Cannondale Contro-e Short Review

benzy

New Member
I have had this bike for a week and thought I'd share some thoughts. It's not a very popular model in the US, so Cannondale/Trek Superstore have it discounted in certain markets for about $3K ($4500 msrp), which is a screaming deal for a Class 3 Bosch with the Powerpack 500. I anticipate Cannondale trying to move this bike at a discount. So I hope you find this helpful.

The drive system is outstanding as you would expect. I was set on a Bosch Performance "Speed" pedelec, so I have a bias. But I found it to flow a bit better to my riding style than the Yamaha powered Giant Quick-e, which was on my shortlist.

The Cannondale website states its a 45 kph **250 W** motor. This is incorrect. The motor is the Bosch Performance Speed at 350 W. It's not a modified version. There is an identifying sticker on the top tube that states "350 W 28 mph". I am guessing the motor is under spec'd on their marketing materials so it can sell in the EU where the max power is 250 W. But it is definitely a 28 mph class 3.

Short mentions of things I like:

*The frame is very well made and sturdy. The battery and motor are integrated nicely into the frame
*The unique stem is awesome. Perfect for the implementation. The Intuva controller cradles nicely inside the stem. It's adjusted up and down by removing two bolts.
*The Headshock is fantastic. These suck for off road, but are very nicely tuned for urban/road. I weigh 220 and it supports me well.
*I actually love the 26" wheels. I was concerned bc 27.5 is the standard, but there are benefits - acceleration and stiffness to name a few. The Sun rims are wide and stiff. And the bike corners very well as a result.
*The lighting system is very good. The headlamp is 250 lumen, so you may need to supplement if you need to blast a dark path. But it's nice knowing there is always a light system on the bike.
*Brakes, 180 mm rotors and Deore hydros = the bikes stops no problem.
*10 speed Deore shift system is all you'll ever need.
*Big Ben Schwalbe tires - this was a must - I didnt want relatively narrow 700-38c wheels. I wanted large volume/chunky road tires and these are perfect. They dampen the road and are tough as nails.

Things I dont like:

*The rack system. Looks great, but close to no bags fit the 5/8 (16 mm) diameter rails. They have Ortlieb Q3 system mounts, but I already had bags so ended up making a rail system from parts at the hardware store for about $12-15 which mounts to the threaded Ortlieb mounts. It looks stock and is solid. Contact me if you need assistance.
*The frame lock. Both me and the shop couldn't get it out of the frame. The fender mount blocks it. I removed the lock and will use it on another bike.
*As much as I love the Bosch system, i think the plastic quality and build on the battery frame mount could be a bit more robust.
*No water bottle cage mount. I ordered a seat post cage mount, there's plenty of room on the large size frame.
*I strongly prefer Ergon style grips for commuter bikes, so I swapped those out. The grips that come with it are very nice mtb grips.

Besides a few nitpicks the bike is fantastic and beats anything I could find in the price range. I feel like I bought a Trek Supercommuter 8s+ for 57% of the price. Nothing much is missing.

The only other bikes that compared at $3k were the Giant Quick-e (Yamaha, too aggressive frame geometry for me) and the Raleigh Redux ie (Brose, didnt test ride). There's the Trek XM700+ on sale for $3200 but I didnt want skinny tires and the bike screams "first iteration" as it's just a cheap hybrid with a Bosch speed motor. I ridden bikes from Felt and Scott, and lusted over a few well out of my price range. But I couldnt a better ebike in the $3000 price point.

LEAKALl.jpg
 
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MDEZZ

New Member
I own this bike a few months longer then you do TFORAN and I have to say it was a great purchase. I got it at around the same price point you did and I couldn't be happier. Its not a popular bike since the marketing in the US never seemed to push it but what a value now that they are blowing them out. OUTSTANDING for sure.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
We have those at the local bike shop in town. What a deal. Can you tell me what the range potential is. Battery size? I'm don't like a lot of assist. I rode it today and liked it better for preformance than the Specialized 3.0 that I had been looking at. The Specialized is a sexier looking bike but this thing looks and preforms like it could handle about anything. On the straight aways I found the gearing to be better at higher speed than the 3.0. The 3.0 cadence is too fast at anything over about 22 mph ot maintain it for very long. This bike felt comfortable at 25 and my knees weren't having to move at hyper speed.
 

benzy

New Member
We have those at the local bike shop in town. What a deal. Can you tell me what the range potential is. Battery size? I'm don't like a lot of assist. I rode it today and liked it better for preformance than the Specialized 3.0 that I had been looking at. The Specialized is a sexier looking bike but this thing looks and preforms like it could handle about anything. On the straight aways I found the gearing to be better at higher speed than the 3.0. The 3.0 cadence is too fast at anything over about 22 mph ot maintain it for very long. This bike felt comfortable at 25 and my knees weren't having to move at hyper speed.

