The Moterra Neo 3 represents all that’s good with the modern e-mountain bike. For today’s product feature we’re taking a detailed look at Cannondale’s latest full-fat e-MTB spec’d with Bosch’s most powerful Performance Line CX motor and a super-efficient 750Wh PowerTube battery; providing endless amounts of pedal assistance the Moterra Neo 3 is ready to make your riding sessions way more fun.
Built to go the distance, the Moterra Neo 3 boasts a super-efficient Bosch 750Wh PowerTube internal battery.
The all-new Moterra Neo range launched in April, with all 5 models featuring the larger capacity 750Wh battery, making ‘range anxiety’ a thing of the past. With a mix of carbon fibre or aluminium frame options each one is tailored specifically to suit certain styles of riding as well as different budgets with all Moterra Neo bikes featuring Bosch’s Performance Line CX motor controlled by their SmartSystem software, viewed on a compact Kiox display. The Moterra Neo 3, constructed from SmartForm C1 alloy is already a popular choice here at Wheelbase thanks to its relatively affordable price point, dependable Bosch drive system, capable suspension configuration and intelligently spec’d componentry.
At the heart of the Moterra Neo 3 is that powerful Bosch Performance Line CX motor featuring pedal assistance with a torque of up to 85Nm, giving instant and powerful acceleration while being more compact and quieter than its predecessor. The motor includes 5 different modes to select from as you ride; choose from Sport, eMTB, Tour and Tour+ or use Auto mode which automatically regulates the level of assistance between Tour and Turbo depending on the riding situation. A full-on e-MTB like this will no-doubt encourage you to head out into the most technical terrain; at some point, regardless of how powerful the Bosch motor is you’ll find physics playing their part in forcing you to dismount and push up the very steepest, lose terrain. The last thing you want to be doing is pushing an e-MTB up that sort of incline, but thankfully Bosch have got this covered; Smart Walk will power the bike’s rear wheel as you hike, while the Hold Function activates to stop the bike rolling backwards, working for 10 seconds without the brake being applied.
A powerful 250W Bosch Performance Line CX motor brings the Moterra Neo 3 to life, helping you skip up the climbs with little effort.
Using a combination of their eBike Flow App and the Kiox 300 display unit you’ll be able to custom tune how the Moterra Neo 3 rides and understand exactly how the bike is performing, with both the drive system’s stats and your own fitness data including power, cadence and calories burned all in front of you on a compact but clear display which can be understood at a glance. With the Kiox 300 display connected to a small LED remote located on the left of the handlebar you’ll be able to toggle through each riding mode, operate the Kiox display and perform updates to the SmartSystem when required.
The Moterra Neo 3 is controlled by Bosch’s sophisticated SmartSystem software and is viewed on the simple Kiox display.
The compact Bosch LED remote on the left of the handlebar lets you toggle through motor modes, helping you to ride more efficiently.
We’ve already mentioned that the full range of Cannondale Moterra Neo e-mtb’s all feature the large capacity 750Wh battery; in fact this is one of the bike’s main headliners thanks to its increased range over a 625Wh battery option that used to be top of the tree. The PowerTube 750 battery is stored neatly in the downtube and all but eliminates any potential for ‘range-anxiety’ during the type of rides which see you constantly seeking increased pedal assistance to help you negotiate tough terrain. Recently we rode a similar e-MTB from a rival brand with the same Bosch 750Wh battery up to the top of the gruelling Helvellyn mountain and back down again, taking in 11.5 miles over 1.5 hours and including some extremely steep gradients. Despite those demands on the 750Wh powered e-MTB there was still an amazing 55% of charge remaining at the end of the ride, giving an indication of just how efficient this system is when it comes to taking on long, demanding mountain bike rides.
Charging the large-capacity 750Wh battery is quick and simple, with the Bosch 4A charger attaching just above the motor.
The large 750Wh Bosch PowerTube internal battery can be removed and charged off the bike or stored separately while transporting the bike.
This model is constructed from SmartForm C1 alloy rather than the carbon fibre that you’ll find further up the Moterra Neo range; helping to hit a more competitive price point with little or no compromise. Aluminium tube manufacturing and bicycle frame building have evolved so much in recent years that brands such as Cannondale are now able to almost completely mirror the same frame profiles as their carbon options while engineering in comparative strength, stiffness and responsiveness. A burly long-travel e-MTB like the Moterra Neo, built for hard riding on tough terrain needs to be robust and durable; the SmartForm C1 alloy chassis is more than up to the job.
The Moterra Neo 3 is constructed from Cannondale’s superlight, tough SmartForm C1 alloy.
That large diameter headtube helps to ensure steering is sharp and precise even in the most demanding riding conditions.
