THE NEW CANNONDALE JEKYLL

HIGH PIVOT AND HIGH HOPES

Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Max Rhulen and Brian Niles
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics

SPONSORED CONTENT

It’s back! The 2022 Cannondale Jekyll made some social media waves when it was first introduced a few months ago. Its iridescent color changing paint job, Gravity Cavity cutout and downtube shock placement, and of course…high pivot Guidler pulley suspension platform had people talking. We got our Jekyll a while back and have been very excited to get it out on the trails for our latest Dissected Feature.

 As with all our Dissected Features, this is not intended to be a long-term review or test but an in-depth release feature to share product information and features as well as share our initial ride impressions from the short time we’ve spent aboard this product prior to release.

Cannondale Jekyll Dissected

During the creation of this feature, we spent quite a bit of time on Zoom calls with the crew at Cannondale Bicycles and enjoyed the education and willingness to answer our questions. Most of our calls were with Scott Vogelmann, the global director for MTB at Cannondale Bicycles. We talked about the development, testing and goals of the new Jekyll. The recent wave of high pivot enduro bikes have been getting a lot of press and love, and we wanted to see what makes the Jekyll different.

First up we wanted to get into the biggest changes, the high pivot moves with the shock relocation. Sporting 165mm of high pivot, four-bar, Horst Link suspension with a Guidler (chain guide/idler wheel), Cannondale transformed the 2022 Jekyll into a big mountain beast. When we asked Scott Vogelmann about the kinematics and tune put into the new bike, he had some interesting things to say. “It’s great to hear your feedback and that you noticed the difference compared to other bikes in the category,” Vogelmann began. “We could have tuned the bike to cater more to riders on the ragged edge, pure race speed runs and the hardest chargers out there. The reality is, we know that very few people ride like that and those that do, aren’t riding like that 100% of the time. If you make a bike designed to perform at that level, it will have tradeoffs everywhere else.” And what Scott means by that is, it will be an abusive bike that is rough, hard to hold on to and less than fun on days where you just want to ride your bike. We’d much rather have a bike we can tune up for race day and enjoy more easily on our casual weekly rides, and compared to other high pivot enduro rigs out there, it seems Cannondale have succeeded here.

Cannondale Jekyll Dissected

Speaking of tradeoffs and fun, most of us agree that while climbing can be enjoyed as a Type 2 sort of fun, downhilling is what really keeps us coming back. At least that’s how typical riders looking at a 165/170mm enduro bike think. If you don’t agree, maybe you should check out the Cannondale Scalpel…but we digress. The compromise downhill-biased riders make is that uphill performance is secondary compared to confidence, travel, and safety for the high-speed descents. Despite that willing tradeoff, we don’t want to feel like we’re pedaling in sand, so efficiency and geometry are still important to keeping the bikes somewhat capable of getting back up to the top of our next downhill.

As far as drag or efficiency loss is concerned, Cannondale did a really cool test. They welded an idler wheel on a hardtail and set the bike up with some data acquisition equipment and then sent it out for some long climbs. The beauty of testing on a hardtail meant they could simply pull the chain off the idler and wrap it around just the chainring and repeat. Plus, there was no loss of energy due to rear suspension. According to Vogelmann, “The amount of drag or rolling resistance that is created by the Guidler is lost in the noise of the data.” Essentially what we were told is that the drag or inefficiency concerns that come from the pulley wheel aren’t as big as we’d expected. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other inefficiencies we felt when compared to other long travel 29ers with lower pivots, but we’ll have to wait until we conduct our long-term review and spend more time pedaling this beast before we have a definite verdict. We will say it does feel better than the Norco and GT when it comes to pedaling however…And descending too but we’ll get to that later.

Cannondale Jekyll Dissected

AXLE PATH

Cannondale gives the Jekyll’s mid-high pivot a slightly rearward axle path for the beginning portion of the travel before moving slightly forward. Something we’re a fan of compared to higher, high pivot bikes. Rearward axle path is a potential negative, we’re personally not huge fans, and Cannondale was aware that it could polarize some riders and terrain. This is another reason they chose a mid-high pivot to give some of the high pivot benefits without the drawbacks.

SUSPENSION CHART

Anti-squat numbers hover near the 100% mark in the granny gear but drops as the bike goes deeper into the travel. Cannondale opted for a pretty straight-line progressive leverage ratio to let a wide variety of riders and terrain get the most out of this bike.

FEATURES

Proportional Response Suspension – Going further than just using size-specific chainstays, the new Cannondale Jekyll alters the design of the frame by size. It may only be a couple millimeters here and there but they combine to make a big difference, or so we’re told. We couldn’t shape-shift from 5’11 175lbs to 5’5 135lbs to verify it, but we understand the point. To work with different sized rider’s center of gravity, each size frame has its own suspension layout, leverage ratio and pivot locations.

Proportional Response Geometry – Going through all the effort of customizing suspension for different rider weights would only be a half-way commitment, so Cannondale also gives the Jekyll size-specific geometry. Numbers and proportions change with the frame size to once again optimize comfort, safety and performance for all riders no matter your height or weight.

Ai Offset Drivetrain ­– Cannondale uses Asymmetric Integration or AI to help give their bikes shorter and stiffer rear ends. By shifting the rear hub and drivetrain off to one side, Cannondale can also increase tire and mud clearance in the swingarm which is certainly important for riders in wet areas, and we’re really big fans of the increased wheel durability it yields. By offsetting the rear end, the wheel can be built with an even spoke tension on both sides, increasing stiffness and durability greatly.

