The Cannondale Journey Neo Allroad EQ is at first look a visually unusual ebike, with its massively outsized tires, equally large battery, fenders, lights, and a rack brazed onto the stays. It’s equal components ungainly and exquisite. Is it a commuter bike? A path bike? A metropolis bike?
The bike is all of these issues and much more. The Journey Neo Allroad EQ is a shit-kicker bike, in a position to deal with nearly any path I throw at it. And in contrast to lots of the ebikes I’ve reviewed, driving is extremely enjoyable.
I had knee alternative surgical procedure a number of months in the past, and I knew forward of time that might imply I’d be off the bike for some time, however after I acquired again to driving, I would wish to do it with the help of an ebike. Cannondale had simply launched the brand new bike (which I’ll seek advice from because the “Allroad EQ” or “Allroad” any longer for simplicity), and I requested them if I may assessment it on my solution to restoration.
Ridding a sub-$2000 ebike to get again in form for my above-$2000 Cannondale SuperSix appeared like an excellent plan, and Cannondale agreed, sending me the Allroad to assist me get well. My therapeutic was a bit extra sophisticated than I had anticipated, and for the primary few weeks after surgical procedure, I couldn’t even pedal a whole stroke on a stationary bike. My knee would get to about 85º of bend and transfer no extra.
The Allroad sat for some time, however as a substitute of taunting me, it motivated me to do extra bodily remedy and to get my ass again on a motorcycle.
It turned out to be a superb alternative in a restoration bike because of these massive, compliant wheels and the flexibility of the tires to take in highway bumps. I hadn’t recognized that with the bones therapeutic round, a brand new knee jostling up and down from potholes and ruts could be extremely painful. I ran the strain a bit low for my weight to assist in giving me a bit extra cush with my push.
The relaxed geometry of the bike additionally proved useful, permitting me to slip my saddle again and some further levels of laid-back stretch, which allowed me to show the pedals.
My first journey on the Allroad EQ was joyous, and I teared up. For over a month, I had struggled to pedal a stationary bike, afraid one thing was unsuitable after my surgical procedure and I wouldn’t journey once more. Driving a motorcycle once more after feeling hopeless about my prospects was liberating in the way in which that bike driving is as a toddler.
The Allroad is designed to go on trails and uneven terrain, so it doesn’t appear to be your common ebike. That is the sort of bike you possibly can tackle a rail to path, however driving it, I had photographs of shopping for a cabin within the woods and utilizing this bike to discover logging roads and double observe. Ah, hell, I imagined flying down Singletrack on it a bit too.
Because it’s designed for bumpy or sketchy terrain, it’s a bit overpowered when driving on a flat, paved highway. Not a foul overpowered, however even with the bottom stage of help on a flat highway pedaling largely prompts the motor, not offering any propulsion.
Because it seems, that is precisely what I wanted. I rode first on flat roads by my home and on multiuse paved paths close by, and I may spin my legs round whereas the bike did many of the work. On another e-bike, this might be upsetting; I like a motorcycle that helps me alongside however doesn’t do the work for me.
Since I used to be driving the bike on terrain far under its functionality, this proved excellent for restoration. It additionally allowed me to go on errands and buying, figuring out that I may strap issues to the rack on the again and produce them house. The extra weight I placed on the bike, the higher it felt on paved roads. If I have been going to personal this bike (sadly, I’ve to ship it again), I might put panniers on it and apply it to trails and at my native grocery retailer.
Inside every week of driving the Allroad, I began to need extra, nicely because the title implies, Journey. Close to my home is a wonderful path in a state park alongside the Hudson River. The hardpack path runs between a towering mountain and the shining water, and it’s certainly one of my favourite locations to journey.
Whereas largely flat, there are a number of quick, steep climbs and lots of rolling trails. I’ve ridden cross bikes, gravel bikes, and infrequently my highway bike on the primary part of hardpack fairly a bit. After a number of miles, the path pitches up and forks, and there are two selections. One is a 1.5-mile climb that averages 15 p.c, and the opposite is a dust path by means of the woods to a different native city.
That filth path could be essentially the most smart, with mildly rolling paths and manageable climbs.
