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  1. #1
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    The 2004 Cannondale Jekyll versus the 2007 Specialized Enduro SL



    I actually posted this to my Northern California forum a month or so ago, but I figured Cannondale fans might find it kinda neat

    A few months ago, I picked up a 2007 Specialized Enduro SL Comp to replace my trusty 2004 Cannondale Jekyll 800. With more travel, less weight, I figured it made sense. People were raving about it in different reviews - with a price tag of almost $3000, my expectations were high.

    But after several trips to different places with the Enduro, it still didn't feel right - I wasn't clicking with it. I figure a bike can be the greatest, most awesome in the world - but if I'm not connecting with it, it's not going to happen. I fine tuned the factory recommended settings, and used a different top crown and seat post to adjust my riding position. Still, it didn't quite feel the way I wanted it to feel.

    So I put it to the test. Enduro SL vs Jekyll, Specialized vs Cannondale, the Latest and Greatest vs Old Faithful, out at Tamarancho in Marin County - 7.3 miles of singletrack, with around 1,800 feet of climbing. On the Specialized, I felt solid on the climbs, easily scaled "The Rock", made it through the rock garden without any incidents, and carved the descent fairly well. It wasn't all rosy though, as the technical stuff tied me up in knots - the high center of gravity and the limited steering lock made the tight stuff a little tricky. After the final descent, I checked my watch.

    59 minutes, 30 seconds

    I gave it another go, pinning the throttle a little more where I could. I pushed hard, and checked my watch at the end.

    59 minutes, 10 seconds.

    Two weeks later, I took out the Cannondale. With no front lockout, it moved around a little more during the climb, and a more rearward weight bias "The Rock" was a little tougher to scale. It seemed to flowed much better on the descents than the Specialized, as the shorter wheelbase and more compact dimensions allowed me to get into a good position, way down and well back for the rocky stuff. Despite having 15mm less travel than the Specialized, the coil-sprung Lefty front end let me float through the rock garden - it's as though the bike had more travel than it actually did.

    My final time? 57 minutes, 59 seconds - a new lap record!

    Yup - over a minute faster than I went on the $3000 Specialized. And if I didn't fall on a washed out section of trail, I probably would have gone about 20-30 seconds faster than I did.

    The end result - the Specialized is for sale. I really like it, but between my need for some additional funds and a little sentimental attachment I have with the Cannondale, I've decided it's best to let the Specialized go.

    Hopefully I can get one more Downieville run in on it before the shuttles close up shop

  2. #2
    LA CHÈVRE
    Reputation: Dan Gerous's Avatar
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    In your picture, it looks like the Jekyll peed his pants in front of the young, tough new guy! But in the end, the old guy showed the new kid how it's done!

    Some bikes look great on paper but like you say, you have to connect with the bike. Some bikes have a 'je ne sais quoi' that makes them feel as if they were part of your body, you and the bike become one. When I ride and I forget all about the bike, it means the bike is perfect or close to it... It's been like that with my old F1000 and after that I bought a Fisher Cake but I always had to fight it, lean unaturally on steep climbs and fast corners. I always had to think about the bike: "okay now how will I help the bike do that?" Mid season with the Cake, I take the good old F1000 for a ride in very technical trails where a 5" FS bike should shine but the Cannondale just flowed, like it was feeling the trail and what was coming ahead. After that, I came back to Cannondale and bought a Prophet. On both Cannondales, I don't even have to think about my body position, it just happens...

    DAN.GEROUS.NET : MOUNTAIN BIKING : CYCLOCROSS : ROAD :

  3. #3
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    I agree with Dan, I have 6 cannondale right now in my garage. Have a Cannondale Roadbike, F900 hardtail, Raven 800SL carbon, Scalpel 2006 team, Rush 2006 Team and newly arrived Rush Carbon 1 2007 . All are large size. Fits my 6 ft frame perfectly. thats why i have never turned to other brands anymore since everytime i ride these bikes, there is just a sweet spot feeling that you are one with your bike. The riding position, geometry and pedaling efficiency is so similar across these bikes. No more adjustments when i switch bikes. And these are bikes from year 2001 to 2007... Now thats consistency...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous
    In your picture, it looks like the Jekyll peed his pants in front of the young, tough new guy! But in the end, the old guy showed the new kid how it's done!

