back touring bars) to see if that solves, or at least lessens the problem.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I went for a 62km ride today and all is well.
The only problem I'm having with my bike is on longer rides my thumb and next two fingers, on both hands, often go numb. It happens a bit on my road bike, but nowhere near as bad as it is with my Lefty.
I bought and installed a shorter stem, with a steeper rise, thinking that a slightly more upright position would take some weight off my hands and result in less numbness. Unfortunately, nothing changed on today's ride.
My next step is to change the angle of the handlebars slightly to see if that makes a difference. If it doesn't I'm considering converting to flat bars (swept-back touring bars) to see if that solves, or at least lessens the problem.

Have you considered the Salsa Woodchipper handlebar?
it's really unique and offers a lot of adjustability.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member

Quick514Biker

New Member
I'm a new owner of a Neo Lefty 3 and I LOVE IT. 🥰
It's awesome on gravel roads and easier trails (I don't do hard trails) and is also awesome on pavement. It's a fantastic all-round ebike.

I would have loved a Lefty 1, but up here in Canada it's at least $3000 more (at the very least, and probably more). I couldn't justify the extra cost, but I do miss having electric shifting. The Shimano shifting unit is really clunky. Definitely the thing I like the least about the bike.

The gen 4 Bosch motor has tons of power and I seldom use more than level 2 (tour) for 90% of the hills I tackle.

I do enjoy riding this ebike, but unfortunately I'm back to my carbon road bike for awhile, as my Lefty 3 is back in the shop with a possible motor problem (clicking sound when pedalling and getting louder).
Your Neo Lefty 3 bike is with the Bosch Performance Line CX motor I'm guessing(you being in Canada)? Not with Bosch Performance Line Speed motor as in the US.