I knew that Cannondale’s new Adventure Neo Allroad e-bike was going to be fun before I even hit the saddle, not because it has a motor, but because it has a kickstand. I hadn’t ridden a bike with a kickstand since I was 12.
Still, I was wary of that kickstand. I spend a lot of time riding bikes—probably more time than I should considering I’m a full-grown adult with a job, kids and a mortgage. But I’m a serious cyclist who rides serious bikes. I ride my bike during races and on long bikepacking adventures. I ride my bike in a futile attempt to be relevant on Strava. I ride to relieve stress and extend my lifespan. Somewhere along the way, I stopped riding my bike for joy. Fun is for kids, I thought. Yes, I enjoyed riding—being outside, the wind in my beard and all that—but the pleasure had become ancillary. The real purpose of the bike, I thought, was to suffer. That’s what made me a serious cyclist: I suffered.
So that kickstand on the Adventure Neo Allroad? It didn’t scream “serious.” Like childhood itself, it screamed “fun.” And I eyed it suspiciously, like an old friend who suddenly reappears, and you wonder what they want from you.
|Average miles-per-week||50 (if I'm lucky)|
Then I threw a leg over the Adventure Neo Allroad EQ. The Class 2 e-bike has reintroduced the idea of fun to my rides and has me second-guessing all my preconceived notions about e-bikes in general.
“The testing process has only solidified my newfound love for e-bikes. It is fast and zippy without being unstable, and fully capable of handling a variety of duties, whether trudging up a gravel climb or carrying 50 bananas from the store to feed my daughter’s track team.”
The Adventure Neo Allroad is designed to be an all-around city and off-pavement bike with light cargo potential. Think of this as your townie whip for riding greenways, going off road, running errands and commuting to work. And yes, it has a small motor. If you’re not familiar with the different classifications of e-bikes, we have a great primer that goes into detail here. But if you just want the basics, know that:
- Class 1 e-bikes are pedal-assist only with a top assisted speed of 20mph.
- Class 2 e-bikes have pedal assist and throttle power, both of which top out at 20mph.
- Class 3 e-bikes are pedal-assist only, but have a top motor assistance speed of 28mph.
Cannondale has produced three models in the Adventure Neo Allroad series. The Adventure Neo Allroad and the EQ model equipped with fenders, integrated lights and a rear rack are both Class 2 e-bikes; while the S model is a Class 3. Models are available in two styles, a low step-through frame or standard frame.
Get a Boost While Pedaling or Let the Throttle Do the Work
The Adventure Allroad Neo EQ that I tested is a Class 2, which means it has an electric motor that can provide a boost while you’re pedaling or do all the work for you through a throttle that you control with your thumb below the left handlebar grip.
I used to be notoriously crotchety towards e-bikes in the past. I was one of those snobby cyclists who turned up their noses at the technology when it first hit the streets. I was a purist who could pedal his bike on his own, thank you very much. Then I got the chance to ride a couple of different e-bikes—first a Class 1 mountain bike built for trails and then a Class 2 e-cargo bike built for hauling kids. On both accounts, I couldn’t keep myself from grinning. I was eating my own “never me” words with every battery-assisted pedal stroke. It was just so effortless and whimsical, like riding bikes in a cul-de-sac with your friends when you were 10.
Cannondale helped kickstart the e-bike movement in 2008 when they partnered with Bosch to create that company’s first e-bike system. Now, Cannondale has 20 different e-bike platforms in every category, from mountain bikes to urban cruisers.
This spring, I spent several weeks pedaling the Adventure Neo Allroad EQ around my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. It’s a more rugged version of the Cannondale city-centric Adventure Neo.
“The oversized tires and geometry offer a stable ride that feels at home both on paved trails and dirt paths,” says Mark Vanek, Cannondale’s e-bike product manager. “It’s a bike that gives enthusiast-level riders the ability to feel confident while riding around the neighborhood during the week, or around a remote campsite on the weekends.”
Fast and Zippy
The testing process has only solidified my newfound love for e-bikes. It is fast and zippy without being unstable, and fully capable of handling a variety of duties, whether it’s trudging up a gravel climb or carrying 50 bananas from the store to feed my daughter’s track team. The e-bike features a 250wh rear hub Bafang motor and battery with a top assisted speed of 20mph. There are five levels of assist, which you can toggle through easily on the digital display on the left handlebar. It’s an intuitive plug-and-play system that most people will have no trouble figuring out, even without a user manual. Turn the battery on and start pedaling. If you want more pedal assist, hit the plus button next to the digital screen to engage higher modes of assist. Want to see what it’s like to ride a moped? Punch the throttle with your thumb and the motor will kick in without your pedaling, matching the speed of your current assist level. Tap the “on/off” button to scroll through different data on that digital screen—like battery life, top speed and projected miles—until the battery dies.
It’s a system that you’ll find on many Class 2 e-bikes, but most of those bikes feature a single speed drive train, so you only go faster by increasing the pedal assist. The Adventure Neo Allroad and EQ models come loaded with a 1x7 drivetrain (one gear in front, 7 in back). As you encounter hills or flat sections, shift through the gears just like on a traditional bike, and the pedal assist simply gives you a little (or a lot) of a boost for each gear. It’s a nice blend of new technology (a motor) and old technology (gears!) that reminds you that you are still riding a bike, even though you’re zipping along faster than if you were just pedaling under your own power. And those gears mean it will also be easier to pedal home if you run out of juice in your battery.