    Some bikes look great on paper but like you say, you have to connect with the bike. Some bikes have a 'je ne sais quoi' that makes them feel as if they were part of your body, you and the bike become one. When I ride and I forget all about the bike, it means the bike is perfect or close to it... It's been like that with my old F1000 and after that I bought a Fisher Cake but I always had to fight it, lean unaturally on steep climbs and fast corners. I always had to think about the bike: "okay now how will I help the bike do that?" Mid season with the Cake, I take the good old F1000 for a ride in very technical trails where a 5" FS bike should shine but the Cannondale just flowed, like it was feeling the trail and what was coming ahead. After that, I came back to Cannondale and bought a Prophet. On both Cannondales, I don't even have to think about my body position, it just happens...
    I totally agree. I don't know how many miles I've put on the Cannondale over the past three years, having used it on long XC rides, double black diamond lift runs at Northstar, in addition to some Dual Slalom and Jump clinics. I'm just so ridiculously comfortable on the bike. I tried as best I could to get the ergonomics and settings on the Specialized to match the Cannondale, but it wasn't enough - the bike still wasn't doing what I wanted it to do.

  5. #5
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    If I can find a good deal on a used Rush or Scalpel, I might sell my Stumpjumper FSR and do something similar

  6. #6
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    You could offer a trade...

    DAN.GEROUS.NET : MOUNTAIN BIKING : CYCLOCROSS : ROAD :

  7. #7
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    Funny, my first MTB was a Specialized FSR '97 or '98 I don't remember the exact year, I became one with that bike but got tired of its heavy weight. Then in '00 I got a Cannondale F1000sl and rode it for several years but I never come to terms with it. I've to admit it climbed great but going down was a different story as the bike wasn't stable at all, I think the frame was on the small size for me.

    Last year I traded in the F1000 frame and fork for an Al Rush frame/Carbon Lefty and wasn't expecting much out of it, but I was wrong: this bike climbs better than the F1000, descends better than the FSR, handling is amazing, I can ride this bike all day and don't get tired. Cannondales are amazing bikes, for sure.

  8. #8
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    man, when i read this heading i thought "man, that's not a very fair comparison", but it seems i was totally mistaken. jolly good. i don't really like spesh and this makes me think all the more positively about my cannondale.

    i'm in the process of selling my prophet, but every time i see it i totally loose my resolve and figure there's no way i can sell it. it is a crank away from being the perfect trail bike. my other bike is a commencal supreme, and that bike ain't going nowhere either and is kinda similar with 160mm up front and 150 in the rear. so i'm "damned" if i do, "damned" if i don't (sell the prophet as i need the money, but really love it). i don't really ride my bikes enough to justify having two, but i.. oh hell, we'll see how it turns out. the commencal is prob the better bike (in terms of rear wheel suspension setup), but the cannondale is oh so light and works really well too - and it has a lefty.

    sorry for highjacking your post here.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by klinkekule
    sorry for highjacking your post here.
    I wouldn't call it a hijack - I think it's essentially about how people's Cannondales finish on top despite competition that looks better on paper It's also cool to see that I'm not alone in the way I'm attached to my Cannondale!

  10. #10
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    Sounds like a good example of how a vertical axle path kills the "within-ness" of a ride, over the yucky old, not as new, not as cool, not as whatever else they can through at it, single pivot curved axle path. I love my SP's, they rock, four/faux bars can check their coolness at the door here
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith
    Sounds like a good example of how a vertical axle path kills the "within-ness" of a ride, over the yucky old, not as new, not as cool, not as whatever else they can through at it, single pivot curved axle path. I love my SP's, they rock, four/faux bars can check their coolness at the door here
    I hear you Mendon, I wasn't expecting much out of the single pivot Rush as it's an "old" design but I was surprised as the ride is amazing. In fact I never use the propedal lever in the shock, I can't feel any bob at all.

  12. #12
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    +1 for sticking with the old Cannondales. I love my 98 Super *Uber* V as much now as I did when I bought it.

  13. #13
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    Great review OP. When I saw the title, I said to myself WTF, because I thought some bozo was trying to figure out which one to buy and I thought THAT'S TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BUDGETS! Well, I decided to check it out and what a great review. I feel at one with all my Cannondales when I ride them. It's the clipless pedals that usually screw me up......

  14. #14
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    Don't follow...

    I'm really not following this review. The base factor to discover which bike is better than the other was your lap time? Sorry, I just don't buy it. Of course, you got very sentimental about that, and there's little or no doubt on how good the Jekyll was and may still be, but that's no real factor for me. In fact, you've made solid comments about the Enduro SL performance. But in the end, what really matters is the 1 minute less ride? Don't get it. I'm not making any apologies for Specialized, although I own one, many know that I really like Cannondale bikes, but you should base this review on more than just your [genuine] feelings about the Jekyll and a lap time. There's a lot more to be taken in consideration.

    Don't get me wrong, but this review will only please passionate Cannondale fans and those who like to trash any non-CD bikes, but just that. Maybe you could be more technical on your review, and then we could really pull off a honest winner, either one that could be, the Enduro or the Jekyll.

