2021 Cannondale Jekyll 1 Bike
(discontinued)

Vital Rating:
Discontinued
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Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free standard shipping on orders of $50 or more (U.S. only).
International shipping available. Free on orders of $150 or more. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Review - Cannondale Jekyll 1
High-pivot mountain bikes are becoming commonplace but the Jekyll's performance is anything but.
Rating:
Vital Review
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To us, what makes the new Cannondale Jekyll so cool is that it seems to be the finalization of the bikes being prototyped in the 2019 UCI World Cup. With the prototypes capable of using two shocks, Cannondale has settled for just one with this frame while keeping the shock placement very similar. It is also one of the new bikes under Cannondale's new brand image and reimagination of their lineup. While the FOX DYAD pull shock and Lefty fork are no longer found on Jekyll models, the fully redesigned bike really is more capable than ever.

Highlights

  • Carbon frame
  • 29-inch wheels
  • 165mm (6.5-inches) of rear-wheel travel // 170mm (6.7-inches) fork travel
  • Four Bar suspension design
  • Tapered headtube
  • Internal cable routing
  • Internal shock placement
  • High main pivot with Idler Pulley
  • Sweet paint jobs
  • BSA 73mm threaded bottom bracket with ISCG05 mounts
  • 148mm Boost rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured weight (size XL, no pedals): 34 pounds (15.42kg)
  • MSRP $6,100 USD (tested)

Strengths

  • Rides light
  • Carries its speed well
  • Lively, nimble enduro machine
  • Adding a coil improves diversity
  • A race bike with everyday riding manners

Weaknesses

  • Stock wheels
  • Stock air shock can have it feeling skittish in loose situations
  • Shock adjustments are hard to reach

While a high pivot and idler pulley are quickly becoming more of the norm than unique, the structure of the new Jekyll is what sets it apart from most other bikes. By housing the shock within the downtube, this design ensures the weight of the shock is at the lowest center of gravity possible, with the area around the shock being dubbed the “Gravity Cavity” to further solidify this bike's intentions. It certainly looks cool and sounds cool, although accessing the high-speed rebound knob of our FOX Float X2 was less cool. Requiring a 2mm Allen to reach the knob, trailside adjustments may prove to be a hassle with either one of the FOX downhill shocks.

Geometry

Size-specific front and rear triangle dimensions achieve a consistent fit across all sizes. Changes to the kinematics are made across each of the frame sizes to create optimal suspension performance for different-sized riders. The 510mm reach on our size XL test bike was mated to a 450mm chainstay length. Moving down the sizes, as reach shrinks, so does the chainstay length for every size.

The Jekyll follows the trend of a steep seat tube angle (77.5-degrees) paired with a slack head tube angle (64-degrees), putting the rider in a comfortable pedaling position. Cannondale lists the same seat angle for all sizes of the Jekyll. Despite taller riders sometimes being left off the back with larger frames, our 6'4" tester felt the Cannondale kept it steep.

Setup

We used the Cannondale setup guide to dial in the rear shock which put us around 25% sag. We were surprised by how much breakaway force was required to initiate the rear-wheel travel. Doubly, we were surprised how much air pressure we had to drop to achieve our desired 28% sag.

After setting the sag where we like, the bike still felt unsettled on rough terrain. Luckily we had a FOX DHX2 shock on hand with the same compression, rebound, and base valve tune ID paired with a 500lb coil. Swapping the shock is one of the more intricate processes and took us around 30 mins from start to finish. Right off the bat, sag was at 28% on the dot and we used the coil shock for the remainder of the test, only swapping back to air once just to be sure. More on this later.

Aside from the suspension setup, the cockpit setup was comfortable straight away. The 30mm rise Cannondale 1 carbon bar comes at our preferred 780mm width and features an oval profile for some additional compliance. We swapped the stock grips for our usual Sensus Meaty Paws to help the bike feel like our own. The one gripe we had with the setup, which seems to be a build error (or parts shortage), was the 150mm dropper. A size XL Jekyll is normally specced with a 170mm dropper.

On The Trail

We started our test on the rocky, technical, ledgy, and loose trails of South Mountain in Phoenix, AZ. Maybe not the best fit for the high-speed intentions of the Jekyll, but a good place to get an understanding of the ride characteristics and dial-in settings. Next, we rode Mt. Lemmon in Tucson for some long, high-speed descents we are less familiar with. The trails we are less familiar with gave us great insight into how this bike performs in blind stage racing scenarios. We found the majority of the lower speed trails felt more difficult than usual with the air shock, but flat out high-speed trails felt much better. We revisited Mt Lemmon later in the test after spending some time on the coil shock and felt the bike was more well-rounded and suited all types of terrain better.

