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  1. #1
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    Frugal or Foolish? Upgrading a 2004 Cannondale Jekyll to a modern trail bike?

    Been a 20-year roadie and picked up a mountain bike last year to try riding in the woods (we have a few great local county-run mtb parks). Didn't know if it would be a passing fancy, so thought I'd do it on the cheap and paid a couple hundred bucks for a 2004 Cannondale Jekyll 600 Disk.

    As it turns out, I love riding in the woods, and last year, I put about 150 hours on the mtb. In any case, I started to get a bit of upgrade-itis, and started thinking about getting a SB66, SC Blur TR, or SC Solo. Until it hit me that mountain bikes are (understandably, given the technology) really freaking expensive. Regardless, even a SC Bantam, or other 26 or 27.5 single-pivot bike is going to cost me at least 3 grand.

    So I started thinking -- the 2004 Jekyll has the Cannondale adjustable geometry. In the "Freeride" mode, with a 120mm fork, it's got 70/74d angles, a 24.5 eTT, and a bottom bracket somewhere way down around 320mm off the ground. In addition, it's got 135mm rear travel. So, doing some quick geometry...

    With a 140mm fork (511mm a-c), it'd end up with 68.5 HTA/72.5 STA, a 24.2 eTT, and a bottom bracket somewhere around 330mm. With a 150mm fork, it's 68/72/24 and 335. These numbers are remarkably close to the numbers of a modern 26" trail bike - the SB66 or the Blur TR.

    Now, obviously, the bike would still be a single-pivot but it's in good shape, I like the geo, and it's clear and paid for.

    So, a potentially interesting option would be to:

    • Add a 140mm fork (e.g. Fox Float 140 CTD) ~ $500 and a matching lower headset ~ $50
    • Add some light bicycle carbon clinchers ~ $550 or CrossMax wheels ~ $200 used
    • Add an ebay XT group ~ $600


    For a total of ~$1150 to 1700 in upgrades to to end up with a short-travel AM "Mr. Hyde" or sell the Jekyll (-$300) and buy an SB66 for $3000, what would you do?

    The upsides are it's a fun project and it'd save some money. The downsides are - still 27.2 seat tube ID, so un-dropper friendly, still a single-pivot, and potentially limited support for the trunnion-mount shock.

    So, would you do it - upgrade the old iron, or jump to a new rig?

    I'm purposefully asking a Cannondale-friendly audience here!

  2. #2
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    You've been a roadie for 20 years - got any hookups? That's where I start when I'm thinking about another bike. That and the Usual Suspects - late-model on Craig's List and closeouts.

    You can probably get pretty good performance out of your Jekyll with good suspension components and a good tune. So it's feasible.

    If everything's working well, you could also just get a suspension rebuild - supposed to be every 100 hours - and maybe some new rubber. That makes a really big difference.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Frugal or Foolish? Upgrading a 2004 Cannondale Jekyll to a modern trail bike?

    I say upgrade the Jekyll. One question though. Does that frame work with a 140mm fork? I have a 2002 Jekyll and according to Mendon cyclesmith the max fork length is 100mm. I know 2003 and later were longer but it's worth checking in with Mendon (or Cannondale).

    I upgraded my 2002 with a 100mm Rockshox Reba and EBay & Craigslisted my way to a new drivetrain, and wheelset. Only thing stock on it is the frame. At a size large it weighs in at about 28lbs and if I wanted to spend the money I could definitely make it lighter.

    Consider sending your rear shock to Push for an upgrade. It's like buying a new shock but cheaper and people love them. Otherwise. Have a shop service it. It costs about $35 and makes a big difference. Good luck and Enjoy.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumper71 View Post
    I say upgrade the Jekyll. One question though. Does that frame work with a 140mm fork? I have a 2002 Jekyll and according to Mendon cyclesmith the max fork length is 100mm. I know 2003 and later were longer but it's worth checking in with Mendon (or Cannondale).
    I'm certain it's not an "approved" option, but stock the bike came with a 120mm fork (493 a-c) and the resulting geometry looks ok, so I think it'll be ok. If I snap off the head tube, I guess I forgo my warranty, haha.

    I did just rebuild the rear shock. Big difference.

  5. #5
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    If i was you, before you spend any money on upgrading, i would go and test ride a few new style bikes, even try and go to a demo day where you can test-ride lots back to back.. Every aspect of bike design has come a long way since your Jekyll..

  6. #6
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    For 1500-1700, I'd look for a used 2009-11 RZ 140 with a Lefty. I think the RZ 140 3 was decent. I did a demo on one for a day. I saw one on ebay for $1500 new oddly enough. Just a thought.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chick0 View Post
    If i was you, before you spend any money on upgrading, i would go and test ride a few new style bikes, even try and go to a demo day where you can test-ride lots back to back..
    I demo'ed a 2013 Giant Trance 1 over Christmas for three days in SoCal. Nice bike. Did everything better than my Jekyll (except wheelie and manual and handle really tight corners). But I wouldn't say it was night and day. I'm going to demo a SC 5010 as soon as the snow melts.


