With the Cannondale SuperSix EVO NEO, the American brand expands its current E-road bike range. Can race geometry and a MAHLE Ebikemotion motor really work together? Find out what we thought during our first ride here.
Cannondale isn’t a new player in the E-road bike market. We previously had the Cannondale Synapse NEO SE for our E-road bike group test in summer 2019. With the SuperSix EVO NEO Cannondale go in a new direction, targeting a sportier segment of the market, where riders want to spend most of their time on tarmac. According to Cannondale, the EVO NEO is designed intended to appeal to sporty riders who haven’t yet gained much experience with road bikes. Simultaneously, the platform is also pitched as a means to even out any imbalances in fitness or ability within a roadie group. With a different focus, the SuperSix EVO NEO isn’t intended to compete directly with the Synapse NEO which is targeted more towards adventurers, all-road and gravel fans. Underlining the difference, instead of the Bosch Active Line Plus motor fitted to the Synapse NEO, the SuperSix EVO NEO is equipped with a MAHLE Ebikemotion X35 M1 motor, which we’ve previously tested against the competition. You can find our detailed E-road bike motor group test here.
What makes the Cannondale SuperSix EVO NEO special?
The geometry of the new E-road bike is identical to the non-motorised, high-performance Cannondale SuperSix EVO. Different to its sibling, the sizes of the EVO NEO are given in, for example, S, M or L, using a “t-shirt sizes” approach that should make it easier for inexperienced beginners to find the right size of bike. Cannondale claim that practicality was a top priority during the development of this bike. The Garmin hub speed sensor that comes as standard can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth to provide information on speed, riding time, calories burnt, length of your ride, as well as total distance travelled. That’s everything that the developers felt was particularly relevant for beginners but can also help with keeping track of service intervals. For owners, the Cannondale app can remind you of service intervals according to a specified mileage and changes to your setup as well as maintenance can be recorded too. In addition, the bundled sensor and app are automatically registered to help with any warranty claims should they occur.
The MAHLE Ebikemotion X35 M1 system is a rear-hub based motor that provides up to 40 Nm torque and 250 W power. It offers assistance up to 25 km/h (depending on your country). The battery is integrated into the down tube and has a capacity of 250 Wh. It is charged via a port located by the bottom bracket. An optional additional battery, disguised as a bidon, can be used as a separate power source or to charge the main battery. It also has a capacity of 250 Wh. The MAHLE Ebikemotion app offers numerous options, one of which is tuning the assistance modes to your personal preference or enabling the option for an “electric tailwind” that is regulated according to your heart rate.
Flawless finish – one of the most stylish E-road bikes around!
Cannondale didn’t just take inspiration from the SuperSix EVO in terms of geometry, but also the shaping of the tubeset. The aerodynamic design serves multiple purposes – reducing air resistance saves you energy at higher speeds and the battery’s while the motor provides assistance. Our test bike in size M (54), weighs 12.18 kg and is equipped with a 2×11 Shimano ULTEGRA R8020 groupset. Instead of Shimano’s cranks, Cannondale’s fit its own Hollowgram items with 50/34 chainring. Combined with the 11-34 t cassette, steeper ramps can be ridden gracefully. Just like the SuperSix EVO, the cockpit uses the integrated Hollowgram SystemBar SAVE with a 420 mm bar and 100 mm stem. Likewise, the D-shaped Hollowgram 27 SL KNØT carbon seatpost also stems from the non-motorised SuperSix. The 700 x 28C Vittoria Rubino Pro Graphene 2.0 tires should offer sufficient grip and have 6 mm of space on each side both at the front and rear. In theory, you could fit wider tires should you want to.
