First Ride: Cannondale's 2015 Trigger 27.5 and Jekyll

Mar 27, 2014 at 19:38
by Mike Kazimer  
FIRST RIDE
Cannondale's Trigger 27.5 and Jekyll

WORDS Mike Kazimer
PHOTOS Ale Di Lullo

With winter still clinging on throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, Cannondale chose to launch their 2015 Trigger 27.5 and Jekyll mountain bikes on the scenic southern coast of Spain, a region with perfect springtime weather, orange groves, and, as it turns out, a network of excellent trails. We were able to spend a day on each bike, just enough time to get an initial feel for their handling and general ride characteristics. But before going into our ride impressions, it's worth going over the changes that both bikes received for 2015.


Updated Lefty SuperMax Fork and Fox Dyad Rear Shock

The Lefty is the calling card of Cannondale's mountain bike lineup, an instantly recognizable, single sided dual crown inverted fork. Internally, the fork's stanchion slides on needle bearings and one bushing (compared to the two typically found on each side of a traditional fork), a design intended to reduce stiction and to prevent any binding under hard cornering. Based on looks alone, it's understandable that riders unfamiliar with the fork would have concerns about stiffness, but the dual crown, 46mm upper and 36mm lower combined with the square-within-a-square design of the internals goes a long way towards silencing these worries.


Fox Dyad RT2
Based on extensive feedback from team athletes Jerome Clementz and Mark Weir, Cannondale has altered the internals of the 2015 Lefty SuperMax to provide a more supple stroke with a wider range of rebound adjustment. To accomplish this, the shape of the internal piston has been changed, and the shim stack has been reconfigured. The tune of the fork depends on the bike model it is spec'd on, and the Trigger, with its more trail riding based design, gets the trail tune, 140mm version, while the 160mm fork on the Jekyll gets the enduro tune, which has a greater range of rebound adjustment.

Both the Trigger and the Jekyll use Fox's Dyad RT2 pull shock, a dual chamber system that allows for two different travel modes that Cannondale calls Flow and Elevate to be selected with the push of a handlebar mounted remote. The Jekyll has 160 or 95mm of travel, and Trigger riders can choose from 140 or 85mm. Swapping between the two modes changes the bottom bracket height by one centimeter and the head angle and seat angle by one degree. This change is due to the reduction or increase in the total amount of sag in each mode. Rebound and air pressure adjustment are independently adjustable for each mode, and although it does take a little longer than other shocks to set up, it's not any more difficult, especially now
that Cannondale has created a handy sag indicator that will come with all new Dyads, and can be retrofitted to any prior versions. Previously, set up had been a two person affair, since the pull shock made it difficult to sit on the bike and measure the sag at the same time, but the indicator makes this a thing of the past. In an effort to improve the Dyad's plushness and response to mid and high speed chatter the shock also received new compression valving and shim stacks for the longer travel Flow mode, along with a greater range of rebound adjustment. This new valving allows for the recommended sag to be reduced to 35% from 40%.



Cannondale Trigger 2015 Ale di Lullo photo
  Quick and lively, the Trigger was easy to get airborne over whatever obstacles the trail presented.

Trigger Ride Impressions

Cannondale touts the Trigger as a do-it-all, adventure bike, and with 27.5” wheels, 140mm of travel in its longer travel setting, and a 68° head angle, on paper it certainly looks capable of playing the part. Our ride began with a climb up a dirt road to a ridge that granted us views of the Mediterranean Sea and the coast line of northern Africa, followed by a winding, technical trail, filled with jutting limestone teeth, hungry for the taste of an XX1 derailleur. On the climbs, switching to the shorter travel Elevate mode makes an immediately noticeable difference, firming up the rear end and making the bike feel closer to a cross-country rig rather than a trail bike. Even when the bike was set to Flow mode it was a well mannered climber, and the longer travel setting provided extra grip and traction on the steeper, more technical bits of climbing, although the majority of our climbing was on the smoother side of things. The bike's fit felt comfortable, with the 60mm stem giving us enough cockpit room to achieve a proper climbing position, while also being short enough that the handling wasn't compromised on the descent.

  The 140mm travel Trigger with its Lefty SuperMax fork.

