Luxury Bikes

(First ride) Cannondale Moterra SL

Cannondale introduces its first lightweight e-bike, the Moterra SL, in its own way, with a lightweight product but equipped with a 600 Wh battery and an 85 Nm Shimano EP8 motor, so it’s not depowered. Carbon frame, mullet format, i.e. 29″ front and 27.5″ rear wheels (compatible with 29″ via Flipchip), 150 mm travel at the rear and 160 mm at the front.

I had the opportunity to pre-test it on the trails in Braga, Portugal and I can already tell you that I have covered more than 1300 meters of altitude with trail support, the second after Eco out of 4 available, and the day with Finished 2 stages out of 5 left. Here And Here Here you can find the trips I took. I weigh 71 kg without clothes, am 179 cm tall, have a distance between saddle and bottom bracket of 74 cm and am wearing size L.

Cannondale Moterra SL

Let’s start with the details, starting with the battery: it’s a design developed in-house by Cannondale, keeping the cables as short as possible to save weight. It is non-removable and powers a specially tuned EP8 motor. In fact, instead of the classic 3 from Shimano, we find 4 support levels: Eco-Trail Boost and Turbo. Boost is designed to keep up with the climbing speed of full-power e-bikes.

Cannondale Moterra SL

You may be wondering how heavy the new Moterra SL is. The size L model I tested should weigh around 20.5 kg with the pedals and a rear insert. I’ll be more specific in a few days when it arrives at our headquarters and I can weigh it on our scales. Unfortunately the box with the bike was broken and it is somewhere with DHL.

An important detail is the absence of the Horst link, which has been replaced by low, flexible chainstays, a technology adopted from the Cannondale Scalpel. When I saw it on a 150mm travel bike I was skeptical at first, but after a day of riding I had to reconsider.

Kudos to Cannondale for not having cable routing in the headset. Better yet, if you really miss it, you can run it through there, but it’s not necessary.

Cannondale Moterra SL


What you see below is the geometry of the Mullet format: very aggressive and modern, with a head angle of an impressive 62.5°, which can increase to 63.7° thanks to the adjustable headset cups. Note the length of the chainstays, which varies depending on size. This is an important feature if you want to maintain the same character of the bike regardless of the rider’s height.

The seat angle is quite vertical, which is helpful on steep climbs.

Cannondale Moterra SL on the field

The hiking trails in the Braga region of Portugal are perfectly maintained by the guys at We drive, who are excellent at organizing guided rides and holidays. I recommend it, also considering that you can get directly to Porto with EasyJet.

A mix of granite rocks and soft clay topped with very well constructed berms. The climbs were mostly on forest paths with a few steep shortcuts where I was able to enjoy the engine’s performance in boost mode. That’s really the key difference of the Moterra SL compared to other lightweight e-bikes, namely a powerful motor combined with a 600 Wh battery. In fact it’s hard to call it “easy”, for me it falls more between the two categories and combines the best of both.

This bike is a rocket in downhill. This means it can be easily maneuvered into corners without having to deal with too much entry and braking. If the very open steering angle bothered me, it didn’t bother me at all in the test. Admittedly, I didn’t have to make any major compromises, but I will do that in the detailed test here in Switzerland. When it comes to the rider’s seating position, I’m now used to keeping my upper body far forward to dictate direction, and I didn’t have to get used to the Moterra SL.

The suspension is very responsive, sustainable in the middle of the travel and has excellent progressiveness at the end, necessary to withstand the many flat landings in the Braga area. As mentioned at the beginning, the FlexPivot is not noticeable. Or rather, the lack of the pivot point is not noticeable. The chainstay is nice and solid and I would have no concerns about its durability over time.

The remote control for adjusting the assistance is the classic Shimano two-button control, as is the display that we have known for years. Simple and functional.
I hadn’t yet tried the new SRAM Eagle AXS T-Type drivetrain on an e-bike, and I have to say that it appears to have been made on purpose: shifting under load is easier than ever before, and there’s no need to think about reducing weight You don’t pedal anymore. In addition, the lack of a derailleur hanger makes it insensitive to impacts on rocks or stones. There were about 30 of us, including media, staff and athletes, and no one had a single problem.

So where is the deception? A lightweight electric bike with a powerful motor and a decent battery, how is that possible? Ultimately it’s about being able to make a light frame, because the Shimano EP8 system, classic or RS, weighs the same as that of the Orbea Rise. Avoiding extenders and extensions and minimizing the cable length between the battery and motor saves even more grams. So here is the new Moterra SL.

Prices and specifications Cannondale Moterra SL

LAB71 Moterra SL: €13,999
Moterra SL 1 (on trial): €9,999
Moterra SL 2: €7,999


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