While perhaps best known for their performance road and mountain bikes, Cannondale prides itself on innovation, and has been quietly beavering away creating a new version of its Tesoro Neo X electric bike. Squarely aimed at the urban and commuter market, they share a great deal of similarities, but there are some key differences that allude to a subtle difference in functionality.
Whether you’re getting to work, grabbing a coffee, or heading out into the countryside down badly maintained roads and the occasional bridleway, Cannondale appears to have an ebike to cater to your needs. There is some innovative new tech on show, with neat integration that looks to live up to the quality we’ve come to expect from the brand, especially from a model that has been evolving since 2016.
While some bike tech evolves at a Darwinian pace, when it comes to the best electric bikes the innards seem to improve by the hour. The Tesoro Neo X is no different in this regard, boasting an uprated 750Wh battery, resulting in improved range (in most models) up to 175km on a single charge. As is the trend, the Tesoro has kept the power pack integrated into the downtube for a cleaner silhouette.
The changes to the Tesoro Neo X are subtle, but Cannondale has added a third semi-dropped top tube model to complement the step-thru and standard high top tube frame designs and suit a wider variety of needs. The integrated bike lock previously only seen on the step-thru model of the Tesoro Neo X has also been migrated across to all three new models, which can only be a good thing for a bike with urban aspirations.
How does the Tesoro Neo compare?
The Tesoro Neo X has been designed with utility in mind; it is first and foremost a means of transportation. It features integrated racks for carrying more than just a CO2 cartridge and some levers, integrated lighting to get you home after a long shift at the office and a modicum of suspension to cushion you over even the most poorly maintained of roads.
While the Tesoro Neo X will happily zip you around the city, it has been given some design features that point towards intended usage outside the central business district
The Tesoro Neo X also features daylight running lights, but it opts for the more standard chain and derailleur drivetrain with wide range, low gearing, rather than a belt drive and hub system found on some purely urban bicycles. This, combined with wider, slightly knobbly tyres and 100mm of suspension allude to the possibility of heading off into the countryside to tackle some off-road riding when the bright lights of the big city have become wearisome.
Urban-focussed bikes, particularly electric bikes given their much larger power capacity, have been at the forefront of tech integration for a while now. Having a huge battery on hand makes integrated lighting much easier to incorporate without resorting to costly dynamo hubs. Where the Tesoro Neo X has improved on this concept is with a neat lighting strip on the headtube that is always on, in addition to the rack mounted rear light that is likewise always on. While there is little risk of forgetting to charge your lights on most ebikes, in this case if you forget to switch your main beam on you will always have a backup.
The Tesoro Neo X also features a stem with an integrated phone mount, allowing easier navigation for trips further afield, though you may be more limited by the battery life of your phone than the motor, given the bike doesn’t have the capacity to charge your phone.
Progressive wheel sizing
Advancements in geometry and design have primarily been focussed on the performance end of the market, be that road, gravel or MTB. Rarely is there a chance to make a song and dance about interesting developments in commuter bike geometry, but in the case of this new model there is something to shout about, and that’s smaller wheel sizes being specced on the smallest frames.
In short, as bikes get smaller the front wheel gets progressively closer to the downtube and to the rider’s feet, increasing the risk of the toes making contact with the tyre when navigating tight turns. The simplest way to counteract this is to slacken the head tube angle, but there comes a point when this makes the bike feel sluggish and lacklustre. Cannondale has instead designed the smallest frames around a 27.5in wheel size, rather than 700c, meaning the handling should remain more consistent between sizes and shouldn’t leave shorter riders feeling like they’re piloting a barge.
Model range and pricing
All models of the Tesoro Neo X come in at a nice round £5,000 ($6,700), and all three frame shapes are available in a ‘Charcoal Grey’, which is silver by another name. If you’re feeling colourful, however, the step-thru frame is available in “Lavender”, the dropped top tube in a light green (‘Agave’), and the standard top tube in a dark blue (‘Midnight’).
Curious about ebikes in general? We’ve got a comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know about electric bikes.