Cannondale's New E-Bikes are Confident and Comfy

They are "simple, comfortable, and incredibly easy to use."

Cannondale Neo with birds


It's a mantra on Treehugger that for the electric bike boom to continue, we need good affordable bikes, safe places to ride, and secure places to park. We also need bike manufacturers who understand their market. That's what's so interesting about Cannondale's new Adventure Neo series of e-bikes: the company seems laser-focused on building a bike that is "simple, comfortable and easy to use."

Much of the 160% increase in e-bike sales in 2020 came from people who had never been on an e-bike before. They are often older and see the e-bike as a way to go longer distances and deal with hills. They are often women, who have long been under-represented in bicycle use. Many are commuters who are looking for contact-free alternatives to public transit but are not that familiar with bikes, let alone e-bikes. This bike seems designed for this crowd.

seat post with dropper


The Neo series starts with a "confident, upright riding position," a step-through frame that makes it easy to get on and off without a big swing of the legs. Some models have a dropper seat post, a technology developed for mountain bikes but which lets you get on the bike with the seat really low, where you can keep both feet on the ground, but then lets you raise the seat to the most effective and comfortable pedaling position. It's got a big comfy seat on a shock-absorbing post, shock-absorbing front forks, and tires with a comfy 2.2-inch width.

It's a pure pedelec with no throttle; you pedal and it pushes from the Bosch mid-drive, which has no lag, just totally smooth pickup. It's paired with removable downtube batteries starting at 400 watt-hours on the cheapest bike and going up to 625 watt-hours, which they say will push it a hundred miles, although that can vary widely. It can be charged while on the bike or off.

side of bike with motor


Since it is all designed for simplicity, I wish it had hub gears instead of a derailleur; they are lower maintenance and probably, more importantly, you can change gears while stationary. When I first got my Gazelle Medeo with the same arrangement, I often found myself in low gear at a red light and a struggle getting started. My daughter would often apply too much pressure in the wrong gear and pop the chain. When Gazelle designed their Ultimate bikes for this market, they also went for hub gears and belt drives, for even lower maintenance. But these all add cost as well as convenience.

The Neo even has a rear-facing Garmin radar to warn you if someone is coming up from behind, mounted on the solid carrier. The Neo 4 is $2,700, not out of line for a mid-drive bike bought in a store, and the prices go up from there. The video is fun:

Cannondale tells Treehugger that the Adventure Neo "is our solution to bikes as a go-to means of transportation, health & fitness, and adventure. The Adventure Neo is built with quality, comfort, and convenience in mind." But looking at the specs and the design, it seems clearly aimed at the newbie or the Boomer, which is fine; there are a lot of us. I suspect that Cannondale will sell a lot of these.

More at Cannondale.