The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 3 is the lowest spec carbon bike in Cannondale’s brilliant Moterra Neo range.
We’ve come to expect big things from the company by now and they’re a major player in the e-MTB market.
But some of the brand’s top carbon e-MTBs aren’t cheap and for many of us paying out $10,000 is a stretch too far.
Here is Cannondale’s answer – the Moterra Neo Carbon 3 is the entry point if you want to move onto a carbon frame and step up from an aluminum ride.
But does it do the job? And what can you expect?
In this review we’ll strip it back and really get to grips with the Moterra Neo Carbon 3.
So hop on and join us for the ride….
Our Verdict At A Glance
This is a very good option for intermediate riders who want to make the step-up onto some more gnarly and demanding trails. It’s light-weight, agile, powerful and handles well. Great traction for the climbs and a big travel range for the challenging descents. However, it doesn’t have great battery life or range and it isn’t cheap.
Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 3
The Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 has a proportional response and tuned, fully carbon frame, which comes in at 23kg.
Now let’s be honest, that’s really pretty light and as a result it can be manipulated well through the corners.
It climbs really well due to that light weight and it can be thrown around in the descents too.
It’s a great bike for enduro and general trail riders, who want to take on some challenging terrain and move at pace.
Like the Moterra Neo Carbon 2 and 1, the Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 has a low centre of gravity, which means it handles really well, particularly when paired with that light weight frame
The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 3 comes with a Bosch PowerTube 500Wh battery.
This is quite a bit less powerful than the Neo 1 and Neo 2 – 125Wh in fact – and the battery’s range really does show that.
It has a max stated range of 78km (48 miles), which isn’t far for a pricey e-MTB.
That could be a big factor on whether you decide to go for the Neo Carbon 3 or whether you pay more for the Carbon Neo 1 or 2. Or indeed whether you decide to stick with the larger battery life aluminium models.
The battery is well sealed with a sturdy cover though, so it will stay nicely protected on those challenging trails.
The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 3 has Bosch Performance Line CX 250 W motor, which kicks out 85Nm of torque.
That certainly packs some umph to get you up challenging climbs and it’s quick from a standing start too. This is particularly important when you consider how light the bike is – it’s a nimble and agile ride.
It has a top speed of 25km/h (15.5mph), which is the same as both the Moterra Neo Carbon 1 and 2.
Although the battery is lacklustre in comparison, the Neo Carbon 3 has a similar power output and is lighter, which is a big plus if you want to do shorter rides on some gnarly trails.
The bike can be thrown around and take on some punishing climbs.
The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 3 is a full suspension ride with a 160mm travel at both the front and the back, so it can take on some really solid trails and take a beating on the serious descents.
It has RockShox 35 Gold RL, Debon Air spring forks and RockShox Deluxe Select R, DebonAir spring shocks, which soak up a lot of pressure into some gnarly sections.
This is RockShox’s third-best fork on their range and they’re designed for people who want to, in the company’s words, “ride hard on a budget”. They’re super thick so can take a beating and although they aren’t the best on the market, they’ll certainly take on some really tough impacts The same applies for the rear shocks.
As a result, you’re left feeling really quite comfortable while weaving through those twisty and demanding sections.
The Cannondale Moterra Neo 3 comes with SRAM Guide RE hydraulic, 4-piston brakes and SPRAM Guide RE hydraulic disc levers.
That set-up is well versed on challenging terrain and this is designed to be put through a lot of strain, with last minute sharp braking and some steep hills.
It’s a very responsive set of brakes, which leaves you feeling reassured and although they aren’t the best in Shimano’s range or the most powerful, they still provide ample stopping power on the trails.
The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 3 comes with Maxxis Minion DHF, 27.5 or 29 inch x 2.6 inch, tyres at both the front and the back, made out of a sturdy 3C compound.
They’re super durable and soak up the bumps on bobbly trails, which otherwise could feel uncomfortable and bouncy.
When paired with the bike’s sturdy suspension you’re left feeling really comfortable on the most challenging terrain.
It also comes with rims specifically designed for e-bikes, which have strengthened side walls.
The Cannondale Moterra Neo Carbon 3 has the same gear set-up as both the Neo Carbon 1 and 2.
It has a SRAM SX Eagle rear derailleur and a SRAM SX Eagle, 12 speed, shifter.
This is priced around $700 cheaper than the Moterra Neo Carbon 2 and just short of $2,000 more expensive than the aluminium Moterra Neo 4.