Naturally, I picked the path with the climb.
I put my finger on the throttle lever and began up the climb. Although the climb averages 15%, there are two steep sections of round 20 p.c. I used to be anticipating to must cease driving and stroll up these sections.
The Allroad is provided with a 250W hub motor and a Bafang drivetrain; on the highway, it has plenty of oomph. It did admirably on the climb, though above a ten p.c grade, there may be marginal help from the motor. It’s sufficient to negate the bike’s weight and provides an additional push, however even with the throttle totally down, the bike nonetheless went up the hill, primarily on the pace of my pedaling.
That’s not a foul factor; I felt exhilarated at having completed plenty of the pedal work up that mountain. But it surely additionally exhibits the boundaries of this bike; it wasn’t designed to be a light-weight climbing highway bike, and it wasn’t supposed to be a cross-country successful hardtail.
It’s a touring bike and a path bike, and an errand bike, but it surely’s not going to take you to the highest of Alpes d’Huez.
In reality, although, I’ve ridden many ebikes which can be lighter and extra road-riding oriented, and only a few of them would have allowed me to complete that climb, whereas with the Allroad, I made it to the highest, and each my knees and my lungs have been intact.
If you end up on an especially steep pitch and resolve to hop off the bike, the drivetrain supplies a walking-assist mode that can energy the bike whereas it’s being pushed; there is no such thing as a want to show the pedals to activate the motor.
The Journey Neo Allorad EQ is powered by a 250W Bafang Go20 hub motor, with a 418Wh life that offers, they are saying, as much as 47 miles of vary. I by no means did a single journey of that size, however I did journey it with out charging it between rides, and the battery capability appears large.
On a 20-mile spherical journey the place I largely used the bike within the lowest help mode attainable, I had greater than half the battery left after I acquired house. That appears proper on the right track.
The battery is detachable in order that it may be charged in your own home, in your workplace, or for those who’re doing long-distance touring whilst you sit and have dinner someplace.
The seven-speed drivetrain is definitely actuated, although I didn’t discover a lot use. I primarily left it within the hardest gear, and I’d alter the facility drivetrain help stage or use the throttle if I wanted a neater gear.
Not like many ebikes I’ve ridden, the Journey Neo Allroad EQ has hydraulic disc brakes, which I appreciated after I circled on that lengthy climb and rode the lengthy, steep descent again to the river.
The saddle is comparatively snug for a inventory configuration, although I’d improve it fairly shortly if I have been going to journey the bike for any size of time. Pedals are generic, as you’d count on. For lengthy rides, I’d both go clipless or get downhill-style pedals with studs for traction. Because the drivetrain supplies a lot of the work, clipless could be a bit overkill, however I discovered myself shutting off the facility and driving the bike motor-free on some flat roads.
The one situation I’ve with the drivetrain is expounded to turning off the power-assist features. It’s attainable to place the bike in “0” help (the help vary is from 1-5) to pedal underneath one’s energy, however when going from no-assist again as much as help, there’s a delay within the motor activating.
The result’s that I’d discover myself pedaling after which come to an increase within the highway, and after I switched to the primary stage of help, nothing would occur. Even the throttle doesn’t work when switching from “0” to “1,” and there’s no solution to inform exactly when the help will return. I discovered that if I pedaled backward, the facility would typically return shortly, however I’m unsure if it is because I took the load off the motor or as a result of I used to be killing time whereas pedaling in reverse.
The quick stem on the bike is a part of what provides it an upright geometry, and whereas that place was nice throughout my restoration, I’d probably get an extended stem if I have been holding the bike. As with many quick cockpit bikes with flat bars, I often shook my palms to cut back fatigue, and I’d finally prefer to stretch out extra.
This is without doubt one of the ways in which firms like Cannondale can produce these bikes with out making a dozen body sizes. With a Medium and a Massive body as the one selections, Cannondale can create these at a decrease value than a number of frames. Utilizing commonplace elements for the Seatpost, stem, and handlebars makes it straightforward to customise a motorcycle like this to go well with nearly any rider.
My spouse was an avid bike owner, however a collection of well being points took her off the bike after my son was born. She hasn’t ridden critically in years, largely as a result of she hates the concept of driving quick rides on the identical native roads time and again to get in form to journey the longer distances she enjoys on journeys and holidays.
