Cannondale’s contribution to the world of elite e-road bikes is its SuperSix EVO Neo, and rather than basing the design around a torquey, bottom bracket-mounted motor system, as it did on the original Synapse Neo, this latest Neo comes fitted with ebikemotion’s lightweight, rear hub-based motor system.
ebikemotion’s system has seen constant improvements since its launch back in 2017 (it was first seen with Orbea on the Gain range) and the recent acquisition of the company by German tech giants Mahle, who helped Specialized develop the Turbo Creo motor, has seen further investment into this lightweight option.
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo range consists of three models: the range-topping Dura-Ace Di2 equipped 1 (£8,000), the Ultegra-equipped 2 (£4,999), and the base model 3 (£3,600) with Shimano 105.
In its non-assisted form, the SuperSix EVO has been one of our go-to bikes throughout its illustrious history. It’s been the benchmark for race-bike ride quality and impeccable handling. So it’s good news that all of the Neos share the same frameset (based our current Road Bike of the Year, the SuperSix EVO), which makes for a racy-assisted machine.
Cannondale went with ebikemotion’s X35 system for its natural feel and lesser weight penalty – the range-topping 1 is claimed to weigh in at 11.3kg, while my Neo 2 tips the scales at 12.1kg in a Large.
The mechanical Ultegra groupset is joined by Cannondale’s own alloy RDe wheelset. It hasn’t skimped when it comes to the finishing kit, by including the aero HollowGram SAVE carbon bar and HollowGram KNØT stem, along with a carbon post and quality Prologo saddle.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 range
One of the biggest fears for any ebike user is ‘range anxiety’: running out of juice mid-ride. Of course, the bike can be ridden without power (there’s a setting to ride in the ‘off’ position), but while you don’t have any real drag from the systems, you are riding a bike that’ll be heavier than a standard one. That’s fine if you are pootling home across the fens, but it’s much more worrying if you are out conquering cols.
The Neo’s ebikemotion X35 system has an internal 252W/h battery with a claimed 75km range. I found that to be a bit of an underestimation as I reached a distance that busted the claimed range, managing 122km, with 1,124m of elevation.
If that’s not enough for you, though, ebikemotion has a range extending battery available that mounts into a bottle cage.
A caveat has to be put on these ranges, though, because ebikes are so dependent on various factors, such as the rider’s weight, the average speed, the topography and even weather conditions.
Remember, for most of the time during a ride you are going to be riding above the motor limit of 25kph, so the assistance only comes in when you really need it, such as riding into biting headwinds or on long arduous climbs.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 motor performance
Another thing to remember with e-road bikes is that they don’t give you a free ride; the bikes are at their best when you’re putting the effort in too.
Sitting up when you hit a climb to let the motor do the work will run the battery down quickly, limiting your range. But put in the effort and the bike works with you, with clever algorithms in the torque and power settings closely matching your cadence. If you’re putting in the lion’s share of effort, the systems won’t waste their own energy when you’re pushing yours. They just help maintain your efforts.
ebikemotion’s motor will drop around 250w of power into the drivetrain at its highest output and the system has three modes, each of which steps up to match your power input up to a max of 250w and 100 per cent assistance. ebikemotion rates its internal battery to 500 charge cycles with replacement batteries available through local dealers.
The clever app is where the motor settings and engine maps are altered to best match what you want in assistance. If you like the idea of launching away from traffic lights with bags of power on tap, you can have it. If you want to ramp down the power on climbs to make sure your training is better, you can do that too.
With the ebikemotion app, you can even link to a heart-rate monitor and match motor assistance to your heart rate (and an excellent measure of effort), in effect using the EVO Neo as a proper training tool for heart-rate zonal training rides.
The X35 motor goes about its business with little in the way of noise, while its minimal size is hidden on the driveside by the wide 11-34 cassette and on the non-drive by the 160mm disc rotor. This bike is one stealthy e-machine. Even when riding it with the motor off, the lack of drag means it just feels like a road bike, albeit a slightly heavier one than I’m used to.
Control of the Cannondale’s ebikemotion motor system is simple with colour coded lights on the control button denoting both power level and battery reserves. Press this top-tube mounted button (called iWOC 1) to turn it on and the ring LED shines white, press and hold and it turns green (low assistance), orange (medium), red (full).
This is also the battery level indicator: white is 75–100 per cent, green is 75–50 per cent, orange is 50–25%, red -25 per cent, flashing red means less than 10 per cent. It’ll connect with your phone via Bluetooth and the ebikemotion app when you switch on (it flashes blue for Bluetooth).
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 ride impressions
The bike is shaped like an EVO should be, so the reach is long and the stack is low. It has a racy road bike wheelbase of around a metre on the Large that I tested, and short racy chainstays, so the bike feels nimble.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||73.7||73.7||73.7|
|Head angle (degrees)||71.2||71.2||71.2|
|Seat tube (cm)||47.7||51.5||53.6|
|Top tube (cm)||53.4||54.6||55.7|
|Head tube (cm)||13||15.4||16.4|
|Fork offset (cm)||5.5||5.5||4.5|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||7.2||7.2||7.2|
|Bottom bracket height (cm)||27.1||27.1||27.1|
I love that Cannondale hasn’t compromised the EVO Neo. It hasn’t made it less of a road machine than its un-assisted cousin and it shows that the company is taking the EVO Neo seriously as a platform – and its riders seriously as sports riders too.
I think the claimed range-busting test figures I achieved are down to the fact that I rode it like a bike and not an ebike. On the climbs, the Neo is brilliant. The chassis is responsive and stiff in all the right places and it rewards your efforts with a power boost from the X35 that never takes precedence over your own endeavours.
The EVO Neo’s contact points are also fantastic. The SAVE bar’s shape offers a great drop – and comfortable holds on the hoods, and the flattened tops too – while the Prologo Dimension saddle is one of our favourite short designs. Its drivetrain is based around the legendary efficiency of Shimano’s mechanical Ultegra groupset – slick, efficient and dependable.
The alloy wheels make for laterally stiff yet comfortable riding, but I’d have preferred a racier tyre than the Vittoria Rubino to add a bit more spark to a bike that has plenty to begin with.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 overall
This Neo takes everything that’s great about the EVO and doesn’t lose that beautifully balanced combination of performance, handling and comfort when adding assistance. It feels like a genuinely accomplished road bike that just happens to help out the rider.
The Cannondale takes the absolute best of what the SuperSix EVO has to offer in terms of its pure race-bike heaven handling and adds in a very clever, light, tuneable and an incredibly useable e-assist system.
|Price||GBP £5000.00USD $6500.00|
|Weight||12.1kg (L) – as tested|
|Features||Charger: Mahle ebikemotion X35
Extras: Wheel Sensor, Cannondale bottle cage
|Motor||Mahle eBikemotion X35 250W, 250w/h internal battery, iWOC controller|
|Tyres||Vittoria Rubino Pro Bright Black, 700 x 28c|
|Seatpost||HollowGram 27 SL KNØT carbon|
|Saddle||Prologo Dimension Tirox rail|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Handlebar||HollowGram SystemBar SAVE Carbon|
|Available sizes||S, M, L|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Ultegra|
|Cranks||HollowGram chainset w/ OPI SpiderRing, 50/34|
|Brakes||Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disk|
|Wheels||Cannondale RDe 1.0 rims on Formula front hub and eBikemotion X35 rear hub motor|