Hey Doug, I ride the bike hard mostly on Sport and Turbo mode in a mix of city and windy flats and get about 18 miles on 3/5 charge. The controller says I have about 8-10 miles left after those 18 miles (so 26-30 miles/charge) but I’ve never drained it completely so not sure what the actual is.

The controller estimates about 30-40 % more distance on Tour mode. (About 40 miles).

I have about 2200 miles since posting this and few complaints. Very stable, can’t imagine a rigid fork so glad i got a bike with a head shock. Was worried about the 26” wheels but they roll smooth on choppy roads and make the bike nimble when traversing traffic.

If the price is right I would jump on it.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
You've got me excited now. We are going into the bike shop Thursday so my wife can check it out. If she likes it, we'll probably spring for two. The shop is giving us a break on the already low price for buying a pair. We were originally going to get the Specialized 3.0 but I couldn't get over not being able to maintain 25 MPH without having to spinn my leggs off. I'd still be considering it if I hadn't seen the Cannondale and gone for a test ride. It's nice to hear that others have good things to say about it. I keep thinking I should ride more bikes but I have a pretty good idea of what I want. This one captures most of it and is a screamin' deal as well. A big factor in our decision is that we are buying it from a local deler with a good reputation. The only other shop in town sells Trek and although they have some nice models, we'd be spending a lot more money for an equivelant bike.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
She liked 'em, we bought 'em. We had hoped to ride them home between rain clouds yesterday but no such luck. We were pretty soaked after the 11 mile ride home, even though we had dressed for it. They certainly fit the bill. I have yet to find anything I don't like about the bike, except little nit picking stuff, like the grips and the seat. Ordered a pair of the Ergon GP-3 L and will wait a bit before jumping in and ordering other acessories. What has anyone purchased in the way of panniers? I'm looking at a set of the Ortlieb's but am confused as to the various specs and which ones fit the Contro-e Speed?
 

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Ebiker01

Active Member
I have had this bike for a week and thought I'd share some thoughts. It's not a very popular model in the US, so Cannondale/Trek Superstore have it discounted in certain markets for about $3K ($4500 msrp), which is a screaming deal for a Class 3 Bosch with the Powerpack 500. I anticipate Cannondale trying to move this bike at a discount. So I hope you find this helpful.

The drive system is outstanding as you would expect. I was set on a Bosch Performance "Speed" pedelec, so I have a bias. But I found it to flow a bit better to my riding style than the Yamaha powered Giant Quick-e, which was on my shortlist.

The Cannondale website states its a 45 kph **250 W** motor. This is incorrect. The motor is the Bosch Performance Speed at 350 W. It's not a modified version. There is an identifying sticker on the top tube that states "350 W 28 mph". I am guessing the motor is under spec'd on their marketing materials so it can sell in the EU where the max power is 250 W. But it is definitely a 28 mph class 3.

Short mentions of things I like:

*The frame is very well made and sturdy. The battery and motor are integrated nicely into the frame
*The unique stem is awesome. Perfect for the implementation. The Intuva controller cradles nicely inside the stem. It's adjusted up and down by removing two bolts.
*The Headshock is fantastic. These suck for off road, but are very nicely tuned for urban/road. I weigh 220 and it supports me well.
*I actually love the 26" wheels. I was concerned bc 27.5 is the standard, but there are benefits - acceleration and stiffness to name a few. The Sun rims are wide and stiff. And the bike corners very well as a result.
*The lighting system is very good. The headlamp is 250 lumen, so you may need to supplement if you need to blast a dark path. But it's nice knowing there is always a light system on the bike.
*Brakes, 180 mm rotors and Deore hydros = the bikes stops no problem.
*10 speed Deore shift system is all you'll ever need.
*Big Ben Schwalbe tires - this was a must - I didnt want relatively narrow 700-38c wheels. I wanted large volume/chunky road tires and these are perfect. They dampen the road and are tough as nails.

Things I dont like:

*The rack system. Looks great, but close to no bags fit the 5/8 (16 mm) diameter rails. They have Ortlieb Q3 system mounts, but I already had bags so ended up making a rail system from parts at the hardware store for about $12-15 which mounts to the threaded Ortlieb mounts. It looks stock and is solid. Contact me if you need assistance.
*The frame lock. Both me and the shop couldn't get it out of the frame. The fender mount blocks it. I removed the lock and will use it on another bike.
*As much as I love the Bosch system, i think the plastic quality and build on the battery frame mount could be a bit more robust.
*No water bottle cage mount. I ordered a seat post cage mount, there's plenty of room on the large size frame.
*I strongly prefer Ergon style grips for commuter bikes, so I swapped those out. The grips that come with it are very nice mtb grips.