While it's not surprising that a light weight, full carbon trail bike climbs well, how did the Trigger handle the descents? As it turned out, quite well. Even while threading the needle in rock gardens full of shark fin shaped rocks the Trigger kept its cool, with a lively feel that made it easy to pop off of features or dive in and out of corners. The bike's quick handling didn't seem to hinder it when the trail pitched down a steep rocky chute either – we never felt outgunned, even on sections of trail that a longer travel bike wouldn't have been out of place on. On sections of extended braking the Magura brakes did seem to lack the stopping power of Shimano's benchmark XT level offering, but Cannondale does offer an XT equipped version of the Trigger. Schwalbe's Nobby Nics are also a little skittish when pushed hard – we'd likely opt to swap them out for something a little more predictable. The stiffness of the SuperMax fork was especially evident on the descents, and although at first it is slightly disconcerting to only see one fork leg, it quickly becomes an afterthought, and the performance of the fork on the Trigger didn't give us anything to complain about. Overall, we could see the Trigger working well as a daily driver for a good percentage of mountain bikers, with enough travel to take the edge off the rough stuff while still remaining a capable climber.



Jekyll Ride Impressions

The Jekyll will be Jerome Clementz's bike of choice for the 2015 season, and as the video above shows, he's off to a strong start on it. In addition to having Jerome on hand to showcase his ridiculous skills (and they are ridiculous – there aren't many riders on the planet as fast and smooth as the French phenom), Cannondale brought in the promoter of the Big Ride enduro series to lay out a two stage enduro race in order for us to try the bike in its intended environment. What better way to get accustomed to a bike than riding it for the first time in a race environment on unfamiliar trails, right?

As it turned out, there wasn't anything to worry about. When climbing, the difference between the Trigger and the Jekyll isn't as noticeable as it is on the descents. The cockpit positioning on the Jekyll is a little more upright, and the extra travel can be felt when climbing in the fully open Flow mode, but when switched into Elevate mode and with the Lefty's Pop Top button (a feature that firms up the compression to a nearly locked out state) engaged, its climbing performance was very similar. We will say that in the heat of a race it's easy to forget to engage the Elevate mode for a climb, and unless the climb was more than a few minutes long we'd probably just leave the bike in Flow mode, especially since it's just as easy to forget to switch back to the longer travel mode for the descent.

  The 160mm travel Jekyll rewards a rider who can take advantage of its nimbleness.

“Precise” would be a good description of the Jekyll's handling, and although it has 160mm of travel, the Jekyll isn't a bike for plowing willy-nilly into obstacles – this is a bike for bobbing and weaving like a skilled boxer, picking the fastest line and then speeding through it en-route to the finish. The smaller drops and jumps on the course were taken care of without any trouble by the SuperMax fork and the Dyad rear shock, although there weren't any larger obstacles to really push the bike to its limit. It would be nice to see an external low speed compression adjustment on the Lefty SuperMax - it felt like slightly more compression would help improve the fork's feel on sequential stutter type bumps, and being able to change this on the trail would be much simpler rather than diving into the internals to achieve this adjustment. Overall, the Jekyll certainly felt like a capable, race worthy rig, and we don't doubt that it can be ridden to the top of an Enduro World Series podium.

www.cannondale.com


85 Comments

  • + 57
 Step 1. Pick a favorite fork type. Step 2. Be a dick about it.
  • + 10
 Is that a 650b 160mm lefty? Yuck.
  • - 10
flag mtbrider619 (Mar 28, 2014 at 2:34) (Below Threshold)
 pinkbike is going crazy about this new model...i don't see any special about it
  • + 38
 Everything is ''special'' about his bike... Proprietary shock with on the fly attitude adjust, fork (no need to say all the stuff about it), the frames are a piece of art for stiffness and lightness and finally it doesn't look like a f*ckin Trek Session!