What you’re paying more for here compared to the Moterra Neo 4 is both that light-weight carbon frame and the extra 10mm of travel.
Meanwhile, it has a much less powerful battery than the Moterra Neo Carbon 2 and you’ll find yourself needing to plug in much more frequently.
It really is mid-range for the Cannondale’s Moterra Neo series.
Facts & Figures
|Model Name||Moterra Neo Carbon 3|
|Frame||160mm travel, BallisTec Carbon Front Triangle, SmartForm C1 Alloy Swingarm, Proportional Response Tuned Suspension, removable downtube battery, alloy skid plate, Ai offset drivetrain, internal cable routing, 148x12mm thru-axle, post mount brake, tapered headtube|
|Fork||RockShox 35 Gold RL, 160mm, DebonAir, 15×110, tapered steerer, 51mm offset|
|Headset||Integrated Sealed Bearing, Tapered|
|Rear Shock||RockShox Deluxe Select R, DebonAir|
|Drive Unit||Bosch Performance Line CX 250W|
|Battery||Bosch PowerTube 500Wh|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM SX Eagle|
|Shifters||SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed|
|Chain||SRAM SX Eagle, 12-speed|
|Crank||FSA Bosch E-bike w/ custom Ai offset, 160mm, 34T|
|Rear Cogs||SRAM PG-1210, SX Eagle, 11-50, 12-speed|
|Brakes||SRAM Guide RE hydraulic disc, 4-piston, 220/200mm Centerline rotors|
|Brake Levers||SRAM Guide RE hydraulic disc|
|Rims||WTB ST i29 TCS, 32h, tubeless ready|
|Front Hub||(F) Formula 15×110|
|Rear Hub||(R) Formula 12×148|
|Spokes||DT Swiss Champion|
|Tires||(F) Maxxis Minion DHF, 27.5/29 x 2.6″, 3C compound, EXO+, tubeless ready / (R) Maxxis Minion DHII, 27.5/29 x 2.6″, 3C compound, EXO+, tubeless ready|
|Front Tire||(F) Maxxis Minion DHF, 27.5/29 x 2.6″, 3C compound, EXO+, tubeless ready|
|Rear Tire||(R) Maxxis Minion DHR II, 27.5/29 x 2.6″, 3C compound, EXO+, tubeless ready
|Handlebar||Cannondale 3 Riser, 6061 Alloy, 15mm rise, 8° sweep, 4° rise, 780mm|
|Stem||Cannondale 3, 3D Forged 6061 Alloy, 1-1/8″, 31.8, 0-degree|
|Grips||Cannondale Locking Grips|
|Saddle||Fabric Scoop Shallow Sport, steel rails|
|Seatpost||TranzX dropper, internal routing, 31.6, 80mm (XS), 100mm (S), 120mm (M), 130mm (L-XL)|
|Extra 1||Preinstalled light cables|
|Seat Tube Length (cm)||40.0||43.0||46.0||51.0|
|Top Tube Horizontal (cm)||58.7||61.4||63.8||66.6|
|Top Tube Actual (cm)||52.2||55.2||57.8||61.2|
|Head Tube Angle||66.0°||66.0°||66.0°||66.0°|
|Seat Tube Angle Effective||75.0°||75.0°||75.0°||75.0°|
|Seat Tube Angle||67.0°||67.0°||67.0°||67.0°|
|Head Tube Length (cm)||10.0||11.0||12.0||13.0|
|Front Center (cm)||73.5||77.2||79.7||82.7|
|Chain Stay Length (cm)||45.0||45.0||45.0||45.0|
|Bottom Bracket Drop (cm)||1.0||1.8||1.8||1.8|
|Bottom Bracket Height (cm)||35.1||36.2||36.2||36.2|
|Fork Rake (cm)||4.4||5.1||5.1||5.1|
This really is the entry point to Cannondale’s Moterra Neo Carbon range and the pricing point places it there in the Moterra Neo series.
It’s a damn good bike and it’s very well-suited for many intermediate riders who want to make the step up to some more challenging trails and terrain.
It can handle some serious punishment thanks to the 160mm of travel at the front and the back, along with its light-weight carbon frame.
It’s adept on the climbs and confident in the descents, while staying both agile and handling superbly.
However, the battery life is the big sticking point here and you are a little more limited as result.
It’s certainly another decent Cannondale e-MTB though, but it really depends on your budget and it’s worth considering the style of riding you’ll be doing before taking the plunge on a price like this.
Think hard, then get stuck in.