The Habit Neo impresses on the trail, but it’s more than just a one-trick pony.
Cannondale really hasn’t shifted the paradigm with the Habit Neo and quite frankly, they didn’t need to. This bike retains all the sublime trail handling and good times of the analog Habit, with the added functionality of an assist bike.
Happily, the first impressions of the build kit were positive and stayed positive throughout the test period. The build kit is not overly bling, but Cannondale has done well with it. When you are behind the bars you could easily mistake this model for a range-topper. The fork and rear shock from RockShox feature their DebonAir spring which, under the weight of any eMTB, performs better than on an analog bike. The Maxxis Recon’s are a good tyre and reduce the rotational mass nicely, although if you are going to ride very technical trails I’d suggest moving to something with more volume and a stronger carcass. The Magura 4-piston and 220mm front brake setup are incredibly powerful, with modulation to boot. A longer dropper post would up the playfulness a little. Perhaps the neatest touch of all which speaks to the versatility of the Habit Neo, is the preinstalled light cables that facilitate a cleaner commuter setup.
|FRAME||| 130mm travel, Carbon front triangle, Alloy rear, Proportional Response Rear Suspension, Internal cables, Ai offset drivetrain|
|BATTERY||| Bosch PowerTube 500Wh, Removable|
|CONTROLLER||| Bosch Purion|
|MOTOR||| New Bosch Performance Line CX, 250 watt, 85 Nm, 32km/h assist|
|FORK||| 140mm travel RockShox 35 Gold RL, DebonAir Damper with 51mm offset|
|SHOCK||| RockShox Deluxe Select R with DebonAir|
|BARS||| Cannondale 3 Riser, 780mm wide, 15mm rise, 8° sweep, 4° rise, 6061 Alloy|
|STEM||| Cannondale Alloy, 31.8 clamp and 50mm length|
|SEAT||| Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport|
|SEATPOST||| TranzX 120mm Dropper post|
|WHEELS||| WTB ST i29 rims, DT Swiss Spokes, Formula Hub (F), SRAM Hub|
|TYRES||| Maxxis Rekon 29 x 2.6, 3C compound, EXO casing|
|CASSETTE||| SRAM 11-50t 12 speed|
|MECH||| SRAM NX Eagle|
|SHIFTER||| SRAM SX Eagle 12 speed|
|CRANKS||| BOSCH Gen4 with custom Ai offset, 34t|
|CHAIN||| SRAM SX Eagle|
|BRAKES||| Magura MT30 Trail hydro, 220/203mm Spider rotors|
|WEIGHT||| 22.6kg as tested, no pedals|
|RRP||| R119 999|
The geometry reflects the intentions of the Habit Neo. The bike is, as Cannondale so aptly put it, a flow-seeker designed to handle climbs and descents equally well. This is not a slacked-out super shred sled for smashing through the steepest downhill race tracks around town – although it’s not half bad at that stuff. Rather, the chassis is designed to be what I would call an eMTB for everyone with middle of the road geometry to keep your flow. At 1,74m tall, I opted for a size medium which is a 445 reach. As a side note; if you are in between sizes on an eMTB and are after a playful ride, my suggestion is to opt-in for the smaller size as it makes the bike a little more agile. I found the Geometry very neutral on this bike, 66,5-degree head angle, a 342mm BB height and short seat tubes across all the sizes.
|REACH | 425mm (SM), 445mm (M), 470mm (L), 495mm (XL)|
|SEAT TUBE LENGTH | 400mm (SM), 430mm (M), 460mm (L), 510mm (XL)|
|WHEELBASE | 1181mm (SM), 1205mm (M), 1234mm (L), 1263mm (XL)|
|CHAINSTAY | 455mm|
|HEAD ANGLE | 66.5° degrees|
|SEAT TUBE ANGLE | 75°|
|BB HEIGHT | 342mm|
Visually similar to the analog Cannondale Habit, the Habit Neo shares the proprietary rear suspension dubbed Proportional Response which tailors the layout for each frame size. Cannondale says the outcome is better grip, a smoother ride and more control.
The Bosch Performance Line CX system needs no introduction. It is easily one of the three best systems on the market and nabbed a win at the inaugural round of the Enduro World Series for eMTB last month. A recent software update has punched the torque capability up to 85Nm, improved the responsiveness of the system and sees the arrival of the exhilarating Extended Boost feature. Extended Boost is activated by a quick stamp on the pedals (in eMTB mode) which creates an overrun of assistance. This momentary boost in support helps drive you up and over any technical section without stalling. On the trail, it is very marginal and probably not perceptible to every rider. With familiarity, it adds so much fun to the overall capability and makes technical trails a little easier for everyone. In terms of reliability and durability, the Bosch system has never failed me – then again, neither have any of the other eMTB systems on the market.
VIDEO: RIDE IMPRESSIONS
| IMAGES & SHRED-O-GRAPHY: Gary Perkin – flipper.co.za |
| LOCATIONS: G-Spot, Eden Forest, Tokai MTB and Cape Town City |