A fully charged battery will give you roughly 47 miles of pedal-assist range, but that varies depending on the terrain (hills take more energy) and what you’re carrying. Load the bike down with a keg of beer, and you’ll decrease your battery life. The level of pedal assist you choose also impacts your range. When pedaling around town on a full battery using the lowest level of assist (1), I often get a 60-mile range. Kick it up to assist level 5 and that range drops to 33 miles. My trips around town are relatively short, maybe a few miles each day, so I can get away with charging the battery once a week. It takes 4 to 6 hours to recharge a spent battery, which detaches from the frame off the bike, so I typically plug it overnight into a wall outlet in my garage. Learn more: "How to Charge an Electric Bike."
While running out of juice could happen, it’s no reason to panic. The Adventure Neo Allroad is a quality bike you can pedal even without the motor. The geometry is reminiscent of a rigid mountain bike, offering proven handling and a rugged aesthetic, but with a nod to cruiser bikes with a wide, super comfy seat and a mellow handlebar reach distance that puts you in a comfortable, upright position. The wide, knobby 27.5-inch tires help smooth things out when the pavement ends, and the Adventure Neo Allroad can handle loose surfaces, like sand and dirt no problem. In fact, the rear hub motor puts the weight on the back axle, which helps increase traction on loose terrain. There’s no suspension on this model, so there is a limit to what I would do with this bike. (For front suspension, consider the Adventure Neo Allroad S, a Class 3 e-bike with 100 millimeters of travel on the fork. There's also a low-step through verison of that).
You also need to keep in mind that e-bike rules vary greatly, depending on the class of e-bike you have and where you plan to ride it. Be sure to consult your local and state jurisdiction for rules specific to your area. PeopleForBikes, an advocacy group for cycling, publishes a state-by-state e-bike guide to help you sort through e-bike regulations around the country.
Running Errands Is Fun
I’ve lost count of the number of the miles I’ve put on the Adventure Neo Allroad EQ, but I’m continually impressed by its comfortable, smooth ride with no-hassle shifting and easy steering. It’s also well equipped, with front and rear fenders, a taillight and headlight that are powered by the Bafang motor. The rear rack can accommodate panniers or a cargo box. It’s ready to handle a front rack, too, if you want to increase the bike's cargo capabilities.
Asheville, where I live, is a very hilly city—a fact that keeps a lot of people from riding their bikes around town. I used to be one of those people. I love to climb a mountain on my bike, but not necessarily on the way to dinner or a work meeting. Getting spent and sweaty isn’t always my goal. So, I typically drive my car in those situations. But I quickly realized I could ride the Adventure Neo Allroad EQ all over town, up the steepest climbs without having to max out my heart rate and break a sweat. I could consistently reach top speeds of 20mph on flat stretches with either the throttle or pedal assist, and I could cruise up climbs that typically have me panting and wishing for a release on a traditional bike. In short, the Adventure Neo Allroad EQ has made riding a bike easy, so I’ve found myself wanting to ride more often.
That’s not to say that the e-bike has replaced the other bikes in my garage. I still go for hour-long lunch workouts and weekend mountain bike or gravel rides, but the e-bike has become my preferred mode of transportation for certain daily trips. I used to get into my truck for a quick run to the store for a stick of butter, but now I hop on the e-bike. Commuting to work meetings downtown, going to the gym, returning library books…these all used to be car trips. Now they’re e-bike trips. I’ve used the bike to power a progressive dinner through downtown and to run to the top of nearby mountain to check out the sunset. I strapped a milk crate to the back rack and now I can handle legitimate grocery store runs on the Adventure Neo Allroad. I’ve loaded it with baseball gear and pedaled to practice. And all those errands I used to dread are fun now. The other day, I jumped at the chance to go to the gas station to get gas for the lawnmower, because it meant I could ride the e-bike through the neighborhood and take the long way home to hit a pretty part of the greenway.
I’m not suggesting the Adventure Neo Allroad EQ is perfect. I wish the bike had front suspension, even just 100mm to soak up some of the bumpier roads in my hometown and make hopping curbs a little smoother. And I’d recommend upgrading the pedals from the stock plastic flats to a grippier, metal flat. But overall, I’m smitten with this bike and am convinced I need to buy one for my wife so we can have e-bike-powered date nights.
If anything, riding the Adventure Neo Allroad fills me with regret. I regret that I wasted so much time being a serious cyclist who hated e-bikes. How many years of fun have I missed out on? How many trips to the corner store and last-minute runs to the hardware store have I suffered through in a car over that time? It's best not to think about it. Instead, I choose to look forward, to all the joyous errands and commutes in my future. To a life that’s more car-free, more whimsical and ultimately more fun.
Cannondale Adventure Neo Allroad EQ Electric Bike
E-Bike Classification Class 2
Motor Bafang G020 hub, 250W
Motor torque (Nm) 45 Newton meters
Pedal assist range 47 miles
Bike suspension No
Cannondale Adventure Neo Allroad Electric Bike
E-Bike classification Class 2
Motor Bafang G020 hub, 250W
Motor torque (Nm) 45 Newton meters
Pedal assist range 47 miles
Bike suspension No
Cannondale Adventure Neo Allroad S Electric Bike
E-Bike classification Class 3
Motor Bafang G0H0 hub, 750W
Motor torque (Nm) 80 Newton meters
Pedal assist range 67 miles
Bike suspension Front suspension