By Adam Lipinski
Perhaps some of you remember my issue #85 review of the 661 Dirt Lid helmet, with my cervical spine spraining test tactics. The bike I was riding at the time was the Cannondale Jekyll 600, which must make me Mr. Hyde. The folks at Cannondale were relieved to hear the accident was all my bad—could have been on any bike. That was about six months ago and I have finally gotten enough saddle time on the bike to complete the review.
The basis for the Jekyll is versatility—to cover as many riding styles as possible with one bike. To accomplish this task, the rear shock mount has a fore and aft adjustment range. The threaded collar over the rear shock can range from the XC (full back), with a 71° head angle and 13.5” bottom bracket to DH ( full forward), with a 69.5° head angle and 12.9” bottom bracket. The rear suspension is also adjustable anywhere within the two extremes. For most of the riding I have been doing, the XC setting range was better suited. My little accident I mentioned earlier has kept me on the mellow side, so I never truly bombed the bike in the slackened DH mode. I rode it and noticed a difference, but not to its full potential. The travel on the back is always 120mm regardless of the shock position, but that amount of travel allows the bike to be set up soft and not tear through the travel too quickly.
It has a low single pivot just above the middle chainring that keeps the suspension active at all times. As with any active design, the rear end does move slightly with pedal strokes, and the Jekyll’s action is most noticeable in the small chain ring. Pivot duties are taken on by large sealed cartridge bearings for smooth action and low maintenance.The rear end worked well for large and small hits, but lacked some of the lateral stiffness I have come to expect from Cannondale. The small amount of rear end flex is probably more noticeable on the Jekyll because of the awesome stiffness and tracking prowess of the Super Fatty DL fork. The headshok design has always topped the scales of stiffness and the Super Fatty does the same. I would like to try the Jekyll with the 100mm Lefty because it would better match the rear ends’ travel. Unfortunately, the $1735 price does not allow this. The Super Fatty with lockout has 40mm less travel than the rear, but still gives a well balanced ride with proper air pressure settings. My major gripe with the suspension is the lack of rebound damping. The shock and fork are both air units, and when set for my 190 lbs., could use a rebound damper to keep them from topping out. The fork also had an annoying squeak that I could not pin point. Performance was good, it just made some noise. Cannondale has a claimed two-day repair plan for any of their products. If you experience any problems, you can get them fixed quickly, especially if you live on the east coast. The frame and swingarm are both made of 6061-T6 aluminum and the front triangle has an almost traditional configuration. The 29.4 lb. large sized Jekyll is also available in small, medium and x-large sizes. Your choice of colors in the 600 model are black or team yellow. All in all the Jekyll has a smooth, well balanced, easily altered suspension package.
As usual, the Jekyll comes with a host of Coda components—Cannondale’s house brand—as the bar, stem, pedals, crank set, saddle and side-pull brakes are all in-house. Shifting was handled by Shimano XT rear and LX front derailleurs, with a nine-speed drive train. The wheels are Deore hubs on Mavic X139 rims, rolling on IRC Notos 2.1 tires. The whole package is pulled to a stop with Cane Creek Direct Curve levers. All the parts worked well except the Kalloy seat post, which slipped on a few occasions and required the binder bolt to be cranked extremely tight.
As I mentioned, the Jekyll felt well balanced and it had very neutral handling characteristics. It was very easy to get used to the bike and it held no surprises in handling. It just did what a bike should do—rode along beneath me and did as it was told.
Contact: Cannondale Corporation, 16 Trowbridge Drive, Bethel, CT06801; 800.BIKE.USA; www.cannondale.com.
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