Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 1: Unleashing the Beast of Bosch Generation 4 CX Motor

Cannondale Moterra NEO Carbon 1 at sunset
Cannondale flagship electric mountain bike, The Moterra Neo Carbon 1, is a well priced, top spec carbon frame Enduro.
Cannondale Moterra NEO Carbon 1 at sunset
Cannondale flagship electric mountain bike, The Moterra Neo Carbon 1, is a well priced, top spec carbon frame Enduro.


Cannondale’s Moterra Neo 1 electric mountain bike, powered by the Bosch Generation 4 CX motor, has been leading the charge of their electric mountain enduro line for some 3 years.


Revision of essential elements is fundamental to staying ahead of competition and Cannondale bikes continuously add innovation through revised components and geometry. 


We dive into the latest features and performance of the Carbon 1 to analyze which riders it best suits.

Infographic for Cannondale Moterra NEO Carbon 1

Infographic of Cannondale Moterra NEO Carbon 1

This infographic provides an easy to follow visualization of the essential elements of the Cannondale Moterra Carbon NEO 1

It is important to realize that there are 2 versions of the NEO Carbon 1 in the US – The SMU and C25172U models. (As of publishing, the SMU is not available in Europe.)


The former is sharpened for speed, where the latter is honed for durability and efficiency.

Moterra NEO Carbon 1 with ZEB Forks
Click here for detailed analysis of RockShox Lyrik and ZEB Forks

The Frame

Both frames use the durable SmartForm C1 Alloy Swingarm, however with 160mm of travel on the BallisTec Carbon frame, the SMU benefits from an extra 10mm at the rear to help soak up those harder jumps and bumps.


The BallisTec Carbon frame uses proprietary carbon fiber composition technology. Construction utilizes advanced materials, expertise in carbon fiber layup, and features the Cannondale bicycle AI offset drivetrain.

Frame geometry graphic
The NEO Carbon 1 is at the forfront of eMTB innovation for Cannondale Bikes.

By comparison, the Moterra Neo Carbon frame of the C25172U sees a replaceable UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger). The UDH can be changed in the event of damage (a bent or broken derailleur hanger for example). 


In essence, the UDH allows damaged parts to be replaced should the frame be hit hard by impact or accidents while riding.

The SMU has the new model RockShox Zeb Ultimate with ultra-stiff 38mm stanchions and 160mm travel. ZEB’s are built for ultra aggressive enduro riders. 


The front end ZEB’s are complemented with 160mm RockShox Deluxe Select+ RT, at the rear.


The C25172U receives the benchmark Enduro fork, the 150mm, RockShox Lyrik Select+. This is paired with the RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock.


The high performance Lyrik Select’s tend to be around 320 grams lighter than ZEB forks, and built for classic enduro MTBs. Lyrik forks are designed to furnish smooth and controlled suspension performance

The SMU has a powerful 625Wh Bosch PowerTube.


Although this battery is relatively heavy, it is lighter than the massive 750Wh unit on the C25172U.

Bosche PowerTube batteries are exceptionally powerful
The SMU lands the aggressive Magura MT7 4-piston hydraulic disc brake with bigger 220/203mm, 6-bolt rotors, and Magura MT7 Trail HC hydraulic disc on the rear   Shimano XT 8120 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes / Shimano XT hydraulic disc are supplied on the C25172U, with 203mm RT76 rotors front and rear.

SMU has a Bosch Kiox.


The C25172U receives the newer Bosch Kiox 300 w/ LED remote.


Ride history is logged on the Cannondale App.


The App provides suspension recommendations, interacts with tail light radar to enhance safety, and adjust power settings to ensure that range anxiety is a thing of the past.

Smart App screen displays
Cables are messy for a mountain bike of this quality

Derailleur, Shifters Cogs and Chain

The SMU uses SRAM equipment:

  • SRAM X01 Eagle
  • SRAM GX Eagle, single click, 12-speed
  • SRAM XX1-Eagle Rainbow, 10-52, 12-speed
  • SRAM XX1-Eagle Rainbow, 12-speed

The Enduro focused bike has Shimano:

  • Shimano XTR
  • ShimanoiXT, 12-speed
  • Shimano XT, 10-51, 12-speed
  • Shimano XT, 12-speed


The SMU gets Maxxis Assegai, on the front paired with Maxxis DHR II


The C25172U gets Maxxis Minion DHF, front paired with Maxxis Rekon on the rear wheel

Suspension linkage on Cannondale Moterra Neo 5
Custom shock linkage is different for each frame size of Cannondale electric mountain bikes


Cannondale 3 Riser on the SMU, uses lightweight 6061 alloy, with a moderate 15mm rise Aluminum bars are 


The more expensive HollowGram SAVE on the C25172U has a 30mm rise, to provide a slightly more upright riding posture. 


