×
Search

2015 Cannondale Jekyll 27.5 Carbon Team (discontinued)

Views:
Average User Rating: (Excellent) Vital Rating: (Good)
Create New Tag

Need more info? View our Enduro / All-Mountain Mountain Bikes buyer's guide.

2015 Test Sessions: Cannondale Jekyll Carbon Team

Rating: Vital Review

Reviewed by Dylan Stucki and AJ Barlas // Photos by Lear Miller

After taking a win at the notoriously rough Mammoth ProGRT downhill course under Marco Osborne, the new Cannondale Jekyll is proving to be a head turner with a complete geometry revamp, updated rear shock tune, 27.5-inch wheels, more travel, and the unique carbon Lefty SuperMax PBR fork. Do the revisions add up to a better Jekyll? We hit the trails during the 2015 Vital MTB Test Sessions to find out.

Highlights

  • Carbon frame
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 95mm or 160mm (3.74 or 6.3-inches) of rear wheel travel // 160mm (6.3-inches) front travel
  • 1.5 Si head tube
  • 67-degree head angle
  • 75.1-degree (S), 74.9-degree (M), 74.8-degree (L), 74.7-degree (XL, tested) effective seat tube angle
  • 351mm (13.8-inch) measured bottom bracket height
  • 440mm

Reviewed by Dylan Stucki and AJ Barlas // Photos by Lear Miller

After taking a win at the notoriously rough Mammoth ProGRT downhill course under Marco Osborne, the new Cannondale Jekyll is proving to be a head turner with a complete geometry revamp, updated rear shock tune, 27.5-inch wheels, more travel, and the unique carbon Lefty SuperMax PBR fork. Do the revisions add up to a better Jekyll? We hit the trails during the 2015 Vital MTB Test Sessions to find out.

Highlights

  • Carbon frame
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 95mm or 160mm (3.74 or 6.3-inches) of rear wheel travel // 160mm (6.3-inches) front travel
  • 1.5 Si head tube
  • 67-degree head angle
  • 75.1-degree (S), 74.9-degree (M), 74.8-degree (L), 74.7-degree (XL, tested) effective seat tube angle
  • 351mm (13.8-inch) measured bottom bracket height
  • 440mm (17.3-inch) chainstays
  • BB30 PressFit bottom bracket
  • 142mm rear spacing with 12mm through axle
  • Measured complete weight (size XL, no pedals): 28-pounds, 3-oz (12.8kg)
  • $7,580 MSRP

The most notable update to the Jekyll for 2015 is the geometry. Heavily influenced by the first ever Enduro World Champion, Jerome Clementz, the Jekyll gets a longer top tube, slacker head angle, and steeper seat angle.

Cannondale keeps the pull-style, dual-position FOX DYAD RT2 shock for 2015. It features a Jekyll-specific tune to provide a "plusher ride" than in years past, including a redesigned piston to enable better oil flow for improved mid-to-high speed compression damping. The shock can be changed from 160mm to 95mm travel with the flip of a handlebar switch. To really envision what's going on, it's best to think of the DYAD RT2 as two separate shocks combined into one. Depending on the handlebar remote setting, the oil displaced by the center pull chamber will go into one or both sides.

In "Flow" mode the bike gets the full 160mm of travel and utilizes both positive air chambers and its own damping circuit. Doing so yields a high-volume air shock and more linear feel.

In "Elevate" mode the bike gets just 95mm of travel. This occurs because the shock is trying to pump all of the available oil into just one chamber and there simply isn't enough volume. As a result the sag point changes and the spring rate becomes more progressive. This steepens the bike's sagged head and seat tube angles, picks the bottom bracket up a bit, and provides a firmer pedaling platform.

The two modes have different compression and rebound damping characteristics. Setup is a bit more involved than a traditional air shock due to the adjustable positive and negative air springs, separate low-speed rebound adjustment for each travel setting, and the need for a special high-pressure pump. High-speed rebound and compression are factory-tuned.

