Convincingly unconventional: The Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ ebike tested

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An urban bike that does a lot differently – and that’ s exactly why it should appeal to a mainly younger group of people: The Cannondale Treadwell Neo stands out from the competition with its unconventional frame design, BMX-inspired handlebars and lots of small, special details. In contrast, the components of the electric drive are pleasantly discreet: The fact that the Treadwell Neo is the electric offshoot of the regular Treadwell model can only be seen at second glance. Finally, the price also attracts attention: the Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ costs 2,299 Euros, which is quite a reasonable price for a unique e-bike with this outfit. Interesting ingredients for a hopefully also interesting test.

Pretty and practical at the same time: the front carrier

Design

Here it is, the brand new Cannondale Treadwell Neo EQ. EQ stands for Equipped and refers to Cannondale’s bikes, which are equipped with mudguards, bike racks, lights and carriers. As a result, these components can also be found on the Treadwell EQ, but not without a special feature: Instead of a conventional rear carrier, Treadwell riders can store their goods in a stylish front carrier with wooden floor. Stylish and practical in equal measure!

Apart from the wooden inlay of the carrier, everything on this bike is black – which gives the Treadwell a cool, monochrome look all in one. All components come with a matt finish, while the frame is high-gloss and has some reflective elements for better visibility at night. The frame design with a very sloping top tube and the BMX-like handlebar has already been mentioned. Both elements make the bike look quite compact and provide a visual uniqueness. This also applies to the saddle, which was designed exclusively for the Treadwell. The quilted fabric cover brings back memories of vintage motorcycles.

Features

When we talk about the features, we immediately come to the visually most subtle component: the electric drive! That’s right, the slim drive system from Mahle Ebikemotion could almost be overseen. For example, the compact battery with 247 Wh capacity is fixed in the down tube, the motor sits in the rear wheel and delivers the typical 250 watts of pedelec power with a torque of 40 Nm. The system is controlled via the minimalist iWoc One control button on the top tube. The drivetrain is completed by a Shimano Acera 9-speed derailleur, which is absolutely sufficient for urban use. The brakes are hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro type HD-R280, the discs have a dimension of 160 mm front and 140 mm rear. When it comes to the tyres, there is a certain exclusivity again: The Maxxis DTR-1 tyres in 650b x 47c format were specially developed for the Treadwell!

The already mentioned EQ equipment completes the bike: The lighting system includes a Herrmans H-Black MR8 headlight mounted on the handlebar and the Herrmans H-trace taillight under the saddle. The front carrier can be loaded with up to 10 kg and even a side stand and a (also black) bell are included! Slim mudguards keep the riders as clean as possible, even in bad weather, and a suspension seat post for additional riding comfort is also part of the bike.

As an exciting innovation, Cannondale has given the Treadwell a fitness sensor from Garmin placed on the front wheel. The sensor records all movements of the bike and sends the data to Cannondale’s App. Speed, travelled distance or calorie consumption can be displayed on the smartphone. By the way, the smartphone does not even have to be permanently connected. The sensor has a memory and stores the data for up to 30 days before it needs to be synchronized with the smartphone.

In line with the smartphone concept, the Treadwell is also equipped with a mounting bracket on the stem. With a SP Connect case, the smartphone can be attached easily and securely to the bicycle. Again one of these beautiful details on the bike!

Who now suspects a real heavyweight behind such an equipment-list, will be surprised: The Treadwell Neo EQ weighs only 17.6 kg – a good weight for an e-bike in this price segment and with this full equipment!

Operation

As mentioned at the beginning, the Treadwell Neo has the control element called iWoc One on the top tube and has no display. With the iWoc One, the bike can first be switched on and then toggled between the three assist levels of the drive. The LED color changes from green ( low ), orange ( medium ) to red ( high ). When the assistance level is set, the color of the LED ring changes to indicate the battery level. There are four levels of white (100-75% battery charge), green (75-50%), orange (50-25%) and red (25-0%). When the battery reaches its end-point, the red indicator also starts flashing. All in all, this is a simple and intuitive system to use after a short introduction. It’s a pity that the additional handlebar switch iWoc Trio – as used on the current models from Orbea’s Gain series – has been omitted. Its easy to reach placement makes it quicker and easier to use, providing even more comfort.

The battery built into the down tube is also part of Mahles ebikemotion system and has a capacity of about 248 Wh. Although it cannot be removed for charging, it can be removed for servicing via an opening in the bottom bracket. The charging socket of the battery is positioned between the down tube and the seat tube and is closed by a new plastic cover, which is very easy to use. The charging process with the surprisingly compact charger takes about 4 hours when the battery is empty; during this time, the iWoc provides color information on how full the battery already is. In this context, the new additional Orbea Range Extender should also be mentioned, which offers a further 208 Wh capacity in the form of a drinking bottle and also works on the Cannondale Treadwell.

Precise information about the charge level is provided by the free Ebikemotion app: it runs under iOS and Android on smartphones and connects to the bike via Bluetooth. Data such as speed, distance travelled and navigation are also displayed via this app. The Ebikemotion app, on the other hand, cannot access the Garmin fitness sensor – nor is it possible to access the data of the Ebikemotion system the other way round with the Cannondale app. Here you have to decide which app should be given priority. The best idea, however, might be to avoid the whole app mess and simply enjoy the ride without a connected smartphone!

Ride impressions

It feels comfortable and easy-going the first time you swing on the comfortable saddle of the Treadwell Neo EQ. The seating position is upright, which is also achieved by the unusually high handlebars. This is a whopping 74 cm wide, gives stability and a safe driving feeling – you always have all under control.

The fact that the Treadwell can also be moved sporty and quickly is not only due to the electric drive. No, also the comparatively low weight and the easy running tires make the bike agile and it is great fun to drive the Treadwell through the urban streets.

The support of the motor starts harmoniously with the first pedalling movement and at the maximum support level you will notice a strong acceleration. After reaching the limit of 25 km/h, the motor decouples gently, the same applies if the engine falls below this speed limit again. All in all, the drive can be described as very balanced and it still feels like riding a bike! This is also supported by the silent operation of the motor: in a quiet environment you only hear a very quiet buzzing; but even in city traffic or at medium speeds this is overlaid by ambient noise. On strong cobblestones only a slight rattling of the mudguards was heard, on mostly smooth ground this did not occur.

When used in everyday life, the front carrier in particular proves to be an incredibly practical feature that you would hardly want to miss. Small things can easily be carried and everything is always in your field of view. In this context, the position of the headlight is not quite optimal: it is covered relatively quickly by the transported items in the carrier and can then do its job with restrictions.

Conclusion

The Treadwell Neo EQ is a welcome addition to the currently booming e-bike segment with almost invisible drive systems. With many unconventional ideas, the bike is unique and versatile at the same time. The Mahle Ebikemotion drive system helps to reduce weight while still providing enough power for use in urban environments. Headwinds, gradients or the fully loaded carrier hardly slow you down any more. In addition to the model tested here, the new Treadwell Neo EQ is also available as a remix version with a frame for deep entry. Both models are available in black and cost 2.299 Euro each. Even cheaper is the Treadwell Neo without the EQ-label for 1.999 Euro – but then also without features like carrier, lighting or mudguards. All further information about the new bikes can be found on the Cannondale website.

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