CANNONDALE JEKYLL 1
The fatigue-free powerhouse
by Sean White
This is a lot of bike both in terms of travel and componentry. It’s a big marker for Cannondale amidst a market packed full of bikes with crazy price tags. It’s an all-new platform here and between the Trigger trail bike and this longer travel Jekyll, Cannondale feel they cater for most riders if they’re happy with 27.5" wheels.
Our top spec test bike featured a full carbon frame and carbon wheels with 165mm travel rear and 170mm up front. It’s very light, so 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 for extra large Jekyll is what we’re looking at here…
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 we found that testing the theory is difficult one.
"The former Jekyll was more trail/enduro, this bike is a full on power house."
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, 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.
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.
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 our XL test bike. Again this is another personal thing.
"The Jekyll is one of the fastest and least tiring bikes of this travel that we’ve ever ridden."
Power transfer is great on the Jekyll and diving into the first breakers the bike holds shape well. 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 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. It’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint the reasons for this. Maybe the flex/stiffness of the chassis and wheels is right on the sweet spot?
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: £2899.99 - £5999.99