The SmartForm C1 alloy frame is stiff and strong, featuring some beautifully-crafted tube profiles for a responsive chassis.
The Moterra Neo 3 features 150mm of plush front and rear suspension travel facilitated by a Rockshox Deluxe Select Debonair rear shock with 2-position adjustment out back and a pair of RockShox Yari RC forks upfront. It’s a big clue to how Cannondale see this e-MTB being ridden – hard! With both the rear shock and the front fork being tuned specifically to accommodate the extra demands of an e-mountain bike (i.e. increased speeds and force) these customisable shocks can be tailored to suit you and your riding style and are ready to help really open up your riding on a bike that has been designed specifically to handle even the most aggressive forms of gravity-induced riding.
That RockShox Deluxe Select DebonAir air shock helps to facilitate 150mm of rear travel, helping the Moterra Neo 3 cope with big hits.
Upfront the RockShox Yari RC with 150mm of plush travel makes the perfect companion to the RockShox rear shock.
The RockShox Yari RC’s have been tuned specifically to meet the demands of aggressive e-mountain biking.
When it comes to the Moterra Neo 3’s drivetrain (the same sort of gearing that you’d find an acoustic, non-eMTB and extra to the bike’s Bosch pedal-assist system) Cannondale have put together a clever mix of components from the Shimano Deore and XT groupsets. A simple 1X configuration sees a single 34T chainring upfront combined with a wide-ratio 10-51T 12-Speed cassette on the rear wheel to give you every possible gear ratio you could need regardless of whether you trying to complete a super-steep climb with no dabs or are careening downhill at full-chat.
The Moterra Neo 3’s drivetrain is made up of a mix of Shimano Deore and XT components.
A 12-speed Shimano XT rear derailleur makes short work of each gear selection, with the chain moving smoothly up and down the rear cassette across the gears with precision. The XT rear derailleur includes a clutch mechanism to add increased tension to the chain helping to prevent chain-slap on rough terrain and keeping the chain securely located on your chosen cog. On the right of the bike’s handlebars there’s a simple Shimano Deore trigger shifter allowing you to select any one of the 12 gears available; each press of the shifter is crisp and light with gear selection being instantaneous. Cannondale have made a smart move by including a small eThirteen chainguide too above the chainring to further eliminate the possibility of dropping your chain when your riding gets particularly rowdy.
A 12-speed Shimano XT rear derailleur with clutch mech provides precise gear selections in all riding conditions.
The 12-speed Shimano Deore trigger shifter gives a light feel to every gear change.
Cannondale have included an eThirteen chain guide to help ensure there’s no possibility of a dropped chain when your riding gets rowdy.
Needless to say, the Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 is capable of carrying A LOT of speed thanks to that powerful Bosch drive system, large amounts of suspension travel and its fast-rolling 29” wheels. Carrying plenty of speed into tight, technical terrain means things can get out-of-hand very quickly and the need to scrub off speed and remain in control becomes critical; with this in mind Cannondale have spec’d a pair of powerful SRAM DB8 brakes, opting for 4-piston hydraulic calipers matched up with large diameter rotors to slow you down quickly and effectively in any riding conditions. The DB8 brake levers feel great in your hands with just the right amount of lever pull giving positive and powerful braking even when you’re just braking with one finger.
The SRAM DB8 hydraulic brake levers have just the right amount of pull and feel instantly responsive.
Powerful SRAM DB8 hydraulic brake calipers and large-diameter rotors provide plenty of stopping power even when you’re negotiating the steepest of drops.
Just like any good modern trail bike (regardless of whether it’s an e-MTB or an acoustic) the Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 boasts a pair of fast-rolling 29” wheels. As technology has improved the overall weight of these wheels has magically decreased at the same time as them becoming stronger and more durable – some kind of voodoo! The geometry of today’s trail bikes has improved significantly too brilliantly accommodating the larger wheels with no negative impact on handling, making the spec of the super-fast 29” wheel option a total no-brainer. A pair of 29” WTB ST i30 TCS wheels featuring super-wide & strong rims shod with a clever combination of front and rear Maxxis tyres adorns the Moterra Neo 3; a 2.6” wide Maxxis Minion DHF downhill-specific front tyre provides enhanced control on tight, lose turns while a 2.6” Maxxis Rekon on the rear features a less aggressive tread pattern to strike the balance between just the right amount of traction and being able to roll fast with little resistance.
Fast-rolling 29″ WTB ST i30 TCS wheels with wide rims are particularly durable and are ready to handle hard off-road riding.
A good tyre choice can really enhance the handling of your bike; a 2.6″ wide Maxxis Minion DHF front tyre provides unprecedented control.