Out back, the swingarm and linkage are secured with large 15mm thru-axles combined with widely spaced bearings and a collet sleeve bearing preload system. The lower pivot axle is clamped by bolts on both sides. Finally, they double-stack bearings in each rear pivot to increase resistance to twisting loads.

The new 160mm travel Lefty SuperMax 2.0 PBR fork is a surprisingly stout addition to the lineup. The unique dual-crown, single-leg inverted design features a 36mm stanchion, oversized 46mm carbon chassis, 1.5-inch steerer, Push Button platform lockout, and integrated crowns and bump stop. The hidden top portion of the stanchion is square-shaped, which prevents the two tubes from rotating relative to each other and is key to retaining torsional stiffness. The stanchion slides on four sets of needle bearings rather than bushings, reportedly reducing stiction when loaded. This design requires a proprietary hub and tapered axle. Seeking a bike that could provide stability at high speeds but also handle as well as one with steeper angles at lower speeds, they chose to kick the head angle out a degree and increase the fork’s offset measurement to 50mm from the typical 42-45mm. Internally, the fork also sees a new piston to increase oil flow for better small bump and high-speed performance. Low-speed compression damping is unchanged from the prior model.

Cable routing is mostly external, with the derailleur, brake, and dropper post housing following the underside of the downtube - a path vulnerable to rock strikes. The RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post goes into the base of the seat tube, and the rear shock cable routes internally through the side of the headtube. The cables and frame are protected around the bottom bracket area, but never say never. Additional frame guards include a rubber chainstay pad and metal guard to prevent damage from dropped chains.

Additional features include the option for a direct mount front derailleur, ISCG03 tabs for those wanting a chainguide, press fit BB30 bottom bracket, room for a water bottle in the front triangle, and ~12mm of mud clearance around the stock 2.35-inch Schwalbe rear tire.

The Jekyll 27.5 is offered in two carbon models priced at $6,170 and $7,580, as well as two aluminum models at $3,250 and $3,900. Want just the carbon frame and shock? That'll run you $3,500. We tested the top-tier Carbon Team model.

On The Trail

We rode the Jekyll in a variety of terrain in the mountains surrounding San Luis Obispo, California, ranging from wide open speed fests to loose, unpredictable chunk and rocky switchbacks.

Initial setup was relatively straightforward, but required a bit more attention than normal due to the unique suspension. The shock's setup chart is stickered on the frame and there are two sag meters which help speed things up. With suggested pressures over 300psi for most riders, you'll definitely need the supplied high-pressure pump for adjustments, so don't leave home without it. The Lefty was a bit more mysterious in terms of setup, but after a few on-the-trail adjustments to the air pressure we were good to go.

Cannondale's choice in cockpit components has improved for 2015 with a 50mm long FSA Gravity Light stem, but the 740mm wide Cannondale C1 Carbon bars are still too narrow for many riders. At 6'3" and 6'5" tall, we preferred an 800mm wide bar on our size XL test bike.

The old Jekyll had a 68-degree head tube angle and a suggested rear sag point of 40%, while the new Jekyll sits at 67-degrees and rear sag is just 30% - making the angles close to equivalent while on the trail. Even so, compared to the previous model, the added length in the top tube, chainstay, and slacker head angle combined made the Jekyll more stable on high-speed, wide open sections. We found the 484mm reach and 650mm effective top tube length very accommodating to our height, which is much less common than us tall guys would hope. The longer wheelbase helped keep the bike planted, rather than accentuating playfulness like the older model did well.

The new bike's head angle is still a degree or two steeper than many other 160mm enduro bikes, which shows Cannondale's priority towards an agile ride while still granting some composure when things get steep, though not as much as the most aggressive class leaders. Combined with the increased fork offset, the bike was very manageable as things slowed down, and we were able to maintain balance and navigate tight switchbacks well.

While handling was quick and precise, it took a little longer to inspire confidence than comparable bikes and didn’t seem to hold traction super well. The suspension felt stiff at the recommended 30% sag point with more of a race setup than an everyday comfortable feel. Small bump compliance and rear wheel traction left something to be desired, though small air pressure adjustments improved the ride slightly. The single pivot design firms up under braking, which further accentuates things. The shock provides good bottom-out support combined with a slightly progressive leverage curve.

