The Cannondale Adventure Neo 3 Is a Comfy, Easy-to-Live-With City E-Bike

·7 min read
Photo credit: Dan Chabanov
Photo credit: Dan Chabanov


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Takeaway: The Cannondale Adventure Neo 3 is a well-equipped commuter e-bike that can lighten your load while running errands or effortlessly take you off the beaten path.

  • Fenders, lights, and a rear rack all come preinstalled.

  • Suspension, 27.5-inch tires, and an upright riding position make for a very plush ride.

  • The Bosch motor provides plenty of assistance, so you won’t need a shower after getting to your destination.

Price: $3,000
Weight: 57 lb. (L)

Cannondale Adventure Neo 3 EQ Build Details

Style: Step-through commuter e-bike
Material: C3 Aluminum Frame
Wheel Size: 27.5-inch
Fork: SR Suntour Mobile A32, 63mm travel
Travel:
63mm
Drivetrain:
Shimano Altus, 9-Speed
Cranks: FSA Bosch E-Bike
Chainring:
38t
Cassette: Shimano HG200, 11-36t
Brakes: Tektro M275 hydraulic disc, 180/160mm rotors
Wheels: Formula DC-51 Hub, 15x100mm thru-axle (front); Formula DC-1422 Hub, QR (rear); Cannondale 2 Rims
Tires: Kenda Kwick Seven 5, 27.5 x 2.20-inch
Saddle: Cannondale Ergo Comfort
Seatpost:
TranzX suspension dropper post, 50mm travel
Handlebar: Cannondale E-Series Alloy, ergo back sweep, 680mm
Stem: Cannondale 3
Tire Clearance:
27.5 x 2.3

Cannondale Adventure Neo 3 Component Highlights

In the world of e-commuter bikes, the Adventure Neo 3 hits a happy medium between a traditional townie and a larger, more cumbersome cargo model. The EQ in the bike’s name stands for “equipped,” meaning that this model comes standard with lights, fenders, and a rear rack. The rack on the Neo can happily accommodate panniers or a lighter load (like a tote bag with a change of clothes) tied down to the top. These utility-focused features combined with 27.5 x 2.20-inch tires, a 63mm-travel Suntour fork, and a suspension seatpost make the Neo a city-capable bike with plenty of cushion to smooth out even the most beat-up paved and dirt roads.

Photo credit: Dan Chabanov
Photo credit: Dan Chabanov

The Bosch Active Line motor runs nearly silent and provides up to 40Nm of torque of assistance to get you up to speed. The simple handlebar remote clearly displays your speed as well as remaining battery life. The button layout is intuitive, and setting your desired level of motor assistance is as quick and straightforward as shifting gears on a conventional bike. All of this combines to make the Adventure Neo an easy-to-use alternative to driving in cities or for shorter trips.

Photo credit: Dan Chabanov
Photo credit: Dan Chabanov

The Cannondale Adventure Neo Family

There are currently four models in the Adventure Neo family, ranging in price from the $4,350 Neo 1 to the $2,700 Neo 4.

The 3 and 4 models share the same Bosch Active Line drive unit as well as the same 400Wh battery. But for the extra $300 it will cost you to step up to the Neo 3, you’ll get lights, fenders, a rear rack, a suspension fork, and a dropper/suspension seatpost. The Neo 4 is essentially a bare bike that you could accessorize yourself—if adding your own personal touch is important to you.

The higher-end Neo 1 and 2 models get more powerful Bosch motors (Performance Line and Active Line Plus, respectively) and larger-capacity batteries (625Wh and 500Wh). In Eco mode, the increased battery capacities boost the estimated range of the Neo 1 up to 85, 80 for the Neo 2. Both models also include all the accessories of the Neo 3 but upgrade to a more compliant Cane Creek Thudbuster suspension seatpost, forgoing the dropper.

Geometry

Cannondale offers the Adventure Neo in only small and large frame sizes, which can seem limiting. However, the step-through frame design paired with the upright, relaxed riding position help make the bike easy to ride for a variety of folks. I am 6 feet tall and typically ride a size large mountain bike; I found the large Neo 3 to be very comfortable. There are limits to a “one-size-fits-all” type of design philosophy. I would urge very short or very tall riders to test ride an Adventure Neo before purchasing.

Ride Impressions

E-commuter bikes firmly fall into the category of things I didn’t know I needed or wanted, but now I absolutely love. Before I ever rode a bike for sport, exercise, or as a thing to do, I simply rode my bike to get places. Even today, I prefer to do my daily commute or errands by bike. Over a few weeks of commuting on the Adventure Neo, I was impressed with just how much of an upgrade to my daily commute it was over my non-pedal assist bikes.

Photo credit: Dan Chabanov
Photo credit: Dan Chabanov

The nearly silent mid-drive Bosch Active Line motor provides enough assistance that I spent less time thinking about how heavy my backpack was and just cruised around at a brisk 18mph. By law, Class 1 e-bikes have their motor assist cut out at 20.5mph, at which point you will get quite the workout trying to keep a 57-pound bike going that fast.

If you aren’t trying to break the e-bike speed limit, riding the Adventure Neo is a relaxing experience. Power delivery is very smooth, even in Turbo mode, which on some e-bikes can feel jerky at lower speeds. Even without the extra kick of power in Turbo mode, the 11-36 tooth, 9-speed cassette gave the Neo ample gear range for a wide variety of terrain. Thanks to the upright riding position and suspension, I felt like I was hovering over the road. The smooth steering and powerful hydraulic disc brakes were easy to appreciate in heavier traffic around the city.

Photo credit: Dan Chabanov
Photo credit: Dan Chabanov

Other nice touches contributing to the Aventure Neo’s everyday practicality are the plush 27.5 x 2.2-inch tires, integrated front and rear lights, and full fenders to help keep you dry on wet roads. It’s been a while since I’ve used a kickstand, but I found it super convenient on the Neo while making quick stops around town.

However, I think my favorite accessory of the Adventure Neo 3 was the dropper seatpost. At first, I thought this was a bit overkill for a commuter bike. The step-through frame was already easy for me to get on and off, making dropping the saddle unnecessary. But I began to find it a nice to be able to lower the saddle at stoplights.

The dropper was an absolute slam-dunk for being able to share the Aventure Neo 3. Even with a quick-release seatpost collar, getting saddle height right can take several attempts. With the dropper, my partner, who is a good six inches shorter than I am, could hop on, hit the switch, and adjust the saddle height. The inclusion of the dropper makes sharing the Adventure Neo amongst multiple riders of varying sizes in a household painless, which only adds to its practicality.

The only thing I found myself missing was a lack of a bottle cage mount on the frame. It’s a minor gripe, but it still feels like an oversight not to have a place to carry a bottle. Luckily, there are some great bar-mounted options that allow you to carry a drink with you on the go.

One main downside to the Adventure Neo, which is shared by many e-bikes, is the weight. The whole package comes in at 57 pounds. Practically speaking, the weight potentially limits who can realistically use this bike. The best case for storing a bike like this is having a garage, elevator access, or a safe place to lock up a $3,000 bike outside. Lugging this bike up and down even a single flight of stairs, while technically possible, would be a considerable obstacle to frequent use.

Photo credit: Dan Chabanov
Photo credit: Dan Chabanov

Overall, I thought that Cannondale did an excellent job with the Adventure Neo 3. It is a well-equipped bike for anyone looking to do some commuting, a little gravel path joyriding, or anything in between. For me, the Neo helped cut down on my around-town driving habit, which feels like a win for everyone.

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