The latest and most powerful Bosch drive. The possibility of running two batteries simultaneously. Large 29 inch wheels with fat tires. Fenders, lights, pannier rack. The new Cannondale Canvas Neo 1 is bursting with features and should – at least in theory – be ready for practically any task. This test will show whether this assumption also proves to be true in reality.
This bike makes you throw many prejudices overboard. When you read in the data sheet about the powerful Bosch Mid-Motor, a dual battery usage, fat tires and carrier, you thought of a practical load donkey – but hardly a clean urban bike that also scores in terms of design. But Cannondale succeeded in doing just that with the new Canvas Neo 1!
The bike looks as one piece, the lighting system is seamlessly integrated, and so is the minimalist pannier rack integrated in the mudguard. This also benefits from the latest generation of the Bosch drive: the housing of the installed Performance Line CX motor has shrunk considerably compared to its predecessor, making integration into the frame much less obvious.
The frame itself is made of aluminium, while the sporty straight fork is made of light carbon. The combination results in a long wheelbase and with the very steep top tube the bike gets a very independent look. This is completed by the entirely black paint of the bike: frame and fork have a high-gloss finish, the other attachments are matt. A clever detail are several reflective stickers on the bike, which should provide more safety in the dark.
As already mentioned, Cannondales Canvas Neo 1 features the brand new Performance Line CX motor from Bosch. The powerful 2020 model offers a full 75 Nm of torque and up to 340% assistance – making the motor one of the most powerful drives currently available. Enough endurance is provided by the Bosch PowerTube battery with a capacity of 500 Wh installed in the down tube. An interesting additional feature of the Neo 1 is the possibility to use a second battery parallel to the integrated battery: a model of the Bosch PowerPack series with up to 500 Wh can also be docked to the top of the down tube. This means that up to 1 KWh of capacity is available! The Bosch system is completed with the Purion display on the handlebar. Although it is a bit outdated optically, it is still pleasantly functional and compact.
In contrast, the Schwalbe G-One Speed Performance 29 x 2.35″ tyres fitted to the Canvas Neo 1 look huge. Only logical that Wingee’s mudguards are also impressively wide at 62 mm. At the rear mudguard in addition to the bright taillight of Supernova also pannier racks are mounted on both sides, on each of which bags of up to 8 kg weight can be attached (by the way, the bike is approved for a total weight of 150 kg including rider).
On the 74 cm wide handlebar you will find the Purion display and the following components: The extremely compact and yet very bright Mini 2 headlights from Supernova are mounted in the middle, and the brake levers for the hydraulic MT200 disc brakes are from Shimano. The ensemble is completed by the gear lever of the 10-speed derailleur, also by Shimano from the Deore series. Kickstand, bell and the Cannondale Ergo Urban saddle finally complete the Commuter configuration for everyday use.
The electrical components of the Neo 1 are controlled via the compact Purion display: two buttons can be used to switch between the different driving modes, and the light is switched on and off here as well. The display itself provides information on the current speed, distance travelled and battery status, which is displayed in 20% increments. No more, no less – but it is precisely this reduction to the essential functions that makes the operation of the system so easy.
Included in the delivery is the Bosch Standard Charger – a charger that can fully recharge the empty PowerTube 500 battery in around 4.5 hours. This can be done either with an integrated battery in the frame or in the removed position. For the latter, the battery must then be unlocked at the integrated battery lock, which protects against theft.
The fact that a bike of this size and with such comprehensive features can be moved almost easily would hardly be suspected. But exactly this is the case with the Canvas Neo 1, the bike is quite direct and agile. One of the reasons for this is the relatively light weight, which Cannondale claims to be 19.9 kg – a very good value considering the components used. In addition, the powerful Performance Line CX motor provides plenty of power: it was usually sufficient to drive in the lower driving modes during the test – the motor also offered enough support here.
However, since performance is not everything, two points must also be addressed here, which were addressed to the predecessor model of this motor. So when driving the new 2020 CX motor, you hardly notice when the 25 km/h barrier is exceeded. The motor is fully decoupled and the bike can be accelerated further using your own power – speeds of around 30 km/h were quickly reached in the test. With its predecessor, on the other hand, many drivers felt as if the motor was almost braking at 25 km/h or more. Second point of criticism was the sound level of the old CX motor. Again, there is an improvement in the 2020 model: the motor is now quieter – but still can be heard. A monotonous humming that doesn’t bother much (which is of course subjective). With the almost silent Bosch Active Line Plus drive or the hub motor from Mahle ebikemotion, the CX motor is still unable to compete in this category. The shifting operations are also quite loud, especially under load – the power of the motor is also noticeable here. If you want to protect the components, it’s better not to push the pedals hard during the shifting process.
Independent of the drive system, the Canvas Neo 1 offers a lot of running smoothness due to the long wheelbase and the large wheels. The wide tires let you roll casually over almost everything and absorb (with suitable air pressure) shocks and bumps well enough. Even in such situations, nothing rattles on the bike: the mounted parts are all suitably dimensioned and firmly fixed. In particular, Wingee’s solid aluminium mudguards give the impression of being created for forever.
Unobtrusive but functional are the Shimano components: The Deore gearshift performs its job precisely, the ten gears are almost more than necessary – thanks to the powerful motor, even in the highest gear can be started without any problems. The hydraulic brakes are equipped with 180 mm brake discs at the front and rear, which is quite large for urban bikes and indicates a high stableness.
An e-bike that impresses – and not only because of its size with fat tires and long wheelbase. The complete package with the powerful motor and the high-quality components are only part of the deal. Rather, it is the complete package that convinces on the Canvas Neo 1. A solidly crafted bike that is suitable for everyday use and – considering its many features – relatively light, with hardly anything to criticize. Therefore, this bike is an interesting option not only for ambitious commuters who also ride off the well paved roads. The price of the bike is not low at 3,799 Euros, but it is quite reasonable as a look at similarly equipped competitor models shows.
The Canvas Neo 1 is available in four sizes, in addition the Remixte variant is available for a lower and more comfortable entry. Here, however, the option of using a second battery pack is not available, as there is simply not enough space for it in the frame triangle. By the way, the Canvans Neo 2 is a bit cheaper for 3.399 Euro. The features are a bit simpler, the Active Line Plus motor is used and the frame geometry is also slightly different with an even longer wheelbase. All information about the electric Urban Bike models can be found on the Cannondale website.
6 thoughts on “Big fun: The Cannondale Canvas Neo 1 tested”
Does the Canvas have a mounting point for a cafe lock (frame lock)?
I’m not quite sure, but I don’t think so. But there are mounting points for bottle holders on the frame, where regular bike locks can also be attached.
Was very interested in the canvas neo 2 . How much does this review apply to that model? Is it a good buy for the price range? ~$3200. What are your overall thoughts on the canvas Neo 2?
I think that the Neo 2 is also a good bike with similar characteristics (it was also presented at Cannondale’s Urban Bike event, but I personally did not ride it). The biggest difference is probably the slightly weaker engine and the longer wheelbase. Also, I think you can’t use two batteries together on the Neo 2.
if I own the canvas Neo 2 now, can I upgrade to the motor used in the Canvas Neo 1 ( Bosch Active Line Plus speed?)
I’m not sure, but I don’t think this is possible because both engines have different attachment points. But maybe it would be possible to install the new Performance Line motor (not the CX version), as it should have the same housing as the Active Line Plus. But I cannot give any guarantee for that 😉