Cannondale Bike Review (Jekyll 1)
By Robin Weaver

Cannondale Bike: Cannondale has been around for a long time and their company is still growing, creating many new designs to suit all kinds of requirements. One of the most recent creations is the Jekyll Mountain Bike, which has built upon Cannondale’s reputation for making high quality mountain bikes. This latest model certainly lives up to its billing. Read this Cannondale Jekyll 1 review to find out why this is one bike that you shouldn’t miss out on. This review will examine its performance, what it best suited for and what the price range is.

Cannondale Bike

It’s all change for the latest iteration of Cannondale’s Jekyll, a bike that’s remained largely untouched since it was revamped in 2017. The new Jekyll has been toiled over for close to three years now and sports a radically different frame to the old bike. But what exactly does all that R&D time equate to on the hill and could this be the dawning of a new era for the brand that once frequented the podium at Enduro World Series events? After covering every aspect of the frame in detail when the bike first launched, it’s now time to get the full low-down on exactly how it behaves on the trail.

The Jekyll features a frame that is made from alloy, which makes it lighter than many others. It makes it more durable, but it also means that it’s not going to be as strong as you’d like it to be. With a stiffer frame like this, you’ll have fewer worries when riding on rough terrain. It’s certainly more stable than some other models on the market.

Other parts that make up the Jekyll include a fully adjustable suspension system. This lets you fine-tune the settings to the terrain and experience the smoothest ride possible. Of course, the suspension also works with the shocks. The shock is fully adjustable as well. There is a full range of adjustments that you can make, meaning that you can adjust things according to your needs and make sure that you’re always comfortable.

Cannondale Jekyll 1 frame and suspension details

Cannondale explains the reasoning behind this is the benefit of the rearward axle path that comes with the high pivot design. This helps the rear wheel to move backwards and up out of the way of the obstacle, which should help sustain momentum, along with the bike maintaining a more constant wheelbase because both wheels cycle through their suspension travel.

The Jekyll’s rear wheel doesn’t move as far backwards as some designs though, with the rear wheel axle moving, at most, around 12mm (from full extension) when the bike is sat at around 100mm into its 165mm of travel.

Tuning the suspension

As you’ll probably be aware, high pivot suspension designs need a carefully positioned idler pulley to help mitigate pedal kickback, the biggest drawback associated with this type of system. Using an idler pulley helps to eliminate chain growth caused by the rearward axle path and, in turn, helps to prevent pedal kickback.

In simple terms, pedal kickback is caused by the distance between the chainring and cassette growing as the suspension compresses. With the chain under tension, this ‘growth’ can cause the chain to pull back on the chainring, spinning the cranks backwards and creating pedal kickback – there’s more to it than that but in brief, these are the basics.

Cannondale combines its idler pulley with a small chain guide (called the ‘Guidler’). The pulley doesn’t sit directly on the main pivot, though. It’s positioned just behind and attached directly to the mainframe in a bid to better tune the anti-squat values (how much the suspension resists pedal bob), which sit at around the 105 percent mark at sag – though. These do vary slightly across the different frame sizes (anti-squat is closer to between 110 and 115 percent when the bike is unweighted).

Creating less drag

Cannondale has done its homework and minimized drag (something commonly associated with high pivot, idler-equipped designs) and claims when it’s clean and properly maintained, it’s just 1 percent less efficient than a non-idler-equipped bike.
In theory, at least, Cannondale also says that idler wear should be roughly in line with the chainring’s.

Frame and suspension designed for every rider

Where the Jekyll (and a number of other Cannondale frames, including the Scalpel and Habit) differs from much of the competition is with its Proportional Response treatment. What this means in terms of the suspension is that as the frame size increases, the suspension layout is tweaked accordingly – different pivot locations, leverage ratios, anti-squat and anti-rise as well as axle paths.

This ensures every frame rides the same, so every rider, tall or short, should get the same ride experience. Those differing factors don’t stop there, though.

Low-slung shock placement

In a bid to keep the bike’s centre of mass as low as possible, the engineers at Cannondale decided they wanted to sink the shock as low in the bike as possible. That meant rather than bolting it on top of the down tube and right down by the bottom bracket, they instead put it inside the down tube, making their own lives very tough indeed.

The shock is enclosed inside the ‘GravityCavity’ where it’s visible from above but is protected from trail debris and muck by a plastic guard that bolts to the underside of the down tube.

Cannondale Jekyll 1 specifications

Cannondale offers two different Jekyll builds, both of which use the same frame. The pricier Jekyll 1 will set you back £6,500, while the lower-specced Jekyll 2 is £4,500. All that cash not only covers a frame that’s clearly been toiled over for years, but also a host of (mainly) top-tier kit.

A Fox Factory 38 fork up front boasts 170mm of travel and offers masses of external adjustment (high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping). It’s also easy to tweak the spring volume with the spacers that Cannondale provides. This is matched with a Factory X2 rear shock with the same external adjustments.

SRAM’s X01 Eagle drivetrain takes care of the Jeykll’s gearing needs and comes complete with the massive 10-52t cassette, which is a real blessing for those steep climbs when you’re properly fatigued.

Cannondale Bike

It’s not the full X01 Eagle drivetrain though, Cannondale has used a GX Eagle shifter and NX Eagle chain. SRAM’s top-tier Code RSC brakes have been wisely specced with 220mm front and 200mm rear rotors for ultimate stopping power. Cannondale has also made the smart move of speccing the shorter 165mm SRAM X1 Eagle cranks, which means more ground clearance and less chance of smacking pedals. Fabric supplies the saddle and grips, while Cannondale takes care of the dropper post and bar. The carbon bar is certainly worth a mention here, featuring some careful profiling to help create a more forgiving ride and, so far, I’ve been really impressed with the feel.