The geometry of the new Cannondale E-road bike
|Seat tube||400 mm||438 mm||477 mm||515 mm||536 mm||558 mm||579 mm||600 mm|
|Top tube||512 mm||520 mm||528 mm||546 mm||562 mm||578 mm||594 mm||611 mm|
|Head tube||99 mm||114 mm||130 mm||153 mm||164 mm||188 mm||209 mm||230 mm|
|Chainstay||408 mm||408 mm||408 mm||408 mm||408 mm||408 mm||408 mm||408 mm|
|BB Height||268 mm||268 mm||268 mm||271 mm||271 mm||273 mm||273 mm||273 mm|
|Wheelbase||979 mm||985 mm||994 mm||1,000 mm||992 mm||1,005 mm||1,016 mm||1,028 mm|
|Reach||370 mm||374 mm||378 mm||384 mm||390 mm||395 mm||400 mm||406 mm|
|Stack||504 mm||519 mm||534 mm||554 mm||574 mm||594 mm||614 mm||634 mm|
First ride impressions
The slim silhouette of the SuperSix EVO NEO 2 exudes a sporty image, not making it immediately obvious that this is an E-road bike. We like the design with its restrained branding and neat paint job! It’s especially the reflective decals that are unobtrusively integrated into the overall setup where they can offer some additional safety – win-win!
When pedalling, the stiff bottom bracket of the Cannondale elicits a direct response even without the motor activated. It’s only the comparatively heavy aluminium wheels that detract noticeably when accelerating. Depending on the assistance mode selected, the support of the motor ranges from a subtle to significant boost. The X35 M1 hub motor exhibits its best efficiency not at slow speeds but between 15–25 km/h. In contrast to other systems, the MAHLE Ebikemotion motor ‘s assistance isn’t based on cadence or the power input from the rider, but the relative rotation of the freewheel and hub. At significant inclines of up to 12%, the motor convinced us with its steadfast assistance. However, where it got steeper, the hub motor reached its limits and required a lot of input from the rider. In terms of pedalling, the rear hub motor design allows for a typically narrow road bike q-factor, meaning you won’t have to get used to a weird position. Once you understand and get used to how to operate the remote in the top tube, it’s easy to change assistance modes. However, as you have to remove one hand from the bars to change mode, you should take care to do this only when you are fully in control.
Reflecting decals are a genius idea. Why don’t we see these more often?
The high level of comfort on offer was a positive surprise for our testers. Despite the integrated motor, Cannondale have managed to achieve a bike with very good vibration damping. No doubt the high-end components, such as the seatpost and cockpit that have been inherited from the SuperSix EVO, make a positive impact here! The Vittoria tires convinced us thanks to their high level of comfort and excellent grip. While the riding position here isn’t overly stretched, the kinship to a high-performance road bike is nonetheless obvious. Indeed, without any spacers under the cockpit, the saddle to bar drop becomes very sporty.
The handling of the SuperSix EVO NEO 2 convinced us with its high level of stability. On the downhills and at high speeds, the EVO NEO is confidence-inspiring and lets you ride at your limit, eking out every last bit with the energy saved on the uphills. Large-radius corners and quick straights are the Cannondale’s speciality. In contrast, quick or sudden direction changes are somewhat more difficult due to the bike’s limited agility. The relatively slack head tube angle and the weight bias towards the rear of the bike become noticeable here. By moving your weight further forward, you’ll be able to counteract this trait to some extent. Due to the cable routing through the steerer tube, the steering angle is limited. While riding, that’s not a problem, but keep it in mind for stops at the traffic lights or the cafe where it might catch you unawares.
Conclusion of the Cannondale SuperSix EVO NEO
Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO NEO is a sleek and well-styled addition to its E-road bike portfolio and offers both beginners and experienced riders a full range of practical features. The high stability, which conveys a feeling of security and the pleasant comfort are the clear strengths of this new E-platform. While dedicated road riders will appreciate the compact q-factor and sporty geometry, leisure riders will probably wish for more motor power on steep climbs.
- road bike feeling thanks to the geometry and narrow q-factor
- stable ride
- good vibration damping
- lack of precision when riding aggressively
- limited power of the motor on steep inclines
For more information head to cannondale.com
Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Valentin Rühl