Let’s just go ahead and start by being ‘refreshingly’ honest and frank; the Cannondale Moterra of yesteryear wasn’t one of MTB most delicious looking rigs! Fast forward to the here and now where Cannondale has given the Moterra a makeover to top all makeovers.
Think of it as if you walk into your 10 year highschool reunion, and you can’t even recognise the super-hot person in the corner even though you sat next to them in Maths class for 6 years straight! With the new bike gone are the janky lines, weird curves, and questionable colour choices, in comes the exact opposite. It is like they melted down a Jeep Wrangler to make a Jaguar E-Type.
How did they do it? Was it part of the queer eye series? A big part of this transition can be attributed to the fresh new Gen 4 Bosch motor and sleek 625wh battery. The motor is a lot smaller than years go past, so it almost disappears into the frame. Switching from a linkage driven single pivot to a horst link design has enabled the engineers and designers to smooth out the frame lines. There is a bulky addition to the undercarriage, but this is a case of function over form as this is an aluminium skid plate to guard the motor.
Cannondale took a lot of time to tune the suspension according to the frame size. A smaller bike has different kinematics to a larger frame because Cannondale wants to ensure all riders experience the same bike. They have now got a yoke to shock assembly that is mounted with the hardware position vertically instead of horizontally. This may not seem like a big deal, but it prevents side loading and the following bushing bind that can happen when schralping corners like Ratboy. The Geometry reflects the monstrous nature of the bike with the head angle at 66 degrees, 450mm chainstays, and a 448mm reach(MD), this bike will be going through stuff instead of over.
225mm ROTORS!? Yes, that is correct, this is not a drill. The Moterra has been fitted with brake rotors big enough to stop the train. Cannondale understands that this bike is going to be fast, and they needed to make it stop quickly. Cannondale teamed up with Magura to create a new 225mm rotor with more pathways for heat to dissipate away from the calliper. On the top-spec bike, you get Kashima coated 36’s and a DPX2 to keep you tyres firmly planted on the ground, their reputation precedes them so I won’t go deep into that. The drivetrain is a mix of NX, GX, and xo1 for shifting duties. It is good to see they have not just laced a set of Flow Mk3 rims SRAM hubs, but they had used heavier DT Champion spokes in the rear wheel for extra strength.
This bike is a stand out for 2020, not because of what it is but, because of where it has come from. Cannondale has a bike that’s ready to take on the big players head-on. A well thought out package prepared to destroy whatever is placed in front of it while remaining active. The sleek lines and fantastic paint schemes are going to make this a head-turner for sure. It may not make your ride as well as Ratboy but, it sure will give you the same smile.