Preview: Cannondale Jekyll 3 27.5

A quick look at Cannondale's split-personality all-mountain bike

CannondaleJekyll

CANNONDALE JEKYLL 3 27.5 | $3900 | CANNONDALE.COM

OverMountain, all mountain, enduro…it really doesn’t matter what you call a lightweight, bike that dominates descents. All you need to know is that Cannondale’s Jekyll has been a force to be reckoned with in this niche since 2011. When this iteration of the Jekyll launched, it was a novelty—two bikes in one. Flick the handlebar-mounted remote and the Jekyll went from 150-millimeters of travel to a much firmer 90-millimeters. This was not a new concept, per se—Scott had tread this path for years with their proprietary Equalizer shocks—but with the help of the original Equalizer designer (Peter Denk), Cannondale created a light-yet-stout machine with the Fox-built DYAD RT2 pull shock at its heart.

The Fox-built DYAD shock enables you to run the bike in either 6.3-inch "Flow" mode or 3.7-inch "Elevate" mode with the flick of a switch. While the DYAD is an intimidating-looking shock, it's proven reliable in its four years of production–not something we would have necessarily predicted when we first heard that the Jekyll would sport a pull-shock. Cannondale did their homework with this piece of technology.
The Fox-built DYAD shock enables you to run the bike in 6.3-inch “Flow” mode and 3.7-inch “Elevate” mode with the flick of a switch. While the DYAD is an intimidating-looking shock, it’s proven reliable in its four years of production–not something we would have necessarily predicted when we first heard that the Jekyll would sport a pull-shock. Cannondale did their homework with this piece of technology.

For 2015, the Jekyll line, which includes four complete builds and a carbon frame-only option, received several updates. The new Jekyll now boasts 650b wheels and a bit more travel (160 millimeters/6.3 inches of rear suspension in “Flow” mode and 95 millimeters/3.7 inches in “Elevate” mode). Cannondale also updated the geometry, lengthening the top tube by a hair (4 millimeters) and slackening the headtube from 68 to 67 degrees. The soul of the Jekyll, that giant DYAD RT2 rear shock, also gets the makeover treatment with a new “plusher” compression damping tune and an extended range of rebound adjustment.

Those are the broad brushstrokes. The reality is that a lot of people have let the Jekyll pass beneath their radar all these years because they assumed this much bike must be beyond their means. While 2015’s top-tier carbon Jekyll Team model retails for $7,580, there have always been much more affordable versions in the offering. This complete bike, for instance—the aluminum-framed 2015 Jekyll 3—sells for $3,900. If that’s still too rich for your blood, the base-level Jekyll 4 sells for a very reasonable $3,250.

One of the things that you truly notice with the Jekyll is that there's damn little flex in the chassis. The 15-millimeter thru-axle pivots go a long ways towards weeding out wiggly behavior.
One of the things that you truly notice with the Jekyll is that there’s damn little flex in the chassis. The 15-millimeter thru-axle pivots go a long ways towards weeding out wiggly behavior.

What do you get for that much money? A fair bit: Cannondale specced the excellent RockShox Pike RCT3 up front. The higher-end Carbon-framed Jekylls ship with Cannondale’s Lefty SuperMax fork, but honestly, I prefer the Pike. The Lefty is crazy stout—much like the rest of the Jekyll frame—but I personally prefer the Pike’s actual stroke.

As for bringing this thing to a stop, you’ll be squeezing a set of Magura MT2 brakes. The drivetrain is a SRAM dance party: X7 shifters and front derailleur, X9 rear derailleur and a 36/22 SRAM crankset. As a nice bonus, Cannondale equipped the Jekyll 3 with an MRP 2x guide. For hoops, you’re looking at WTB STi23 rims mated to SRAM X9 hubs. Finally, the bike also comes with an X-Fusion HiLo dropper post.

The top-tier Jekyll comes with a single-ring drivetrain. The rest of the Jekyll's, however, get a 36/22 double-ring crankset. I'm a fan of 1X, but at this point in the winter season, you won't find me complaining about that granny. The MRP 2X chain guide is just icing on the cake.
The top-tier Jekyll comes with a single-ring drivetrain. The rest of the Jekyll’s, however, get a 36/22 double-ring crankset. I’m a fan of 1X, but at this point in the winter season, you won’t find me complaining about that granny. The MRP 2X chain guide is just icing on the cake.

Those are the nuts and bolts. How does it ride? For that, you’re going to have to wait for the review in an upcoming issue of Bike, that issue will also include reviews of the Trek Slash 8, Ibis Mojo HD3 and Kona Process 153. Until then…

Read Vernon’s final review of the Cannondale Jekyll 3 27.5 here.

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