If you are looking at the Cannondale Jekyll as your next mountain bike, chances are your already an expert mountain biker. Normally our bike reviews cover beginner information, but that won’t be the cast with this Jekyll review. As an expect mountain biker you probably appreciate proper maintenance on these high end machines, too. I apologize in advance for the dirty bike pictures.
This enduro mountain bike is made form carbon and comes loaded with features most mountain bikers only dream of. The Jekyll has its own unique look and style so it is quickly recognized at every bike park you visit. The bike climbs so well I take it out with my wife on our gravel biking rides. Anybody interested in the Jekyll will care less about climbing ability and more about how the features improve those ‘full send’ moments going down a mountain.
Cannondale Jekyll: The Great Features
SRAM XO Eagle components are every bit as good as the hype behind them. I’ve ridden and owned a lot of really nice bikes, but nothing compares to SRAM Eagle. I don’t know how long I will keep the Jekyll in our fleet, but I do know whatever I replace it with some day will have the Eagle components. They are professional level and worth every penny. The cassette is machined from aluminum block. This reduces weight dramatically compared to the other SRAM groupsets. You get shifting that is as smooth as butter when descending and climbing.
The other surprisingly nice feature on Cannondale’s Jekyll is the FOX Float Performance Elite DPX2 EVOL, Gemini dual mode air spring system. There was a shifter to adjust the rear shock. It came mounted on top of the handlebars. Unfortunately, it was broken during my first accident. It hasn’t been an issue since I don’t typically make constant adjustments to the rear shock, and reaching down next to my leg is almost just as easy.
It is worth noting you should check the specs for the specific Jekyll model you are looking for. Mine is a 29 2 which is now discontinued by Cannondale. According to the Cannondale Website only the 29 4 will be in their current mountain bike lineup. It comes at a much lower price point, but the specs show a slightly lower grade of components.
Jekyll 29 2: Areas Needing Improvement
Saddles, grips and pedals are all personal preference, and my preference was to replace them. It would be nice if spending this much on a bike meant those items didn’t need to be replaced, especially a bike with such a specialized use. Preferences probably don’t vary that much for serious riders spending $4K or more on an enduro bike. At least not like they would amongst entry level mountain bikers.
One other area I really dislike about this bike is the way the internal cable routing is handled up front. The cables enter the frame in the middle of the headtube. It makes for a messy look from the front. I prefer the cables enter a little further back. When entering at the top tube it cleans up the excess mess of cables on the front end. This is not a problem that impacts the performance of the bike. However, spending thousands of dollars on a bike should mean aesthetic issues like this have been addressed.
Should You Buy The Cannondale Jekyll 29er?
If I am buying another mountain bike, I probably wouldn’t buy the Cannondale Jekyll 29 2 again. The high price tag on this bike can easily be justified by the carbon frame, SRAM Eagle drivetrain and Fox 36 front fork. That being said, I think there are a lot of really nice mountain bikes out there with the same components. As trivial and petty as it might seem, it comes down to Cannondale’s color options. The black and white combo looks great on vehicles, but I don’t love it for my mountain bike.
I really enjoy the color schemes that bike manufacturers like Trek, Specialized, Canyon and Pivot all put out. Mechanically the Jekyll is amazing an amazing enduro bike. It will fly down the mountain, and is a more than capable climber when going back up. All while allowing you to sit back and ride comfortably in full control thanks to the slack geometry.
It also goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, this is not a bike I would recommend for beginner mountain bikers. It feels like a tank tearing down the mountain. The Jekyll will give the inexperienced rider more confidence than they should have. To avoid injury, I recommend beginning mountain bikers look at the Co-op DRT 1.1 or even the Trek Marlin 6 for their first ride.