Need anything else?
  • + 8
 Nope! Need nothing else. All good here!
  • - 11
flag maxlombardy (Mar 28, 2014 at 11:24) (Below Threshold)
 the pick something and be a dick about it thing is getting pretty old
  • + 6
 It will never get old
  • - 9
flag maxlombardy (Mar 28, 2014 at 15:10) (Below Threshold)
 Simpleton.
  • + 6
 Well looks who's ensconced on their vertiginous equine steed.
  • - 4
flag Quesadilla34 (Mar 29, 2014 at 9:37) (Below Threshold)
 Hahahahaha, "screw ur xc and ur 650b"
  • + 4
 Thats incredibly cynical, but funny.
  • + 2
 Thanks for posting the link. I needed a laugh.
  • + 2
 I feel guilty for liking this fork now haha
  • + 2
 Long back end hey?
  • + 16
 Larger wheels and a lefty. That's like a perfect comment storm for the opinionated juice box crowd. I've never ridden a lefty and would be interested to give one of these a go to see how it feels. Taking opinions on bikes is a bit like asking advice from others on where to live: a) never take advice from people who have never lived there, b) when someone has lived there, gauge how similar or dissimilar their interests are to yours and weigh their opinion accordingly, and c) how many other places have they lived? If they can only name a few or if the others are dramatically different, weigh that as well. For those that have ridden the lefty's, do you notice the weight difference between the sides? and is there any additional or different flex to a traditional fork?
  • + 5
 Totally. Yeah the Lefty brings up a lot of questions for me. But they've been making it for a long time so clearly it's working somewhere for someone. I'd love to try one to see for myself.
  • + 3
 I was on the fence about the lefty until a racer buddy gave me an older carbon scalpel with a carbon lefty. No complaints here. And I am not easy on my bikes.
  • + 5
 snl, weightwise if you run your bike slack and low like I do my 'Dale and ride no-handed, yes you do notice the weight pulling to the left a bit. Practically, when riding the trails, you don't feel a thing - it shreds and jumps like you'd expect. As for flex, it is the lack of that impresses me most about the Lefty - mine is an old Max with Manipoo SPV damping, so not great, but the tracking is unreal - brutally efficient in high speed berms and g-outs where the single-crown forks I've ridden can be felt twisting. I can see why people might look at it and think it is flexy, but it just isn't - stiffer than my Boxxer DH fork - guess the large tube, dual crowns, and roller bearings stiffen it up loads. I have some background in engineering and can appreciate the design that has gone into the Lefty chassis. I would love a new Supermax - maybe in a few years I can afford a 2nd hand one! :'(
  • + 3
 I race XC on my F29 with the new Lefty PBR and it feels amazing, it's super stiff and smooth, I ride this bike all around because I can only afford this one haha. Not missing my single crown Marz 55 I had on my AM rig tho.
  • + 3
 @snl1200 There is absolutely, positively no weight difference from either side of a Lefty. Once you're up to speed and looking at the trail and not down the fork leg, you cannot tell the difference from a traditional fork. No, it doesn't 'pull', either. It's all on account of the geometry of your fork, wheel, and frame. I put in 600 km on a Cdale Rush with a 120 or 130 mm travel Carbon Lefty a few years ago. It was incredible. And they've only gotten better.
  • + 1
 i have a 2006 Prophet team replica with 140mm manitou spv valve(smokes propedal literally) left max.

Only problem is you can't adjust its stiffness like air forks with PSI. You need to change springs. Which sucks cus this is not like an RC truck. I am no mechanic.

I don't do drops more than 5 feet with it. But under 5 feet on drops I do feel less secure(no placebo) than normal forks. As for trailriding without any freeride hint, yeah, this thing is plush, but

put it up against any fork like, maybe white brothers forks, you will see that they will perform similarly. The merit is honestly just from the fact that stanchions are at the bottom. And I don't even know if these kind of forks sacrificed stability and safety VS forks with stanchions on top. The one sideness is a win loss in terms of stiffness and weight, and yeah having just one tube moving up and down theoretically makes it more responsive and smooth.
  • + 1
 @sngltrkmnd: Agree, the strut is opposite the crank arms. If you ride one and are a heavy weight you'll be amazed at how well the fork tracks. It goes where you point it. There is no wander in hard corners. I wouldn't ride anything else.
  • + 17
 Cue the lefty circlejerk in 3..2..1...
  • + 10
 Love it, love it, love it! Cannondale has no shitty bikes IMO.
  • - 18
flag freeskiiniskool (Mar 27, 2014 at 22:31) (Below Threshold)
 160mm of travel on a lefty is too much. i understand 100mm... maybe.
  • - 1
 LMFAO THAT PHOTO!
  • + 5
 It works great. The lefty will change your mind, and as far as the ego goes........just wait till you ride it, you'll be stunned! Btw the tortional stiffness on this bike is second to none. Fast responsive and hella light. The ultimate do anything bike.
  • - 3
 the ultimate do anything and suck at it bike. Unless of course, you are Chris akrigg.
  • + 5
 I was once a lefty skeptic like everyone else, because I never got to try one. Then I bought a Cannondale Scalpel a few months ago as I was in the market for a cross-country race bike, and it made me a believer. Although obviously I wouldn't use it at the bike park, because I have a Fox Van 180 on my Spec Big Hit for that purpose, the lefty definitely has a place in the realm of cross-country/trail.
  • + 0
 yep..which is why I am waiting for news on snapped supermaxs 160 coming in so they can return to making just the 140mm maxs.

