With its high pivot rear suspension and “Guidler”, a unique shock position and size-specific geometry and kinematics, the Jekyll 2022 is without a doubt one of the most eccentric-looking bikes in our “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” group test. But do all these special features offer an advantage on the trail? To find out, we pitted Cannondale’s 29” oddball against the hottest enduro bikes of the year.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

Cannondale Jekyll 1 | 170/165 mm (f/r)
15.64 kg in size L | € 6,499 | Manufacturer’s website

The new Cannondale Jekyll 1 is a real head turner, not just because of its flip-flop paint finish and unique shock position. Just as unique is the high pivot Horst Link suspension, which relies on an additional idler pulley on the main pivot to counteract the high levels of pedal kickback typical of this system. Cannondale has dubbed the Jekyll’s idler, the “Guidler”, it being the lovechild of a chain guide and idler. The shock of the € 6,499 Jekyll sits inside the downtube in Cannondale’s proprietary “Gravity Cavity”, which is supposed to ensure a low centre of gravity. A small plastic cover protects the shock from mud and debris. Unfortunately, this design has a fundamental flaw: it makes it extremely hard to access the shock for initial setup and further maintenance. In fact, no other bike gave us as hard a time in this regard. Even just to reach the high-speed rebound dial you have to unbolt the plastic cover. Moreover, the space between the mudguard and frame functions as the perfect point for mud and debris to collect. A small mudguard at the back protects the main pivot from dirt while a generously-sized seat and chainstay protector reduces chainslap and shields the carbon frame from stray rocks. In addition, protective frame tape prevents your shoes from rubbing away at the paint. The frame will fit a water bottle but doesn’t have a storage compartment or a tool strap mount. Unfortunately, the Cannondale doesn’t use a UDH mech-hanger either, which makes it mandatory to keep a spare with you all the time, especially when travelling.

The spec of the Cannondale Jekyll 1 2022

Like most bikes in our “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” group test, the new Cannondale Jekyll 1 comes equipped with bling FOX Factory suspension. This consists of a 38 fork with GRIP2 damper and FLOAT X2 shock, controlling 170/165 mm travel respectively. Our size L test bike hits the scales at 15.6 kg. A robust and reliable 12–speed SRAM GX drivetrain ensures excellent shifting performance while four-piston SRAM Code RSC brakes with a huge 220 mm rotor at the front and big 200 mm disc at the rear provide powerful and reliable deceleration. Not as capable is the WTB KOM Trail i30 alloy wheelset, which struggles to keep up with the boisterous character of the Jekyll, forcing us to retighten spokes after just a few laps into the test. In a nutshell, the wheels aren’t suited to the intended use of the Jekyll and, on top of that, are paired with MAXXIS tires with the puncture-prone EXO+ casing. Cannondale combine a 2.5” ASSEGAI at the front and 2.4” Minion DHR2 at the rear, both with the harder MaxxTerra rubber compound. Instead, we recommend upgrading to tires with a more robust casing i.e. DoubleDown as well as a softer rubber compound, at least at the front. For the cockpit and dropper post, Cannondale rely on their in-house components. The DownLow dropper on our test bike has a meagre 150 mm travel, but the production bike will be delivered with a more reasonable 175 mm version. However, the dropper remote has a spongy actuation feel, lots of play and very sharp edges. That being said, Cannondale’s 1 riser bar offers excellent vertical compliance and filters out bumps effectively.

To counteract the high levels of pedal kickback typical of high pivot suspension designs, Cannondale make use of an idler pulley. Cannondale combine this with a chain guide and call it the Guidler.
Small and efficient
A small mudguard at the back protects the main pivot bearings from dirt and grit.
Too short
The dropper post on our Jekyll has a meagre 150 mm travel. That’s far too little for a bike in size L. Not to worry though, the dropper on the production bike has 175 mm travel.

Cannondale Jekyll 1

€ 6,499


Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 165 mm
Seatpost Cannondale DownLow 150 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE RSC 220/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 1x12
Stem FSA GRID 35 mm
Handlebar Cannondale 1 Riser 780 mm
Wheelset WTB KOM Trail i30 29
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI/Minion 2.5/2.4

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 15.64 kg

The dropper remote feels spongy and offers poor ergonomics. On top of that, it has very sharp edges.
SRAM Code RSC four piston brakes with a massive 220 mm rotor at the front provide powerful and reliable deceleration.
The WTB aluminium wheelset doesn’t suit the intended use of the Jekyll. During our test, we had to retighten the spokes after just a few laps.

