Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO Neo 2 Ebike
Review by CycleVolta / photos: Jeff Allen
As ebike popularity continues to grow, the performance road category is seeing ebikes launched with lightweight, stealthy looks, and moderate assist. These aren’t ebikes to use for running errands, or for commuting. These are road bikes made to go fast with a little less effort than their acoustic counterparts.
Cannondale’s entry in this category is the all-new SuperSix EVO Neo 1 and 2. Cannondale makes some of the highest-performance road bikes and has long sponsored a UCI race team, so it is no surprise that its performance road ebikes are built for speed. We recently had the opportunity to test the lower-priced SuperSix EVO Neo 2.
What Is a Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2?
The new Cannondale road ebikes are Class 1 hub-drive ebikes that use many of the same parts and look very similar to their non-electric SuperSix EVO siblings. This includes a similar BallisTec Carbon frame and fork. The battery is fully contained in the carbon downtube, but this is just 5 millimeters wider and 20 millimeters taller than that of a regular SuperSix EVO.
That 250Wh battery puts power to a Mahle Ebikemotion X35 hub motor. This is a modular unit that many bike manufacturers have begun to adopt in lieu of a mid-drive frame motor due to its simplicity and weight advantages. The size-small SuperSix EVO Neo 2 weighed 26.1 pounds on the Cycle Volta scale without pedals—impressive.
Control for the assist modes and battery-level indications are provided by a single, simple, toptube-integrated button that lights up in five different colors. The light is always on in the color that represents the state of charge—white being 100 to 75 percent, green representing 75 to 50 percent, orange at 50 to 25 percent, and red warning that less than 25 percent remains. That same button when pressed cycles through the levels with white indicating no assist, and green, orange, and red representing levels 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
The fifth color is blue, indicating that a Bluetooth connection has been made. And connecting the Ebikemotion phone app could not be easier: Turn on the bike, open the app, and it’s connected.
The app provides a good suite of information including traditional ride data plus assist level, battery level, amount of power being delivered by the motor, range, and weather reports. Mapping is also integrated but requires an additional subscription.
The rest of the bike is finished with Cannondale’s HollowGram carbon seatpost and carbon bar gripped by an alloy HollowGram stem. The wheels are heavier duty and less aerodynamic than that of a non-electric EVO. They feature shallow Cannondale alloy rims laced to a Formula hub up front and the Ebikemotion hub motor in the rear. They are shod with Vittoria Rubino Pro 28-millimeter tires.
The result of this build is a great-looking bike that, at 10 paces, could be mistaken for a regular high-performance road bike. In fact, in rides with others on non-electric bikes, they were not aware we were on an ebike until we told them. The burly rear hub is the only giveaway.
How Does the SuperSix EVO Neo 2 Ride?
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 rides very much like a regular road bike. With electric assist off, it just feels like a heavy SuperSix EVO. Accelerating away from stops or climbing hills is where this is mostly noticed. Thanks to Cannondale’s aero tube shapes on the SuperSix, it doesn’t give up much speed to regular road bikes on the flats.
That’s good, as most fast group road rides are at or above the EVO Neo’s 20 mph assist limit when terrain is flat. At 20.5 mph, it’s all the rider. The continued assist to 28 mph that the Specialized Creo supplies was missed. But the compromise is that the Class 3 Specialized is not allowed on many paved bike paths that the Class 1 Cannondale is qualified to ride on in many states.
We used the Ebikemotion app on an iPhone XR as our ride computer and dash. In addition to the normal bicycle ride data, the display of power being delivered was clear and interesting. It has a good interface, but exporting the rides to Strava proved to be less than intuitive from the app, so for simplicity’s sake we went back to a Garmin.
The app shows that power delivery begins immediately as soon as the cranks drive the chain. It doesn’t come on progressively. The full power of that assist level is delivered. Whether the rider is putting in 50 watts or 500 watts, they get similar amounts of assist from the hub motor. In some cases, it even appeared on the app that the motor gave more power when less input was put in through the pedals.