We found that the bike rides very high in its travel, and sometimes uncomfortably so at the suggested 30% sag. Though still relatively tall, when we measured the bottom bracket height it was 13mm lower than the claimed 364mm.

The Jekyll really showed its prowess over other enduro/all-mountain bikes on smooth ascents. It quickly transformed into an XC-esque machine with both suspension climbing features engaged, which was also excellent for sprinting. The bike relies heavily on the dual-mode shock in order to achieve this, though, as the suspension design provides only a mild pedal platform with little anti-squat when used with the stock 30-tooth chainring and 1X drivetrain. Turning the shock to the 95mm Elevate setting stiffened up the rear end a lot, which, depending on the terrain, also took away from climbing traction and comfort. It performed more like a lockout than a shorter travel option, and may be less preferable than the 160mm Flow mode on rough climbs. Those seeking a more pedal-friendly ride without the use of the suspension modes will be best off with a 2X drivetrain, as smaller chainrings provide more anti-squat on this design.

Changing travel modes may seem awkward at first until you realize how to best use the adjustment lever, and after that it becomes natural and surprisingly quick to do. Pushing with your thumb puts the bike in the shorter travel mode, and depressing the silver button at the end of lever returns it to the longer travel position. It’s easiest to rock your hand over and use the side of your pointer finger to return to the longer travel mode rather than once again reaching up with your thumb.

Build Kit

Aside from the out of place spoke guard and reflectors, the Jekyll Carbon Team features a build kit that's certainly in the upper-mid to high-range with a total weight of 28.2-pounds. Components include parts from Cannondale, WTB, DT Swiss, Schwalbe, Magura, SRAM, and RockShox.

Of particular interest was the SuperMax Lefty fork. Despite having only one leg, the fork was deceptively stiff on the trail, backing up Cannondale’s claims. On rocky descents the front end sometimes felt as though it was deflecting more than normal, but you could push into it with authority and the response was impressive. The Push Button climbing platform was also easy to use. While intriguing, we ultimately found it to be a bit less adjustable, supple, and active than some of the more popular traditional forks on the market.

The WTB Team Issue i23 rims took some abuse over the course of testing, but held their own with just a little wobble in the rear. The tubeless ready rims are paired with a DT Swiss 350 rear hub and Cannondale Lefty front hub.

Schwalbe's 2.35-inch Hans Dampf Snakeskin Trailstar tires provide lots of volume and good bite at a reasonable weight, though they do slow things down a bit in the rolling department. We've found that the corner knobs also tend to tear prematurely.

Magura's MT7 brakes with dual 180mm Storm SL rotors performed quite well, though hard charging riders may want a larger rotor up front for more power. Swapping controls to accommodate riders who prefer their brakes to be setup "euro style" can be a little awkward as the lines aren't long enough due to cable routing on the Lefty. Rearranging the cable guides provided just enough slack.

The drivetrain includes Cannondale HollowGram Si cranks with a 30-tooth SRAM XX1 chainring, XX1 derailleur and cassette. Those planning to race the bike will want to consider an upper chainguide for added security. Adding some mastic tape to the inside of the seatstay will also help silence chainslap completely.

Finally, the RockShox Reverb Stealth provided a quick and easy way to adjust seat height at a moment's notice. We'd like to see Cannondale use a lever mounted under the left side of the bar rather than on top of it for the best ergonomics.

Long Term Durability

Our primary durability concern is the use of a proprietary shock. The shock developed an odd "chirp" sound in the top of the travel, and rebound at the end of the stroke slowed down significantly as time went on. After starting the setup process over from the beginning, it was only a matter of a few hours before the issues resurfaced. Enduro and all-mountain bikes take a lot of abuse and wear, and our experience with the proprietary rear suspension made us feel as though the Jekyll could possibly be in the shop more often than other bikes. Replacement shock availability is also something to consider, especially in race scenarios.

Cannondale backs the frame with an impressive lifetime warranty.

What's The Bottom Line?

