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Cannondale Treadwell 3 review – A slow pootler that's simple and comfortable

A fun take on an urban bike with a bold burst of colour. Should the Treadwell be your next workhorse?

A pack shot of a bright yellow and orange bicycle with a step through frame
(Image: © Mildred Locke)

Our Verdict

A cushy and comfortable urban ride, but it’s pretty sluggish, so best reserved for pootling about town

For

  • Comfortable riding position that’s beginner friendly
  • Large, cushioned tyres smooth out rough roads
  • Single chain ring for simple gear shifting
  • Speed Sensor and app connectivity

Against

  • Heavy, so not ideal for carrying up and down stairs
  • Tyres have a fairly high rolling resistance, so riding feels sluggish

Cannondale released the Treadwell back in 2019, with its main selling point being the in-built Speed Sensor mounted on the front wheel. Teaming up with Garmin to develop the sensor, Cannondale’s app acts as a dashboard to provide information about speed, distance, the number of calories burned, and even the estimation of carbon emissions saved. Furthermore, the app has the capability to track the Treadwell’s maintenance needs, sending service reminders when they’re needed.

How does it hold up against the best hybrid bikes on the market though, and is it one of the best bikes for commuting? Having spent the past few months riding the Treadwell 3 around Bristol, running errands, pootling about town, and doing my best to pick up some speed, here’s how well it performs.

Design and specification

The Treadwell is available in three different models — the 3, 2, and EQ — and two different frame shapes: one with a slightly sloped top tube, and one with a fully sloped top tube that essentially acts as a step-through.

The particular model I tested is the Cannondale Treadwell 3 Remixte Ltd, and it has a playful aesthetic, with a step-through top tube, wide flat handlebars, plush 650b x 47mm tyres, and a bold yellow-to-orange fade paint job.

The SmartForm C3 Alloy frame and steel fork are mated with a MicroSHIFT 7-speed rear derailleur and shifter, a Sunrace 11-34 cassette, and a Prowheel 38T crankset. Promax mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors at the front and back provide the stopping power, while the alloy Cannondale wheels are shod with Maxxis DTR-1 tyres, and the finishing kit all comes courtesy of Cannondale itself.

Up front, the stem features Cannondale’s Intellimount, which makes it compatible with any SP Connect system to mount a mobile phone directly to the stem for navigation and use of the dashboard mentioned above.

Other models in the range come with more comprehensive features, such as pre-installed racks, mudguards and kickstands, but the version I’ve tested sits at the entry level in the range and is pretty basic.

Performance

Similarly to the Cannondale Quick, the Treadwell is listed on the brand’s website as a ‘Fitness Bike’, however here is where I’d disagree with the categorisation. Unlike the Quick, which is clearly designed to be pedalled at speed and taps into that all-out energy you need for a decent workout, the Treadwell is more of a slow-paced pootler. Having used it to travel to meetings and appointments where I’ve been running late (standard for me, unfortunately), I can attest to the fact that when you need it to pick up speed it certainly can, however it’s not the most efficient bike out there, and so in order for it to work hard, you have to work even harder. 

The chunky tyres definitely do a great job of smoothing out rough roads — ideal when you’re consistently taking on potholed streets in the UK — they do rack up some hefty rolling resistance, and even pumped up to the maximum PSI, the bike still wants to roll at a relaxed pace.

With its step-through frame, wide and cushioned saddle, and flat handlebars with slim and comfortable grips, the Treadwell 3 Remixte would really well suit someone who is new to cycling, or returning to it after many years off the saddle. It would also work well for someone with limited mobility. Aside from the connectivity aspect of the bike, I’d say its main selling point is its simplicity and comfort. It’s a very easy bike to ride, with a single chain ring up front, there’s only one gear shifter to worry about, and you simply have to think about shifting up or down. The gear shifter also features a gauge so you can see clearly where you are in the gear range without having to glance down at your cassette — something that you don’t see very often on more premium bikes, but that’s very useful for less experienced riders.

For £700 / $850, Cannondale has had to make cost savings somewhere, and in this case it’s on some of the components. Generally the ride is simple and comfortable, though to the more attuned cyclist, the jumps between the 7-speed MicroSHIFT gearing might feel a little clunky, and the Promax mechanical disc brakes aren’t amazing. They do the job and allow for reasonably powerful braking, but the feel is pretty soft and, if you’re used to much more powerful and premium brakes, don’t feel that great.

Having said all this, the Treadwell is not aimed at the most seasoned cyclists, and the target audience for this bike will certainly be happy with its riding capabilities, as long as they’re not aiming to race around at speed.

Verdict

If you want to put headphones in your ears and push your body to its limits to get fit, I’d recommend opting for the Cannondale Quick instead. On the other hand, if you want a comfortable and simple bike to pedal around town, take on relaxed leisure rides at the weekends, and potentially add a bunch of accessories to, then the Treadwell will do what you need it to do.

Testing scorecard and notes
AttributesNotesRating
Design and aesthetics Simple, bold and colourful8/10
Components Not the best, but not bad for the target audience7/10
Performance, handling and geometrySuper comfortable, but a bit sluggish7/10
WeightWeighing 13kg it's pretty hefty6/10
Value for moneyGood value for money, includes wheel sensors for easy app compatibility, although the components could be improved8/10
Overall rating72%

Logbook: Cannondale Treadwell 3

  • Temperature: 10 to 25 degrees C
  • Weather:  Sun, rain, wind, cold, warm
  • Road surface: Mostly paved with a little bit of gravel and canal towpath
  • Route:  Multiple routes around Bristol and the South West
  • Rides: 30+
  • Mileage: ~200km

Tech Specs: Cannondale Treadwell 3

  • Price: £700 / $850
  • Sizes: SM / LG
  • Weight: 13kg (size SM with pedals)
  • Frame: SmartForm C3 Alloy
  • Fork: Steel
  • Shifters: MicroSHIFT 7-speed
  • Rear derailleur: MicroSHIFT M21L
  • Crankset: Prowheel, 38T
  • Cassette: Sunrace, 11-34 7-speed
  • Brakes: Promax mechanical disc, 160/160mm rotors
  • Wheels: Cannondale Disc
  • Tyres: Maxixis DTR-1, 650b x 47mm
  • Saddle: Cannondale Treadwell
  • Seatpost: Cannondale 6061 Alloy
  • Stem: Cannondale 3 with Intellimount
  • Handlebars: Cannondale Cruise Control riser
  • Extras: Cannondale Wheel Sensor

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Mildred Locke
Mildred Locke

Mildred joined as Reviews Writer for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect in December 2020. She loves all forms of cycling from long-distance audax to daily errand-running by bike, and does almost everything on two wheels, including moving house, and started out her cycling career working in a bike shop. For the past five years she's volunteered at The Bristol Bike Project as a mechanic and session coordinator, and now sits on its board of directors.

Since then she's gone on to write for a multitude of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. She's dedicated to providing more coverage of women's specific cycling tech, elevating under-represented voices in the sport, and making cycling more accessible overall. 

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg

Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike