With the Synapse NEO SE, the American cult brand Cannondale sent us its E-gravel bike for our group test. Read on to find out how the Bosch system fares on and off road.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best E-road bike of 2019! – 13 of the most exciting models on test

Cannondale Synapse Neo SE | 18.45 kg | € 3,699 | Bosch Active Line Plus

Although the Cannondale Synapse NEO SE fits only partially into the E-road category, our group test isn’t afraid to look outside of the box, letting the most relevant concepts compete against each other instead. Thus, the Synapse NEO SE is one of two Bosch driven ebikes in the test field. In direct comparison with its Bosch competitor, the Moustache, the InTube battery integration is a real plus, with the 500 Wh battery hidden under a cover in the down tube of the aluminium frame. The grey finish looks good in combination with the tan wall 650B WTB Byway tires. While the tires actually measure 48.5 mm when inflated, the frame’s tire clearance remains generous. The numerous bosses for a front mech, two bottle cages, racks, mudguards and stands illustrate the versatility of the frameset. In contrast to the Moustache with the new Bosch Kiox display, Cannondale rely on the classic Purion display. With a 1×11 SRAM Apex 1 HRD groupset, 160mm rotors front and rear, WTB ST i29 TCS 2.0 wheelset and aluminium Cannondale components for the cockpit and seat post, the 18.45 kg Synapse NEO SE in size L is the heaviest bike in the test.

Helmet POC Octal | Glasses POC Aspire | Jersey PAS NORMAL STUDIOS Mechanism | Bibs PAS NORMAL STUDIOS Mechanism | Socks PAS NORMAL STUDIOS Logo Socks | Shoes Dromarti Leather

The Cannondale Synapse Neo SE in detail

Motor/Battery Bosch Active Line Plus 500 Wh
Drivetrain SRAM APEX 1 HRD, 1×11
Gearing 44 T und 11–42 T
Brakes SRAM Apex 1 HRD 160/160 mm
Stem Cannondale C3, Alu
Handlebar Cannondale C3, Alu
Seatpost Cannondale C3, Alu
Wheels WTB STi29 TCS 2.0 mit Formula-Naben
Tires WTB Byway TCS 650B x 47 mm

InTube battery
In contrast to the Bosch driven Moustache, the battery is nicely integrated.
The Purion display is not as good as the Bosch Kiox display in terms of readability and usability.
Getting in touch
The cranks of the Cannondale rub on the non-drive side housing of the Bosch Active Line Plus motor.
All things are possible, but nothing is mandatory
With so many attachment points, you’ve got a lot of room for accessories.
Size S M L XL
Top tube 535 mm 552 mm 576 mm 597 mm
Seat tube 445 mm 490 mm 535 mm 580 mm
Chainstays 438 mm 438 mm 438 mm 438 mm
Head angle 71.0° 71.0° 71.0° 71.0°
Head tube 126 mm 157 mm 191 mm 222 mm
Seat angle 74.0° 74.0° 73.5° 73.0°
Reach 378 mm 387 mm 396 mm 408 mm
Stack 547 mm 577 mm 609 mm 638 mm

The Cannondale Synapse Neo SE in review

Thanks to the powerful Bosch Active Line Plus motor, the Cannondale accelerates quickly, despite its weight. However, it takes a lot of effort to maintain the bike’s speed above the 25 km/h threshold. As long as you stay below 25 km/h (optimally at a cadence of 75–80 rpm), the bike invites you to leave the paved roads whenever you want. On the trail, the handling of the Synapse NEO SE is very stable. However, you should stay in Eco mode as otherwise it becomes difficult to control the powerful Bosch motor. Going downhill, the Cannondale tracks very well whether on asphalt or gravel roads. However, the tall and agile front end can feel a bit overwhelmed when standing out of the saddle to climb, with the front wheel tending to wander. The sluggish rear end also has a hard time keeping up with fast direction changes. Geometry aside this behaviour is largely due to the bike’s comparatively high centre of gravity, which is a result of the position of the Bosch InTube battery.

Tuning tip
carbon seat post for more compliance at the rear

The Cannondale seems indestructible – racks on and off into the outback!

In terms of comfort, the Cannondale has to rely on the wheelset, tires and carbon fork, given that the aluminium frame, cockpit and seat post are only able to offer minimal compliance. Overall, the bike’s amount of compliance is limited. In contrast to the newer Bosch Kiox display, you have to take your hand further from the handlebar to change modes on the Purion display but it shows you all the most important information you need while you’re riding. Despite having the same motor as the Moustache, the Q-factor is minimally narrower here thanks to narrower cranks. However, we they occasionally scuffed against the housing of the Bosch Active Line Plus motor when pedalling.


The Cannondale Synapse NEO SE is an extremely sturdy gravel travel machine with a snazzy look! Relaxed riders who want to explore new landscapes, especially those who like to ride beyond asphalt roads and have no desire to rider faster than 25 km/h, will get a solid bike at a fair price. The optimum cadence for the Bosch motor harmonises well with the type of riding this bike is good at.


  • powerful and proven Bosch motor
  • a lot of attachment options
  • lots of tire clearance


  • sluggish over 25 km/h
  • not the most comfortable
  • cranks sometimes rub against the motor’s housing

Riding Characteristics



  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Fun factor

  1. boring
  2. lively

Motor feeling

  1. digital
  2. natural

Motor power

  1. weak
  2. strong

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

Synapse Neo SE

Size: S M L XL
Weight: 18,45 kg
Motor: Bosch Active Line Plus
Motor torque: 50 Nm
Battery Capacity: 500 Wh
Price: € 3,699

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Everyday/Commuting 3

For more info head to:: cannondale.com

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best E-road bike of 2019! – 13 of the most exciting models on test

All bikes in test: Bianchi Aria e-Road | BMC Alpenchallenge AMP ROAD ONE | CENTURION Overdrive Carbon Road Z4000 | Coboc TEN Torino | FOCUS Paralane² 9.9 | LOOK E-765 Optimum Disc | Moustache Dimanche 28.7 | ORBEA GAIN M10 | Pinarello Nytro | Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL | Thömus Sliker E1 | Wilier Triestina Cento1 Hybrid Custom

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #012

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Words: Photos: Valentin Rühl, Benjamin Topf, Robin Schmitt