Written by Brigham DuBois-Hammond (Gears Canary Staff)
Talk about being psyched! For sometime now I have been thinking about and anticipating the rush I was going to experience for a whole week of riding a Cannondale Moterra SE.- a full-suspension e-mountain bike. Now I’ve got one. In fact, I’ve got two. Let me explain.
Neil, our Cannondale rep, who in wanting to encourage me and others in the shop to be able to recommend his eMTB bikes with confidence, said he would drop off a couple of demo Moterra models for a week allowing us to ride them and learn. And, now they’re here.
On my first ride I dipped into the Don Valley to get a sense of Moterra’s capabilities. After ripping down some trails and hitting some challenging climbs I had two take-aways; the bike will confidently roll over just about any obstacle you might encounter riding trail (bear in mind I’m talking about cross trails here, not pure down hill). It will also take you up climbs that otherwise would have taken longer or might have to be hiked. You get a real feel for the torque and power of the Bosch Performance CX motor especially when in Sport (eMTB) mode, and that provides a very solid platform to build confidence on the trails.
The Don, with its amazing network of trails, took me up to our Leaside location. It was a good halfway destination and I wanted to show the crew up there the Moterra. From Leaside, my plan was the Beltline from Mount Pleasant using mostly non-paved surfaces to get home. For the most part that worked out, but the times I was forced to ride in the street showed that the Moterra is definitely not ideal for commuting. Its pure and unadulterated purpose is off-road, preferably in hilly terrain.
Let’s get a little nagging thing out of the way; the Bosch Intuvia display seems a little over-sized for a mountain bike and the separate control unit, as it’s positioned, rubs against your hand when riding, which is irritating.
On the plus side, there are key features to consider re the over-arching theme of trail-riding, but basically, the plus size tires combined with weight & power create serious grip. Although my ride was dry, I suspect the Moterra’s character would provide similarly hard-on-the-ground benefits when the going gets slippery.
Of course the added weight and power of an ‘e’ system raises the question of stopping ability and I quickly learned the SRAM hydraulic disc brakes are confidence-building in their consistently high performance. Braking was always solid and controlled.
A short note on the Moterra’s looks and beautiful finish; understated yet powerful, and the tan-wall tires simply smack of cheeky confidence.
Other important components:
- DRIVETRAIN – SRAM EX1 Group
- BRAKES – SRAM Guide RE Hydro Disc
- TIRES – Onza Canis 27.5×2.85”
- FORK – Fox Performance 34 Float, 140mm Travel Front – 130mm out back
- SUSPENSION – Fox Performance Float EVOL Shock. 130mm Travel
- MOTOR – Bosch Performance CX
- BATTERY – Bosch 400Wh
- DISPLAY – Bosch Intuvia
At the end of the week Neil showed up to claim his bikes, and I was left with strong urge to test out more of these awesome machines. For those out there with the notion that using an eMTB is in someway “cheating” or replacing skill with power, I promise you it’s not. You need to really work these bikes to get the enjoyment and exercise they offer. And I can’t wait to grind out more trail time with the next one.