With MX wheels, a carbon front end and powerful motor, the Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT 2 ticks a whole lot of boxes.
With 165mm of travel, the Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon LT 2 is one of the suspension heavy hitters in this test. At 26.51kg (58.44lb), it’s also the heaviest bike. Almost 1.5kg heavier than the equivalent travel Nukeproof. So how does it perform and is it one of the best electric bikes on offer?
Need to know:
- MX wheels both come shod with 2.6in Maxxis tyres for extra grip
- Shimano XT 12-speed derailleur and SLX shifter work perfectly together
- Cannondale clocks the Bosch Performance Line CX motor to get the 750Wh battery lower
- RockShox Zeb fork and Super Deluxe coil shock pump out 170/165mm travel respectively
The difference here though, is that Cannondale’s carbon front end houses a 750Wh Bosch battery to power a Performance Line CX motor. But even accounting for the lighter 630Wh Shimano battery in the Nukeproof, the Moterra LT comes out heavier. The coil sprung shock obviously adds a little weight, but as is often the case, carbon has been used to achieve a complex form, without offering a substantial weight saving.
But weight is not the only consideration here, as there’s a lot of engineering that has gone into the carbon front end which is not immediately apparent. Like how the pivot points for the 4-bar suspension on the front triangle are not the same for each of the four frame sizes – providing size specific suspension kinematics to ensure all riders get a similar ride experience. It’s what Cannondale calls its Proportional Response Tune.
It’s not all high-tech, though. The alloy rear end has a kickstand mount and there’s an old spoke mounted magnet for the speed sensor. Factor in the key required for battery removal, and it’s clear the Moterra Neo LT shares frame components with other less radical models.
When RockShox introduced sag gradients on its forks and shocks, suspension set-up got a whole lot easier. And these are even more useful on the coil-sprung Super Deluxe Select + shock. Granted, you still seed a friend to read the sag, but it’s easier than doing it with a tape measure. The catch with a coil spring is you can’t finetune sag to the same degree as with an air shock. That said, our size L test bike came with a 500lb spring which gave exactly 27% sag with an 80kg rider, which was a great starting point.
The 170mm travel RockShox Zeb Select RC fork has a burly 38mm chassis, and Cannondle bolsters stiffness further with Torque Caps on the front hub. Being the entry level fork, the damper isn’t the most sophisticated, so while still plush, it doesn’t offer the best control on bigger hits.
The contact points on the Moterra LT are sorted, but when it came to adjusting the stem height we ran into a couple of issues. With all the cables running through the faceplate of the stem, the routing is so neat, read tight, we couldn’t get the stem off the fork steerer to adjust the spacers. Also the spacers aren’t round, so they don’t fit on top of the stem. So once again,the integration isn’t as seamless as it looks.
Even with the tighter cable routing, changing gears with the Shimano SLX 12-speed shifter was lighter and faster than on the XT equipped bikes. Yes, you forgo the double downshift feature, but it’s a trade off we were super happy with. Less impressive was the lacklustre performance of the SRAM Code R brakes.
With its clocked motor, low-slung battery placement and arched bridge that reinforces the chainstay assembly Cannondle has taken design features from Whyte and YT… both inspirational designs in their own right.
The sizing and fit of the Moterra LT are progressive too, and the rear suspension is one of the best performers in test, offering great levels of grip, support and composure. How much of that is down to the coil shock is hard to say, but it works really effectively, and that’s what matters most.
That said, we found the dynamic ride height on the Cannondale a touch tall, so we swapped to a 450lb spring to get the bike to sit lower. This didn’t seem to change the ride height much, but it did make the suspension feel worse. So what the Moterra LT really needs is geometry adjustment to lower the 352mm BB height.
At the discounted price of £6,163 the Cannondle Moterra LT is a seriously attractive proposition. The sleek carbon front end gives it the appearance of a more expensive bike and it ticks a lot of must have boxes too. It has the powerful Bosch motor and low-slung 750Wh battery, size specific suspension kinematics, where the MX wheels complement the 170/165mm travel combo perfectly. Yes, it is a heavy bike, but it still offers a remarkably agile ride. And while it probably needs a better fork, the same is true of many of the more expensive bikes in this test. Ultimately, then, the only really sticking points are cables routed through the stem and taller than expected ride height.