Cannondale Bicycles Jekyll XL 2022 Mountain Bike Review

Cannondale Bicycles Jekyll XL 2022

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Cannondale Bicycles 790,082

At a glance

Price: 6999 EUR / 6750 GBP

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The Jekyll is Cannondales high pivot four bar linkage machine with 165mm of travel for those big mountain adventures.

About the brand

Cannndale was founded back in 1971 by Joe Montgomery and Murdock MacGregor to manufacture precast concrete housing. Later Ron Davis came to Cannondale. Ron, a gifted mechanical designer/inventor, had ideas for an internal combustion engine that would use ammonia as fuel.

Then Joe Montgomery, after a camping bike trip with his son, conceived the Bugger bicycle trailer. Wistrand designed the cloth bags and cargo carrier on the two models of trailers. Montgomery sourced the cloth components and ensured perfection in their manufacture. A trip to the Bicycle Show in New York was an eye opener. The team was besieged by bike dealers wanting to buy the bags. They bought trailers too but really wanted the bags.

In less than six months Cannondale became the world's largest manufacturer of lightweight bicycle bags. Using a marketing plan devised by Montgomery, Cannondale swept across the US, securing orders from more than 2500 dealers in less than 20 months. They then used the infrastructure developed to produce the bags to enter the camping goods market with backpacks and tents.

Regarding the Bugger trailer, although Cannondale's marketing department claimed to be unaware of the connotations of the name in British English, some were, nevertheless, exported to the UK.

Once fully immersed in the retail bicycle industry, Todd Patterson, another exceptional designer/inventor, came aboard and developed the process for jigging and welding aluminum bicycle frames.. Cannondale became a serious manufacturer of bicycles.

Cannondales history is too big to cover in this little segment, but they have always been on the forefront of design and use of new technologies. Pushing the boundaries with production, but also with race sponsorships like with the Volvo Cannondale Team in the mid 90’s.

Sadly, we could not find anything on the sustainability goals of Cannondale or its parent company the PON group.

The product

Cannondales Jekyll has had a complete rework for 2022. Featuring 29’’ wheels, 165mm of travel and a very different frame design with a high pivot, pulley wheel and the ‘Gravity Cavity’. That last one is a way the designers found to place the shock in an ideal place, as low as possible in the frame. With a plastic cover to protect the shock that actually protrudes the downtube.

By going with a 4 bar linkage Cannondale departs from the Jekyll’s past, which used to have a single pivot design. The axle path is moving rearward initially, before moving forward again. This enables the rear wheel to move out of the way of any obstacle, keeping momentum when the trail gets rough. Choosing a high pivot design combined with an idler wheel on the frame, they eliminated the pedal forces in the beginning of the shock stroke, creating an ultimately smooth feeling over small bumps while eliminating pedal kickback. To keep the chain where it’s meant to be, they included a small chain guide on the pulley which is made from steel to ensure a long lifespan. They even made a great animation to explain how it all works, check it out.

Geometry wise the Jekyll goes along with the longer slacker trends, without pushing any limits or boundaries. A 64 degree head angle is slack enough to give a sense of stability, but nothing crazy to hinder the climbing performance. The size Large has a 475mm reach, which again is nice and roomy, but nothing silly. Interesting to note is that the chainstay length varies with the frame sizing. The smallest size sports a 430mm chainstay, while the XL has a 450mm which is quite long.

Spec wise our test machine was equipped with Fox’s 38’s in the front, and the trusty Float X2 in the back. Sram’s GX 12 speed setup handled the shifting duties, combined with an X1 crankset. Slowing down had to be done using the Sram Code RSC brakes, sporting 220mm front and 200mm rear rotors. Formula hubs are laced with DT Swiss spokes to the WTB I30 alloy rims, with Maxxis Assegai/Minion DHRII tires. In the other components we found Cannondale’s own handlebars, stem and dropper post. Good to note that the dropper post travel varies with the bike size, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L-XL).

Out on the trail

We got thrown in the deep with the Jekyll, unpacking it on the beachfront in Madeira. A quick setup session and next day we were off straight into the Trans Madeira race. The bike took no time to get used to, and sizing XL was perfect for my 188cm. The Fox suspension is seen a lot on all types of bikes, and is easy to fine tune and balance. The frame design however does make it a little tricky to reach the dials.

Climbing was a pure joy on the Jekyll, keeping in its almost 170mm travel. There was very little bobbing and given the slackish head angle it handled techy climbs well. You do hear the idler pulley wheel when you’re grinding away in the granny gear, so keep that in mind if you do a lot of steep climbs and hate any type of noise on your bike.

Descending is what you buy the Jekyll for, and boy does this bike go. Give it some choppy terrain or jagged rocks and Cannondales suspension system eats it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It definitely prefers the rough and high speed stuff over the slow tech. In the slow stuff you had to work a little harder to make it go round bends and really flick the bike around, but as soon as you hit 25 km/h or more you can almost hear the bike scream for more.

Was there anything to improve? Besides the hard to access shock dials, I think this bike would be better off with WTB’s Tough version of rims instead of the Trail version. Riding without a tire insert of any kind combined with the EXO tires will result in a damaged rim quite easily. The Code RSC brakes combined with the big rotors made for the best stopping power I had in ages with a Sram setup. That said, I still feel a set of Shimano or Magura 4 pistons would give a lot more braking power with less hand power. The Cannondale dropper post worked flawlessly, but if you’re over 185cm you’d like a little more travel than the 170mm on offer.


The Jekyll is a super fun bike. Really at home at speed, stable and loves rough terrain. The frame is definitely something out of the ordinary, and the technology used really brings some great qualities to the table. It climbs remarkably well and can easily withstand some action in the bike park too. If you’re looking for a bike that looks and rides a little different from the masses, the Jekyll can be for you.

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This review was in Issue 71 of IMB.

For more information visit Cannondale Bicycles


By Jarno Hoogland
Jarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.

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