Cannondale Moterra Neo 4, the perfect electric mountain bike for beginners

Cannondale Moterra Neo 4, the perfect electric mountain bike for beginners

Cannondale Moterra Neo 4

The Cannondale Moterra Neo 4 is one of the mountain bikes with assisted pedaling - in the jargon eMtb - most prominent on the market because it fully meets the demand of beginners and enthusiasts with little time available. After all, the electric does just that: it democratizes bike rides by letting the individual decide the level of physical and mental commitment.

But it is good to make a premise. First of all, the eMtb automatically detach the engine at 25 km / h, in compliance with the highway code, so on the flat and smooth surface they are a bit wasted. And the reason is due to the fact that the gear ratios tend to be short and do not favor speed, so the risk is to find yourself spinning your legs a lot without great results. Secondly, be careful to launch yourself in extreme climbs "because the engine is so high" since then there is always the descent and there the game becomes complicated.

In short, a Moterra Neo 4 can prolong the fun, make you reach distant places in safety and making you live unparalleled experiences in nature but it is still a bicycle with two wheels and therefore requires caution.

The first impact is configuration

The Cannondale Moterra Neo 4, like other similar models, it has important dimensions regardless of size. A large for example is recommended for those who are between 172 and 182 cm tall, but is still 125.9 cm long between the hubs and mounts 29-inch wheels. In an elevator, to understand each other, you have to put it vertically or remove the front wheel (in any case in a few seconds). In the car, either the seats are folded down and then the front wheel is removed (easily) or you need a bike carrier and tow hook; forget to put it on the roof.

At the time of delivery, the seller usually proceeds with the fundamental adjustments: he intervenes on the height of the saddle and handlebars, and on the shock absorbers. The first intervention is essential to find a correct balance between comfort and thrust capacity, while the second is mainly related to weight. In reality, the suspension chapter is a bit more complex because the most savvy riders also intervene in relation to the type of route, the type of tire and other elements. But in principle most riders can find the basic adjustment more than adequate in the shop.

The result is in fact to have a vehicle capable of withstanding any roughness, even the most "split" tracks. The only negative side effect is that on smooth surfaces it feels like you are pedaling on springs and technically it does not discharge all the force well to the ground. But even on this front Cannondale, like other brands, offers a solution: on the front right fork leg and under the central shock absorber there are respectively a ring nut and a lever that stiffen or block the dynamic dancer. In this way the front and rear become stable. After that, on the first descent or again on an uneven surface, you just need to intervene again with your hand: really easy, no tools needed.

There is only one detail missing before starting to pedal: the saddle is telescopic. This means that on the left side of the handlebar there is a lever that allows you to automatically raise the saddle to the set height and lower it by pushing it by applying a little force. What is it for? When sitting the rider's weight tends to weigh on the rear wheel, while lowering it a little (3-5 cm) the rider-bicycle center of gravity tends to move forward with obvious advantages, for example uphill. On the downhill, however, the need for a center of gravity shifted backwards - in order not to risk overturning - requires not only to stand on the footrests but also to lower the saddle so as not to be hindered in the movements.

In summary in the simplest exits the telescopic control is used only when it stops us, to get off more easily. In the more complex and demanding ones, every time you need more freedom of movement or a different sitting position.

Finally, the two gearshift levers are positioned on the right handlebar (for up and down gear) and the front brake lever; to the left are the rear brake lever and a sober double button to cycle through the power modes to choose from. The power button is positioned on the top tube of the frame while the small LCD screen to manage each function and access the most useful information is on the handlebar, next to the steering column.

The electric heart

Moterra Neo 4 is equipped with one of the most advanced electric motors in the sector, namely the Shimano EP8 combined with a 630 Wh battery. It can be charged directly via an external power supply and also wanting to unhook it to proceed in comfort directly at home. Autonomy ? Cannondale claims you can go up to 125km, but in reality it depends on the type of assistance mode used: Eco, Trail or Turbo.

In the tests I carried out in a wood where there were fairly easy and not too technical routes, I simulated the classic morning outings. For example, I covered 14 km of trails with a difference in height of 219 meters in about 70 minutes, obviously excluding breaks. Most of the time I rode in Eco mode and at a few moments of heavy uphill I switched to Trail. Turbo I activated it just to try it but it has such an intense boost that it needs an adequate fund.

How much did I consume with this ride? Not even one of the five notches that segment the autonomy available on the cycle computer screen. The central theme is that Eco effectively eliminates the hefty weight of the bike - around 26kg. It feels like riding a traditional aluminum mtb. Trail and Turbo, on the other hand, significantly increase the level of assistance and torque up to 85 nm. In summary Eco consumes little and requires a little effort; Trail is for the most challenging climbs; Turbo is the maximum help you can get.

Then if you want to play with the options you can download the Shimano E-Tube app and customize each parameter via Bluetooth. In practice, you communicate via smartphone with the engine and you can intervene to adjust the three modes at will by varying the type of power assistance (how much to step on the pedals), the level of torque and the speed of assistance induced by the start of the rotation of the crank. The more zealous will also like to customize the cycle computer, the switch and other details, but these are secondary aspects.

Shimano E-tube App

What matters is that Moterra Neo 4 is fun, but we decide how much to work. You can tackle a more or less long route without fear, but this does not mean that a pedal assisted mountain bike overturns the concept of bicycle or physics. The slippery surface will remain so and the descents have always descended, so it will not be an electric motor that will save you from a crazy and inadvisable braking with the front or from reckless speed or other lightness. Simply a bike like the Neo 4 is equipped to allow you to reach more distant or strenuous destinations that with a normal bike would require months of training. Some may legitimately argue that there is an ethic of effort to be respected, and the answer may be that not everyone has enough time to devote to their passions, so eMtb is a blatantly realistic option.

Some technical details

Moterra Neo 4 has a SmartForm C2 aluminum t elaio, which indicates a specific Cannondale configuration capable of absorbing impacts and reducing vibrations. The shock absorber that acts on the rear wheel is RockShox Deluxe Select R with 150 mm travel while at the front there is a RockShox 35 Silver R fork always with 150 mm travel. Both solutions are air operated in fact the regulation is done using a specific knob. The rear derailleur is a 12-speed Sram Sx Eagle, with Sram PG-1210 Sx Eagle 11-50 sprocket set. The hydraulic brakes are 4-piston Trp Slate G4 with 200mm discs. The steel rims are Wtb Stx i25 with 29 wheels.


Moterra Neo 4 is a latest generation electric mtb capable of satisfying the needs of any novice. An enthusiast will probably look to lighter carbon models or models with a more aggressive geometry. This Neo 4 is perfect for those who buy a product of this type for the first time and want to go on trails of varying difficulty. It offers safety and stability, more than the agility of a dancer. On the plane, even if it is unpaved, an eMtb with only the front cushioning is sufficient; the fully suspended (full in jargon) like this are ideal for tackling any situation, from the split to the descent between elms and chestnut trees. The list price of 5499 euros may seem high but the technological contents are all there. And fun is guaranteed too.

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