The 2015 Cannondale Jekyll 27.5 Carbon Team is a nice update to the previous model, and the changes result in a more planted ride at speed with better geometry. The build kit is pretty much race-ready, too. Smooth uphill and sprinting performance stood out in the special climbing mode, but when pointed downhill it often seemed to operate like a bike with 20mm less travel, sometimes riding uncomfortably high and lacking the supple suspension other bikes in its class offer. The bike's results under very skilled professional riders are nothing short of impressive, though, so clearly in the right hands it has potential for greatness.

Visit www.cannondale.com for more details.

Bonus Gallery: 20 photos of the 2015 Cannondale Jekyll Carbon Team up close and in action


About The Reviewers

Dylan Stucki - When he's not busy popping no-handed wheelies or shot-gunning beers you're likely to find Dylan comfortably inside the top ten at Big Mountain Enduro races. Since he's a big guy and charges hard he breaks a lot of stuff. He's naturally a perceptive and particular rider who picks up on even the smallest details.

AJ Barlas - In 15 years on the bike AJ has developed a smooth and fluid style. Hailing from Squamish, BC, his preferred terrain is chunky, twisty trail with natural features. He's picky with equipment and has built a strong understanding of what works well and why by riding a large number of different parts and bikes.

Which reviewer resembles you the most? Don't miss our Q&A with the testers for more insight about their styles and preferences.

About Test Sessions

Three years ago Vital MTB set out to bring you the most honest, unbiased reviews you'll find anywhere. That tradition continues today as we ride 2015's most exciting trail, all-mountain, and enduro bikes in San Luis Obispo, California. Reviews can be accessed 24/7 in our Product Guide. Test Sessions was made possible with the help of Foothill Cyclery. Tester gear provided by Five Ten, Race Face, Easton, Troy Lee Designs, Club Ride, Kali, Royal, Smith, Pearl Izumi, and Source.

Rate review:

9 comments newest first

Has anyone ever actually damaged cables running under the downtube, or is the negative comment about this routing more of a "what if"?


Also, if you found it to ride too high in its travel and didn't feel supple on small bumps, it sounds like you could have set up the suspension better, either by dropping pressure or increasing negative air pressure.

| Reply

Yup. I've had to replace shifter housing and brake lines on multiple bikes from rocks hammering on them on the underside of the downtube. Thank you specialized. Mountain biking is still entirely new with no precedent for how to do it right........and cannondale is a brand new company. They'll figure it out soon.

| Reply
Has anyone ever actually damaged cables running under the downtube, or is the negative comment about this routing more of a "what if"?
Absolutely. My last four or five bikes have run their cables under the downtube. I generally have to replace a brake line or shifter cable every 4-8 months. But I'm one of the few who are a fan of cables under the downtube. I would much rather replace a damaged cable housing/hose than try to sell or warranty a frame with broken carbon or a dented downtube. Cables under the downtube are definitely the lesser of the two evils, IMO.
| Reply

Yes. I've had housing crippled from shuttling, and just last month I had my brake hose saw-bladed completely in two under my downtube by a rock flying off the front tire. So yes, this cable routing sucks.

I thought the same thing about the rear suspension setup. The Vital test riders know all the suspension tweaks you mentioned, so methinks there's something they're not saying...

| Reply

Honestly, we found the rear shock of the Jekyll challenging (mentioned in the review), and a number of times we had issues with the rear suspension, despite following the more involved setup procedure precisely. At one point the issue presented itself after adjusting the settings in an effort to see if the suspension could be setup to ride more to our preference. At that time we returned to stock before trying again. Each time we weren't happy with the results. We also made a point to ride each bike at the recommended settings, as that is generally how the engineers intended the bike/s to shine their best. Personal preference saw us change these settings in attempts to get more of a full picture, but the Jekyll proved difficult to improve more to our liking.

It should also be noted that two different testers rode each bike, on a range of terrain, and each of us that rode the Jekyll have quite different riding styles. We both agreed without question about how this bike rode, despite different techniques, terrain etc.

| Reply

I'd say the mediocre rating Vital gave it is a testament to how good of a rider Jerome is. The bike doesn't make the rider but it still has to be there!