When getting on the gas, the Jekyll gets up and goes with a quickness.

Sprinting

When getting on the gas, the Jekyll gets up and goes with a quickness. The anti-squat tuned into the kinematics was very noticeable and gave us a solid platform on which to sprint. We noticed no loss of power and felt the bike was responsive to pedal input without bobbing.

Climbing

The comfortable climbing position of the Jekyll gives the rider an upright posture thanks to the 77.5-degree seat tube angle. This upright position helps keep the front wheel planted up steep bits and helps prevent the wheel from wandering at lower speeds. While the bike wasn't the fastest to pedal uphill, it didn't require much additional effort to spin. Although when things got technical, we did notice some additional effort was required to avoid pedal strikes and maintain a steady cadence. The low engagement of the rear hub also required an extra bit of effort getting up the really ledgy stuff.

Build Kit

Cannondale has taken a very similar approach as the GT Force with its build kit for the Jekyll. Our test bike represents the top offering from the big C but only comes with a SRAM GX drivetrain and very entry-level wheels. Conversely, the Jekyll 1 is outfitted with FOX Factory suspension at both ends and Maxxis EXO+ tires. At $6,100 it is a friendly enough price (compared to what often comes through) and does seem to offer slightly better value than the GT Force at $6,500 with its alloy rear triangle and fixed geometry for all sizes. For $4,500, riders can nab a Jekyll 2 with a robust Deore drivetrain and solid suspension, leaving more money for the imminent upgrade for wheels.

Fork Performance

The 170mm travel FOX Factory 38 held up great and paired perfectly for the intentions of the Jekyll. The Float EVOL air spring and Grip 2 damper made for a quick and easy setup with no hiccups along the way.

Tire Performance

The EXO+ casing Maxxis Assegai and Minion DHR2 combination offered great grip and brake traction for a variety of trails. Our tires saw conditions from gravel on top of solid rock to pine needles and roots. The surefooted feeling of the Assegai up front with the predictability and braking performance of the DHR2 helps take some of the guesswork out of unpredictable situations. The pairing made for a well-rounded combination with reasonable rolling speed and is a good fit for the intentions of the bike. We did slash a small hole in the rear tire that was sealed with sealant alone and did not cause any issues for the remainder of the test.

Wheel Performance

We felt the wheels were the weak point of the Jekyll 1 build kit. With an unbranded Formula front hub and SRAM MTH700 3 pawl rear hub laced to WTB KOM Trail i30 rims, they don’t exactly coincide with other top-of-the-line build kits. They do however save the consumer a bit of money on the total cost of the bike which is always appreciated. The wheels come with everything needed to convert to tubeless which we had no issues with. What we did have issues with was spoke tension on the rear wheel. After our fourth lap on the Jekyll, each spoke on the rear wheel required a full turn or two and the rim was far from true. While new wheels are prone to loosening up after the initial ride, wheels with little to no spoke-prep end up as loose as ours did.

Brake Performance

The SRAM Code RSC brakes offered plenty of power and modulation. Lever feel only seemed to get better throughout the duration of our test period. The addition of a 220mm rotor up front is a nice touch and helps slow things down in a hurry.

Drivetrain Performance

Our SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain with a 10-52t cassette paired to a 30t chainring performed flawlessly for the duration of our test period. We had no dropped chains or skips in the shifting. We did notice more sound from the idler pulley while climbing in lower gears which we spent most of our time in.

Noise

The Jekyll remains quiet while blasting descents thanks to the neatly tucked cable routing that leaves no room for rattling. The only cable rattle we experienced was due to the excessive length of the cables around the headtube. The high pivot with idler pulley seems to work well for keeping chain slap to a minimum paired with the full-length seatstay/chainstay protection.

The most effective changes we made to the Jekyll were the coil shock and the wheelset. With suspension setup being preference-based, we know a coil shock might not be the answer for everyone. In our experience, it made a drastic improvement in suspension performance. With the wheels, we expected something maybe a little nicer for the top-of-the-line build kit and ran into issues with the stock wheels after only a couple of rides. Upgrading the wheels to our Reserve 30|HD test wheelset made an equally substantial improvement to the ride quality. The difference in going from the SRAM MTH700 hub to an Industry Nine Hydra rear hub seemed to improve every aspect of the technical pedaling performance and even made changing gears feel quicker. These two changes helped give the bike a premium-level feeling. Additionally, we would swap to a longer dropper post on our size XL bike.

