On Test | The 2022 Cannondale Jekyll is a new high-pivot hauler with a hidden shock

It was all the way back in 2017 when we last had a Cannondale Jekyll roll into the Flow test fleet, and not a lot had changed with Cannondale’s enduro race bike since then. During that time however, Cannondale’s engineers have been somewhat busy developing a wild prototype downhill bike, which was raced for just a single World Cup season in 2019. The high-pivot, twin-shock, full carbon prototype caught plenty of attention during its World Cup outings, but suspiciously vanished from the scene shortly thereafter.

Cool as it was, it seemed strange that a bike company would make such a dramatic (and expensive) entry and exit into World Cup downhill racing without actually having a production bike to sell to the public. With the arrival of the brand new Jekyll however, it would appear we now have an answer to Cannondale’s mysterious prototype experiment…

2022 cannondale jekyll
And here it is; the new generation Jekyll – totally unrecognisable from the old bike!

2022 Cannondale Jekyll Overview

All-new for 2022 and bearing many fruits of the R&D team’s labour, the Cannondale Jekyll makes a bold return as the brand’s purebred enduro race bike. As with the previous version, the new Cannondale Jekyll is equipped with a huge 170mm travel fork on the front, and 165mm of rear wheel travel. There are no wheelsize options though, with the Jekyll moving exclusively to 29in wheels.

You only need to take one glance at the new Jekyll to appreciate that there are very few similarities with its predecessor. Gone is the awkward, rocker-driven suspension design and its dual-chamber, remote-actuated Gemini rear shock. In its place is a striking carbon fibre chassis, which buries the rear shock down low within the downtube. While you won’t find two shocks like on the downhill prototype, there is a high pivot suspension design, an idler, size-specific kinematics and scaled rear centre sizing.

2022 cannondale jekyll 2
The Cannondale Jekyll is still a purebred 170/165mm enduro race bike, but everything else has changed.

High-pivot high jinks

High pivot suspension designs are so very hot right now, and the Cannondale Jekyll embraces the concept to deliver a more rearward axle path for greater bump-swallowing tenacity. To mitigate the effects of chain growth of the rearward axle path, an idler routes the chain above the crankset. Complete with a small integrated chainguide, Cannondale calls this cute cog the ‘Guidler’.

Unlike some other high pivot suspension bikes, like the Norco Aurum HSP and the Forbidden Druid, the Cannondale Jekyll isn’t a single pivot. Instead, it’s a four-bar platform with a Horst link pivot on the chainstay just forward of the rear axle. According to Cannondale, this helps to reduce the effects of braking on the rear suspension.

2022 cannondale jekyll
The Guidler routes the chain above the crankset to reduce the impact of pedal kickback.

Gravity Cavity

At the other end a long rocker link compresses the rear shock, which sits within the lower half of the downtube. The execution is quite different to the hidden shock found on latest Scott Spark however, with the Jekyll’s twin-spar downtube allowing open access to the shock itself. Cannondale calls this the Gravity Cavity, and it’s shielded by a generous moto-style armour plate that covers the underside of the downtube to protect the shock and the frame.

Aside from looking very slick, the new shock location also helps to bring the frame’s centre of mass lower down compared to the old Jekyll, which had its shock placed much higher. Furthermore, Cannondale has implemented its Proportional Response Suspension concept, with the kinematics and pivot points being unique to each frame size. This means that aspects such as anti-rise, anti-squat, and the shock’s leverage ratio, are specific to each size, based on the expected height and build of the rider aboard them.

Despite its tidy execution, we’re interested to see how much debris the Gravity Cavity collects during real-world riding in filthy conditions. The shock is out of harms way from rear tyre spray, so it’s arguably better protected than the rear shock on a Santa Cruz Megatower or Specialized Enduro. And the armour plate up front does protect the shock from debris kick-up off the front wheel.