Vital, thanks as always for the test sessions!

| Reply

Finally a brutally honest review out of you guys!!! lol I hope at the end of all the testing sessions you declare and winner bike and give a rank order list too, let us know which one you would take to an EWS race if you had to choose just one of them PLEASE

| Reply

We've written many honest reviews. Just take a look here: http://www.vitalmtb.com/product/main?discontinued=true&page=9&scope=by_vital_rating

We're considering a feature where each of the test riders picks their favorite bike for various types of terrain/races/etc.

| Reply
Show More Comment(s)

2 member reviews

IS it worth the cost of an upgrade??

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Light as a feather, agile/quick handling, geometry fit me like a glove

The Bad:

Proprietary Cannondale Sizes and parts, Creaky, needs a lot of upgrades to be worth it

Overall Review:

Luckily I got this at a killer deal from my shop and the 2004 Jekyll was my first ever full suspension mountain bike, so I have a soft spot for the Cannondale Jekyll. Once I first got the bike, I realized that it handled very fast and accurately, it was super light (especially compared to my peers of Trek, and Rocky Mtn, Norco, etc), the geo just fit me perfectly and the front end was very easy to pull up for manuals and wheelies compared to my trek remedy.

After riding it for a while I started to realize some of the flaws of this bike. First off, the brakes went to shit on me. I did like the lever feel and the modulation of the Magura's but a crash rendered my front one useless and the rear brake mount was about 1mm too high so it would only contact the bottom 90% of the pad which

Overall Review:

Luckily I got this at a killer deal from my shop and the 2004 Jekyll was my first ever full suspension mountain bike, so I have a soft spot for the Cannondale Jekyll. Once I first got the bike, I realized that it handled very fast and accurately, it was super light (especially compared to my peers of Trek, and Rocky Mtn, Norco, etc), the geo just fit me perfectly and the front end was very easy to pull up for manuals and wheelies compared to my trek remedy.

After riding it for a while I started to realize some of the flaws of this bike. First off, the brakes went to shit on me. I did like the lever feel and the modulation of the Magura's but a crash rendered my front one useless and the rear brake mount was about 1mm too high so it would only contact the bottom 90% of the pad which eventually rendered then useless as well. So I had to upgrade to XT's. Then I realized that the resale value of this bike is not great because of all the proprietary Cannondale stuff like the lefty, the front wheel, the stem, the shock and the crankset. I liked the lefty but I thought for sure that no one would buy the bike with it on there so I upgraded to the DVO diamond and loved that on there (especially the clean lines of the bike with it up front). I regret this decision because people actually do want and like the lefty and I'm one of them, besides its such a pain in the butt to change over to a normal fork from the lefty so I don't recommend doing it. 

The customer support is what will keep me buying Cannondales in the future though. They take care of their customers better than any other company I have bought from. Cannondale paid to have my Dyad serviced at North Van and they also paid for shipping to and from along with a free upgrade on the lefty. The only problem was taking out the steer tube to remove the lefty (hard to get done but it doesn't need to happen often if ever). The paint job started fading after 2 years of usage but the hollowtech crankset stayed strong. The last gripe I have is that the dropper post not only came with the wrong remote lever but it was also too short for me at 100mm. Since the top tube of the frame is higher than most, you really want to slam that dropper post as low as possible but in order to get full leg extension on the pedal stroke I had to raise it a few inches which made it awkward in some steep sections which I am normally fine with. Luckily I think Cannondale has ditched a lot of their proprietary stuff and made the necessary tweaks to make the jekyll a sick enduro/park bike. 

