Price:£3,999.99 - From £5,999.99
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- Fun ride characteristics
- Keeps to the roots of the Habit
- Modern Geometry
- Limited colours
- 29er only
- Tyres not to everyone's taste
Usage:Fun trail riding
* Cannondale took their fun and sprightly trail bike and added a powerful motor
Updated: 20th July 2019
The Habit from Cannondale was one of the most fun bikes to ride this past year. It's part of the new breed of 29er trail bikes with modern geometry that keeps the fun alive. Popularised by the likes of Josh Bryceland and the Cannondale sessions crew, the Habit showed that a mid-travel 29er can be a lot of fun and big wheels are no longer only for the XC racers. Everyone can enjoy the extra speed and fast-rolling characteristics of 29ers over any terrain.
In Cannondale's own words "We took our most fun trail bike and put a motor in it. It's playtime". This 29er Carbon E bike with 140mm front and 130mm rear travel comes with four models in the range, let's take a closer look at this exciting new e trail bike.
*Cannondale Habit Neo 2 - Size Medium tested, without pedals
With a slack 66.5° head angle that gives confidence when descending, 455mm chainstays, short for an e bike, give nimble handling and a steep effective seat tube angle of 75°. This means that even without the motor, pedalling efficiency is not lost. It's great to see Cannondale keeping the confident and playful angles from the non-motorised Habit on the new Habit NEO.
All frames are made with Cannondale's BallisTec carbon fibre in the front triangle, their engineers chose to make durability the priority over gram-counting, this means Cannondale offer an impressive lifetime warranty on the new Habit NEO.
Playful and poppy. Confident and precise.
Tailoring the suspension layout by size so that every rider gets optimal traction, suppleness and control.
Generally, frame manufacturers will not be able to put as much research and development into every size frame available and will generally concentrate on the medium option and scale to suit the other sizes. Cannondale has stepped things up by creating what they call "Proportional Response". Using Size-specific kinematics that utilizes the centre of gravity data from different sized riders they have tailored the suspension linkage so every rider gets the same level of progressivity and grip on offer.
With 130mm of rear travel and 140mm up front, the Habit NEO sits right in the trail bike category, but the geometry and big wheels will make it feel like it can handle a lot more than the traditional trail bike. The suspension is handled by RockShox, rear shocks range from the Deluxe Select R up to the Deluxe Ultimate RT, all with the Debonair spring. Forks range from the very capable Recon RL up to the respected Pike Select + on the top end Habit NEO 1.
Every model in the range gets the same high power Bosch Performance Line CX motor, coupled to a large 500Wh capacity battery that is stored inside the downtube giving a very sleek profile, gone are the days of a huge piggyback battery clamped onto the town tube. The power and performance of the Performance CX motor are now very tried and tested. The most powerful motor in the Bosch range, it will leave anyone grinning on the climbs, even after many rides it still surprises riders in the e mtb world.
Cannondale has their proprietary mount positions for the motor. The drive unit is low and forward in the frame creating lively and fun handling. By having the centre of gravity so low and out of the way of the rear end, this allows for the short chainstays and nimble handling.
The latest incarnation of the Bosch Performance Line CX motor does pretty much everything better than its predecessor.
The SRAM Eagle is set to be a sure-fire hit
SRAM Eagle 1x12 drivetrains are now commonplace in the MTB world, though this has not always been the case. Until this year it was usually only seen on the top tier and higher-end models, with the entry-level models not getting this climb killing 500% ratio. But Cannondale has managed to spec every model in the Habit NEO range with SRAM's excellent 12-speed gearing. With every model benefiting from the massive 50 tooth chainring, the groupsets range form the new SX up to an X01/GX mix on the top end Habit NEO 1.
All bikes come with a dropper seat post, now a must-have for modern mountain biking. Brakes range from SRAM Level up to Magura 4 pot setups. Finishing kit is from Fabric and Cannondale.
Cannondale has not cut any corners on the wheelsets provided across the range. The entry-level Habit NEO 4 has wide and strong WTB rims, mates to Formula hubs. At the top end, the Habit NEO 1 has Stans Flow S1 rims on Formula and SRAM hubs, great to see good wheelsets across the whole range of bikes.
Tyres are from Maxxis on every bike. The Recon is the choice from Cannondale in the wide 2.6 form. There is a lot of tyre there in a 29x2.6 form, I can understand the choice of the Recon as a great all-round tyre, especially in this high volume version but some riders who prefer more technical terrain might wish to change to a Minion/High roller/Aggressor set up if staying with Maxxis, again a very personal choice.
The Habit came onto the scene in it's updated version last year to praise from riders and the press, we got our hands on one and loved how much fun it was to ride. It was nimble and poppy with just the right amount of feedback from the suspension and big wheels. Cannondale has kept this feeling but added a motor to guarantee a big smile from anyone who rides it.
A carbon frame, powerful motor, 1x12 on every bike and kinematics to suit all size riders. Cannondale has put the time and effort into designing a great electric MTB in the most up to date way to provide as much fun as possible.