haha but honestly though, changing the travel by 20mm doesn't do THAT much to the stiffness and abuse tolerance...right?
  • + 1
 @lyrill: Haven't snapped mine yet. With the right amount of sag you only expose maybe 80-100mm of stanchion.
  • + 6
 scroll scroll Oh I NEED this Trigger!! scroll scroll oh god no I need this Jekyll too...
  • - 1
 no you want it.
  • + 1
 Until you ride it. Then the want becomes need.
  • + 0
 wait so you really think that the need for a good bike is huge?
  • + 1
 Yes. If you can better your ride experience, why wouldn't you? These machines are revolutionary, you want one until you ride one... Then the want becomes need.
  • - 1
 what kind of a reward do you get from paying money to make riding less fun? Do you race or do you ride bikes to push your physical and mental limits and riding bigger stuff? Are you a freerider or just using Trigger or Jekyll to race xc/enduro?
  • + 1
 I don't think I understand your comments? These bikes are faster up, and faster down - with an increased level of safety due to them being a better bike. No racing is involved, however a better machine can also often result in a better ride - building a better rider.

I just bought a 2014 Trigger 1 29 Carbon for myself, AND a 2013 Trigger 1 29 Aluminum for the wife. Obviously cost is not an issue for me, regardless of how they are ridden. The bike bettered the ride significantly, more excitement and increasing our enjoyment - making them worth the price tag..............

NOW, the thing that I do understand is that you have a problem paying the price tag they command. So in essence you are cheap.......

However, remember that you are paying for the pinnacle of mountain bike engineering. With these bikes, you are buying the best the industry has to offer. They will age more gracefully, be relevant for longer, and be worth owning for a long period of time. Now considering Specialized's 29er is $9250, that makes my $7999 Trigger Carbon 1 sound like a bargain.

Unless you have a valid arguement - don't say another thing.
  • - 1
 I do actually. And it's called getting things at half priced and not everyone do it but hey if you wanna fill the role of feeding the greedy corporations go ahead.
  • + 1
 I don't know about you - but if my business sold everything for half price.. My doors wouldn't still be open. While you do your bike shopping at garage-sales... I'll be out riding Smile The basis of why we all come here..........
  • + 3
 So that weird lefty fork is only 11 grams lighter than the pike. The pike is pretty awesome, I'd have a hard time not having it on my bike. Other than that this bike has a really long chainstay and a high BB...... I'm out!
  • + 3
 The geometry is interesting and goes against some of the current trends. C-dale has some good racers on the bike and surely the geometry on the new bike is intentional. Maybe what makes a good race bike is different than what makes a good bike for fun shredding.
  • + 5
 Mmm - flat out stability and less pedal strike, I think there onto to something here nate35
  • + 2
 Dear pinkbike testers,

What do you think of the triggers switch to 27.5?
Did you prefer the 29 inch offering?

Personally I'd like to see the longer travel segment of 29rs remain intact but by all indications most companies are starting to downsize on 5-6 inch travel 29. Another example of the industry deciding what we will ride.

Currently riding/racing/romping a kona satori 150 front 135 rear and loving it.
  • + 0
 They are still offering the 29er w/130mm.. The 27.5" offerings are brand new, hence the media attention. There is enough debate over all of the wheel sizes - that I think 26/27.5 and 29 will all be around for time to come.
  • + 4
 Just realised that Jerome won the Enduro World Series with a 26 inch bike with a single pivot design which is supposed to be very arcaic
  • + 1
 It is definitely the rider
  • + 4
 it's always the rider. Haven't you watched Tokyo Drift.
  • + 1
 I rode a 130mm LeftyMAX yesterday. And i'll be honest. I didn't know I was riding a lefty, let alone ONLY 130mm of travel.

It's plain and simple. The Lefty is smoother than any other fork on the market due to it's needle roller bearings. Every other fork manufacturer is still using bushings!!!

The damping was out of this world... good enough that I took my high end Fox Equipped 7" travel bike in for a trade appraisal on a 29" wheel 130mm Lefty Trigger Carbon 1.

On the descent, I didn't know I wasn't on my DH/AM oriented bike - and it Climbed like I had a rocket pack attached to my back. There is a reason Cannondale is dominating the Enduro circuit right now... They build the best product out there.