It’s pretty snug in there though, and being open on the top, there’s definitely potential for crud to accumulate in that cavity. Still, the armour plate is open on each side, which Cannondale assures is to allow water and debris to fall out.

2022 cannondale jekyll
The rear shock sits within the Gravity Cavity, where the damper controls are still easily accessed. Cable routing is pretty straightforward too.

Less proprietary stuff

Having ditched the dual-chamber Gemini shock of old, the new Cannondale Jekyll is designed to work with a conventional trunnion-mount, metric-sized shock. In what is a rare occurrence for a Cannondale bike, you also won’t find a press-fit bottom bracket, with a good ol’ threaded shell in its place. There’s also easily accessible cable routing, room for a bottle, an integrated mud-flap for the main pivot, and generous rubber chain-slap protection around the rear stays.

Cannondale has also decided against Super Boost hub spacing, instead relying on regular Boost 148x12mm dropouts. However, the Jekyll does retain the Ai drivetrain offset, which aims to achieve similar benefits by offsetting the rear hub and chainring a little further away from the frame. According to Cannondale, this improves tyre and mud clearance. To compensate, the rear rim is then dished back towards the non-drive side. This actually helps to even out the spoke bracing angles, purportedly increasing rear wheel strength and stiffness.

It’s worth noting that the only unique part of this system is the dish built into the rear wheel – the hub and rim are standard off-the-shelf items, and even the cranksets use the new-school 55mm offset from SRAM & Shimano to match the rear end offset.

Fresh geometry & scaled rear centre sizing

Echoing a similar ethos to what we’ve seen from the likes of Norco and Santa Cruz, Cannondale has employed what it calls ‘Proportional Response Geometry’ with the new Jekyll. With bigger sizes coming with longer front centres, the Jekyll’s chainstay length also grows, with the goal of keeping weight distribution more consistent throughout the size range. That means you’ll find a very short 430mm rear centre length on the Small frame size, and a quite long 450mm rear centre length on the XL.

Otherwise the geometry moves in the direction you’d expect. There’s a 64° head angle, a 77.5° effective seat tube angle, and a decent 450mm reach on the Medium (475mm on the Large).

While those numbers are very much on-trend for an enduro race bike, it’s curious to see no geometry adjustability within the Cannondale Jekyll chassis. There are no flip chips or adjustable headset cups, and no option to run a mixed wheelsize setup. It appears the Jekyll is very much a race-focused machine.

2022 cannondale jekyll geometry
2022 Cannondale Jekyll Geometry
2022 cannondale jekyll rockshox zeb
There’s a 170mm travel fork up front – a RockShox ZEB in the case of our new test bike.

2022 Cannondale Jekyll price & specs

For those digging the new bike vibes, you’ll be pleased to know that there will be two Cannondale Jekyll models coming into Australia.

Both complete bikes feature the same full carbon frame, a 170mm Fox 38 or RockShox ZEB, and big 4-piston brakes. Each bike will be rolling on WTB rims and Maxxis tyres, with EXO+ casings and 3C MaxxTerra rubber. Read on below for a closer look at all the specs and pricing.

More interested to know what the Cannondale Jekyll is like to ride on Aussie soil? Well good news Flow Frothers, because we’re putting this bike to the test right now – be sure to stay tuned for our full review coming soon!

2022 cannondale jekyll 1
At the top of the tree, the Cannondale Jekyll 1 comes with Fox Factory Series suspension, Maxxis rubber, SRAM Code RSC brakes, and huge rotors.

2022 Cannondale Jekyll 1

2022 cannondale jekyll 2
Using the same full-carbon frame, the Cannondale Jekyll 2 is fitted with a RockShox ZEB fork, a Float DPX2 shock, Shimano Deore 1×12 drivetrain and 4-piston brakes.

2022 Cannondale Jekyll 2

2022 cannondale jekyll
What do you think of the new Jekyll? We’re eager to see what it’s like on the trail – stay tuned for our review!

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