- An electric bike that blends in while offering a lot of utility as a commuter or even trekking touring platform, sturdy integrated rack, tight and extra long fenders with mud flaps
- Available in five frame sizes across two styles (traditional diamond high-step and lower step-thru), adjustable angle stem and swept back handle bar further improve fit and comfort
- High end Shimano drivetrain, Magura brakes and Bosch drive system ensure performance and longevity, Cannondale is known for their advanced Aluminum engineering
- Rear mounted battery raises weight and these Bosch Powerpacks aren't as common or plentiful in the US if you want a second one to go further, missed opportunity for second bottle mount, neat head shock but it's not adjustable and doesn't offer lock out
Honestly, the first time I saw the Cannondale Mavaro Performance electric bike I didn’t feel or think a lot. It just looked like a regular bike with a nice cargo rack on the back… and that’s the beauty here, this is a mainstream electric bicycle from a company that many people in the United States already know and trust. The motor, battery, control unit, display panel and accompanying wires don’t stand out. Everything has its place and match the professional silver and gray color schemes well. Upon closer inspection, the carry rack becomes a stand-out features because it has RackTime compatible slots, extended pannier rails and bungee clip loops. Of course, the rack is also where the Bosch Powerpack 400 battery pack mounts and this is where we start to see some mixed results.
Instead of positioning battery weight low and center with the more popular downtube mounted Bosch Powerpack battery, this one is mounted up high. It increases frame flex BUT frees up the main triangle for adding bottle cage bosses. Only, for some reason, Cannondale opted for just one pair of bosses on the downtube when there seems like plenty of room for a second pair on the seat tube. Furthermore, I cannot say whether the step-thru frame has bottle cage bosses at all. At least you’ll have an opportunity for gear with a trunk bag and won’t hear the ratting of a bolt-on rack, but for me this is an area that could have been done better. For those who plan to ride further or live in a hot region where multiple bottles are a necessity, consider a clamp adapter like this. If you do opt for panniers, the battery will be mostly obscured and the bike will look even more bike-like.
Adding to the utility of the rack are full length, almost extra-long fenders that are tight and light weight. The front fender doesn’t get in the way as much when you turn and pedal simultaneously and it extends lower than average so your shoes and shins should stay dry and clean. You get integrated LED lights, an adjustable angle stem, comfortable swept back handle bars and a decent saddle with this bike. And you pay for all of that, coming in at $4,460 this is a more expensive commuter electric bike. But for all of that money you do get something lighter and more durable, something with a dash of added comfort (a 50 mm head shock integrated into the fork) and the option for front racks using the fork bosses. This could clearly become a touring or trekking bike but you might want an extra battery in that case, and it might not be easy to find. As mentioned earlier, the downtube Bosch Powerpack batteries are much more popular in the US than the rear rack ones.
A lot of what you’re paying for with this bike is the premium Bosch drive system. It’s compact, efficient and very responsive. I’ve tested the same motor on e-mountain bikes and had great success climbing mountain trails but it does require some shifting. The motor relies on your bike speed, pedal speed and pedal force to activate and de-activate and it measures these signals up to 1,000 times per second. Once the battery is mounted to the rack, press the power button there if it hasn’t been used for a while. Otherwise, you only have to press a power button on the Intuvia display panel to get it started. This display is large, easy to read, adjustable (angle wise to reduce glare) and it even has a Micro USB charging port on the right side so you can keep your phone topped off. Near the left grip, a control pad lets you cycle through menu readouts like average speed, top speed and range. Range is cool because it gives you much better feedback than the five bar battery level info-graphic. It dynamically adjusts depending on your last five miles of riding, the chosen level of assist (of which there are four) and the remaining battery capacity.
