The Ultimate Cannondale Moterra eMTB Review: Everything you need to know

Cannondale Moterra e-bike

Cannondale’s Moterra e-bike may be one of the better handling, aggressive full suspension electric mountain bikes currently on the market, though time will tell if its durability lives up to the claims.

The 250-Watt Bosch Motor Supplies Plenty of Power but Adds Weight

As long as you don’t mind the extra weight of an e-bike, the extra 250 watts come in handy during steep sections and getting to the trailhead, if you’re lucky enough to live close by. The extra power also drastically increases the distance you can cover in a given ride. The Bosch Performance CX motor and 500 watt battery are both nicely tucked away into Cannondale’s Si motor mount, which puts the motor in a better position than a lot of other e-bikes for a variety of reasons. According to Cannondale the motor is optimally placed because 1) it allows for very short 443mm chainstays, which are the shortest of any e-mountain bike we’ve seen, and 2) the position allows for better working suspension: the pivot is not negatively impacted by either pedal torque or the motor, which makes pulleys and linkages unnecessary.

Protecting the Bosch Battery: Cannondale’s “BatStrap”

Because the 500 watt Bosch battery sits exposed on the downtube to any measure of hard objects that want to destroy it, Cannondale developed the “BatStrap,” which is essentially a long, thick strip of rubber that covers the majority of the battery. It leaves the sides bare but at least covers the full length of the battery that’s exposed to the ground. You can easily hook and unhook the BatStrap when you need to get to the battery, which is a nice feature. Yet, however thick this strip of rubber is, it only protects one of three sides of the battery. And how well can this strip of rubber actually protect the battery against rocks and tree limbs when you’re charging downhill at full speed? Your guess is as good as ours. The BatStrap has yet to be proven in this regard.

Moterra LT (Long Travel) 160mm Suspension

Cannondale’s Moterra LT 1 and LT 2 are classic all mountain bikes with 160mm of front and rear suspension, letting you flow over nasty, teeth-jarring terrain like any other all mountain set up. Both Moterra LT’s incorporate the proprietary Cannondale Ai chainring, as well as 157mm-wide rear thru-axles. The 157mm thru-axle helps improve handling and stability, though it throws the chain line off. Not to worry though. Cannondale’s Asymmetric Integration (Ai) offset chainring makes up for the 6mm difference that the 157mm axle creates, lining the chain up and allowing for the necessary space required for shorter chainstays and enough room for tire clearance (there’s a chain guard included, too for good measure).

But what does all that jargon even mean?

Short chainstays and the super wide rear thru-axle make all the difference when it comes to stiffness and handling, something this bike has in heaps. The LT 1 and LT 2 handle technical terrain like any traditional all mountain bike thanks to these two crucial design aspects. And, of course, the 250 watt motor lets you charge back up for round two in less than half the time, which helps negate the extra weight you’ll be lugging around. Or at this point, is the motor lugging around your extra weight? We’re not quite sure.

Moterra Short Travel 130mm Suspension Trail Bike

The Moterra 1, 2, and 3 all have similar design aspects of the all mountain LT 1 and LT 2, but are built into traditional trail bikes with just 130mm of travel in the front and rear. Short travel cuts off some weight and makes the bike just a little more versatile. If you’re charging descents full gas, the LT 1 or LT 2 may be for you. However, if you want an all around e-mountain bike for all types of terrain and enduro-style riding, we suggest you check out the Moterra 1, 2, or 3. Something both the all mountain and trail versions have in common? Both have space for a water bottle on the down tube, which was one of the key goals of the design crew at Cannondale.

Moterra LT 1 Specs at a Glance

The Moterra LT 1 has a Fox Factory Float fork with 160mm of suspension and three adjustable positions. Kashima coating gives that perfect Fox Factory buttery feel for the life of the fork, and of course the 15mm thru-axle helps with stability and control in the front end. In the rear, again you have Fox Factory’s Float EVOL shock with 160mm of suspension and Kashima Coating. The Moterra LT 1 has DT Swiss tubeless ready, 27.5 inch rims, and while we’re at it we should mention that that’s the largest wheel size any of the Moterra’s can take at this point. There are no 29ers due to the motor positioning constraints. Anyways, Shimano also supplies the brakes and shifting with XT components.

Moterra 1 Specs

Not to be outdone by the LT, the Moterra 1 is outfitted with a similar, yet lighter weight, suspension system. Fox Factory 34 FLOAT FIT4, coated in golden Kashima magic, supplies 130mm of dialed, and e-bike optimised, suspension with zero fuss. The tapered steer tube and 15x110mm thru-axle improve steering and handling, while the rear end has Fox Factory Float EVOL 130mm, Kashima-coated suspension. The Moterra also makes use of 27.5 DT Swiss rims, Shimano XT shifting, and XT discs.

Moterra LT 2, the Moterra 2, and Moterra 3

If you don’t absolutely need the very top of the line all mountain e-bike, we recommend that you consider the Moterra LT 2. Or, if you’re looking for a less expensive alternative to the Moterra 1 trail bike, check out the Moterra 2 or Moterra 3. All of these options have slightly downgraded components and frame composition, yet employ the same engineering and a similar ride feel.

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  • Founder of biketorpedo.co.uk... Obsessive about all things bikes and technology, Jamie decided to combine them to build BikeTorpedo to become the online hangout for UK cyclists.

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