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Five of Our Favorite Things About the Cannondale Synapse NEO 1

Words and Images by William Tracy

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We recently rode the Cannondale Synapse NEO 1 through Los Alamos and central California wine country. Here are some of our favorite things about this endurance alloy e-bike.

A Comfortable Ride 

Like its traditional road bike Synapse cousin, the Synapse NEO comes equipped with a comfortable, upright endurance geometry which kept us on the road for miles with no complaints. The standard 32c WTB Exposure TCS tires on the 40mm deep Vision TriMax Carbon wheels add to the comfort of the ride. If you’re looking to eke out every last bit of comfort, the NEO can even handle up to 35c tires. With Cannondale’s SAVE shock-reducing aluminum chainstays and carbon seatpost, road vibrations are kept to a minimum so you could ride all day if you wanted to. And luckily, this bike has the range to match your ambitions.

All Day Battery Life 

Our longest day on the NEO was about 50 miles with 3,000 feet of climbing—including many miles in the “Sport” and “Turbo” modes—and the alloy e-bike showed no signs of slowing down. According to Cannondale’s range estimates, we’re just scratching the surface with that ride. Cannondale claims a whopping up to 200km range from the 500Wh battery, so the NEO is ready for the long haul.

A Go-Anywhere Gear Range 

The Synapse NEO gets e-bike gearing right. With a large gear range of 50/34 chainrings and a 11-30 cassette, the Dura-Ace groupset provides expectedly flawless shifting and plenty of gears to keep up a high cadence on steep climbs. The Bosch Active Line Plus motor works best with a consistent, high cadence, so having the ability to keep the revolutions up on any part of a ride and any incline is crucial. In our testing, we tackled 12-percent pitches with no issue. 

A Smooth Bosch Motor

The Generation 3 Active Line Plus motor from Bosch provides a gentle assist that kicks in gradually. In “Eco” and “Tour” mode, there’s no sudden engagement or surging forward as the motor turns on during the first pedal strokes. It’s so smooth that, after a while, it’s possible to forget that you’re riding an e-bike. But there’s also 250 watts to unleash in this motor. If you need a boost or want to have a little more fun, engaging “Sport” or “Turbo” mode easily takes you all the way up to the motor’s 20 mph speed limit. But you can still go faster if you want to, and the motor does a good job of getting out of your way. There is very little resistance from the motor to overcome, so most of your power goes into making you faster. Plus, the Bosch is impressively quiet which helps you focus more on the ride and less on the bike.

Excellent Handling

And finally, this bike handles like a traditional road bike. It’s partially thanks to the Bosch motor which, as mentioned before, doesn’t have any abrupt surges when it turns on. But, carving through descents and jumping out of corners, the bike itself rides confidently. It is perfectly weighted to ride like other road bikes in the Cannondale line.

The Synapse NEO has the comfort, all-day range and handling to make it one of our favorite e-bike experiences.