For under $1,000, reconnect with the joy of riding while also tracking your stats with the Cannondale Treadwell bicycle.
When designers at Cannondale sat down to build a new breed of fitness/commuter bike, their goal was to reconnecting riders with the happiness and freedom of being a kid on a bike. They also wanted to build a bike with design aesthetics and features to appeal to millennials: connectivity and the seamless integration of technology.
Enter the Treadwell. Whether you call it a fitness bike, neighborhood cruiser, or daily driver, the Cannondale Treadwell is retro without being gimmicky, delightfully efficient, and a whole lot of fun to ride.
Cannondale Treadwell Review
Cannondale got rid of the stuff that can be distracting. It uses a single-shifter, 1x drivetrain with nine gears in the back and one in the front. That gearing allowed me to comfortably cruise city streets and to climb steep overpasses from the beach in Venice Beach, California, up into town.
The aluminum-frame Treadwell comes with a wide, aluminum BMX-style handlebar, which makes the bike easy to ride and keeps it light. The width makes it easier to maneuver than narrow-handlebar bikes. And whereas a lot of bikes in this category feel more like they were designed for a grandma than a grom, the Treadwell can’t help but make you feel a little badass.
The top two builds, the Treadwell EQ and Treadwell 2, have a moto-inspired seat and alloy fenders. The base model Treadwell 3 is fender-free and uses a less stylish but still comfortable saddle. It comes with a kickstand. A clever and thoughtful extra, there are silicone strips on the frame’s top tube to prevent dings when you lean the bike against a lamp post when you’re running errands.
The 650b Treadwell wheels come with cush 47mm-wide Maxxis tires with moto-inspired tread. Disc brakes are also standard spec.
Treadwell models weigh between about 26 and 29 pounds depending on size and configuration.
Built-In Garmin Computer
While most of the above specs are available on other city bikes, the Treadwell stands out thanks to its built-in computer.
Every Treadwell, even the $650 build, comes with an auto-pairing hidden wheel sensor developed with Garmin as well as a handlebar phone holder. Open up Cannondale’s free app to track your speed, distance, calories, route, and how much carbon you’re keeping out of the environment by riding instead of driving. You can do all of this without buying an expensive and hard-to-set-up bike computer.
The app also gives you maintenance reminders, lets you book a service appointment with a local dealer, and allows you to connect with other app users. The wheel sensor has onboard memory, so if you want to ride phone-free, you’ll still have access to your stats next time you’re in range of the bike sensor with your phone app. The sensor stores up to 900 hours of ride info. It also auto-registers your bike with Cannondale and can help with recovery if a thief ever steals it.
Connecting my phone to the Treadwell was instant. The bike comes with a secure mount you stick to the back of your phone, and that mount locks to the Treadwell handlebar. Our phone stayed put even on rough roads, but that mount is stuck on your phone until you pry it off. This is pretty much my only complaint about this bike. It’d be great if Cannondale would also offer a phone attachment that wasn’t permanent.
Cannondale Treadwell: A Great Everyday Bicycle
I love riding bikes. I ride bikes of all kinds all the time. And often I ride expensive bikes with fancy parts because they’re usually the most fun. I was skeptical before I swung a leg over the Treadwell — and I’m so glad I did because I had the best time.
As Cannondale promised, riding this bike was just plain fun. I could pedal it hard enough and long enough to get a workout, and sitting in the saddle for hours of casual cruising and a tour of Venice, California, canals, I never got a sore bum, numb hands, or wished for a different ride. The Treadwell performed as well on packed dirt as pavement. Shifting was precise, and the carbon saving screen in the app made me want to bike, not drive.
I’d happily add a Treadwell to my own fleet.
The Treadwell EQ ($900) has a front bamboo cargo deck and well as alloy fenders. And the Treadwell 2 has the fenders and no deck ($800). Save a few bucks with the Treadwell 3 ($625), which comes without the cool seat and a slightly lower parts spec without compromising the fun and connected ride.