I am actually one month ahead of schedule, but since I have the time tonight, my fellow readers, I have decided to give my one year report on my Cannondale Jekyll 4.
Last May, I had finally taken the plunge and bought myself a full-suspension complete - which was very different from my normal Frankenbikes I was used to building. I was set on an AM (All Mountain) bike and in a decent price range. My experience with that purchase along with my initial impressions can be found HERE.
After one year, the Cannondale Jekyll 4 has had its pros and cons with me. Part of me wishes it did some things a little better, and some things about the bike I am totally satisfied with. When I start to feel negative about my bike, I remember that it is an AM bike, after all, and not a XC bike nor a downhill bike. It's somewhere in-between. So, when I start to get critical about its shortcomings, I have to understand it truly is a jack-of-all trades and a master of none. Well, it may be the a master of being a jack-of-all trades.
As I shared in my post last year, my upgrades included a wide handlebar and a dropper post. Since then, I swapped out the stock stem for a shorter one (50mm) and the saddle.
The bike was really steering poorly before I purchased the short stem. Often times I'd miss my line, steer off the trail on a climb, and fumble in areas I never fumbled before. I thought I was simply starting to suck at MTB riding - but I took my own advice and ordered a cheap, on-sale, short stem.
The difference the stem swap made was huge. It became a completely new bike. Steering was sharp and precise and I rarely had to use the "dual position" option on the front fork unless the climb got steep. Jumping the bike became easier as well as flowing the trails.
I generally do not use a hydration pack; for the rides I do, I just don't need one. I like to pack as light as possible, wearing the least amount of crap as possible; minimal tools and a water bottle. With the dropper post, it was almost required to wear a hydration pack for tools. However, I discovered the Awesome Strap, which is totally compatible with a dropper post. I can now carry my tools under my seat and it all clears when I drop my seat. The Jekyll does have water bottle mounts on the frame, which is a plus in my opinion.
The WTB saddle is just my preference. While the Cannondale saddle was fine, the WTB was a perfect upgrade for my badonkadonk.
The bike is a slow climber.
That's my #1 beef with it. It's on the heavy side of AM bikes - mine is 34.08 lbs with tools (no water bottle). That's with a tubeless set-up, as well. So, I find myself in the small ring on the climbs, dancing around the middle-to-upper range of the cassette. I rarely get into the granny unless stuff gets real steep or it's a chilled-out spin day.
And when I'm bitching about how slow the climb is, I have to remind myself that it's not a XC bike. It's meant to take trail abuse and some good drops. I've jumped and dropped this bike and it does that very well. However, when it's time to go up, I just sit and wait it out until I finally get to the top.
Rather than upgrade the wheels, I may just simply buy a true XC bike. This bike is-what-it-is and I don't want to try to turn it into something it's not.
The stock fork is just okay.
The Jekyndale came stock with a Rock Shox Sektor TK with features like dual-position, lock-out and rebound with a 15mm QR thru-axle.
Some people love spring suspension forks. For me, there is just not enough adjustability to get it dialed-in. I find it doesn't quite go full travel - and that may be the heavy spring that's in there for my weight. Also, this fork is heavy.
X7 components need some finessing.
I've broken two chains, and it's getting time to check my derailleur adjustments. Possibly clean my drivetrain. While SRAM X7 isn't bad, it does take some finessing and it can't quite handle those hard shifts SRAM XX and Shimano XTR can take. I have to watch my shifting on climbs - it's a little finicky at times.
Considering my beef with the lack of climbing speed and an "okay" fork - the bike is damn fun. While the fork bugs me, the rear Dyad shock has been wonderful - I've set it and basically have done nothing with it since.
Once you set-up the Jekyll correctly for AM riding with proper steering and a dropper post, it's just a great bike to ride. It flows, drops, jumps, and speeds along the trail exceptionally well. I find myself doing nollies and manuals along the trail, along with bump jumps off rocks.
Of course, I'm not sure if this model of Jekyll would be suitable for an enduro race, but for the weekend warrior, I don't see why not.
If you're Average Joe Trail Rider, this is a great bike that gets you down and dirty for a great price.
I enjoy the Jekyndale for those days when I have a little more time to spend on the trail. It's extremely comfortable and (God, I hate this word) "flickable".
Personally, I don't want to throw any more money at this bike. I want to enjoy it as it is: Cannondale's most budget friendly AM bike built on the a world-class Jekyll platform.