Working in a bike shop, you have a varied choice when it comes to borrowing a bike for a ride, but I've had my eye on the Cannondale Habit Neo 2 since it came into the shop and over the space of a week, I've had it out 4 times to put it through its paces.
It's had a varied few rides, some tarmac, some flowing trails with berms and drops, and some more technical sections with roots and ruts. This bike has not missed a beat.
My first ride on the Habit was at the trails at Cathkin Braes. We were cycling from the shop and I was happy to be able to play with the power modes on a solid surface before hitting the trails. After some initial fiddling around with modes, I found Tour mode to be the best for the cycle from the shop, as it adapts to the surface and riding style, pulling the power back on the flats and still making you work.
The first thing I did when I got on the trails was crank it to turbo - big mistake. Too much power for those tight turns, especially for a newbie like myself. I was overshooting and skidding out of corners so caution is advised with that much power at your fingertips - there's no real need on the way down.
Uphill is a different story however.. I'm very new to trails but having that power behind me for going uphill really made the going easy, and easy is what I am looking for. While the rest of the team were puffing away on steep climbs, I was able to shift down, crank up the power and make it back up to the top easily.
The battery makes the bike heavier than a standard MTB, but it wasn't a dead weight. I was able to lift over gates fairly easily. This came in handy when I had the bike up at Callendar Estate in Falkirk, on our staff Tuesday ride.
The beauty of having that power on demand is that it gets you up the hill and back to doing the fun stuff more quickly.
The Techy Section
The components on the Habit Neo 2 are high quality, which is to be expected for a bike of this standard and price range.
The drivetrain is Shimano SLX 12 speed, brakes are Magura hydraulic disc with 220mm rotor on the front and 203mm on the rear. The frame is Cannondale's BallisTec carbon layup. Rockshox front and rear suspension.
@liam-d set it up tubeless and with a lovely set of bling Gold DMR V8's
The Kiox colour display is bright and packed with functionality, with power, cadence, rpm, bpm, avg/max speed, distance, range, calories and route planning capabilities (route planning via the connected phone app).
Power is delivered from the Bosch Performance CX drive unit in 4 modes - Eco, Tour, eMTB and Turbo.
Eco is as you'd think. Fairly restrained with a gentle curve upwards up to a maximum of 40Nm of torque
Tour+ is the new mode which adapts to your riding style, allowing you to forget about switching between modes, whether on flat tarmac or climbing a steep ascent. Tour+ gives you the full 85Nm of torque.
eMTB holds back slightly on power delivery initially then gives you the full guns. Depending on pedal pressure, progressive motor support perfectly to the riding situation. Start-up behaviour is much finer and more sensitive - especially in low gears.
Turbo is self explanatory - full power delivered as fast as possible. Not advisable on loose surfaces but definitely advisable all the way home after riding :)
This bike is all about one word - fun. Spend a bit of time setting the positions of the shifters, dropper lever and brakes, play about with the modes for a bit then just have at it. I had absolutely no shame having it on Turbo when cycling back from Cathkin to the shop and it was definitely a help at the big hills and for getting away from lights sharply.
On the trails it's something else entirely, an absolute machine for getting you back up to the top quickly and ready to do the fun stuff again - flinging yourself down a hill at speed :)
We have these in various sizes in the shop so give us a shout if you fancy taking one for a spin round the Green.