Long Term Durability

The wheels were the only major issue we see given the bike's intentions, with our rear wheel only making it through four rides, we would suggest having a replacement wheelset in mind if you are looking to race or ride bike parks frequently. Another potential issue could be the durability of the paint. Cannondale has arguably some of the best-looking paint jobs at the moment, but we did experience some chipping from rock strikes and one from shipping. We experienced no issues with the linkage coming loose or binding but maintaining it seems like it could be a bit of a headache given the ~30min shock swap time. Lastly, the Jekyll uses a Cannondale-specific derailleur hanger which is totally normal, but with it being a full redesign from the ground up, a UDH interface would be nice to see as a long-term solution.

What's The Bottom Line?

Initially, the Jekyll felt as if it had downhill bike dimensions with short travel trail bike suspension. The stock configuration with the air shock did not work well for us on the majority of rough trails we rode but seems it would work well at a bike park or on high-speed trails without much chatter. For a bike that rolls fast and gets off the ground easily, the stock configuration with an air shock is awesome. If riders want a bike that hooks up in turns really well and feels calm through rough sections at speed, swapping to a coil is the way to go. At $6,100 this is one of the more cost-effective Enduro race bikes with Factory level suspension available at a local bike shop. We think how comfortable the bike felt at speed would make this a great option for someone looking to take Enduro racing seriously without suffering the consequences of riding an overly sluggish bike every day.

Head to Cannondale.com to learn more and find a dealer.


About The Reviewer

Jonathon Simonetti - Age: 28 // Years Riding: 19 // Height: 6'4" (1.93m) // Weight: 225-pounds (102kg)

Jonny started mountain biking in 2003 after taking a trip to Northstar and discovering how much more could be ridden than on a BMX bike. He began racing at age 12 and raced for 12 years until ultimately deciding having fun on a bike was more important. After working in the industry for a few years and developing a deeper understanding of bikes inside and out, he has an affinity for pairing his riding ability with the analysis of bikes and breaking down what makes them work well. He rides for fun and finds the most enjoyment out of going fast with friends.


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Specifications

Product
Cannondale Jekyll 1 Bike
Model Year
2021
Riding Type
Enduro / All-Mountain
Freeride / Bike Park
Rider
Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
SM
MD
LG
XL
Wheel Size
29"
Frame Material
Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details
Carbon front and rear triangles, molded chainstay and seatstay protection, down tube/shock protector, integrated main pivot mudguard
Rear Travel
165mm
Rear Shock
FOX FLOAT X2 Factory, high/low-speed compression adjust, high/low-speed rebound adjust, Kashima coating, trunnion mount, 205mm x 65mm
Fork
FOX FLOAT 36 Factory 38, Kashima coating, 44mm offset
Fork Travel
170mm
Head Tube Diameter
Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
Headset
Integrated, sealed bearings
Handlebar
Cannondale 1 Riser, carbon, 780mm width, 5mm rise, 8° backsweep, 5° upsweep, 35mm clamp diameter
Stem
FSA Grid, 35mm length, 35mm bar clamp
Grips
Fabric FunGuy
Brakes
SRAM Code RSC, 4-piston, SRAM CenterLine rotors (220mm front, 200mm rear)
Brake Levers
SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain
1x
Shifters
SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
Front Derailleur
None
Rear Derailleur
SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
ISCG Tabs
ISCG05
Chainguide
Guidler idler pulley with upper slider guide
Cranks
SRAM X1 Eagle DUB
Chainrings
SRAM X1 Eagle, 30 tooth
Bottom Bracket
SRAM DUB, 73mm English/BSA threaded
Pedals
None
Chain
SRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed
Cassette
SRAM GX Eagle XG-1275, 12-speed, 10-52 tooth
Rims
WTB KOM Trail i30 TCS, 32 hole, tubeless ready
Hubs
Front: Formula, 110x15mm Boost
Rear: SRAM MTH, 148x12mm Boost, XD driver, Ai offset
Spokes
DT Swiss Factory, J-bend
Tires
Front: Maxxis Assegai, 3C, EXO+, TR, 29" x 2.5"
Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II, EXO+, TR, 29" x 2.4"
Saddle
Fabric Scoop Shallow Elite, hollow CrMo rails
Seatpost
Cannondale DownLow dropper, Matchmaker-compatible remote lever
Drop: 125mm (SM), 150mm (MD), 170mm (LG/XL)
Seatpost Diameter
31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp
Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions
148x12mm Boost, Ai offset
Max. Tire Size
 
Bottle Cage Mounts
One inside front triangle
Colors
Beetle Green
Warranty
Lifetime main frame; 5 years swingarm; 1 year paint, decals, and Cannondale components
Weight
N/A
Miscellaneous
• 4-bar high-pivot rear suspension design
• Proportional Response Suspension kinematics optimized by size
• Gravity Cavity shock compartment
• Internal cable routing
Price
$6,100.00
What do you think?
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free standard shipping on orders of $50 or more (U.S. only).
International shipping available. Free on orders of $150 or more. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
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