Affordable series with hub motor

Lightweight Gravel E-Bikes: Cannondale Topstone Neo SL

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Just at the end of last year, we reviewed Cannondale’s Topstone Neo 1: a high-end gravel bike that can also be used as a very sporty urban bike thanks to its comfortable seating position and the flexible grip position of the racing handlebars. Now they expand this series with the new Topstone Neo SL. As usual for Cannondale, SL stands for a super light weight, which is achieved by the compact electric drive system X35+ from Mahle. And although these models (in contrast to the tested top model) use aluminum instead of carbon as frame material, the bikes come to a low weight of only 12.9 and 14.7 kg. A nice side effect: the prices of the new SL model series are also significantly lower!

With the Topstone Neo SL 1 and the Topstone Neo SL 2 Cannondale now offers two models for launch, which differ in their configuration – and thus the weight. However, the models are identical in terms of the electric drive. This means that a compact hub motor is built into the rear wheel, which offers up to 40 Nm of torque. The necessary power is supplied by a battery with a capacity of 250 Wh that is permanently installed in the down tube (but can be removed for servicing). For the operation of the three speed levels, there is a compact button with LED display on the top tube, which also shows the battery level in 25% steps. Typical for this system is that no display is installed – however, you can optionally connect your smartphone with the appropriate app, where detailed information is displayed.

Topstone SL 1 and SL 2: the differences between the two models

Both models differ in their mechanical drive: The cheaper SL 2 is equipped with Shimano’s GRX 400 Gravel series. Here, thanks to two chainrings in front (46/30 teeth) and a 10-speed cassette in the rear (11-34 teeth), a total of 20 speeds are available. The hydraulic disc brakes are also from Shimano’s 400 series, and the tires are WTB’s Resolute Comp in 700 x 42c. With a weight of 14.7 kg, the graphite-black Topstone Neo SL 2 is somewhat heavier, but with a price of 2,899 euros pleasantly inexpensive and cheaper than the Topstone Neo SL 1.

The top model comes with the identical tires, but shows the differences in the derailleur: Shimano’s higher-quality GRX 600 group is installed here, but with 11 gears. Thus, there is only one chainring with 40 teeth in front, but the 11-42 cassette offers a wider range in the rear. The brake levers are also from the 600 series, so the weight of the bike is only 12.9 kg! The surcharge for this is 500 euros, so the Topstone Neo SL 1 is available in the color Agave for 3,399 euros.

All further information on the new bikes is available on the Cannondale website.

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