Cannondale have spec’d a Maxxis Rekon on the rear, substituting a little of that enhanced control for a more efficient, faster-rolling tyre.
Rounding out the Moterra Neo 3 is a collection of well-thought-out components from Cannondale including a DownLow dropper seatpost to help you get your saddle out of the way on steep descents. The internally-routed cable activated dropper lever sits on the left of your handlebars; it’s simple and clutter-free meaning it doesn’t interfere with the Bosch remote that’s already taking up valuable real estate on your bars. A Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport saddle with steel rails features a sensible profile which will suit most riders while an additional layer of protection on the corners of the saddle will help prevent scuffs and abrasion in the event of a crash.
The Cannondale DownLow dropper post with cable-activated remote instantly get your saddle out of the way for technical descents.
A 780mm wide alloy Cannondale 3 Riser handlebar gives you plenty of control and helps you muscle the Moterra Neo around tight turns as well as helping to give a really stable feeling when you’re straight-lining the bike at speed. There’s plenty of attention to detail on the Moterra Neo 3 too with the American brand fitting a significant piece of protection to the downtube in the form of a rubberised skid plate as well as a substantial chainstay guard. Elsewhere there’s the inclusion of a mount allowing you to retrofit a kickstand, which on first impressions seems a little unnecessary, however we do get a lot of our e-bike customers asking for them simply because it makes it easier to park up at mid-ride café stops etc. rather than risking leaning their e-MTB against a wall only to watch it slide expensively to the ground, taking the paint off the frame just as you sit down to enjoy your decaf soy latte.
Nice little details include a substantial chainstay guard and injection moulded skid plate.
We get a lot of requests for kickstands on e-bikes, with a heavier bike, parking it up securely can be a concern, Cannondale have you covered with this mount.
Relatively speaking e-mountain bikes have come a very long way in a very short period of time; market-leaders Bosch are providing bike manufacturers with ever more sophisticated e-bike drive systems controlled by clever integrated software and constantly-improving digital technology for a truly holistic e-bike riding experience. Cannondale have been able to take such a system and build a really capable e-MTB around it utilising all that’s good with modern trail bikes including a tough and light chassis, sorted geometry, super-plush suspension, fast-rolling 29” wheels and a wide collection of components that are themselves evolving to cope better with the extra forces incurred from e-mountain biking. The Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 is a fantastic example of this evolution and really delivers on being an e-MTB that’s ready to enhance your riding and help you to explore further while encouraging you to ride harder and have more fun then you’re ever had before on a mountain bike.
Uphill or down, the Cannondale Moterra 3 has been designed from the ground up to enhance your riding experience.
Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 Geometry
- Frame: Moterra Neo, SmartForm C1 Alloy, 150mm travel, Proportional Response Tuned Suspension, removable downtube battery, injection molded skid plate, 55mm chainline, internal cable routing, 148x12mm thru-axle, UDH hanger, post mount brake, tapered headtube, 18mm two-bolt kickstand mount, integrated rear rack mounts
- Rear Shock: RockShox Deluxe Select, DebonAir, 2-Pos mode adjust, adjustable rebound
- Fork: RockShox Yari RC, 150mm, 15x110mm Boost, 44mm offset
- Motor: Bosch Performance Line CX 250W
- Display: Bosch Kiox 300 w/ LED remote
- Battery: Bosch PowerTube 750Wh
- Charger: Bosch 4A
- Chainset: FSA Bosch E-bike w/ 55mm chainline, 160mm, 34T
- Chainguide: eThirteen
- Cassette: Shimano Deore M6100, 10-51, 12-speed
- Chain: Shimano Deore 6100, 12-speed
- Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT, 12-speed
- Shifters: Shimano Deore M6100, 12-speed
- Handlebar: Cannondale 3 Riser, 6061 Alloy, 15mm rise, 8° sweep, 4° rise, 780mm
- Grips: Fabric FunGuy
- Stem: Cannondale 3, 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 0°
- Headset: Integrated Sealed Bearing, Tapered
- Brake Levers: SRAM DB8 hydraulic disc
- Brakes: SRAM DB8 4-piston hydraulic disc, 203/203mm rotors
- Wheels: WTB ST i30 TCS, 32h, tubeless ready rims, Stainless Steel, 14g spokes, (F) Formula 15x110mm thru-axle / (R) Shimano MT410, 12x148mm thru-axle hubs
- Front Tyre: Maxxis Minion DHF, 29 x 2.6″, EXO, tubeless ready
- Rear Tyre: Maxxis Rekon, 29 x 2.6”, EXO, tubeless ready
- Saddle: Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport, steel rails
- Seat Post: Cannondale DownLow dropper post, 31.6, 130mm (S), 150mm (M-XL)
Written by Johnny Dodgin
Photos by James Vincent
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