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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Cannondale Jekyll review

Bigger, faster and super comfortable

This is a lot of bike both in terms of travel and componentry. It’s a big marker for Cannondale amidst a market with crazy priced bikes.

Featuring full carbon chassis and carbon wheels with 165mm travel rear and 170mm front the Jekyll is yet another of those bikes that’ll have people thinking why they would go 150mm when there’s so much more on offer for the same weight. Under 30lb with pedals on an extra large, crazy.

Components

Cannondale have been very tough on pricing of the new Jekyll and this bike offers good value for a full carbon frame, wheelset, crankset and bars which few indirect sales avenues can match. If carbon is your thing of course. We’re loving the correct length bar and stem, the Maxxis Minion DHR and DHF Widetrack tyres, the Race Face dropper, Guide RSC stoppers and the top end Fox suspension. There are no question marks here.

Suspension

The Hustle and Flow damper features with remote adjust are designed to give 165mm in the latter and 130mm on the former setting. As such many will regard this as an enduro race bike designed to get you up the climbs quicker, but testing the theory is difficult one.

Common sense would have it that its quicker to ride in a steeper/shorter position but we have actually found that riding other bikes with suspension adjust, such as the Canyon Strive, that ascents are faster and produce a lower heart rate in the longer slacker position. It’s a complex story and will probably be specific to the rider and climb in question.

 

Feeling

There was a time when you felt safe in the knowledge that 150mm travel would get you through. Those times seem to have passed with the coming of bikes such as the bigger, longer Jekyll. There is no doubt about this bike’s capability, there never was, but this bike is a very different beast to its predecessor. The former Jekyll was more trail/enduro, this bike is a full on power house.

The Jekyll is one of the fastest and least tiring bikes of this travel that we’ve ever ridden

Sizing on this bike is exceptional, and everything is to hand although some riders will feel the seat in its dropped down position still to be slightly high on the extra large bike. Again this is another personal thing.

Power transfer is good on this bike and diving into the first breakers the bike holds shape well, yes it could do be argued that a bit more support would work to but the overall outcome of this bike as it came out of the box was excellent. The suspension delivers good grip and uses its travel well, offering a steady and efficient ride through beaten up ground. It’s a bike that carries good pace through tougher territory without getting hung up or batting too much back to the rider.

The most striking thing about the Jekyll is that the fatigue levels on the body are quite low even on longer descents. Its incredibly difficult to pin point the reasons for this. Maybe the flex/stiffness of the chassis and wheels is right on the sweet spot?

Limitations

The carbon guard came loose and this will need sorting and also there was a shade too much rattle from the internal cables for a bike of this value. The Hustle and Flow confuses a touch too. I’d probably ditch it as all you really need is an easily accessible lock out for climbs and a supportive damping system. I can totally see where the designers are coming from and it is a feature on undulating enduro stages. Many people will like the feature but for me I’d drop my left arm and click the compression adjust lever on the shock for climbing and take simplicity over complexity. My life has enough of that.

Elsewhere its often too easy to run out of high gears, and the cables need sorting and tidying up front. Overall nothing serious.

Verdict

Some minor niggles but here’s the thing. The Jekyll is one of the fastest and least tiring bikes of this travel that we’ve ever ridden. Some might say its too light and too flexy but the clock and the body suggest otherwise. And ultimately that’s what matters. Great bike.

PRICE: £5999

cannondale.com

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