For only $1900, the Cannondale Compact NEO is a Class 1 electric bike that is a blast to ride and has a few design features to make it more compact. Making it great for apartment living in the city. Despite its size, the Hyena 250w is more than enough to enjoy commuting or just running around town for fun.

As a long-time Cannondale fan, there is so much about the Compact NEO that is a tribute to the past and an expectation of quality performance and comfort. With plenty of time to ride around and bring on holiday, the Compact NEO sports the Cannondale name well and only raised a few questions along the way.

Cannondale Compact NEO Specifications

Built to meet the demands of city life with a list price of $1900 and an overall weight of 40lbs. The Cannondale Compact NEO is a Class 1 electric bike powered by a Hyena 250w read drive hub motor and a 250Wh battery integrated into the downtube of the frame.

There are two apps for connectivity to the Compact NEO. Cannondale’s app connects through a Garmin sensor on the front wheel and will track rides and display necessary updates, service intervals, manuals, and videos, among other cool resources regarding your Compact NEO. Hyena also has an app to connect to your Compact NEO via the controller on the handlebars. The Hyena app shares some similar features of the Cannondale app but gives you greater control of the drive unit and allows you to make a custom profile for your different pedal assist modes.

The Compact NEO uses a Microshift 8-speed drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm. With only 8 gears, the wide gear ratio with the 20″ wheels is more than sufficient to have all the pedaling power you’ll need to trek around town.

20″ wheels are wrapped in 2.35″ wide Kenda K-Rad tires. Resembling a BMX style tire, the K-Rad tires are grippy and absorb a lot of the road chatter while riding rough streets around town.

Bottle bosses and various mounting points are scattered all over the Compact NEO. With two sets of bottle boss mounts on the frame, rear fender mounts, and even cage mounts on the front fork. Fortunately, the Compact NEO comes with fenders and a rear rack from Cannondale. This leaves plenty of alternative mounting points available to pick and choose the right accessories for your urban cruiser.

With city living the focus of the Compact NEO, Cannondale integrated two specific design features to accommodate a smaller footprint. The TranzX folding stem lets you toggle a release lever to rotate the bars 90°. Additionally the pedals have a quick flip system to fold them in. With both positions in the “compact” mode, it makes the Compact NEO narrow and much easier to store inside.

Quick Specs

  • 250w Motor

  • 250Wh Battery

  • Class 1

  • Microshift 8-Speed

  • 20″ Wheels

  • 1900

Compact NEO for urban living

The Compact NEO has a range of about 47 miles which for most people living in a city would account for many days worth of riding before needing a charge. At only 40 lbs with the fenders and rack, the Compact NEO is a smooth rolling and lightweight bike to race around town and carry up a few flights of stairs easily if need be.

Putting the folding features aside and focusing on performance, this is the first Hyena drive unit I have had a chance to put to the test. My key takeaways were ample power and quiet. Using the app to uncork the highest pedal assist mode to 100%, I found it extremely manageable to pedal up steep hills where I thought that 8 gears and 20″ wheels would not be sufficient enough for a comfortable and supported climb.

As a taller rider bikes with 20″ wheels generally feel too small for me. Cannondale does a great job at designing the Compact NEO to feel “full size” while keeping a smaller footprint. While the long seatpost helps in getting a full leg extension while riding, the handlebars are really what gives the Compact NEO a full-size feel. The Cruise Control Rider bar is 740mm wide with a 15° sweep. Uncertain of the exact rise of the bars, it appears to be about 4″, the big wide bar with a nice pull back and rise allows even a taller rider like myself to feel very in control while riding.

Cannondale Compact NEO

Who is the Compact NEO for?

Cannondale’s Compact NEO is directly for city living. The foldable bars and collapsible pedals are fantastic solutions for storing a bike inside an apartment without interfering with the walkway. Additionally, coming in at 40lbs it is very approachable for most to lift and carry up a flight of stairs.

For myself, I am fortunate enough to have plenty of available space to store a bike at my home. This doesn’t make the compact features unnecessary. I took advantage of the size and was able to store it in the backseat of my pickup and take it on vacation while I visited California.

While riding around downtown you can expect the Compact NEO to be smooth and quiet with ample braking power. It’s size allows it to be very nimble which is ideal for navigating around cars and bike paths easily when you’re trying to take advantage of that up front priority parking in downtown.

bike rotating handlebars

Final Thoughts Cannondale Compact NEO

Overall, the Compact NEO holds up to the Cannondale name. It has a quality built frame and proper component specs to keep the price down without sacrificing performance.

Living just outside of the city and having a few miles of surface streets to get to most places, the Compact NEO is comfortable to ride and effortlessly cruising at 20mph makes the ride go by quickly.

The 20″ wheels are stout and smooth even on the rough chip seal roads I frequent. On the flip side while descending downhill fast, any 20″ wheeled bike can get a little squirrely. I found myself dragging the brakes a bit more than I would on my typical commuter bike with 29″ wheels. Fortunately, the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes are reliable and help to keep you confident when things get fast.

If you’re looking for a functional electric bike to zip around town and be a general commuter, the Compact NEO provides a lot of bike for under $2000. Taking advantage of the provided fenders and the rear rack gives you an immediately prepared eBike for urban living.

If you’re looking for something with slightly larger scale the Adventure NEO Allroad is another fantastic offering from Cannondale. 

Price: $1900
Weight: 40lbs