Carbon handlebars are lightweight, stiff, and have vibration damping properties. This aids a smooth, comfortable ride, and reduces hand fatigue, although carbon fiber is less crash resistant than alloy.


Cannondale DownLow Dropper, are identical on both models, with one exception: 170mm (an additional 20mm of travel) is provided on the XL frame of the C25172U.


The major variations in fundamental equipment clarify the differing intent of the two models:

  • The SMU is an enduro bike which is built to tackle aggressive enduro downhill, and all mountain riding. 
  • The C25172U is a classic enduro. With a more upright riding position providing greater comfort, and larger battery, this model is built for the open road and long enduro trails.
RockShox ZEB Ultimate forks
RockShox ZEB forks add an agressive capability to the Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 1

The Ride Experience (SMU)

The sturdy carbon frame on the Cannondale Moterra Neo 1 has 160mm of travel and is fitted with 29-inch wheels front and rear. The geometry is tuned well, weight is balanced and the bike delivers a dynamic and responsive ride. 


The frame offers harmony between low-down attack position and upright seated position  making it ideal for all-around riding. The head angle works in unison with the RockShox ZEB forks and seating position is great for climbing.  The slack seat position works well for steep descents.


The equipment, right sized wheels, and 160mm of travel is ample for this Cannondale bike. There is plenty of dynamic feel and security without pushing the geometry to the extreme.

The Bosch CX motor with its 625-Wh power tube battery offers optimal power delivery and complements the bike’s performance on both flat terrain and climbs. 


The Bosche motor has been the “best in category” of all major motor manufacturers. This workhorse has proven its reliability on hundreds of thousands of ebikes.


The CX has a Tour+ mode which automatically switches between riding modes to extend riding distance. 


To complement the efficiency mode, the Cannondale App can access historic track information to calculate routes, recommend settings, and analyze power requirements.


The combined system increased range by over 20% compared to previous generations of Bosch motors.


The e-MTB mode on the CX offers a natural and powerful ride, with no need to constantly use the power boost button. 


Attempting to exceed the 25 km/h (16 MPH) limit, requires an aftermarket de-restrictor to be fitted. It is possible to pedal through this limit, however, the effort becomes ridiculously tiring on the rider as the motor resists the rider rather than assisting pedal effort.


As with the durable aluminum frame versions, the battery is integrated seamlessly low in the downtube. It is easy to remove for charging if you don’t want to charge the battery on the bike.


Charge time for the 625-Wh unit was approximately 4 hours.

Bosch Kiox Display

The Kiox display could use some tweaking.


An upgrade to the Kiox 300 w/ LED remote (as supplied on the C25172U) would certainly be nice to have.

Cannondale engineers designed these eMTB’s for skilled trail riders who want to push their limits. Both cycles are both responsive and forgiving. 


Enthusiasts who suffer range anxiety and want to go beyond the limits of traditional Cannondale trail riding should consider either of the NEO Carbon 1 marks.


Riders who prefer leisurely rides are less likely to obtain value from a bike of this caliber. After all, the higher spec components, carbon frame, and tweaked geometry give only a fractional advantage over lower cost Moterra NEO’s with aluminum frames.


For those who prefer to maximize riding time and don’t push the extremes of mountain trails, the C25172U model has a larger battery and a less aggressive riding position. 


This model is a honed enduro that gets you downhill quickly. The huge battery keeps the power coming allowing you to tear back up the gravel roads to the trailhead over and over.


Both Carbon 1 electric bikes are best suited to experienced thrill-seeking riders who demand a dynamic off-road experience.

Both variants of the Cannondale Moterra Neo 1 are quick bikes. The smooth lines are stylish, with power and capability that deliver an exhilarating ride experience.


The Bosch Generation 4 CX motor, sturdy carbon fiber frame, and high rated enduro suspension, are standout features that enhance the bikes performance and versatility on trails. 


At US$8,300, (or $8,600 for the C25172U) there is no getting away from the fact that this is an expensive purchase. 


Remember though that this is a very highly spec’d bike. There are few carbon frame, full suspension eMTBs at this price. Factor in the high spec components, and huge battery, and you realize that this is an extremely competitive price.


The Moterra Neo 1 (SMU) is a top choice for experienced riders who are looking to push their limits and explore extreme enduro trails with an extra boost of power.

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The Moterra Neo Carbon 1 is Cannondale's flagship, full suspension, electric mountain bike. A high-performance, high-value electric mountain bike with a motor that delivers. But would you buy one? We find out.
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