Cannondales all-New Moterra SL: Claiming to be the Lightest Full-Power Mountain Bike Ever! 

Today, Cannondale introduces the brand new Moterra SL. Packing up to 85Nm of torque, 600+ watts of peak output, and 601Wh of battery power yet weighing as little as 19.5 kg, this is an eMTB that defines its own class. Delivering agility and playfulness with power and range, the Moterra is a bike like no other – turning every trail into a non-stop, high-speed flow session. 

Moterra SL’s high power/low weight combination demands a melding of engineering feats. Creating a lightweight, 150mm-travel frame is only possible thanks to pioneering carbon expertise and FlexPivot technology adapted from the World Cup-winning Scalpel XC race bike. Burly FlexPivot chainstay sections replace the traditional Horst pivot, maintaining a true four-bar system, while eliminating weight and maintenance of chainstay pivot bearings. The system allows engineers to dial in the perfect suspension response for every input. The result is incredible traction, responsive braking, and a playful feel that gives you the confidence to push harder.

It doesn’t stop there. Cannondale’s ‘Proportional Response’ design approach means everything from suspension kinematics to geometry — including chain stay length — is completely customised for each frame size so that all riders get the same exceptional suspension performance and handling experience.

Moterra SL’s power comes from a custom-tuned version of Shimano’s EP801 drive unit – the lightest motor capable of the big power riders are looking for. With 85Nm of torque and 600+ watts of max output, it brings big-time boost to the lightweight party. Custom-tuned ride modes have been developed in partnership with Shimano to make the most of the EP801’s capabilities. There’s “ECO” (minimal assist, maximum range for all-day exploits), two “TRAIL” modes (the first TRAIL mode provides mid-power, great for riding with friends on lightweight e- bikes, the second TRAIL mode ramps up the assist for ripping with full-power e-bikes), and of course, “BOOST” (full power, all the time).  The unique internal battery uses a custom cell configuration that stores more power per kilo than ever before, creating an incredibly compact battery that packs a full 601 watt-hours into just 3.1 kg, including the wiring.

Digging into the geometry details reveals Moterra SL to be just as unique and progressive as the rest of the headline features. It’s got a 62.5-degree head angle that’s as slack as a DH bike, with headset cups that offer 1.2 degrees of adjustment, plus the long reach and steep seat angle of a modern trail bike, and front-center and rear-center lengths that are customized by size. On paper, it might seem bizarre, but in practice you realize how much it all makes sense given the speed this bike carries and how responsive it remains on every part of every trail. It is truly ‘progressive geometry’ in action.

The Moterra SL also comes correct with a “mullet” wheel set-up, i.e. 29-inch-front and 27.5-inch-rear wheels, to strike that balance of straight-line speed and cornering agility.  For those who lean more to the former, a FlipChip in the seatstays ensures the Moterra SL can be legitimately converted to a full 29’er without sacrificing the overall character and balance of the bike.

We are extremely excited to say that on the eve of the bike’s launch Cannondale have sent us one to review and it’s sitting in our office right now! The only slight bummer is that we’ve been away with back-to-back events, Cannonball and now onto Hardline, so we haven’t been able to ride it or capture any assets. That said, we’ve got big plans for our review of this extremely impressive sounding and looking new SL machine so stay tuned to the mag for a lot more coverage to be dropping very shortly! 

In the meantime, for more information, visit

Key details // Cannondale Moterra SL

FRAME // Carbon throughout

TRAVEL // 160mm front, 150mm rear

DRIVE UNIT // Specially Tuned Shimano EP801

WHEEL SIZE // Mullet (29” rear compatible)

BATTERY // Custom High-Energy Density 601Wh

COMPLETE WEIGHT // 19.5kg Claimed!

Available in Australia in 3 models