Cannondale is a bicycle specialist with many muscle models and equips many professional cyclists. The American company also offers a fairly wide range of electric-assisted bikes from road bikes to mountain bikes and touring bikes.
Treadwell is a model available in muscular and electric versions. Here we test the second iteration of the electrically assisted version, the Neo 2. When it was announced, this version released in the summer of 2022 surprised us with a lower price than its predecessor. A good originality at a time when almost all manufacturers are going the opposite way.
In order to maintain a price below 2000 € for its VAE, Cannondale has made options. The American manufacturer first called on Hyena, a Taiwanese specialist in VAE engines, instead of the German Mahle. The 250 W E-Urban hub motor on the Treadwell Neo 2 develops a torque of 40 Nm. It is linked to a torque sensor and a 250 Wh battery, located in an aluminum frame. Cannondale also bucked leader Shimano and chose MicroShift for its 8-speed drivetrain (7-speed for non-“EQ” models). Finally, braking is provided by Tektro disc brakes, hydraulic on EQ versions, and mechanical on bare versions.
These decisions allow Cannondale to offer the Treadwell Neo 2 from €1,799. The Treadwell Neo 2 EQ has an additional front basket, headlight and a pair of fenders. Both versions are available in the so-called “Remixte” frame whose top tube is lowered to facilitate stepping. Here we test the Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2 EQ Remixte.
Comfort and ergonomics
Like its cousin the Tesoro Neo SL, the Treadwell Neo 2 is a lightweight e-bike, sometimes called a hybrid e-bike. It should be understood by this that he chose a motor of reduced format, here placed in the hub of the rear wheel, as well as a modest battery and a look that almost forgets the electrification. The idea is to offer an electric bike with behavior close to a muscular one, but with a little improvement for hills and rises.
Aesthetically, the Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2 EQ Remixte is a success. It benefits from the appearance of the mat enhanced with original touches, including this color “Purple Haze” which we found – very subjective – the most beautiful effect. Its handlebar with BMX accents also brings a unique touch to the American bike. Although this VAE is Cannondale’s entry level, it doesn’t really benefit the serious finishers of the brand.
Note that Remixte models are available in 2 frame sizes: S (149 to 167 cm) and L (162 to 182 cm). The classic frame versions are available in 3 sizes: S (149 to 167 cm), M (162 to 182 cm) and L (177 to 182 cm). A VAE more suitable for small cyclists than very large ones, therefore.
The steering wheel benefits from grips that offer good grip. However, the ridges covering it can be uncomfortable on long trips. The controls of the electric assist and those of the transmission fall easily under the fingers.
Like the Tesoro Neo, the Treadwell Neo 2 offers a relatively dynamic position, which does not give the feeling of being on a racing bike. A good compromise between comfort and sportiness in short. However, with a rigid aluminum frame, comfort is not the strong point of this Cannondale. The e-bike basically relies on its 26-inch, 1.85-inch wide Maxxis DTR-1 tires for shock absorption. An exercise in which they do well, especially if you agree to lose a little performance by not inflating them too much.
The saddle profile suits the spirit of the bike very well. It is comfortable enough for medium trips and does not interfere with pedaling. The pedals, for their part, could be a little wider for a larger contact surface with the shoes, but they nevertheless proved to be sufficiently grippy, even in wet weather.
In its EQ version, the Treadwell Neo 2 can count on a front basket that can support 10 kg. This basket is very open and quite shallow, it will be useful in the future to combine it with a crate for some transports. Note that the basket breaks easily. Too bad a luggage rack isn’t there either; this is despite the muscular version of the Treadwell. The mudguards have enough coverage to be effective, although they lack the glamor for our taste. The kickstand, essential for an urban bike, is of course present. Unfortunately, its central position often has the effect of blocking the pedal and limiting the movements of the Treadwell Neo 2 when it is deployed.
The front light is also reserved for the EQ version. The front light is visible enough, but it lacks power and its field is too narrow to be effective alone outside of lit areas at night. At the back, the red light placed under the saddle allows you to see properly. Attention, the front light is missing from non “EQ” models of Treadwell Neo 2.
The Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2 relies on a Hyena E-Urban motor placed in the hub of the rear wheel. It shows 40 Nm of torque and therefore does not promise outstanding crossing capabilities. On the other hand, its association with a torque sensor located on the crankset promises to adjust the effort of the engine to the cyclist.
The system is pretty basic in terms of controls and display. A simple box decorated with 3 buttons is to the left of the handlebar. It is enough to choose the desired help method from the 3 levels offered. The interface consists of 3 colored LEDs. One of them indicates the assistance mode selected, while the other two show the level of charge, should be estimated, of the battery.
More information is offered through the Hyena app. To take advantage of it while riding, however, you need to use the Intellimount attachment that is on the stem, and therefore buy an accessory for your smartphone. The absence of a screen is more appealing to those interested in the Treadwell Neo 2 for driving sensations close to a muscle bike.
Because that is the advantage of this mountain. Its simplicity ultimately makes it agile and dynamic. We were very impressed with the qualities of the Hyena engine. It is progressive in its help, even in the most extreme way. The torque sensor keeps pedaling natural and you don’t feel like you’re pedaling in a vacuum. The reminders stay alive and you can easily drive comfortably in the city, as well as outside.
Granted, the ribs will swallow less easily than a bike with a torquey central engine. Heavier riders may also experience a lack of tone at the start. However, we were surprised – certainly with a 65 kg cyclist – by the capacities of the Treadwell Neo 2 on relatively steep paths. By pushing a little on the pedals, the engine helps us properly and does not put us in danger by accelerating too violently.
The good handling of the Cannondale electric bike also comes from the choice of tires targeted for all-road or gravel use. Maxxis rubbers show themselves to be sufficiently grippy on asphalt and on less brittle tracks. The amount of on-board air makes it possible to eliminate small road irregularities. However, a certain flexibility in the arms and knees should be maintained without the actual suspension. What all the same enjoy a Treadwell Neo 2 know how to be a player.
The sportiness is however slightly restrained by an 8-speed MicroShift transmission that may lack quickness. However, for urban use and as long as the pedals are slightly relieved when changing gears, it remains satisfactory enough.
True, the equipment provided is practical, but one of the real advantages of the EQ versions of the Treadwell Neo 2 is in the use of hydraulic disc brakes and not mechanical. Those used on our test model, from the Tektro stalls, offer good bite on 160 mm discs, and above all good braking dose precision.
Inevitably, the lightness and discretion of the electrification have to be paid and this is the autonomy that pays the price of a battery of only 250 Wh. We rode 34 km at the highest level of assistance – on a route that included 500 m of elevation gain. This amount is small in absolute terms, but we must take into account the fact that we can easily drive beyond 25 km / h until the engine helps us.
For more wheeled trips, 50 km is perfectly possible. The use of a low assistance mode also has a positive effect on the autonomy of the Treadwell Neo 2. On the contrary, a heavier pilot than the one who did the test (65 kg), a more long trip mountainous terrain or a low temperature outside. there is every chance of reducing the endurance of the Cannondale VAE.
Some cyclists will regret the impossibility of removing the battery from the frame to recharge it. It is therefore mandatory to load the bike where it is parked, which is not offered by everyone. True, the Treadwell’s 19 kg allows it to remain more or less maneuverable, but not enough to climb 4 floors.
For a full recharge, it takes just over 3 hours, which partially compensates for the low autonomy of the Cannondale VAE.
Rather light (between 17.9 and 19.1 kg).
Agile and responsive.
Not very comfortable on big climbs.
No rear rack.
There is no screen.