Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 Bike Review

This week I planned to write about the limitations of each of our hybrid bikes.  We went to the local cross country bike park to push all our bikes to their limits. Unfortunately, Christy injured herself on our first run. It cut our day short so instead of hybrid bikes we are going to talk mountain bikes. Specifically, a Cannondale Jekyll bike review. 

Christy’s bike got a flat tire on our first run at Trestle Bike Park, so I took it to the bike shop while she went down a trail named Green World onthe Cannondale Jekyll.  Like the name implies, this was a green trail. Unfortunately, while looking back to check on the kids she lost her balance.  She has three broken ribs, a broken scapula and a concussion.  We’re thankful we upgraded to full face helmets before this trip.

I can’t recommend a full face helmet enough for anybody riding on dirt and gravel trails. This is especially true on trails where you carry high speeds.  We will still wear our trail or road helmets when riding around the neighborhood, but we will be wearing full face helmets on everything else.  I already had a chance to pick mine out when taking our new bike into the bike shop for repairs.  I went with the Bell Transfer helmet because it doesn’t restrict my visibility.

So, moving on to the Cannondale Jekyll bike review.  This is a carbon framed bike and incredibly expensive. If its outside your budget, check out our recommended hardtail mountain bike under $500.

Types of Full Suspension Mountain Bikes

I’ve been looking at full suspension bikes for a while.  There are a lot of different types of full suspension mountain bikes so I had no idea where to start. When I first started biking I assumed it was hardtail and full suspension. What else was there to know? For starters, there are four categories of mountain bike.

  • Cross Country Bikes (80-120 mm)
  • Trail Bikes (120-150 mm)
  • Enduro Bikes (150-180 mm)
  • Downhill Bikes (180-220 mm)

The biggest difference between these types of bikes is the amount of travel in the suspension. 

I knew I wanted something right around 150 mm of travel both front and back, which puts me in between a trail bike and enduro bike.  I also wanted something I can grow into as my skills develop.  These bikes are not cheap. I needed something I can use for a few years without advancing my skills beyond the bike’s ability.

COVID-19 Bike Shortage

For anybody that doesn’t know, there is a major bike shortage due to Covid-19.  Supply is extremely limited in my area, so that also had a big impact on the bike I chose. 

The Cannondale Jekyll is an enduro bike. When my full suspension mountain bike search started, I wasn’t interested in Cannondale as a brand. After committing to keep an open mind, I went to three local bike shops to test ride. I sat on every full suspension mountain bike in stock. The second I got on this bike I knew it was the one.  We love our Trek bikes but I didn’t pick this bike, it picked me.

The bike shops I visited had anywhere from 3-10 bikes each that were in stock and in a frame size that should fit my height. In total I sat on 14 different bikes. When there is not a Covid-19 bike shortage I know those numbers would be double or triple. I wasn’t willing to wait until October for the 2021 bikes to come in.

Cannondale Jekyll Bike Revew

First I want to talk about some of the changes I made before leaving the bike shop. The bike doesn’t come with pedals, so I took the Crank Brothers Stamp 2 pedals off one of our other bikes.  I will probably change these to some red RaceFace pedals eventually. 

I also changed the grips to an ergonomic grip in red.  The grips are the specialized Countour XC Locking grips.  They are ergo, but still have a smaller feeling in my hand which I like a lot.  I also had the tires changed to a tubeless setup with Good Guy valve stems and Orange Seal sealant. 

Finally, adding a water bottle holder was a must have item because I do plan on using this bike on family bike rides from time to time.  We always seem to run out of water on those rides so having storage on the bike was important for me.  Plus, sometimes its nice to ride street on a mountain bike and practicing tricks makes me thirsty.  However, most of the time I prefer to be on the Trek FX 2 when riding street. 

