Trail and Enduro Bikes

First Look – Cannondale Jekyll

All-new carbon enduro racer

Cannondale has recently given a complete overhaul to both their enduro and long travel trail bikes – the Jekyll and Trigger. Settling on 27.5” wheels and telescopic forks, they are up against a few very well sorted machines from both Europe and further afield. We take a look at the new jekyll.

Words: Sean White, Callum Philpott Images: Cannondale


Rewind to the year 2009 and we featured two Cannondale trail bikes in our first ever Dirt 100 line up – The light and low slung, short travel Rush and the much loved 140mm travel Prophet. Class acts that sat next to established designs from Orange, Specialized and Whyte. The following few years were a touch quiet with this brand until the rebirth of the Jekyll name on a longer travel enduro machine, raced to success under the powers of Jerome Clementz and Mark Weir. This category now had strong contenders from Europe (Cube, Canyon, BMC, Commencal and Lapierre) but the full carbon big hitter equipped with Cannondale’s unique Lefty SuperMax fork impressed us with its low weight and all out speed: ‘As soon as you stand on the pedals and feel the position it’s a green light to go charging – just ridiculously fast everywhere – absolutely insane’. A hit in the 2015 Dirt 100, the Jekyll was designed around the Lefty fork but was also a winner with a Pike up front.

This new Jekyll, launched in the spring of 2017 will carry forward as a 2018 model and beyond. With 165mm of rear travel and running a 170mm fork up front, the latest enduro bike from Cannondale will face competition from some very well dialled bikes. The YT Capra, Radon Swoop, Orange Alpine 6, Transition Patrol and Evil Insurgent are such well-honed designs (and incredible value in some cases) that any returnees to this category need to be thoroughly developed and sorted – and equipped for action too.


It has always been about integrated technologies and thinking with Cannondale. They’re not shy of innovation and have brought both their single sided Lefty fork to the market (now used only on their shorter travel bikes) and the much used BB30 bottom bracket standard. With fresh thinking based around a Fox 36 fork and Float or Float X EVOL rear shock, this bike has similarities in approach to the short lived 2010 Moto – one of the few Cannondale’s trail bikes not designed around a Lefty fork.

Cannondale’s BallisTec carbon is used on the frame and swing arm of the top of the range Jekyll 1 with the three lower priced models sporting an aluminium back triangle. The rear suspension tech is carried through the models though and is all new, along with a carbon linkage. Here Cannondale has worked with Fox (and SRAM – the test/show bike had a RockShox shock, as does JC’s bike) to develop the Gemini rear shock (the DYAD shock is no more) with a cable operated handlebar remote allowing you to switch between 165mm Flow and 135mm Hustle mode. Here are Cannondale’s words on what it offers:

‘Flip to Hustle to shorten the travel and ramp up the spring rate for a snappier, more responsive feel for pumping through turns, sprints and traction-challenged climbs. Flip back to Flow for full Fox travel when things get rough’.

Hub spacing is Boost (110mm front and 148mm rear) but Cannondale take a typically different approach with the rear end of the Jekyll, with their Ai integration. The Ai offset shifts the rear hub and drivetrain 6mm to the right, allowing super short chainstays and a rear wheel that is dramatically stiffer and stronger because the spoke tension and angles are equal on both sides. Cannondale’s custom Ai HollowGram cranks move the chainrings an equal 6mm to the right, balancing the system and maintaining perfect chain-line and gear shifting performance. Neat internal cable/hose routing and and easily accessed bottle cage mount are details we’re pleased to see.

Weight? We’ve no accurate data but the older carbon Jekyll was one of the lightest in its class, without a compromise to performance. We feel this new version will be in the same ballpark.


With four size options on the new Jekyll, all designed around a 35mm length stem, we were keen to see how they compared against our favourite enduro frame designs. Looking at a size ‘large’, the Jekyll has a reach of 470mm and a wheelbase of 1220mm – ample numbers and not the longest in this category but comparable to an 18” Radon Swoop. The 65° head angle (based around the stock 170mm fork) and short 420mm chainstays are on the money too. A brief day of testing at the European launch had our rider Callum questioning whether the 349mm bottom bracket height (with a drop of 8mm) was a touch high when compared to the ground hugging Radon. More riding time is needed on home turf taking into consideration both tyre sizes (stock rubber is large volume 2.5”F/2.4”R) and the shock set up.


With Fox suspension as standard on all production Jekylls, the top two models (1 and 2) are decked out with SRAM Eagle 1×12, with custom Ai Truvativ cranks. SRAM Guide brakes are a favourite of ours here at Dirt and are always good to see. The top model gets Cannondale’s 30mm (internal width) carbon rims, with WTB wheels on the other models. Maxxis Minion DHR II tyres are a pick in the 2017 Dirt 100 and are standard kit here in 2.5/2.4″ sizes. The cockpits are sorted, with a well shaped Cannondale 780mm bar and 35mm length stem on all sizes and models, along with a longer stroke RaceFace dropper post (150mm on M/L/XL sizes, 125mm on size S). As you’d hope with a bike being launched ready for the 2018 model year, the spec is well thought through and fit for some serious action.

Check out our full review of the new Cannondale Jekyll HERE.

PRICES: JEKYLL 1: £6000, 2: £5500, 3: £4000, 4: £3000

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