Shredding, jumping and railing berms. Powering, flying and chasing seconds. The new Cannondale Jekyll wants to claim the best of both worlds, claiming to be a trail and racing bike at once. But can the bike personify both characters, without showing any sort of weakness in either of the two?

Opinions are split over on the Jekyll-and-Hyde-personality, so they are over the Cannondale Jekyll. An experimental building kit or a genius enduro-bike? Please welcome the Marmite bike. Love it or hate it. It was clear from the beginning what the new Jekyll wants to impersonate: a border crosser with both reliable smoothness for wild races, and playful agility for flowy trails.

Cannondale Jekyll 1 | 170 mm / 165 – 135 mm (front / rear) | € 7,499

After two years in the making the Cannondale Jekyll shows its new face, with a new geometry and a cluster of elaborate technology. More than ever this Cannondale wants to show us what it’s made of. A new rear-end concept, a newly developed FOX suspension system, internal cable routing and a bottle cage sitting right above the bottom bracket. It looks like the Jekyll has had the right sort of treatment.

The frame of the Cannondale Jekyll in detail

For the new season Cannondale gifted the Jekyll with a new beefy frame. The tubing looks slightly oversized and even the chainstays look chunkier than some rider’s thighbones. This is supposed to increase stiffness in the rear end. But in order to make the added stiffness compatible with wider rubber, Cannondale had to integrate their newly developed Asymmetric Integration [AI] system. With the AI the chain ring sits 6 mm to the right, creating some extra room. Although the crank’s Q-factor remains unchanged, the chain-line is also moving to the right by 6mm, in consequence of its new position. That’s why Cannondale came up with the idea of building an asymmetric rear triangle, with the added perk of being able to use symmetric wheels. These are way stiffer because of equally long spokes, and the hub runs centred to the seat tube. Imperative for the Asymmetric-Integration-System are the proprietary Hologram Carbon wheels and special cranks, which are available from both Cannondale and SRAM.

Water-reservoir deniers and “just a quick one”-riders will be glad to hear about a couple of small holes in the seat tube, just above the bottom bracket. The entire frame design was developed around the idea of fixing a medium sized bottle at the lowest possible point of the bike.

Carbon, carbon, carbon and more, err… carbon: finding non-carbon frame parts on the Jekyll is pretty much fighting a losing battle. From rocker links to the rear triangle, through the downtube guard and obviously the main frame, everything is made of carbon– racy indeed!

All cables without any exception run inside the frame and even the shortest of cables, the one controlling the new Gemini suspension, hides in the head tube and reappears just before the suspension. With an eye to the future Cannondale fitted the Jekyll with a Shimano Di2-battery pack-housing on the joint between head-tube and top tube.

The Gemini-Project

Exactly as it was the case for the NASA Gemini-Project, the Gemini FOX-suspension was developed out of mere necessity. The previous Cannondale Pull-Shock would never have delivered the sort of performance that was required, therefore something new was needed. In collaboration with FOX, the new Cannondale Jekyll and the revised Trigger proudly present their new suspension technology. The key feature is a flip switch that can either combine or separate two different air chambers. That means we can choose between 130 mm travel in the Hustle-Mode and a plush 165 mm in Flow-Mode. Both modes are downhill-oriented and are supposed to make the bike adaptable to any sort of downhill condition. Switching modes between Hustle and Flow is quick and easy, and it’s done via a handlebar remote. For serious climbing Cannondale recommends FOX’s own pressure charts for the suspension system. The already very progressive suspension can be tuned and made even more progressive with the addition of special tokens. Currently this sort of tuning can only be performed by a qualified workshop.

Cannondale Jekyll 1 specs

On all models a pair of FOX 36 stanchions hold the front wheel firmly in place. The FOX FACTORY 36 170 mm fork/ FOX FACTORY FLOAT X Gemini-rear suspension- combo worked incredibly well on our top-end test model, ironing its way through all sorts of bumps and bops. Other reason for added happiness on our side were the wide rims, which are to be found on all models. Even though the SRAM Guide RSC’s deliver their well-known reliable braking force, keeping a consistent biting point also on long descents, we would have loved to see the Jekyll 1 specked with a snappier set of stoppers. The drivetrain also carries a SRAM logo and comes in a delicious XX1 Eagle-flavour.

Fork: FOX FACTORY FLOAT 36 170 mm
Rear shock: FOX FACTORY FLOAT X 165 mm / 130 mm
Drivetrain: SRAM Eagle XX1
Cranks: TRUVATIV Descendant Carbon Ai
Brakes: SRAM Guide RSC
Seatpost: RaceFace Turbine
Stem: Cannondale C1 35 mm
Handlebar: Cannondale C1 Carbon 780 mm
Wheels: Cannondale HollowGram 27,5″ / 30 mm
Tires: MAXXIS Minion DHF / DHR II
Price: € 7,499

The geometry of the Cannondale Jekyll

The “long top, short back” style-geometry is well-known and proven, and it can be found on pretty much every modern enduro or trail bike. With the Jekyll, Cannondale offers a textbook example of this sort of geometry. The super short 420 mm chainstays confer the bike a nimble handling. The long frame and slack head angle add a sense of smoothness and composure in faster sections, an incentive to ride harder. Uphill, the steep seat angle (75 °) provide a comfortable, upright ride.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube [B] 400 mm 430 mm 460 mm 520 mm
Top tube [A] 584 mm 609 mm 634 mm 662 mm
Head tube 102 mm 115 mm 127 mm 140 mm
Head angle [F] 65 ° 65 ° 65 ° 65 °
Seat angle [E] 75 ° 75 ° 75 ° 75 °
Chainstay [C] 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm
BB Height 349 mm 349 mm 349 mm 349 mm
Wheelbase [D] 1160 mm 1187 mm 1214 mm 1244 mm
Reach [G] 425 mm 447 mm 469 mm 494 mm
Stack [H] 592 mm 604 mm 615 mm 626 mm

PS: Readers' Survey 2017 - Give feedback, win awesome prizes: We're giving away an exclusive Trek Slash 2018 in top spec! Click here to take part now!