Why Lefty and why Cannondale?? Why settle for anything less!
  • + 0
 My Prophet with the original Lefty Max is still a great ride. They took too long for thr new Jekyll to come out. It should be a 29 with 160mm. I'm getting a Specialized Enduro 29 instead, I;m sure the Jekyll is a great ride though - no need for haters.
  • + 2
 lawllawlawl. of course it's a great ride it's single pivot with a lefty. haters gonna hate but single pivots and lefties ARE insanely floaty. Only thing I want to see is Push industries rebuilding them. Did yours have spv valves by manitou?
  • + 2
 Never owned a C'Dale, why do they generate so much hate? Are they really that bad a ride? I know they go in for 'alternative' technology, so the question is: Does it work?
  • - 7
flag notphaedrus (Mar 28, 2014 at 0:06) (Below Threshold)
 designed by road riders and people who like big wheels.... often too steep and too heavy with high bottom brackets (oh and expensive too)
  • - 3
 3... 2... 1.............. boom!
  • + 6
 It's not so much alternative technology as it is an engineering exercise. Cannondale has always been an engineering company first and a marketing company second. They build bikes with technology they design and once they're satisfied, the marketing team has to figure out a way to sell it.
  • + 1
 @kubikeman - I couldn't have said it better myself. Anything that is drastically different generates hate. Fact of the matter is - the bikes WORK. I couldn't imagine owning anything else at this point.
  • + 0
 I would never buy a Lefty based on the name alone. I would consider one if the switched the orientation and called it a Righty . It would probably perform better and be more reliable as a result.
  • - 1
 dude..there's no difference really other than perhaps considering most people are right handed and that contributed to the fork positioned on the left. They want a single stanchion fork design with dual crown. They can't really put it inside the head tube can they? Oh wait they have done such a thing, but it's a city commuter bike with like 50mm travel below the head tube.

go figure.
  • + 2
 lyrill-My sarcastic Lefty/Righty political statement must of flown right by your head. Did you hear the woosh?
  • + 3
 Yeah but dude all disc brakes are designed to mount on the left?! Duh!
  • + 0
 I have no idea why you make political jokes with bike stuff.
  • + 1
 Lyrill- Do you really think Cannondale isn't aware of the ambiguous name "Lefty"? As brilliant as I am, I am not the first to make the joke.

That said. I would never buy a Lefty anyway . It is an answer the question, nobody is asking.
  • - 1
 why do you think they couldn't have simply made it on the right? Tell me there's a reason they chose left.
  • + 2
 All the designing companies go through, just to make it easier to fix a front wheel puncture....
  • + 1
 Err no you need only a hex wrench to take the lefty off the front wheel so no it's not about making it easier to change your tube.
  • + 4
 err you don't need to take the wheel of
  • + 1
 epicstormer are you talking to tombew or me.
  • + 4
 quite smart looking
  • + 1
 Having not ridden a Lefty yet, how does the dual crown arrangement effect handling on switchbacks?
  • + 1
 No different than any other fork attached to the same bike. It is the bike length, BB height, and head tube angle amongst many other factors which determine how the bike handles.
  • - 2
 It just occurred to me - how on earth do you set the sag in a Dyad shock? Maybe your mate slides the marker with you on the bike, then gets on the bike as well and a third mate reads the sag Big Grin
  • + 1
 Technically, you set it by adding or releasing air. How do you determine how much sag to run, they say in upwards of 40%. I do it visually, and based upon how the bike feels. There is no right and wrong, just faster and slower riders.
  • + 0
 It is definitely the rider
  • + 0
 wtf is with all this 2015 business? Who has forgotten it's the year 2014?
  • + 3
 They are one year ahead in Chili. South America, or below Panama is one year ahead.
  • + 0
 Why is he not using a lefty during the race?
  • + 0
 Because he didn't want to alter his setup that he has been used to racing on. Testing of the new 160mm and 140mm LeftyMax equipped 27.5" bikes has just begun. They are so new, you can't even order one until mid April. Jerome is many interviews clearly states that he does not want to alter what he is used to riding until the new season starts.

However, I'm sure some of that is brand (component sponsorship). Why does Aaron Chase run a Manitou on his Cannondale Claymore? He has to. Just like last year he had to run RockShox Wink
  • - 2
 They wouldn't let it lie........ they had to keep mentioning that 'half-fork' design with a cantilever wheel axle....
  • - 1
 No compression adjustment on the fork??..
  • - 3
 Im sure its fast and good to ride but Cannondale bikes will always look weird
  • - 1
 Geo*
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