This time last year, the coronavirus pandemic-fueled bike boom was just beginning. But here in the spring of 2021, with the weather warming up and life slowly returning to (something resembling) normal, it's an equally great time to consider a shiny new ride.
And while Congress is beginning to discuss a juicy e-bike tax credit, Cannondale already has us drooling with its latest e-line, the Adventure Neo series, which just launched today.
While it may just be hitting the stores now, I spent this past Saturday test-riding one of the four bikes in the line — the Adventure Neo 3 EQ. Here are some quick takeaways from my first ride.
The Adventure Neo Is User-Friendly
I’m normally not a big step-through frame fan, mostly for aesthetic reasons. But after spending an entire Saturday on and off this bike, I must admit the utter lack of a top tube eliminates the pain of mounting and dismounting.
Another feature I love is the Adventure Neo's intuitive dashboard, which makes it easy to monitor speed (I topped out at 24 miles per hour on the downside of a bridge) and toggle through four levels of power assistance, which operate in conjunction with nine versatile gears. It took a team effort to figure out how to activate the lights (hold down the plus button for a few seconds), but once my fellow Riders for Black Lives and I did, they were mighty bright — which is quite nice in the midnight hour.
While the kickstand could stand to be a bit more substantial, it’s a godsend when stopping. And removing the battery from the downtube to recharge is remarkably easy. If I have one beef here, it’s that the lack of a top tube, combined with the weight (about 56 pounds), makes this beast rather awkward to tote up and down stairs.
This E-Bike Is Playful
The Adventure Neo 3 EQ has a couple of other features you won’t find on most urban e-bikes. First, it boasts a set of adjustable front shocks, which can be locked down for speed or opened up when you’re in the mood to hop curbs and plow through potholes...as I’m prone to doing.
Second, there's an element that’s becoming increasingly more mainstream: a handlebar lever-activated dropper post. You’ll find the ability to sink your seat almost universal on modern mountain bikes, an increasing number of gravel bikes — and now urban bikes, too. It makes sense: they're great for letting you get behind the seat when navigating rocky steeps, and cutting wind resistance on smoother descents.
These two features, combined with long battery life (see below), bode well for taking this bike well beyond city limits — and far off the beaten path.
This Cannondale Is All-Day-Ready
I know because I tried. On Saturday I left my Manhattan apartment just a bit after noon to attend a rally and march demanding justice for Breonna Taylor (who was killed in her apartment by cops, who still walk free to this day, a year ago this month). The event, which began in Brooklyn and crossed over a bridge to Manhattan, was a heartwarming reminder of how much people still care about racial justice. But as happens now and then, one of our fellow bike marshals got arrested in the line of duty, which ultimately meant a ride back to the NYPD's 75th Precinct waaaay out in East New York to do jail support till she got released.
But I digress. That extra mission turned out to be a great test of this bike’s Bosch motor and 400 watt-hour battery. I ended up covering close to half a century, and when I finally got home, I still had two power bars left — which is consistent with the brand’s claimed 65 miles of range.
Even with power, that’s a lot of riding. But this bike’s upright riding position, beefy 650x56mm tires, a cushy saddle and ultra-responsive hydraulic disc brakes ensured I got home safely — and without being too sore, either.