Cannondale’s two new e-MTBs look ready for anything

Habit NEO and updated Moterra get new Bosch motor, integrated lights, massive rotors and a downhill fork

Cannondale has just announced two brand new electric mountain bikes: the Habit NEO and the Moterra.

Advertisement

The Moterra name has been used before, but the 2020 version is new in all but the name. It’s built for gnarly riding with a 66-degree head angle, 160mm of rear-wheel travel and a 160mm fork — apart from the SE model, which uses a 180mm-travel RockShox Boxxer up front.

Cannondale Moterra SE
The Moterra SE is equipped with a 180mm travel RockShox Boxxer fork.
Cannondale

The Habit SE is more of a trail e-bike and gets a 140mm fork and 130mm travel out back, as well as a slightly steeper 66.5-degree head angle.

Cannondale Habit NEO 2020
The Habit NEO shares many features with the Moterra, but is aimed at mellower riding with 130/140mm travel. The top-spec bikes get an integrated front light.
Cannondale

Cannondale Moterra and Habit NEO frame features

Both use the new Bosch 2020 CX Line motor, which is more powerful, more compact and lighter than previous Bosch motors.

It also uses a conventional chainring (rather than a small chainring with a geared drive), which reduces drag when pedalling above the 25 km/h assistance limit.

Cannondale was the development partner for this new Bosch Generation 4 system. The top-spec bikes come with a large 635wh battery (though not quite as big as the 700wh unit you get on the top-end Specialized Turbo Levo), while the cheaper models get a more standard 500wh unit.

Either way, the battery is neatly integrated into the down tube.

Cannondale Moterra Bosch motor
The Bosch Gen 4 motor has a conventional-sized chainring for better un-assisted efficiency.
Cannondale

The motor is positioned far forwards in the frame which allows Cannondale to keep the chainstays (which are often very long on some full-suspension e-bikes) fairly short.

They measure 455mm on the Habit NEO and 450mm on the Moterra.

Cannondale Moterra Bosch Gen 4 motor
The motor is compact and mounted as far forward as possible to shorten the chainstay length.
Cannondale

There are four models of each bike, all of which use what Cannondale calls its BallisTec Carbon Front Triangle, along with an alloy rear end. Both bikes feature a skid plate to protect the motor.

Like with Cannondale’s regular Habit, the upper suspension linkage is tweaked slightly for each frame size so that the anti-rise (the effect of braking on the rear suspension) is similar for riders on all frame sizes.

Cannondale calls this proportional response, and it’s designed to compensate for the fact that taller riders will otherwise experience more brake dive due to their higher centre of gravity.

Cannondale Moterra link
The upper rocker link is positioned slightly differently on each frame size so the braking response is more similar for tall and short riders.
Cannondale

Component highlights

One (very literal) highlight is the inclusion of integrated lights in the top-spec Moterra 1 and Habit NEO 1.

The Super NOVA M99 Mini Pro front light is powered directly from the battery and is controlled via a button on the bar. This allows the light to be set to low-beam (450lm) for road-riding or high beam (1,150lm) for after-dark shredding.

Cannondale Moterra light
A powerful front light is powered by the battery in the top-spec bikes…
Cannondale
Cannondale Moterra light control
…which is controlled with a bar-mounted switch.
Cannondale

Unlike most e-MTBs, which typically use 650b wheels with 2.8in tyres, at least on the back, the Moterra and Habit NEO use 29in wheels with 2.6in tyres front and rear, apart from the size small bikes which use 27.5in x 2.6in tyres.

The Moterra SE comes with a dual-crown RockShox Boxxer fork, with 180mm of travel. This is rare to see on an e-bike, but the stiffer fork is sure to be a benefit when descending fast on such a heavy bike.

For similar reasons, all models of both bikes get a 220mm front rotor. This is pretty much unheard of on stock bikes, but makes sense with a heavy motor and 29in wheels, which have more leverage over the brakes than a smaller-radius wheel.

All things being equal, a  220mm rotor on a 29in wheel will provide just slightly more braking force than a 200mm rotor on a 27.5in wheel.

Cannondale Habit NEO front rotor
220mm front rotors make a lot of sense for 29er e-bikes.
Cannondale

Cannondale Habit NEO pricing

  • Habit NEO 1: £6,999.99 / €8,249 / $N/A / CAD$N/A
  • Habit NEO 2: £5,499.99 / €5,999 / $7,000 / CAD$$8,750
  • Habit NEO 3: £4,499.99 / €4,999 / $N/A / CAD$N/A
  • Habit NEO 4: £3,999.99 / €4,499 / $5,500 / CAD$7,000
Cannondale Habit Neo 4
The cheapest Habit NEO 4 looks like a pretty compelling electric trail bike option for £4k.
Cannondale

Cannondale Moterra pricing

  • M Moterra 1 (27.5/29 ): £ 6,999.99 / €8,249 / $9,000 / CAD$11,500
  • M Moterra SE (27.5/29 ): £ 6,199.99 / €6,999 / $7,000 / CAD$8,750
  • M Moterra 2 (27.5/29 ): £ 5,499.99 / €5,999 / $6,000 / CAD$7,800
  • M Moterra 3 (27.5/29 ): £ 4,499.99 / €4,999 / $8,500 / CAD$10,500

So are they any good?

We’ve not had chance to ride either bike yet because, apparently, it’s been difficult for Cannondale to get one to us simply because they’ve sold so fast.

Advertisement

We have just taken delivery of a Moterra 2 in size small, which weighs a pretty average 23.7kg, and we’ll let you know how it rides in the near future.