Cannondale’s new Synapse NEO branches out for the brand, expanding into the performance e-road bike market. Yes, gasp! More e-bikes, but again these are pretty well thought out. For those looking to expand their range, or equalize fitness levels inside a group of riders, the Synapse NEO might be a solid option with wider tire clearance (even for proper gravel) smooth pedal-assist power delivery, and gearing flexibility.
2019 Cannondale Synapse NEO e-road endurance road e-bike
Instead of electrifying a road race bike, Cannondale started with their endurance road platform – the Synapse which is just as happy with a set of fat road tires as it is with thinner gravel tires. In this aluminum framed & electrified version, it gets even fatter. Endurance e-road setups got for 32mm road slicks, while there is also an SE e-gravel version that will fit 650B x 47mm tires.
Cannondale Synapse NEO Tech Details
The key to making an e-road bike actually enjoyable to ride as we’ve experienced (unlike an eMTB) is a smooth transition on & off the pedal assist and actually a lower total power output in general. That seems to be what Cannondale says they have focused on with the application of the Bosch Gen3 powertrain which appears set to be more silent running and lower drag than before.
That pedal-assist motor is the new 250W output Bosch Generation 3 Active Line Plus promising quiet, powerful & lightweight operation, with little drag once the motor’s pedal-assist stops. It is then powered by a mid-sized 500Wh PowerTube battery tucked into the oversized downtube for big range.
Cannondale claims the range to be around 92km in Turbo mode and 229km in Eco mode. That’s hard to evaluate, since it depends a lot on the elevation gained, but that seems like at least half again larger range than similar smooth e-road setups we’ve seen from Fazua for example.
Cannondale developed with Bosch what they call Actual Cadence Response which smoothly knocks back the power of the pedal-assist to almost 40% when you are riding at regular cadences of say 50-85rpm, suggesting that you have plenty of power. But when the hills get steep and your cadence drops, or you start to spin out, the Bosch motor starts to put out more power.
Looking at the graphs Cannondale showed of the ACR application, we’re reminded that most e-bikes require a bit of a learning curve to figure out the optimal cadence to balance your own pedal input with the system’s pedal assist. But this does seem to suggest that it could make the transitioning of power more smooth with a broader range of comfortable cadence (something seriously lacking in early generation e-bike powertrains.)
The Synapse Neo sticks with a compact road double, apparently the only Bosch powered e-road bike with a 2x setup. Gearing is 50/34, but a subcompact setup will also fit on the e-bike specific spider. That was a conscious decision to maintain small gearing steps for smooth cadence, although the SE version does opt for a wide range 1×11 setup.
As we’ve seen in most Cannondale bikes, the Synapse Neo gets Ai offset drivetrain which helps keep chainstays short with big tire clearance, and also builds a stronger rear wheel with less dish.
The e-bikes are fender ready (with a removable seatstay bridge like on the carbon Synapse) and feature 12mm thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes. And in addition to internal shift & brake routing, the Synapse Neo also is pre-wired for integrated front & rear lighting powered by the main battery.
Cannondale Synapse NEO Geometry
The e-Synapse Neo gets Cannondale’s OutFront road & gravel geometry that we first saw introduced on the alloy Topstone this summer. That starts with quick road handling inspired by the original Synapse, but with a longer front end, more offset in the 1.5″ tapered full carbon fork & a slacker headtube for less toe-overlap and more high-speed stability. The Synapse Neo comes in four frame sizes from small to extra large (45-58cm.)
2019 Cannondale Synapse NEO Pricing & Availability
The 2019 Cannondale Synapse NEO e-road bike is available in three complete all-road builds, plus one SE gravel build. The top Synapse NEO 1 retails for $6,850 / 6000€ with a Dura-Ace mechanic shift drivetrain and Vision TriMax 40mm deep tubeless ready carbon clincher wheels with WTB Exposure 32mm tires.
The Synapse NEO 2 sells for $4,725 / 4000€ with a mixed Ultegra/105 drivetrain & WTB ST i23 wheels; and the Synapse NEO 3 for 3300€ with a 105/Tiagra 10-speed mix.
The gravel focused e-road plus Synapse NEO SE sells for $4400 / 3700€ with a SRAM Apex 1 drivetrain, tubeless ready WTB ST i29 rims & 47mm Byway tires, and alloy Cannondale cockpit finishing kit.
The new 2019 Cannondale Synapse NEO e-road bikes look to be available to pre-order/order now from Cannondale dealers in Europe.
No word on any future availability in North America, but the lack of US pricing suggest that won’t happen any time too soon. We do have word that the bikes are available now in the US as well.
2019 Cannondale Quick NEO flat bar fitness e-bikes
In addition to the Synapse NEO is a new version of the Quick NEO fitness bikes for 2019. Forgoing the non-integrated powertrain, and upright hybrid style with suspension forks in the older Quick Neo these new fitness e-bikes look to be a simple flat bar build of the same Synapse Neo. That’s not at all a bad thing. It means the same Bosch Gen3 motor & battery setup, the same smooth pedal-assist, and the same big tire compatibility, all for riders who prefer a flat handlebar and more upright position on the bike.
The Quick NEO is available in two complete builds. The standard $3,465 / 2800€ Quick NEO gets an Alivio 1×9 drivetrain, hydraulic Shimano disc brakes, and 35mm Schwalbe G-One tires. The more premium Quick NEO EQ is more of a capable urban commuter for $4,000 / 3300€, built with Deore 1×10, MT200 hydro brakes, 700x34mm WTB Exposure tires, full coverage Tubus fenders, a Tubus rear rack, and integrated Supernova front & rear lighting.