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CANNONDALE Moterra NEO 3 (2023) test with 750Wh battery

We tried the new Moterra Neo 3 powered by Bosch with a 750Wh battery: Cannondale's e-bike proposal.

C22_C65331U_Moterra_Neo_3_DTE_PD
2023 - Moterra Neo 3 (2023)

Cannondale is a historic brand in the world of MTB: and this Moterra was our companion for the entire 2023 vintage on the Island of Elba at our MTB center. We have therefore come to know her very well.

Steering angle (°)Rear carriage (mm) Center distance (mm)Reach (mm)Batteryexcursion
65° 455 mm1222 mm450 mm 750wh150 mm
size M

La first version of the Moterra it has long been criticized for its aesthetic factor (even though I was able to see that motorcyclists, more accustomed to "heavy" lines, didn't mind). And geometrically it was exceptional! Cannondale took action by presenting the Moterra NEO 2 years later: certainly an improved look but not too extreme geometry and modest travel of 130mm at the rear. Now we have reached the fourth version, the Moterra with 750wh battery: due to the integration of the larger battery, the design has changed.

MOTERRA HISTORY

Now we finally have an updated enduro bike in the Cannondale catalog. Let's get to know her.

FEATURES

29″ wheels, 150mm travel and Bosch motor with 750wh battery. These are quickly the characteristics of the new Moterra Neo 3. The frame is made of aluminum and, compared to the past, the price lists have gone up (as in all brands) offering the 3 model in aluminum when, in the last version, it was made of carbon. On an aesthetic level, the structure (both visually and practically) has become heavier to make room for the 750wh battery which guarantees us infinite (almost) autonomy.

The cable passage is very careful: a rubber gasket prevents dirt from creeping into the frame and the cables are easily accessible by removing the battery. The magnets are once again fixed on the wheel and not on the rear disc (pity). The new Bosch Performance CX is well protected by an aluminum engine guard which however lets it breathe well at the sides. The battery is protected by a naturally removable plastic cover (also present on the previous Moterra).

Cannondale components with stem, handlebar and dropper post. The latter is much appreciated: impeccable in operation and in the very ergonomic handlebar control (here are our impressions).

VERSIONS AND COMPONENTS

The bike on test is the Moterra Neo 3 and is offered at €5.999 (the complete assembly can be found at the bottom of the page). The Moterra (with 750wh battery) is available in 4 versions and in four sizes: from S to XL. There are 2 further LT versions, namely Long Travel (the travel increases to 165mm).

ENGINE AND BATTERY

The new Bosch Performance CX 4gen (intelligent system) has become much smarter and friend of technology lovers thanks to the Bosch ebike Flow app which offers many interesting features. In terms of purely mechanical performance, the Bosch now offers pedaling with less friction and allows it to be pedaled easily with the engine off or the battery flat: thanks to the new freewheel which produces the classic ticking sound when you stop pedaling (only for a few moments) . The powers are 85Nm of torque and power of 250W.

Maximum support level** (%)340%
Maximum possible tensile torque (Nm)85 Nm
DepartureVery sporty
Maximum support up to25 km/h
CounterpedalNo.
Intelligent walking assistance with hill assistx
Automatic gear recognitiongear integrated into the hub no****
derailleur gear yes
Weight : about 2,9 kg
Continuous rated power250 W
Maximum power600 W
Maximum power at a cadence of 70 rpm600 W
Maximum power based on weightapproximately 207 W/kg

The modes remain 4: ECO, TOUR, EMTB (adaptive based on the push we give on the pedals) and TURBO. 750Wh battery: now the autonomy is truly infinite and allows us to do laps of substance (provided our weight is not too substantial too). The battery can be removed thanks to the classic Bosch key on the down tube (after removing the plastic cover which does not require tools). Otherwise the classic connection on the tube remains without having to remove the battery.

Bosch maintains backward compatibility of the motor with all batteries and displays in production.

GEOMETRY

Unchanged shock absorbing scheme with a horst joint quadrilateral as in the previous Moterra. In this case we find a Rockshox Deluxe Select shock absorber measuring 230×65 mm. The shock has an adjuster to control the rebound and nothing else.

Slightly modified shock absorbing scheme but a quadrilateral with horst joint was kept as in the previous Moterra Neo. In this case we find a Rockshox Deluxe Select R shock absorber in size 230 × 65 mm. The shock is equipped with a register to control rebound and nothing else.

The geometries are not extreme: the 65° steering angle is open but not too much, the rear stay is limited to 455mm: it is slightly longer than the last version. The bottom bracket is very low (350mm): perhaps too low in rocky situations but we'll talk about that later. The reach (450mm) and horizontal tube dimensions reflect the standard values ​​of the category.

FIELD TEST

The Moterra, like many Cannondales, immediately appears very friendly thanks to non-exaggerated geometries, even if it always requires a bit of ad hoc settings to fully find the feeling. In this case it took a few descents to understand that having too much SAG does not make the Moterra better performing (remember that the shock absorbing scheme has not changed compared to the last Moterra).

cannondale moterra neo

This type of cinematography it tends to give its best with a SAG that is not too abundant: around 30% the bike tends to suffer obstacles and get lazy. Better to stay on 25%: a more reactive but much more performing hair. The kinematics have a classic curve that becomes gradually more progressive but not in a very marked way therefore easily manageable even for the most relaxed bikers. With a 25% sag I hardly made violent bottoms, even in the most extreme situations.

cannondale moterra neo

It rides well uphill: ok, you'll tell me it's an e-bike. But I'm talking about the seat and the directionality of the front on the steepest climbs. The geometries, which are not extreme, keep the back fairly relaxed and are comfortable even on long rides (it's logical that you can then play with the handlebar stem to change the character). It gives all-mountain sensations more than enduro, making it very versatile.