While the Cannondale Mavaro is not the most flashy electric bike, it blends in and delivers an excellent riding experience. With Little Big Ben premium tires (capable of lower PSI riding for comfort), an integrated shock absorber, adjustable stem and relaxed bars it’s a step above many other city style ebikes. Electric bike shops frequently tell me that their customers ride more frequently and for longer distances than non electric cyclists. It’s easy to jump into an affordable bike only to realize later that suspension would have been nice… or that it’s time to get a different stem so you’re not bent so far over. The Mavaro incorporates high quality versions of each of these minor upgrades and it is reflected in the price, but it looks a long nicer and works seamlessly this way. The fact that you can get this in two styles and five frame sizes means it’s great for a his and hers setup. I enjoyed riding the bike and was impressed with the extra large frame size because frequently people comment here about being over six feet tall and needing a larger electric bike, one meant for tall people. The Mavaro Performance isn’t specifically made for tall people but it’s one of the better options out there that works because of the sizing. I only wish they would have made better use of the triangle space there with extra bosses.
- This bike high quality extras that are important for commuting by bike including bottle cage bosses, light weight fenders and chain guard that don’t rattle, a sturdy integrated rack, an integrated cafe lock, compact flick style bell and integrated LED lights that run off the main battery
- In addition to having LED lights, the tires on the Mavaro are upgraded with reflective sidewall tape to keep you visible from the sides, they also have puncture protective lining
- I love that the rear rack has pannier support rails and a clip bar towards the bottom, it should work well with trunk bags and a wide range of panniers… the fork has bosses for adding a rack or additional commuter racks and accessories
- Sometimes it feels like the efficient commuter and touring bikes sacrifice comfort but the Cannondale Mavaro has a suspension element in the fork, swept back bars with ergonomic grips, an adjustable stem and a premium gel saddle that make it enjoyable to ride for longer distances
- High quality Magura hydraulic disc brakes are sized correctly 180/160 and work well, the levers offer adjustable reach so people with different hand sizes or preferences can use them comfortably
- This e-bike is available in five frame sizes across two frame styles… high-step for stiffness and easier rack mounting and step-thru for easier rider mounting and confidence
- I’m a huge fan of the Bosch mid-drive system because it keeps weight low and center while delivering efficiency as you shift gears, the software utilizes shift detection to reduce wear
- The fenders hug the wheels very tightly so you don’t kick or bump them as easily, the front fender extends far down to keep your feet and shins dry and clean as you ride, they also have flexible mud flaps
- Cannondale did a great job routing shifter, brake and electronic wires through the frame vs. tacking them on as an afterthought, this keeps them safer and improves the look… especially the rear LED light wires that go through the carry rack
- I love that it has a kickstand, that it’s adjustable length and rear mounted so you can do drivetrain maintenance without it getting in the way, I also love that both wheels have quick release for easier access on the road and faster stowing
- The cafe lock which secures the rear wheel for quick errands, utilizes the same key as the battery pack! This is super convenient as you don’t need to deal with clutter and confusion in a hurry, it stays in the lock until you secure the bike so you’ve always got it handy :)
- The display panel and battery pack are quick and easy to remove so they don’t get scuffed up at the rack, you can charge the battery on or off the frame and the 4 Amp charger is pretty quick
- The rack mounted battery positions some weight high and towards the back compromising frame stiffness and balance a little but blends in nicely with the rack and frees up space for bags and bottle cages on the downtube
- I see a lot more mid-frame mounted Bosch Powerpack batteries and know for sure that they are being offered in the US with the higher 500 watt hour capacity… if you are a touring or trekking cyclist and want that larger battery it might be difficult to find in the rear rack style, even a secondary rear rack battery could be harder to find and seems to take more space and weight than the downtube ones
- At nearly $4,500 this is not an affordable electric bike and to some the higher end components (including Shimano Deore drivetrain, Metropolis cranks, Magura brakes) might not be worth it… conversely, I’m surprised they didn’t go with locking grips considering how much the bike costs, the ones you get are okay but could spin easier when really bearing down
- The head shock isn’t adjustable and does not offer lockout, I saw some indication that it might on the Cannondale website but in person the shock appeared to be set
- I could be wrong about this (because I wasn’t able to locate a step-thru Mavaro) but it appears from images that it does not have bottle cage bosses like the high-step
- Many non-electric commuter bikes I see have two bottle cage mounting points (downtube and seat tube) and even though there is plenty of room for that on the high-step frame of the Mavaro they just didn’t include bosses on the seat tube… kind of a bummer for those who aren’t carrying a bag all the time but want to bring a folding lock, mini pump or just extra water :(