    Anyway, let the trashing over me begins...
    Last edited by Black RONIN; 10-14-2007 at 06:06 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black RONIN
    I'm really not following this review. The base factor to discover which bike is better than the other was your lap time? Sorry, I just don't buy it. Of course, you got very sentimental about that, and there's little or no doubt on how good the Jekyll was and may still be, but that's no real factor for me. In fact, you've made solid comments about the Enduro SL performance. But in the end, what really matters is the 1 minute less ride? Don't get it. I'm not making any apologies for Specialized, although I own one, many know that I really like Cannondale bikes, but you should base this review on more than just your [genuine] feelings about the Jekyll and a lap time. There's a lot more to be taken in consideration.

    Don't get me wrong, but this review will only please passionate Cannondale fans and those who like to trash any non-CD bikes, but just that. Maybe you could be more technical on your review, and then we could really pull off a honest winner, either one that could be, the Enduro or the Jekyll.

    Anyway, let the trashing over me begins...
    I'm a little late on this, but I'd be happy to elaborate. It wasn't meant to be an in-depth review, but rather a short, fun story, with a few details thrown in to keep things colorful.

    Whether the stopwatch is on or off, the bottom line is that the Jekyll just worked better for the kind of riding I like to do. The Lefty just worked better over bumps than then Specialized E150 fork, with far more compliance over sharp edged hits. The Jekyll's riding position also placed less weight on the front wheel than the Enduro did, allowing me to get back farther and flow better despite the a 15mm travel disadvantage to the Enduro. It's also a lot easier to wheelie!

    The Enduro had its strengths. With a ground clearance advantage over the Jekyll, I rarely bashed my pedals into rocks on the Enduro. With a flatter, more XC-ish riding position that placed more weight on the front, I could clean technical climbs on the Enduro that I struggled with on the Jekyll. The word on the Enduro was that it was an XC-biased all mountain bike - my experience agreed with that.

    The bottom line really was the fun factor. On any given descent, the grin on my face was bigger if I took the Jekyll. It worked better for me and with me, so I flowed better on my favorite parts of my favorite trails - the experience of riding was just more enjoyable on my Jekyll than it was on any other bike that I've ridden.

    So I kept it, and have been happy with my decision

  16. #16
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    I totally understand you Crash. See, I have this bike, a 07 Stumpjumper, and it's really an amazing bike. But I've always loved the Prophet, and I saw my chances all blow away when Cannondale didn't send any Prophets to Brazil last year, only Rushes. But last week, at my LBS, a 3-times riden (!!!) 2006 Prophet 4000 just came in. The bike's shinning new. It has blown my mind, I can't make a decision ever since. I just have my bike for less than 6 months now, and got it all dressed up with XTR, and I'll take some while until I have the needed budget to buy another rig, so my solution would be to trade my bike in for the Prophet before someone steps into the store and take the bike home. But I'm trying to be rational, but I really don't know for how long. So I understand what you mean. Fun is just fun. That tops everything else.

    But don't get me wrong, the SJ is a really fun bike to ride, but the Prophet has my name all over it. But if I trade my bike now, I would lose a lot of cash that I invested on it, but on the other side, I'll be riding the bike I always wanted. Yeah, I'm in trouble. You bet.

    But considering the amout of pain all SL owners are having due the suspensions issues, you probably did the right thing selling it and sticking with your beloved one. I wish I can make a decision, and that I can be as happy as you with yours. Wish me good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrCrash
    I'm a little late on this, but I'd be happy to elaborate. It wasn't meant to be an in-depth review, but rather a short, fun story, with a few details thrown in to keep things colorful.

    Whether the stopwatch is on or off, the bottom line is that the Jekyll just worked better for the kind of riding I like to do. The Lefty just worked better over bumps than then Specialized E150 fork, with far more compliance over sharp edged hits. The Jekyll's riding position also placed less weight on the front wheel than the Enduro did, allowing me to get back farther and flow better despite the a 15mm travel disadvantage to the Enduro. It's also a lot easier to wheelie!

    The Enduro had its strengths. With a ground clearance advantage over the Jekyll, I rarely bashed my pedals into rocks on the Enduro. With a flatter, more XC-ish riding position that placed more weight on the front, I could clean technical climbs on the Enduro that I struggled with on the Jekyll. The word on the Enduro was that it was an XC-biased all mountain bike - my experience agreed with that.

    The bottom line really was the fun factor. On any given descent, the grin on my face was bigger if I took the Jekyll. It worked better for me and with me, so I flowed better on my favorite parts of my favorite trails - the experience of riding was just more enjoyable on my Jekyll than it was on any other bike that I've ridden.

    So I kept it, and have been happy with my decision

  17. #17
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    Blackronin, go get it, you know in your heart you'll always regret if someone else buys it. Besides we only live once

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