Cannondale Jekyll Carbon Team review

Does 650b revamp equal personality change?

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £5,299.00 RRP

Our review

Fast and flighty, the Jekyll is a born racer, but the proprietary suspension doesn’t live up to the high price tag
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In the hands of Jérôme Clémentz, the 26in wheeled Jekyll was the fastest enduro bike around, claiming him the inaugural World Series title in 2013. Since then it’s gained 650b wheels, slacker/longer geometry and more travel for 2015, but how does that add up on the trail?

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Frame and equipment: top notch selection

The range topping Jekyll 27.5 Carbon Team benefits from all of Cannondale’s composite knowledge, with everything down to the shock rocker made from carbon. The 142x12mm back end, 1.5in head tube and PressFit 30 BB shell aid rigidity, and travel is now 160mm (6.3in) all round. The head angle has been slackened to 67 degrees, extending the distance from BB to front axle and delivering greater high-speed stability. A steeper seat angle means the effective top tube length is just 4mm longer and a 50mm stem helps keep the reach similar, though the wheelbase grows by 49mm on the medium size.

The single sided Lefty fork is a Cannondale staple. This air sprung SuperMax model has carbon uppers, a new damper with increased oil flow and a 50mm offset to add stability. It’s extremely stiff and weighs an impressive (claimed) 1,850g. There’s an external rebound dial plus a button to stiffen it up for climbing, but disappointingly it lacks compression adjustment.

The new Lefty is light and stiff, but the factory-set compression won’t suit all
The new lefty is light and stiff, but the factory-set compression won’t suit all:
Press Material

The new Lefty is light and stiff, but the factory-set compression won’t suit all

The Fox DYAD RT2 shock offers on-the-fly travel and geometry adjustment – the ‘elevate’ mode reduces travel to 95mm (3.7in), makes the bike sit higher in its stroke and steepens the head angle – and has been retuned to give more support in the mid stroke. It requires a special pump, and fine tuning can be difficult.

The rest of the kit is top notch. The single-ring SRAM XX1 drivetrain gives flawless shifting paired with stiff Cannondale Hollowgram cranks, the Magura MT6 brakes lack feel but do a good job of hauling the bike up, and tubeless ready WTB rims are paired with grippy Schwalbe Hans Dampf rubber.

Ride and handling: flighty nature keeps you on your toes

The Jekyll’s racing heritage is obvious, with a nimble, fast and flighty feel plus near instant acceleration. If you’re used to enduro bikes that plough through rough terrain then it’s a bit of a surprise how much input and work is needed to keep it on line – something caused in part by the low overall weight but also by the relatively high bottom bracket. The DYAD shock also felt like it got bogged down in rougher sections, even though we were running minimal rebound damping.

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The reduced travel mode made the climbs easier, but the remote lever on the handlebar is small and hard to locate for quick mid-run adjustment. The Lefty is amazingly stiff, matching the taut frame, but we’d rather have the RockShox Pike RCT3 found on the significantly cheaper, alloy Jekyll 27.5 3 for its overall damping smoothness and support.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Jekyll Carbon Team (14)
Brand Cannondale

Brakes Magura MT6
Rims WTB Team Issue i23 TCS
Year 2014
Weight (kg) 11.8
Stem FSA Gravity Light, 50mm
Shifters SRAM XX1 w/ X01
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth
Saddle WTB Silverado Team Volt
Rear Tyre Schwalbe Hans Dampf TrailStar 27.5x2.35in
Cranks Cannondale Hollowgram SI
Rear Shock Fox DYAD RT2
Rear Hub DT Swiss 350
Handlebar Cannondale C1, 740mm
Front Tyre Schwalbe Hans Dampf TrailStar 27.5x2.35in
Front Hub Cannondale Lefty SM
Frame Material Ballistec Hi-Mod carbon fi bre, 95/160mm (3.7/6.3in) travel
Fork Cannondale Lefty SuperMax Carbon PBR, 160mm (6.3in) travel
Weight (lb) 26