Besides a few nitpicks the bike is fantastic and beats anything I could find in the price range. I feel like I bought a Trek Supercommuter 8s+ for 57% of the price. Nothing much is missing.

The only other bikes that compared at $3k were the Giant Quick-e (Yamaha, too aggressive frame geometry for me) and the Raleigh Redux ie (Brose, didnt test ride). There's the Trek XM700+ on sale for $3200 but I didnt want skinny tires and the bike screams "first iteration" as it's just a cheap hybrid with a Bosch speed motor. I ridden bikes from Felt and Scott, and lusted over a few well out of my price range. But I couldnt a better ebike in the $3000 price point.

View attachment 23753
Regarding the rear handmade rack- can you elaboRate please ?
My e bike has the Racktime system and the specific basket for it moves a few mm L/R. Not a solid connection at all between this 2. I am only using the basket/trunk, not fond of panniers.
I could try contact them see if this is normal or get a different system. But I like handmade too and not having to deal with this specific parts for each system..
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
She liked 'em, we bought 'em. We had hoped to ride them home between rain clouds yesterday but no such luck. We were pretty soaked after the 11 mile ride home, even though we had dressed for it. They certainly fit the bill. I have yet to find anything I don't like about the bike, except little nit picking stuff, like the grips and the seat. Ordered a pair of the Ergon GP-3 L and will wait a bit before jumping in and ordering other acessories. What has anyone purchased in the way of panniers? I'm looking at a set of the Ortlieb's but am confused as to the various specs and which ones fit the Contro-e Speed?
Looking great on that Cannondale! I was thinking of trying that model as a second ebike (already have Specialized Vado 6.0 with ginormous wheels & tires). I like the idea of 26” wheels, more quick & nimble in urban use. Looking forward to your continued comments. Marci Jo
 

DouglasB

Active Member
Looking great on that Cannondale! I was thinking of trying that model as a second ebike (already have Specialized Vado 6.0 with ginormous wheels & tires). I like the idea of 26” wheels, more quick & nimble in urban use. Looking forward to your continued comments. Marci Jo
We were about to go with the Vado 3.0 but after riding it twice over varied terrain, I found that what people here were saying about it was true. It was geared to go 20 mph. At anthing above about 22 the cadence was too high to be comfortable for any distance. Some have gone with a larger front sprocket but I didn't want to be making major changes right out of the box. It was our first choice as far as overall design but we are very pleased with the Contro-e. We did another 20 miles today over hills and some long straight aways, smiling all the way.
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
We were about to go with the Vado 3.0 but after riding it twice over varied terrain, I found that what people here were saying about it was true. It was geared to go 20 mph. At anthing above about 22 the cadence was too high to be comfortable for any distance. Some have gone with a larger front sprocket but I didn't want to be making major changes right out of the box. It was our first choice as far as overall design but we are very pleased with the Contro-e. We did another 20 miles today over hills and some long straight aways, smiling all the way.
Ebikes so rock! I can’t believe how many more miles I ride just cuz it’s so darn fun. I love my Vado 6.0. I tended to ride it on turbo all the time when I first got but now I pace myself. Now I’m thinking of 2nd bike. You know, the n+1 rule. None of the dealers in my area have the Contro-e but I might consider a Trek.
Many happy miles to you and your wife.
 

SirJonathan

Active Member
I didn't like the look of that bike when I first looked at their website. I'm a die-hard Cannondale fan - my first mountain bike purchased new in the 1980s was a Cannondale. All my road riding has been done on aluminum CAAD bikes.

But then I see that gorgeous picture you posted and that bike looks awesome! Glad to hear that it runs well and is a lot of fun. If my wife eventually gets jealous of my eBike this might be something to steer her towards.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
I'd like to know exactly why Cannondale dropped the price on this bike eight hundred dollars? I'm a long time cyclist and self taught bike mechanic and these bikes are well designed and built. I could understand if there was something wrong with them or if they had inferior equipemnt but they don't.

Trip to town last week. Panniers are on order.
 

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Pasquale

New Member
I am sorry to say I know the reason why they are quite cheap..I owned a Cannondale Contro Ebike 25km/h model for 1 year after it was stolen. Currently I own the same Ebike but the highspeed/speedelec/45km/h model.