Even downhill the sensations are of a bike that doesn't want to be extreme but total. Its 150mm travel makes us understand that it is not suitable for entering a rock garden at full capacity: even the weight, which has naturally increased given the 750wh battery, makes it a bike to ride but always with a bit of knowledge of the facts. For more competitive bikers, they will certainly not like the height of the bottom bracket: on flow routes it is very stable but if you tackle technical routes with steps and stones, you often end up digging on the ground. And it's not pleasant.

It's a shame for the wheels which, used from an enduro perspective, don't hold centering and lack construction quality: on e-bikes of this size, the wheels must be of excellent quality and there's no need to make compromises. The bike is also very enjoyable for non-expert bikers, to whom it is fully recommended. The Moterra NEO is a bike that gives its best on fast routes and high mountain rides: the rigidity of the frame and rear stay are at the highest levels and it rides with ease.

From an autonomy point of view, now you can really have fun: with my weight around 75kg I managed to stay on height differences of around 3000m using ECO (only on sporadic TOUR occasions). There are 4 levels of assistance, as mentioned, with the E-MTB mode which, in many situations, makes you forget about the other "powers": based on the push we give the engine adapts, creating an exceptional flow with the bike. For more experienced bikers it's a pleasure, while for beginners (or those less trained) it might be better to have an engine that pushes hard straight away, to eliminate any type of problem.

The 4-piston SHIMANO brakes do their job well. We liked the tire department at the front with a robust DHF, while at the rear the Rekon could be quickly changed if tackling very technical routes. The suspension department is decent but does not excel: the Yari at the front and the Deluxe Select at the rear are not a miracle but they get the job done.

XC TRAIL ALL MOUNTAIN ENDURO FREERIDE DOWNHILL
XXX XXXXX XXX
Particular signs PROPORTIONAL RESPONSE
Cyclists have different body types. Proportional Response is the design that takes this aspect into account, adapting the suspension layout to the ideal size, offering each cyclist their own ideal geometries
€ 5.999 Euros
Price of frame + shock | nd
Italian distributor: www.cannondale.it
Weight (without pedals)26,8kg
ForkRockShox Yari RC, 150mm, 15x110mm Boost, 44mm offset
Shock absorberRockShox Deluxe Select, DebonAir, 2-Pos mode adjust, adjustable rebound
wheelsWTB ST i30 TCS rims, 32h, with (F) Formula 15x110mm thru-axle / (R) Shimano MT410, 12x148mm thru-axle hubs
Service(F) Maxxis Minion DHF, 29×2.6″, EXO, tubeless ready / (R) Maxxis Rekon, 29×2.6″ (27.5×2.6″ – size Small), EXO, tubeless ready
Rolling mill chocksBOSCH Gen4 w / custom Ai offset, 34T
Rear gearboxShimano XT 12v
commandsShimano Deore M6100, 12-speed
BrakesShimano MT420 4-piston hydraulic disc, 203/203mm rotors
Buy BoxesShimano Deore M6100, 10-51, 12-speed
MotorBOSCH PerformanceLine CX 250w
BatteryBOSCH Powertube 750wh
OFFENSECannondale 3, 6061 Alloy, 31.8, 0°
HandlebarCannondale 3 Riser, 6061 Alloy, 15mm rise, 8° sweep, 4° rise, 780mm
seatpostTranzX dropper, internal routing, 31.6, 130mm (S), 150mm (M-XL)
SellaFabric Scoop Shallow Sport, steel rails
ColorBlue (test) – Grey

VERDICT

High-performance e-MTB but…
A project that will not make all bikers happy: an excellent bike for the average amateur, who is looking for a stable bike with a lot of autonomy, but which could make the technical/competitive biker turn up their noses, due to its weight and The height of the bottom bracket is too low if you ride technical trails where the trail has rocks and steps. For the competitive biker, we recommend the Moterra versions with 625wh battery.

+-
• Frame life warranty
• Engine delivery (fluidity)
• Overall frame rigidity
• Too low in the bottom bracket area
• Wheels not up to mounting height
• Magnet returned to the wheel and no longer attached to the disc


Written by

[email protected] I am a fan of everything that has 2 wheels: at a young age I practiced road and track cycling (Italian Allievi champion). At the age of 18 I passed into the cross country competing at national/international level as an Under23. Past Elite, I made the choice to take things more lightly from a training point of view, and my love for gravity disciplines was born, training me as an FCI MTB instructor and guide. Now I have made passion my profession by managing 2 MTB centers on the island of Elba (Bike Center Elba and Elba MTB), creating the FANTAmtb and telling in an ironic but professional way everything that revolves around MTB thanks to 365mountainbike and 365TV (YouTube'PULITI dentro BIKER fuori').

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