Cannondale Jekyll Dissected

THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSION

We spent quite a bit of time riding other high pivot enduro bikes this summer before the Jekyll showed up and to be honest, we weren’t all that stoked. We had high hopes for the big claims from this new crop of enduro rigs and it took a bit of the wind out of our sails before the Jekyll arrived. The spectacular color changing paint and overall stance of the bike rekindled the flame a bit however, and then we got it out on the trail. While we may almost be ready to put our stake in the ground that we’re not high pivot fans, it appears the mid-high pivot bikes may just slide into our sweet spot.

Cannondale’s new Jekyll rode better than others in the class in our preliminary riding, which mostly consisted of filming and photo shoot rides. The mid-high system gives some of the benefits of a slightly rearward axle path, without the penalties of a super high pivot bike and very rearward axle path, which we haven’t been loving. The Jekyll seems like it climbs better than other similar bikes and it’s certainly a lot livelier and poppy. It also seems to avoid that slight delay that bikes with a more rearward axle path suffer from.

As with all of our Dissected features, these are not intended to be long term reviews or endorsements of a product, as we’ve not put nearly enough time or miles on the Jekyll to know just how it compares in all terrain or conditions. From our initial rides however, we can say we’re more excited to ride this bike than other high pivot enduro bikes in the test fleet. It’s not overly stiff but still corners and snaps well, pops and plays nicely but also pedals pretty well for what it is. The Gravity Cavity and shock situation could prove to be an issue in sloppy conditions but so far is seems to be doing a pretty good job clearing out. We’ll definitely keep an eye on that for our long term test and welcome suggestions or concerns you may have on this bike as potential customers, so please leave a comment down below. For now though, we’ll say that it seems Cannondale and their mid-high pivot Jekyll could be a category winner in our book.

Cannondale Jekyll Dissected
VISIT CANNONDALE’S WEBSITE TO LEARN MORE
Cannondale Jekyll Dissected

CANNONDALE JEKYLL 1

Price: $6,100

Cannondale Jekyll 1 Build

FRAMESET
Fork: Fox Float Factory 38 | 170mm
Frame: Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, Guidler idler pulley/chainguide | 165mm
Headset: Integrated Sealed Bearing | Tapered
Shock: Fox Float Factory X2

WHEELS
Hubs: (F) Formula, 15x110mm thru-axle / (R) SRAM MTH 700, 12x148mm, XD Driver
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai, 29 x 2.5″, 3C compound, EXO+
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4″, EXO+
Rims: WTB KOM Trail i30 TCS, 32h, tubeless ready
Spokes: DT Swiss Factory J -Bend

BRAKES
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC hydraulic disc
Rotors: 220/200mm CenterLine rotors

DRIVETRAIN
Bottom Bracket: SRAM DUB BSA MTB73
Chain: SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed
Crank: SRAM X1 Eagle B148 CL55, 30T
Cassette: SRAM XG-1275, GX Eagle, 10-52, 12-speed
Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX Lunar Eagle
Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed

COMPONENTS
Grips: Fabric Funguy
Handlebar: Cannondale 1 Riser, Carbon, 30mm rise, 8° sweep, 5° rise, 780mm
Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Elite, hollow cro-mo rails
Seatpost: Cannondale DownLow Dropper w/ Matchmaker lever
Seatpost Travel: 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L-XL)
Stem: FSA Grid 35, 35mm

CANNONDALE JEKYLL 2

Price: $4,500

Cannondale Jekyll 2 Build

FRAMESET
Fork: RockShox Zeb Select | 170mm
Frame: Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, Guidler idler pulley/chainguide | 165mm
Headset: Integrated Sealed Bearing | Tapered
Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance EVOL

WHEELS
Hubs: (F) Shimano MT400, 15x110mm / (R) Shimano MT410 12x148mm
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai, 29 x 2.5″, Dual compound, EXO+
Rear Tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II, 29 x 2.4″, EXO+
Rims: WTB STX i30 TCS, 32h
Spokes: Stainless steel, 14g

BRAKES
Brakes: Shimano M6120 hydraulic disc
Rotors: 203/203mm RT64 rotors

DRIVETRAIN
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Deore BSA 73
Chain: Shimano Deore M6100, 12-speed
Crank: Shimano Deore 6120, 30T, 55mm CL
Cassette: Shimano Deore M6100 10-51, 12-speed
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore M6100
Shifters: Shimano Deore M6100, 12-speed

COMPONENTS
Grips: Fabric Funguy
Handlebar: Cannondale 3 Riser, 6061 Alloy | 30mm rise, 8° sweep, 6° rise, 780mm
Saddle: Cannondale Stage 3
Seatpost: TranzX dropper
Seatpost Travel: 130mm (S), 150mm (M – XL)
Stem: Cannondale 3, 6061 Alloy

CANNONDALE JEKYLL FRAMESET

Price: $3,700

Cannondale Jekyll Frameset

FRAMESET
Frame: Carbon, Proportional Response Tuned, Guidler idler pulley/chainguide | 165mm
Headset: Integrated Sealed Bearing | Tapered
Shock: Fox Float Factory X2

Cannondale Jekyll Dissected