2018 cannondale Jekyll
The 2018 Cannondale Jekyll is my 3rd Jekyll in the last 6 years. My first Jekyll was the 2011 model with the first version of the Dyad shock and then in 2015 I got the opportunity to upgrade to the 2015 model with 27.5 wheels. In March of 2017 I crashed my 2015 Jekyll and was given the opportunity to purchase the 2018 Cannondale Jekyll. My crash replacement was shipped the same day I brought my broken bike into Georges Cycles on State St. in Boise, ID. Absolutely amazing service from both my local shop and Cannondale. Since I am one of the first people to get the new Jekyll I though I would share some of my thoughts. I will also update as I get more time on the bike.
The 2018 Jekyll Carbon 2 comes with a great parts specification. You can check out the Cannondale website for all of the details on which parts. I will touch on the a couple of the highlights. The Eagle's performance is top notch, but I would have preferred a 32T chain ring up front instead of the 30T since the Eagle gives you a 10-50T cassette. The Guide brakes were impressive and stop well and were very controllable. I did make some initial upgrades and my local shop swapped out the wheels for a set of Carbon Roval SL Fatties and switched the seat post to the Magura Electronic Dropper.
In a departure from the past Jekylls the Dyad is now replaced by the Gemini and this makes the shock considerably lighter. The first thing you will notice with the Gemini is the wealth of adjustments. There is the ability to set the shock into three modes on the shock and this is the standard Fox levels of Climb, Trail, and Descend (CTD). Once in Descend mode you can then dial in LSC (Low Speed Compression) a little more based on a 1 to 3 scale. All of the riding I did was in the trail mode, but I will be playing with the open mode in the future. Setup was very easy at the bike shop and you can start with your weight and then adjust your sag from there. The Gemini shock also has a remote on the handlebar that allows you to switch between Hustle and Flow mode. With this remote there is really no reason to ever put the shock in climbing mode. The shock performed well in everything I seemed to throw at it and absorbed the sharp and rough sections of the Porcupine Rim trail. I did some jumping with the shock on the Bobsled trail in SLC and it performed without issue and absorbed the impacts on some mistakes. My only issue so far is the location of the rebound adjuster, the rebound adjuster requires the use of a 2mm allen key. I certainly don't adjust rebound very often, but since a 2mm allen key is not part of my normal multi-tool I found it impossible to adjust the rebound on the trail.
Again in a departure from past Jekylls there is no more Lefty on Jekyll, but instead a Fox 36 with 170mm of travel. My last Jekyll had the Supermax and I was very pleased with the performance. I did manage to break my Lefty twice, but the shop made the repairs for me within 24 hours. Breaking forks or parts is nothing new for me and we will see over time how well the Fox 36 holds up to the abuse. After two rides the fork seemed to break in and performed very well over a variety of terrain. The biggest benefit to the Fox fork was all of the adjust ability, with the lefty you had very limited adjust ability beyond air pressure and rebound. I never used the lockout feature much on the previous Lefty so I did not miss that feature. Being able to make minor adjustments on the trail really made the Fox 36 a great performer.
Cannondale slackened the head angle on the Jekyll to 65 degrees and steepened the seat tube angle to 75 degrees. The rear shoch has a flow mode and a hustle mode and these can be selected from the handlebar while climbing. Having ridden my previous Jekyll for over 2000 miles I was amazed at how well the new Jekyll climbed. On smoother or long climbs I would switch the rear shock into Hustle mode and the bike seemed to fly up the climbs very similar to my old Jekyll. My older Jekyll did have slightly smaller tires so over time I will have to compare some of my times and see how close I am to the previous bike. While I was waiting for my new bike to ship across the country and be assembled I spent about 2 weeks riding a YT Industries Capra with similar amounts of travel and geometry. I was amazed at how fast the Jekyll climbs compared to the Capra and as a result the Capra will be going onto Craigslist.
As I already mention the new Jekyll now has a 65 degree head angle and 170mm of travel up front. During fast and flowy descents I did not notice much difference compared to the old Jekyll, but once I hit some of the rockier descents it was nice to have the extra travel and slacker head angle. The slacker head angle and more travel did improve my descent times slightly, but the biggest aspect was the extra control I felt. The biggest difference between the two bikes on the descent came down to the shorter chain stays. The new Jekyll is definatly more launchable on jumpy terrain and this made the Bobsled trail down in SLC a lot more fun since it was easy to launch the jumps and get considerable air time.