While a progressive delivery of power would be preferred, it doesn’t really affect the natural feel of the bike. In fact, this is one of the best ebikes we have tested for natural-feeling acceleration from a stop. The only place where this is unnatural is in the highest level three, when just giving a little input into the pedals and cranks, the bike begins to motor away under e-power. That is not felt as drastically on level 1 and 2.
Level 1 gave us a feel of our normal selves on a normal road bike for accelerations and mild hills. Some decent effort has to be put into the pedals to hold 20 mph. At level 2, cruising at 20 is easy, but the power drop-off from power to no power between 20 and 20.5 mph feels more abrupt. Level 3 provides the full 250 watts of assist and is best saved for steep climbs.
Climbing on the Cannondale EVO Neo is a joy. The geometry and componentry feel like a non-electric road bike, and with level 2 or level 3 assist, it lets one climb like a pro. We still had to work, but 15 percent climbs that would normally be anaerobic hell were moderate, sustained aerobic workouts in level 3.
After riding mild hills, we thought the 34-tooth inner ring was a gear we’d never need. All terrain could be tackled in the 50 and on mostly the high end of the 11-34T cassette. That was until we hit the notorious Nyes climb in Laguna Beach. Even on level 3, we needed that little ring to get up this painfully steep climb that tops 20% in some places.
Descending off these climbs was also a joy. The stable platform handled well and the added gyroscopic effect of the heavy rear wheel adds to the stability. It takes some getting used to though. It is a different feeling than a non-ebike or a mid-drive bike like the Specialized Creo. It takes more effort to get the heavier wheel rotation off-center on turn-in to a corner. But once leaned in and tracking on a line, the effects of the greater rotational mass keep it solidly planted.
The bike is so much fun to climb on, we hit all of our local hills. The climbs affect range, but we saw range numbers as good or better than what Cannondale claims. We hit 60 miles easy using just level 1 with some mild climbs. On the steep grades using all three levels of assist, we squeezed 41 miles out of the SuperSix EVO Neo with 2,900 feet of climbing.
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 weighs 9 pounds more than a non-electric SuperSix EVO. That weight is obviously in the battery and hub motor, but the wheels are heavier than the regular EVO’s carbon hoops as well. Somehow that all translates into a rougher ride for the electric bike, despite having wider tires. We’ve never been fans of the Vittoria Rubino Pro tires. Despite their high volume, the tires do not ride as comfortably or as fast as Vittoria Corsa Speeds or other high-performance offerings. We’d outfit the Neo with more lively, tubeless 28s with some lower pressures to improve the ride and feel.
The non-Di2 Ultegra component group performed flawlessly. It’s not flashy, but it gets the job done just about as well as anything.
It’s mounted to a sleek, D-shaped carbon post that had us chasing some creaks. Despite multiple assemblies of the head with grease and the post with different consistencies of carbon paste and the recommended torque of 6Nm, we could not get rid of some creaks emanating from the seat tube just below the toptube. It was only remedied after completely extracting the wedge binder out of the seatpost and greasing everything liberally but the surface that touches the post, where we applied carbon paste.
How Much Does the SuperSix EVO Neo 2 Cost?
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2 that we tested sells for $6,500. The Neo 1 with Dura-Ace Di2 components and deeper carbon wheels lists for $10,000. For comparison, equivalently equipped non-electric SuperSix EVOs are $4,200 for the mechanical Ultegra bike but a whopping $12,500 for the acoustic Dura-Ace Di2 team bike. Go figure.
The 28 mph Class 3 Specialized Turbo Creo Comp is the same price as the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo 2. The top-of-the-line S-Works Creo surpasses the Neo 1’s price significantly by running $13,500.
Like all performance road ebikes, the Cannondale SuperSix EVO Neo bikes allow riders who have less power or are getting a little slower with age to ride at enjoyable speeds for good distances. The Cannondale would not be one for fast-guy group rides though, with its 20 mph assist limit. But if bike paths are plentiful and used, the Cannondale’s Class 1 status lets it go on most where a 28 mph Class 3 couldn’t.
The SuperSix EVO Neo is one of the most beautiful road ebikes on the market, and its all-around capabilities match its good looks, and will help enthusiasts enjoy riding the road for years to come.