I could buy it from dealer for a significant drop in its original price. It was a real steal.
The bike is now 1,4 years old. In this time I had to replace the frame 2x, Bosch Motor 2x and Headshock 3x! Go figure..
Replaced all under warranty.

After some investigation and talks to several Cannondale dealers I found out that this model has some serious quality issues and has faulty frame construction.
The headshock stopped working 2 times. It blocked. This is a well known problem, I also had many Headshock issues with previous Cannondale Mountainbikes.
The Bosch motor stopped working after 1,2 year. Back to the factory and they replaced it fully.
After 1 year I noticed a crack in the frame (see pictures) that got worse over time. After a while it was completely broken.
My dealer could tell me this a common issue with this highspeed model. Customers were returning their bike with the broken frames, all in the same spot.
I noticed suddenly dealers were not selling this model anymore. The model discontinued after 2 years and was no longer in the Cannondale catalogue. Apparently Cannondale recognized the faulty product..

All dealers were moaning and wining about this model. It's very difficult to design a bike with this specific geometric construction of the frame. Considering the weight of bike, passenger and luggage, the highspeed, the braking and the tork delivered by the Bosch Performane Line motor it puts way too much stress and strain on the frame. Also the Headshock cannot deal with these parameters.
It's just a matter of time I will be confronted with the same issues.

Very strange that Cannondale didn't do a recall for this model after so many returns of broken frames.
Reviews are very subjective and mostly written when a new model hits the market. Not many long term reviews out there.
You must imagine I bought this bike after it was announced as "European Ebike of the year" in 2015. I couldn't be more dissapointed..

My 2 cents.

Of course, assumption is the mother of all mistakes.

Cheers,

Pascal
 

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Marci jo

Well-Known Member
I am sorry to say I know the reason why they are quite cheap..I owned a Cannondale Contro Ebike 25km/h model for 1 year after it was stolen. Currently I own the same Ebike but the highspeed/speedelec/45km/h model.

I could buy it from dealer for a significant drop in its original price. It was a real steal.
The bike is now 1,4 years old. In this time I had to replace the frame 2x, Bosch Motor 2x and Headshock 3x! Go figure..
Replaced all under warranty.

After some investigation and talks to several Cannondale dealers I found out that this model has some serious quality issues and has faulty frame construction.
The headshock stopped working 2 times. It blocked. This is a well known problem, I also had many Headshock issues with previous Cannondale Mountainbikes.
The Bosch motor stopped working after 1,2 year. Back to the factory and they replaced it fully.
After 1 year I noticed a crack in the frame (see pictures) that got worse over time. After a while it was completely broken.
My dealer could tell me this a common issue with this highspeed model. Customers were returning their bike with the broken frames, all in the same spot.
I noticed suddenly dealers were not selling this model anymore. The model discontinued after 2 years and was no longer in the Cannondale catalogue. Apparently Cannondale recognized the faulty product..

All dealers were moaning and wining about this model. It's very difficult to design a bike with this specific geometric construction of the frame. Considering the weight of bike, passenger and luggage, the highspeed, the braking and the tork delivered by the Bosch Performane Line motor it puts way too much stress and strain on the frame. Also the Headshock cannot deal with these parameters.
It's just a matter of time I will be confronted with the same issues.

Very strange that Cannondale didn't do a recall for this model after so many returns of broken frames.
Reviews are very subjective and mostly written when a new model hits the market. Not many long term reviews out there.
You must imagine I bought this bike after it was announced as "European Ebike of the year" in 2015. I couldn't be more dissapointed..

My 2 cents.

Of course, assumption is the mother of all mistakes.

Cheers,

Pascal
Wow that’s a lot of issues on one bike, especially frame issues. I feel sorry for your situation. It looked like really solid bike. Any options for you getting a refund? Trade in on different bike?
I was half considering this bike, mostly because it’s had to find something that doesn’t have “tall” wheels.

Thank you and all contributors for feedback.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
I've had mine for three months now but the weather has been obnoxious so I've only got about a couple hundred miles on it. So far so good. Otherewise it would appear to be a terrific bike. I think I was better off not knowing. :)
 

DouglasB

Active Member
I am sorry to say I know the reason why they are quite cheap..I owned a Cannondale Contro Ebike 25km/h model for 1 year after it was stolen. Currently I own the same Ebike but the highspeed/speedelec/45km/h model.

I could buy it from dealer for a significant drop in its original price. It was a real steal.
The bike is now 1,4 years old. In this time I had to replace the frame 2x, Bosch Motor 2x and Headshock 3x! Go figure..
Replaced all under warranty.