The geometry of the Cannondale Jekyll with high pivot rear suspension

The high pivot rear suspension of the Cannondale is quite unique and works in a different way than other suspension designs. Upon impact with an obstacle, the high pivot point results in a more rearward axle path, meaning that the chainstay length increases or decreases as the suspension compresses or extends. Additionally, Cannondale have adapted the chainstay length and rear suspension kinematics to suit each frame size to provide consistent handling across all sizes. The bike is available in four sizes from S to XL, and all the sizes have one thing in common: they’re very short. This is meant to underscore the racing character of the Jekyll. For example, our size L test bike combines a short 475 mm reach and high 643 mm stack height, which should inspire tons of confidence and enable quick change of direction, at least on paper.

The spec of the Cannondale Jekyll 1 leaves much to be desired and requires some upgrades to keep up with the hardships of enduro riding.

Left, right, up, down
The high front and the short frame enable quick direction changes.
Keep it low
With its plush suspension, the Jekyll prefers to keep its wheels on the trail.
Size S M L XL
Seat tube 390 mm 410 mm 445 mm 500 mm
Top tube 569 mm 608 mm 623 mm 660 mm
Head tube 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm
Head angle 64.0° 64.0° 64.0° 64.0°
Seat angle 77.5° 77.5° 77.5° 77.5°
Chainstays 430 mm 435 mm 442 mm 450 mm
BB Drop 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1,193 mm 1,227 mm 1,264 mm 1,311 mm
Reach 425 mm 450 mm 475 mm 510 mm
Stack 625 mm 634 mm 643 mm 652 mm
Helmet Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS | Glasses 100% S3 | Jersey ION Scrub Amp
Shorts ION Scrub Amp | Kneepad AMPLIFI MKX 2
Shoes Five Ten Kestrel Pro Boa | Socks Stance

A high pivot for high speeds – The Cannondale Jekyll 1 on the trail

On flat trails, the short top tube and high front ensure a compact but very comfortable pedalling position. However, uphill the shock sinks deep into its travel, placing you far back over the rear wheel and forcing you to actively load the front wheel to keep it tracking the ground. A little tip: push the saddle all the way forward! The active suspension generates plenty of traction on technical climbs but also exhibits a significant amount of pedal bob, which costs the Jekyll climbing efficiency, making it the worst climber in our ‘Best Enduro Bike of 2022’ group test together with the Nukeproof Giga. Like the other high pivot bike in our test, the GT Force, the idler pulley of the Jekyll makes a loud grinding noise when pedalling.

Above all, the Cannondale Jekyll 1 impresses with its intuitive handling and excellent composure at high speeds.

Safety first
Even on on steep and fast trails, the high front inspires confidence.

Downhill, the Cannondale’s plush high pivot rear suspension delivers impressive performance, ensuring a smooth ride, especially at high speeds and with big hits. Here it keeps up with the best bikes in our group test, the Orbea Rallon and Simplon Rapcon, ploughing through anything that gets in its way and shrugging off harsh bottom-outs without losing its composure. While the Jekyll sits on the plush end of the suspension spectrum, it still offers enough support to play with the trail features and pop off ledges.

Tuning tips: tires with more robust casing i.e. MAXXIS DoubleDown | different dropper remote

As the suspension compresses, the rearward axle path causes the wheelbase to increase in length. Together with the short frame, this ensures plenty of weight on the front wheel. As a result, the Jekyll feels composed and generates plenty of traction in open corners and wide berms. Even along narrow trail sections, the Cannondale is playful and easy to ride, partocularly in comparison to the GT Force, which is also based on a high pivot design. Additionally, the weight is evenly distributed between the front and rear wheel, ensuring intuitive and predictable handling. Despite the short reach, the Jekyll takes top honours in the race-bike category, delivering a smooth ride and instilling huge amounts of confidence in all situations. Even after a long day in the saddle or an exhausting shredding session, it remains easy and intuitive to ride.

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










With its high pivot suspension and integrated shock, the Cannondale Jekyll 1 is the oddball in our “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” group test. The size-specific geometry and kinematics ensure good balance and the plush yet efficient rear suspension delivers an impressive performance on the trail. As far as the frame details, spec and climbing performance go, Cannondale still have some work to do.


  • intuitive handling
  • suspension performance


  • background noise and climbing efficiency
  • shock is hard to access
  • dirt accumulates between the down tube and plastic cover
  • spec needs upgrades

You can find out more about at cannondale.com

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike of 2022 – 11 models in review

All bikes in test: Cannondale Jekyll 1 | Canyon Torque CF 8 (Click for review) | GT Force Carbon PRO LE (Click for review) | Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory (Click for review) | Orbea Rallon M-Team (Click for review) | Pivot Firebird Pro XT/XTR – Air (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Altitude C90 Rally Edition (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS (Click for review) | SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Kenevo SL (Click for review) | YT CAPRA UNCAGED 6 (Click for review)

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!