Rate review:

2 comments newest first

I agree, but I do like how the previous Jekyll was a more balanced 160mm travel enduro rig. I feel like all the current 160mm bikes are only required on super gnarly terrain or at a bike park. The 2015 Jekyll was more versatile than the new one and since it was so light you could ride it all day almost anywhere with not much penalty. Plus it looked cooler, I'm not a huge fan of any full sus bike that has the shock fixed to the top tube, I want my frame weight low for both riding and aesthetic purposes lol.

| Reply
Show More Comment(s)

Destroys Trails up and down

Rating:
The Good:

Is the best cornering bike I have ever ridden, Very comfortable cockpit. Inspires confidence

The Bad:

Needs a seat dropper with longer travel than 120mm. The Magura brakes are very powerful. too powerful for my taste

Overall Review:

Whoever wrote that review is absolutely nuts! I sold my brand new 2015 Nomad after riding this bike1x . It is a great all mountain bike. Very refined and unique. The bike does not feel "tall".Its nice not to mash pedals against rocks and flip off of your bike. I cant wait to race the bike this season.

Rate review:

0 comments newest first

Show More Comment(s)
Specifications
Product 2015 Cannondale Jekyll 27.5 Carbon Team
Model Year 2015
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 56.2cm/22.1" 59.2cm/23.3" 62cm/24.4" 65cm/25.6"
Head Tube Angle 67° 67° 67° 67°
Head Tube Length 11cm/4.3" 11cm/4.3" 12.2cm/4.8" 13.4cm/5.3"
Seat Tube Angle 75.1° 74.9° 74.8° 74.7°
Seat Tube Length 42cm/16.5" 45.2cm/17.8" 48.3cm/19" 50.8cm/20"
Bottom Bracket Height 36.4cm/14.3" 36.4cm/14.3" 36.4cm/14.3" 36.4cm/14.3"
Chainstay Length 44cm/17.3" 44cm/17.3" 44cm/17.3" 44cm/17.3"
Wheelbase 115.2cm/45.4" 118cm/46.4" 120.8cm/47.6" 123.9cm/48.8"
Standover 76.7cm/30.2" 77cm/30.3" 77.3cm/30.4" 77.6cm/30.6"
Reach 40.6cm/16" 43.4cm/17.1" 45.8cm/18" 48.4cm/19"
Stack 58.5cm/23" 58.5cm/23" 59.7cm/23.5" 60.8cm/23.9"
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Ballistec Hi-Mod Carbon
Rear Travel
  • 160mm
  • 95mm
Rear Shock FOX DYAD RT2
Fork SuperMax 2.0 Carbon PBR 160 27.5, PBR Enduro Damper, Hybrid Needle Bearing Tech, 50mm Offset
Fork Travel 160mm
Head Tube Diameter 1.5 SI
Headset Cannondale HeadShok SI
Handlebar Cannondale C1 Riser, Carbon, 740x15mm
Stem FSA Gravity Light, 1.5" x 31.8mm x 5°
Grips Cannondale Dual Locking
Brakes Magura MT6 with Storm SL Rotors, 180/180mm
Brake Levers Magura MT6
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01, 11-Speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM XX1
ISCG Tabs ISCG 03
Chainguide MRP Single Ring Included as an Extra
Cranks Cannondale HollowGram SI, BB30A, XX1
Chainrings 30 Tooth
Bottom Bracket Cannondale Alloy PressFit
Pedals N/A
Chain 30 SRAM XX1, 11-Speed
Cassette SRAM XG-1199, 10-42 Tooth, 11-Speed
Rims WTB Team Issue I23, TCS, Tubeless Ready, 27.5"
Hubs Lefty SM Front, DT Swiss 350 Rear
Spokes DT Swiss Competition
Tires Schwalbe Hans Dampf Snakeskin Trailstar, 27.5" x 2.35" Tubeless Ready
Saddle WTB Silverado Team Volt, CroMo
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Standard
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 142x12mm
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Black/Green
Warranty Lifetime Frame // One Year for Components, Including HeadShok and Lefty Internal Parts, Suspension Parts, Frame Fixtures and Finishes (Paint and Decals) // Suspension Forks (Other Than Those Made by Cannondale) Covered Separately By Their Manufacturer
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous Extras: High Pressure Shock Pump and MRP Single Ring Guide
Price $7,580
More Info

Cannondale Website

What do you think?
Photo Manager | Double-click to insert a photo | Insert Photo Group

Choose Layout

2-stack Images
3-stack Images
4-stack Images
Add Photos
Your rating:

More Products

See All Deals »

DEALS