    Quote Originally Posted by chick0 View Post
    Every aspect of bike design has come a long way since your Jekyll..
    Really? Most aspects of bike design have been pretty static since 1895. Clearly, the move is away from single-pivot to linkages, and from the standpoint of keeping the suspension active under pedaling and braking, that makes sense. From a geometry perspective, a Jekyll with a 140mm front fork seems darn near identical to a modern 26" AM bike. But I guess that's the fundamental question - can you build 70% of the bike for 50% of the price? I'm leaning toward buying an Anthem or Solo...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    For 1500-1700, I'd look for a used 2009-11 RZ 140 with a Lefty.
    If I decide to get a newer bike, I'm just going down to the LBS and handing over my credit card for something carbony with XX1 and XT brakes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorn240 View Post
    If I decide to get a newer bike, I'm just going down to the LBS and handing over my credit card for something carbony with XX1 and XT brakes.
    Cool, many new rigs are coming in with 1x11. I'm jealous, but have yet to trash my 3x9 set up.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  10. #10
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    Frugal or Foolish? Upgrading a 2004 Cannondale Jekyll to a modern trail bike?

    Damn. If you're going new, you're going all out eh? Just starting to consider it myself. Interested in the Cannondale Trigger (which Bike Magazine loved) but can't say I'm dissatisfied with the old Jekyll. Makes it hard (for me) to justify throwing down that kind of
    Money. If I did go new I'd probably go frame only and transfer over parts the. Slowly upgrade. I kinda enjoy that process.


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  11. #11
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    It's one way to avoid the incremental upgrade treadmill. Though XX1 and Shimano brakes on the same bike seems a little unlikely on a stock bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    One option would be to see if the 2004 can go 650b....we have a 2006 Rush that is my wife's and we went 650b with that last year and she loves it. I'm converting my 2008 Rush as I type......and by "converting" all you need is wheels and tires....and a cassette if you want to be able to swap back and forth.

    Between 650b, maybe a shock from Push and a lefty rebuild etc. you would be feeling pretty good.....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumper71 View Post
    If I did go new I'd probably go frame only and transfer over parts the. Slowly upgrade. I kinda enjoy that process.
    Yeah, the parts on this rig are a mix of 2004 Truvativ, Deore, and XT. Not much worth saving; otherwise, I like that path too.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    It's one way to avoid the incremental upgrade treadmill. Though XX1 and Shimano brakes on the same bike seems a little unlikely on a stock bike.
    Nah, the SC stock builds are pricy for what they are anyway. I'll build one up as I like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by River19 View Post
    One option would be to see if the 2004 can go 650b....
    For anyone looking at this thread in the future, I can confirm this won't work. Rear barely clears my 26x2.25 Nokian Extremes. Manitou Black won't fit a 650B either, but obviously some Fox forks will. But a 650B '04 Jekyll is not doable.

  14. #14
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    Well I guess that kills the 650b option......too bad.

  15. #15
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    I bought my Jekyll 1000 new in 2004 and have had 10 fun years of riding it. Until the suspension started to die, this year. First the Lefty dampening blew a seal. Cannot get it rebuilt (I've done a ton of research) but cannondale offered a $300 discount on a new lefty. A new alloy lefty is $999. To switch to a two blade set up, it would cost about the same (reducers, fork and stem). In the process of deciding on this option I sent the rear shock (manitou swinger spv - NOT the more common fox option) to get rebuilt. I'm in $175 on that and then noticed the trunnion (also known as the yoke) mount is cracked. Been looking for a replacement for 2 weeks and no luck. Most machinist won't take this on for liability reasons and if they would, minimum charge is $200. Turns out cannondale (only) used this shock and trunnion for one year on one model . No equal or swappable part.

    I just bought a 2013 SC Superlight 29er on sale for $1,950 (new) and it has advanced my riding to the moon.

    TRY SOME MORE BIKES, and do not sink another penny into the Jekyll. Obsolete! Oh, and I've own(ed) 10 other c-dales. I WAS sold on made in USA (c-dales are not anymore). If that is important, Turner, Yeti and Intense make some excellent machines! I just couldn't afford them.

  16. #16
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    Yowsers, bdpickle, you feel strongly about this! Sorry to hear about your troubles. My bike is set up with a regular fork, so swapping to a 1 1/8-1.5 tapered fork will cost me about $50 for the headset plus the fork cost, and I actually just rebuilt the Fox rear damper. The yoke breaking is definitely a real drag! Sorry to hear that.

    If I buy a new bike, I'd likely go Ventana, or maybe SC or Ibis or Giant.

  17. #17
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    when you reach the bottom...

    "First the Lefty dampening blew a seal. Cannot get it rebuilt (I've done a ton of research) but cannondale offered a $300 discount on a new lefty."

    Thanks to MTBR, in reading through a thread, I found salvation: Mendon Cyclesmith. I'm sending him the lefty from my Jekyll and the one on my wife's Prophet.

    "and then noticed the trunnion (also known as the yoke) mount is cracked."

    AAAAND, he is going to look through his stuff for a trunnion for me. My son is positively giddy about getting the Jekyll back on the trail!

    Cheers to you, Craig at Mendoncyclesmith

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