What kind of riding were you doing on it? I'm just wondering if I can avoid the same problems by going easy on it and staying on paved roads?
 

DouglasB

Active Member
Four months and about four hundred miles on the bikes and we're still thrilled. Did a hard, 35 mile ride the other day and was trailing a guy on a road bike for a while who was keepping up a pretty steady 25 mph. Impressive! Later in the ride the chain tried to jump off the front sprocket and ended up crushing the plastic chain guard in front. I'm not sure if the guard is there protect your pants or keep the chain on the sprocket. It doesn't do a good job of either. As a pants shield, it only covers a small portion of the chain. As a chain guide, being that it's plastic, it can't put up too much resistance to a wayward chain. In my case the chain ran up and over the guard, bending it irreparably. I tried to straighten it out but could never get it completely straight again. It wouldn't have been a problem but bent as it was, it kept trying to lift the chain off the sprocket. There was this constant clacking sound. I took it back to the shop where they seen that before, removed it completely and said they would contact Cannondale and get back to me. Meanwhile I'm still riding the bike. It's probably just fine as it is but you can tell there is a part missing because it's just shiny metal where the cover used to be. I think a metal one would have been better. I see a lot of the ebikes have some sort of chain guide or guard in the front.
 

benzy

New Member
OP here with a 10 month report - Glad to see there are some more Contro-e riders around.

I have about 4200 miles on the bike. No issues to report other than wear and tear. I've ridden in 90+ F heat and pouring rain with no issues. The Bosch system has been flawless. No battery fatigue after 500+ charge cycles. Maybe a 10-15% drop in capacity during cold weather (35-40 F) but the battery capacity is as new in normal weather.

The brake pads, chain and tires were replaced at about 3k miles. Which is about what I'd expect. I started to get weekly flats on the worn rear Big Ben tire so replaced the set with the Greenguard version and no flats since. Really happy with Schwalbe road tires. They are a definite cut above.

Also had a broken spoke which was probably my doing ... banged it down some concrete stairs with a flat. Easy $2 fix if you know how.

Really sorry to hear about Pasqual's troubles with the bike. I'd really curious about the riding conditions because cracking two frames and burning two motors in 1.4 years seems crazy. The Bosch system is pretty ubiquitous and not Cannondale's flaw. I'd imaging there'd be issues with any Bosch powered ebike under these conditions. I will definitely keep an eye on the frame, but it is so overbuilt that I expect a long life.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
Glad to hear you're having good results with your bike Benzy. Pasquale had me worried. I wish he'd comment on the type of riding he was doing. So far I have been very happy with the preformance of mine. I find that the gearing is well matched to the motor. Something I didn't find in the Vado 3.0. At 25 mph I find the cadence very comfortable. On the Vado 3.0 my knees were flying. I ride strictly on smooth pavement and I'm used to a road bike, so I like to get out and put the rubber to the road. This bike takes me way beyond my normal abilities and is exciting to ride in the twistie turnies of the foothills. Its so effortless, but then you start cranking and you realize there is more to this sport than a free ride. I wonder if Pasquale was riding off road, the Contro-e wasn't designed for off roading, although a broken frame is still not something I'd expect unless I was doing jumps.
 
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benzy

New Member
Glad to hear you're having good results with your bike Benzy. Pasquale had me worried. I wish he'd comment on the type of riding he was doing. So far I have been very happy with the preformance of mine. I find that the gearing is well matched to the gearing. Something I didn't find in the Vado 3.0. At 25 mph I find the cadence very comfortable. On the Vado 3.0 my knees were flying. I ride strictly on smooth pavement and I'm used to a road bike, so I like to get out and put the rubber to the road. This bike takes me way beyond my normal abilities and is exciting to ride in the twistie turnies of the foothills. Its so effortless, but then you start cranking and you realize there is more to this sport than a free ride. I wonder if Pasquale was riding off road, the Contro-e wasn't designed for off roading, although a broken frame is still not something I'd expect unless I was doing jumps.
Who knows. I'm 220 and have never broken a frame, MTB, road or otherwise. Yet I have a buddy who breaks at least one MTB frame a year.

There's gotta be some specific treatment and jumping seems like the culprit. Even for the motor, as the most common failure is the bearing where failure is more common on mtb ebikes due to the stress put on the cranks when the rider out of saddle. I dont treat my bike kindly, so from my perspective Pasquale's experience is an anomaly. Also consider that Cannondale has been making some variation of the Contro frame for years (non electric). The contro-e is just an overbuilt version.