When I first became aware of the e-bike — a bike with an electronic pedal-assisting motor— I thought it was a funky “niche” bike. But after just a couple of rides, my bet is that this is the future of cycling.
I’ll tell you why later. First, let’s walk through the tests.
Adventure number 1: Picked up the Cannondale Quick Neo from the cycling gurus at The Bike Route (where it has become the preferred errand bike). I got there in full kit and dropped off my regular commuter for the Neo. What struck me first—and you honestly need to be warned about this—is how quick it is off the line. The assist kicks in best at lower speeds in the lower gears. I have put three other people on the bike during testing to judge their immediate impressions, and all of them giggled about the quickness.
Three riders = three big smiles.
The second thing I noticed requires a warning, as well: I regularly found myself underestimating my speed coming around corners and having to lay into the disc brakes. But the wider tires and heavy frame kept everything stable on the trail.
What the Neo excels at—quickness and faster-than-normal cruising speed—is balanced with a top-speed governor. The bike is programmed not to offer any assistance over 20 mph. This is undoubtedly a really good thing, especially since the Razorback Greenway speed limit is 15 mph. It is a bit of a buzz kill to accelerate so quickly, and then feel a very real bogging down at around 19 or 20 mph. But like I said, this is a plus and a necessity for sure when riding on the Greenway, where we have enough difficulty with “pathletes” trying to set PRs while dodging joggers and dogs.
All in all, the Neo was interesting but a bit frustrating for my normal riding style. Things got much better later in the day when I traded the clip-ins for flip-flops and the stretchy pants for cargo’s.
More about that next time.
Grace and peace, y’all.