Cannondale's Topstone Neo Carbon 2 e-Bike Is Out to Dominate Gravel Roads

Topstone Neo Carbon 2 8 photos
Photo: Cannondale
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Not all bikes are created equal. The sheer variety we witness on a daily basis is proof of this notion. From big to small, with motors or without, it seems every possible angle has been covered. Yet new ideas are still flowing.
One of these new ideas is the fresh Topstone Neo Carbon 2 road and gravel e-bike we see in the cover photo. Please take a good long look at this monster because we’re about to show you what Cannondale has been up to behind closed doors.

Yup, this is a Cannondale bicycle, and what a bicycle at that. But before we get to know the Topstone, let’s discover a bit about the team in the unlikely case you haven’t heard of it. The year is 1971, and all around the world ideas about digitalization are spewing forward, except in the biking world. A group of cyclists sought to change all that and got to work in a small Connecticut workshop; that is how the cycling powerhouse we know today started.

The Topstone takes all that knowledge and drive and delivers it right into the ground to give you one hell of a ride. First, let’s have a look at the frame construction. I bet you can figure out from the lack of welds that it’s composed of carbon, BallisTec carbon to be more specific. It is that top-shelf carbon Cannondale likes to put together for some of its bikes, ready with internal cable routing.

Topstone Neo Carbon 2
Photo: Cannondale
At the front of the bike, we find a solid and stiff fork composed of the same carbon as the frame, also including internal cable routing. The rear, however, shows us something special. Take a close look at the seat stay. What you see is called a Kingpin suspension that offers just enough travel, 30 mm (1.18 in) to be exact, to smoothen out bumps and vibrations encountered on your ride.

Now, it is an e-bike, so the motor and battery systems are next on the list. Here, Cannondale chose to equip a full Bosch setup from start to finish. The motor is the new 250W Performance Line CX with a massive 85 Nm (62 lb-ft) of torque. It is the same motor found on $12,000 e-MTBs, so no need to worry about strength. Powering all this fun is a PowerTube 500 hidden in the downtube, delivering, you guessed it, 500Wh of power. Together these two systems offer a range of up to 125 km (77 miles).

Topstone Neo Carbon 2
Photo: Cannondale
As for the rest of the drivetrain, Shimano sweeps in with a grand slam covering the front and rear derailleur, shifters, and cassette, all tuned to the sound of 11 speeds. Even the braking is handled by this team with a pair of GRX hydraulic disks with 160 mm (6.3 in) RT64 rotors. Want something stronger? Go buy a motorcycle setup.

The tires need to be mentioned as well, as they support multiple functions. On the Topstone, the team chose a pair of tubeless-ready WTB KOM Light i23 rims show with a pair of WTB Riddler TCS Light tires. They're deemed good enough for traction and to add a bit of comfort to the ride as they offer some level of suspension. Frankly, if you don’t like the choice, it’s an easy component to swap, so don’t let that stop you.

The only thing I don’t like about the bike is the fact that you have to go through a dealer to get one. And that always means paying some middleman fees. On average, we’ve been seeing a price of $7,200, which sounds fair for a Cannondale beauty like this one.
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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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