Cannondale Jekyll 4 - first ride £2199.99

Alloy enduro bike with X-Fusion rear shock

BikeRadar score 2.5/5

After its reincarnation in 2011, the Cannondale Jekyll has had success in enduro racing in the hands of Jérôme Clémentz. The Jekyll 4 is the cheapest model in the range – can it transform us into enduro heroes too?

Ride & handling: Great on the up, unnerving on the down

Setting up the X-Fusion shock in the car park was remarkably easy, and initial feelings from the shock were good – smooth movement into the stroke, with a good amount of ramp up towards the end of the travel.

Initially it seemed as though we were sat right on top of the Jekyll rather than ‘in’ it. Its 585mm top tube seemed shorter than it actually was, and the rise in the stem and odd-feeling bar combined to create a super high front end. When climbing though, the Jekyll shines. The shock sits neutrally in either travel setting, letting you get on with getting up the incline. 

It was when we pointed the Jekyll downhill we started feeling a little unnerved. The high front end combined with the 80mm stem, which is a little bit too long for our liking, makes finding front wheel traction harder than it should be. 

It’s a shame the front end makes the ride so unnerving. The X-Fusion rear shock is definitely a worthy competitor to the Fox DYAD units on the more expensive bikes and offers plenty of rear end traction. The ride was lively without compromising control, even when we started to push it a bit harder. 

The Sektor TK fork is a good performer, but we feel that the 1.5in head tube increases upper stiffness so much that it accentuates the actual flex through the fork legs. Although that’s only noticeable when the trail gets really rough. The steep 68.5-degree head angle doesn’t help with confidence either.

Magura’s MT2 brakes seem to be highly underpowered for any rapid riding, with sudden grabs of the lever seeming to do very little. We’d love to get back on the Jekyll, equipped with a lower stem and better feeling bar as well as some more confidence-inspiring stoppers. It’s got potential, but it hasn’t quite reached it yet. 

Frame & equipment: Smartformed chassis with good value spec

Like the Jekyll 3, the Jekyll 4 has an aluminium frame, made from Smartformed tubing. A straight, 1.5SI head tube meets the huge down and seat tube to create a stiff front end, while the BB30 press-fit bottom bracket increases pedalling efficiency. 

Syntace’s X12 142mm width rear axle helps stiffness, and a custom offset brake mount accommodates the Jekyll’s dropout. There are ISCG chainguide mounting tabs too.

The Jekyll 4 is built up with good value kit that performs well and should last. Perhaps the biggest change for the Jekyll 4 is the X-Fusion rear shock, rather than making use of the Fox DYAD technology. 

A RockShox Sektor TK fork is up front, with a straight 1.5in steerer, which limits stem choice. Magura’s MT2 brakes are on stopping duty, while a SRAM X7 setup provides 3x10 gearing. 

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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