Discuss to any bike trade insider and also you’ll hear the identical factor. Two classes are poised for exponential development within the subsequent decade: gravel bikes and e-bikes. Gravel bikes, the candy spot between street biking and mountain biking, invite open journey alongside any street. E-bikes supply unprecedented accessibility, an plain enjoyable issue, and an alternate transportation choice to automobiles. Each attain out to new riders as a lot as they appeal to established cyclists.

What occurs whenever you combine hearth and gasoline? You get e-gravel bikes.

Whereas this new class, electrical gravel bikes, continues to be a distinct segment class so far as gross sales go, it’s value contemplating as a result of these bikes can do nearly something—at the very least the place motors are permitted. Nice for commuting, adventuring off the crushed path, getting in an excellent exercise, or simply going for a pleasure experience, these battery-aided hybrid bikes are the very best of each worlds. I’ve had a few of my favourite rides within the final 12 months on e-gravel bikes, particularly two of the highest new fashions value evaluating.

Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon
courtesy Cannondale

The Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon and Specialized’s Turbo Creo SL, are, so far as I’m involved, the very best in the marketplace. Each bikes are new this 12 months and have considerably upped the usual for the rising class. Particularly designed that can assist you go farther on dust roads and flowy singletrack, these bikes have the potential to unlock a brand new type of using for a broader viewers. That can assist you resolve which is best match for you, let’s evaluate them head-to-head!

Observe: Each bikes are provided in a handful of tiers, principally differentiated by the standard of elements. This enables for a wider array of worth factors. For the needs of this text, I reference the best tier of each.

Specialized Turbo Creo SL
courtesy Specialised

Weight: Cannondale depends on an off-the-shelf motor and battery from Bosch, whereas Specialised custom-built the motor for the Creo SL, which saves them a notable quantity of weight. The Topstone claims to weigh in at 36 kilos, however my check bike was nearer to 40. Then again, the Creo was proper round 27 kilos, at the very least 10 kilos lighter by my measurement. Benefit: Specialised.

Cannondale Topstone
courtesy Cannondale

Suspension: A number of the Topstone’s weight drawback might be defined by its twin suspension: The Kingpin within the rear and the entrance Lefty fork each supply 30mm of journey. Evaluate this to the Creo, which has 20mm of journey in its Future Shock 2.0 (and none within the close to); you can begin to see the variations in these two bike designs. Whereas the Future Shock punches above its weight class by way of smoothing tough terrain, the twin suspension permits the Topstone to deal with extra aggressive terrain. Rating one for Cannondale.

Pace: Until you’re an aero-obsessed roadie, this class is a bit arbitrary, so bear with me (word: I don’t personal a wind tunnel). I discovered the highest finish of the Creo a bit quicker than the Topstone, particularly on asphalt and smoother dust roads. The extra conventional street geometry and lighter bike permits for a lowered rolling resistance, regardless of an 11-speed drivetrain in comparison with the 12-speed on the Topstone. Nonetheless, on singletrack I discovered myself using the Topstone extra aggressively, because of a dropper publish (the Creo is appropriate, simply didn’t have one) and extra supple suspension. Total, slight edge to Specialised.

Specialized Creo
Constructed for velocity, and able to be rigged and loaded up for journey. Andy Cochrane

Tires: The Topstone comes inventory with knobby 42c tires whereas the Creo comes with smaller 28c tires, which present what they’re really made to do. The Topstone was designed for traction and dealing with on tough surfaces, whereas the Creo extra for versatility and velocity. That mentioned, the Creo truly has the broader vary, with clearance that may match a 650x50c tire, whereas the Topstone tops out at 650x47c. Each come tubeless prepared. Evaluating inventory bikes, Cannondale’s will get the slight edge as a result of it’s higher on gravel.

Battery: The Creo affords a touch greater battery vary, 80 miles in comparison with 78. The distinction, in my expertise, is negligible, as a result of it varies significantly by how arduous you experience, particularly when going uphill. I discovered that each bikes supplied round 50-60 bonus miles for my using type. Specialised does supply an extra vary extender, offering 40 additional miles of using. With this in thoughts, I’ve to offer the Creo SL a slight edge on battery life.

Value: The massive draw back to a {custom} motor within the Creo is that it’ll price you a reasonably penny. Whereas the best tier Topstone is $9,000, the S-Works Creo SL is $13,500. With a worth that’s 50 % extra, Specialised has created a motorbike that’s out of many riders’ budgets. Benefit: Cannondale.

Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 1 Lefty Spd
The svelte show on the Topstone Neo Carbon 1.

Software program Integration & Trip Really feel: Each bikes really feel easy from the get-go, seamlessly integrating the battery and motor into your pure pedaling effort. Nonetheless, there’s a large distinction within the software program and interface for the rider. The Topstone has a small laptop the scale of a Garmin mounted to the handlebars that shows many information factors. This unit is fast to determine and simple to make use of. The Creo SL has a extra superior system, with a full app known as Mission Management that has a steeper studying curve however affords extra customization. Relying on the kind of rider you’re, every has some clear benefits.

Closing Phrase: The three largest variations to me are weight, price range, and use case. The Creo SL is the a lot lighter bike, whereas the Topstone Neo is significantly cheaper (comparatively talking). Usually the deciding issue comes all the way down to how you propose to experience, which inserts an identical development within the bike world, with the class slowly splitting in two: “Groad” riders who share time between paved and gravel surfaces are seemingly happier on the Creo SL; downhill gravel riders will respect added suspension within the Topstone Neo. Each supply a completely new sort of two-wheeled journey.


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