Cannondale Jekyll 29 Review – The Good

The first thing I love about this bike is the design.  The frame design is unique and I think it looks really cool.  Even better than how it looks is how it feels when I’m on it.  Normally, I would prefer a medium frame since I am between 5′ 9″ and 5’10”, but I felt more natural and comfortable on a large frame.

There were some bikes where it was obvious a large was too big and others it felt right. The Cannondale and Specialized bikes felt better on a large, while most of the other brands felt better on a medium. (An S4 was the size on the Specialized models using that sizing method)  Frame geometry has a lot to do with that. The ONLY way to know is to get to a bike shop and sit on everything. 

Is Gemini Fox Shock Living up to the Hype?

Cannondale’s Gemini Fox shock is awesome.  Basically this allows you to have a quick adjust between two different modes with your rear suspension.  The Hustle setting allows for fast-paced responsive handling while the flow setting gives you a supple, terrain-eating ride. 

I haven’t logged enough ride time to comment on how I feel about it.  Right now it seems really cool, but it might be a bit of a gimmick.  Time will tell.  Both the front and rear shocks have 150 mm of travel so this is exactly what I was looking for in that regard.

Another awesome feature on this bike is having a dropper post.  It makes such a huge difference in my ability to transition from climbing to downhill.  There are a lot of bikes a lot cheaper than this one that have dropper posts, and you can add a dropper post to most bikes.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of riding a trail with a dropper post, its really great.  I can have the seat all the way down when flying downhill, but quickly raise it before beginning to climb.

Cannondale Jekyll 29 Specs

The drive train on this bike is a SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed. It comes with Code R hydro disc brakes.  This bike is incredibly fast and picks up a lot of speed when going downhill.  The jury is still out when it comes to the brakes. We have Shimano hydraulic disc brakes on one of our other bikes and I like them better. Maybe they will grow on me.

If you want the full list of specs, get them straight from the manufacturer which can be found here.

How Fast is the Cannondale Jekyll 29?

You cannot do a Cannondale Jekyll bike review without talking about speed. I did get an opportunity to ride this bike with one of my boys, Peyton.  We took turns racing the bikes on the Jekyll and our Trek FX 2.  We did some head to head racing and some time trial racing on both bikes. 

The tires on the Jekyll are too big and knobby to keep up with the FX 2, but as far as mountain bikes go this Jekyll is insanely fast.  It’s much faster than I am capable of handling. If we put a set of road tires on this bike it would compete with the Trek FX 2. Again, hopefully I can grow my skills to the point they match the capability of this bike.

Cannondale Jekyll 29 Problems

You also cannot write a Cannondale Jekyll bike review without talking about the problems. Some of the things I don’t like or will be changing in the near future are the pedals and seat.  Something happened to this seat when Christy had her accident. It makes a cracking noise when I am riding. 

I will definitely go with a saddle from Ergon because I love most of their saddles and grips. 

Another change I will make is adding some personal flavor.  It has a carbon fiber protection plate on the downtube, as well as on the chain stay.  I like the look of something aftermarket protecting those areas. Once I recover financially from this purchase, those are some small changes I will make.

Is the Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 Worth It?

We rode Rossignal R Duro bikes Big Sky, a downhill bike park in Montana. The Jekyll feels a lot more poppy while the Rossignal felt a little more glued to the ground.  I’m not sure poppy is a good feeling for anyone using this as a true enduro bike. ‘Poppy’ is a feeling associated with trail bikes, but its perfect for how I plan to ride.

This Cannondale Jekyll bike review is based on how I ride. We live in Colorado and have access to a wide variety of trails. If you don’t, a different bike may be a better fit. The only other bike I seriously considered was the Trek Slash 8. Its not a carbon bike, but for the savings it felt every bit as capable as the Jekyll.

The first thing most people say when riding this for the first time is, “Wow, this thing feels so powerful!” 

That is why I have decided to name my bike Tank.  I’m superstitious and hope naming this bike will get rid of the bad contributing to Christy’s accident. 

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