I’ve been speaking in regards to the thought of an ebike for her for years, however the ones I’ve ridden have been extra commuter oriented. They’ve been stiff and heavy, designed for roads greater than for trails. These designs could make them uncomfortable and harsh to journey.
I put her on the Journey Neo Allroad EQ, and she or he pedaled alongside me as I rode one other stiffer bike. I’d grimace because the bike I used to be on hit potholes and stutter bumps, which despatched jolts into my robo-knee. In the meantime, she smiled and rode over potholes like they didn’t exist.
“Okay,” she mentioned, “I may get again into driving on a motorcycle like this.
Just a few weeks after that climbing journey, I went out with my pal Mike for our common Sunday journey. I hadn’t been on a weekend journey with my buddies this complete season. The skies have been sunny and blue, the Canadian wildfire smoke had abated, and I used to be stuffed with power.
Because the path cut up within the forest, we turned to the fitting, down the five-mile bumpy filth path to the city up the river. I’d clear the few climbs seconds forward of Mike and stopped a number of occasions to eat the wild raspberries that develop alongside the path.
Along with the damaging haze of wildfire smoke, we now have had depressing climate this season. One-hundred-degree days have been adopted by days of violent and damaging thunderstorms. None of my group of weekend buddies has ridden lots this season.
The trailhead comes out at a parking zone on a highway above a city and we normally head down the highway and proceed our Journey on roads that comply with alongside the river.
This journey, Mike wasn’t feeling it. Just a few weeks out of the saddle and a few knee tendon problems with his personal had him feeling like turning again, which we did. On our group rides, we go the place the group desires to go, and he desires to move again.
A stupendous journey house, and Mike turned off towards his home. I stored going towards the bike path on the Hudson River’s bridge. I added one other 10 miles to my day, ending at about 20 miles—the farthest I’ve ridden since my surgical procedure.
Just a few weeks later, the entire gang acquired collectively for a journey; this time, I needed to see how far the battery would take me. We did a typical route round our county, with a complete distance of 30 miles and 1500 toes of climbing. Usually, we’d do 50 miles and over 2000 toes of climbing on this route, however I didn’t assume my knee or the battery would final.
I spent a lot of the journey sipping energy from the battery. My knee is bettering, so I want a lot much less help, operating on the first energy stage and utilizing the throttle much less on climbing. On the midway level, I nonetheless had three bars of energy on the pc.
On the return journey, I kicked up the help to make sure I didn’t overtax my knee. As we method the final climb, a gradual half mile by means of a park, the battery dropped from the third bar to the second at about the identical charge as the primary bar, however proper there on the finish of the journey, it dropped from two to at least one bar as I used to be doing that ultimate climb. The bike stopped helping me on the climb, and I may solely kick in some energy when the path flattened out.
On the final mile on the return, the bike may help with the flats, however lower than on the outbound journey. That is typical of batteries; as they drop, they aren’t in a position to present as a lot peak energy. I may nonetheless journey round my block with help, however that’s all of the bike had left.
This battery efficiency sounds disappointing, however a thirty-mile journey on a comparatively hilly route is superb for a lot of e-bikes, and a flat commute would hit the 40-mile mark and not using a downside and certain farther on a flat rail-to-trail.
My expertise with the battery’s energy is only a reminder that it doesn’t matter what ebike you will have, there are limits to its skills—simply as is the case with human-powered bikes.
These 30 miles with pedal help characterize a mark in my restoration. I’m hoping to journey unassisted that size quickly, and I’m hoping to get again to my common weekly journey lengths of fifty to 70 miles subsequent season.
However I’m additionally planning to have an ebike round to go on enjoyable excursions and discover trails and terrain I’m unfamiliar with. I couldn’t do higher on these journeys than with the Cannondale Journey Neo Allroad EQ. At only a hair underneath $1900 it’s an important worth for the avid gravel and rail-trail bike owner. It’s additionally extremely sturdy, enjoyable to journey, and outfitted with components that make it a superb commuter bike that additionally simply can haul cargo round on the again rack.