Cannondale Jekyll 29-1
Action Photos by Trevor Lyden
Definitely more Hyde than Jekyll, Cannondale’s newest iteration of their flagship enduro machine has been graciously updated for the modern trail rider. Cannondale has been at the forefront of shape shifting technology for many years, and the latest version continues to employ a bar mounted lever that will allow you to flip from between “Hustle and Flow” modes to give you the most bang for your buck. Depending on whether you’re channeling your inner Jekyll or Hyde, the new Cannondale Jekyll offers on the fly adjustability from 120- to 150mm of travel to get you up or down the trail like a mad man.
Cannondale’s linkage driven suspension design was created to keep the bike active under braking, while retaining the lateral stiffness, strength and reliability of a single pivot. By flipping the bar-mounted switch to Hustle mode, you can reduce the bike’s travel and air volume of the Fox Factory Gemini shock to 120mm. This makes the bike a very impressive climber for the category. Once at your summit, simply click the switch again to activate Flow mode and unleash the full 150mm of travel. Working in unison with the rear end is a 42mm offset Fox Factory Float 36 fork with 150mm of travel.
The BallisTec carbon front triangle and SmartForm C1 alloy swingarm give the bike a smooth and refined look while also offering consumers a sturdy and reliable frame. Something unique about the Cannondale Jekyll is their offset rear axle. Just six millimeters is all it takes to maximize chainline for modern 12-speed cassettes while also giving improved wheel stiffness thanks to evening out spoke angles on both sides of the rear wheel. We also liked Cannondale’s downtube protector however it didn’t hold up as well as we’d hoped. You can see in the photos how it’s beginning to separate from the frame a bit.
Jekyll geometry is inline with most other 150mm 29ers without going over the top, like Specialized’s Stumpy Evo. A 65-degree head tube angle balance steep terrain confidence with climbing agility, although we may have felt a bit more stable at 64.5 degrees. Cannondale gives the Jekyll 29 short, 442mm chainstays a front center of 832mm (Size L) and a wheelbase of 1,273mm. Combined with a 75-degree seat tube angle and 355mm bottom bracket height, the Jekyll is smack in the middle of the spectrum of a do-it-all bike for 85% of consumers.
The build on our Jekyll 29-1comes at a price $6,850 which isn’t exactly cheap, but it comes with a SRAM X01-Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Code RSC brakes, 200/180mm Centerline rotors and Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK3 wheels – components that are certainly well-respected at the trailhead.
The Jekyll 29er definitely sits a bit higher in the travel than most bikes in the category and was somewhat of a challenge to get the suspension set up in the beginning. As we put the Jekyll through several different tests from riding square edged lava rock here in Central Oregon to flowy single track and Silver Mountain Bike Park, we began to learn the bike and what kind of settings it liked best.
After experimenting with the suspension a bit, we found the ideal setups for typical riding scenarios. When ripping bike parks or aggressive downhill terrain we were most comfortable with a bit more sag, around 35%. If we were headed out on a less aggressive trail ride, 28-30% sag offered a more efficient and playful ride.
The Cannondale’s geometry would have you believe that this bike is very similar to many of the other bikes in its class but in reality it is far from the same. The high BB and lower front end are amazing when it comes steep technical climbs and all-around trail riding. However, the low front end will pull you forward on steep descents and require some strength and a lot of confidence to let it rip at high speeds. The Jekyll can feel a bit squirrely depending on your riding style. As long as you understand the unique balance characteristics of the bike the Cannondale Jekyll can be seriously fun and has been one of our favorite bikes of 2019. It is a far cry from the modern crop of trail rigs with DH-bike geometry now on the market, but the reality is, this bike is probably going to offer the most fun and balanced ride for a lot more riders on a lot more terrain!
It seems many of us are looking for that one bike to do everything equally well. It’s a huge demand to want a bike that descends like a DH bike but can jump like a slopestyle rig and still climb like a spider monkey. Cannondale has tossed their hat in the quiver-killer ring with the Jekyll 29 and we have to admit they’re pretty dang close!
The more we rode the Jekyll, the more Hyde came out to play.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Cannondale developed the latest version of the Jekyll to crush the most demanding EWS tracks across the globe. While we certainly don’t have the skills to tackle the terrain their professional athletes do, it’s apparent that the bike is beyond capable on a variety of terrain. We believe that for the majority of riders out there, the new Jekyll could be the one bike quiver-killer. The Hustle and Flow modes on the Jekyll allow you to ride several types of trail with ease. If you make some fairly minor adjustments to suspension and tire choice you could be racing your local XC event one day and shredding the bike park the next. We would have loved a half-degree slacker head tube angle to give it a bit more stability at high speeds, but realize that same head tube angle is why we liked it so much on lower grade trails and climbing up insanely technical climbs.
In our opinion, if you’re a beginner to expert level rider that loves to play around, ride techy terrain and generally, enjoys mountain biking, this bike is most definitely a must ride! If you live for high speeds and steep chutes, it may not be ideal for you, however we realize this is an incredibly small minority of riders and respect that Cannondale has delivered a product for the majority. Well done.
Weight: 30.29 lbs
Frame: Cannondale BallisTech Front Triangle, SmartForm C1 Alloy Swingarm
Fork: Fox Float Factory 36 150mm, FIT Grip2 Damper, 42mm offset
Rear Shock: Fox Float Factory DPX2 EVOL w/ Gemini dual mode air spring system
(Flow Mode – 150mm / Hustle Mode – 120mm)
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC, 200/180mm Centerline rotors
Handlebar: Cannondale C1 Riser, Carbon; 780mm
Headset: Generic Integrated
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Elite
Seatpost: Fox Transfer; 150mm
Shifter: SRAM X01 Eagle, 12s
Stem: Cannondale C1; 35mm
Rims: Stan’s NoTubes Flow MK3
Hubs: SRAM 900
Front Tire: Maxxis Minion DHF 29 x 2.5″ WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis DHR II 29 x 2.4″ WT
Bottom Bracket: Cannondale Alloy PressFit30
Cassette: SRAM XG-1295, X01 Eagle, 10-50, 12-speed
Cranks: Truvativ Stylo 7K, 30T, Ai Custom
Derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle
Short Chain Stays
Truly Well Rounded
Chainstay Protector too Short
Water Bottle Cage Drops Bottles
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