Whilst on a road trip in the South Island, we thought we’d head over to tackle the iconic Old Ghost Road. But we decided we’d try and ride it a little differently – instead of staying a few nights in a hut, we’d try and nail the trail in one day on eMTB’s – should be easy right?! Cameron Mackenzie (our handy photographer) would be using a loan Trek Rail eMTB and I’d be on a new Cannondale Moterra eMTB, which was under review.
With the launch of the new Bosch Performance CX motor, Cannondale completely redesigned the Moterra for 2020, to accommodate the new system. The pedalling position on the Cannondale Moterra 1 is central, upright and very comfortable. The slack seat tube angle positions the rider far over the rear wheel on steep climbs, unweighting the front tyre and sagging into the rear travel. However, the front wheel remains on the ground the moment you shift your weight forward slightly, though it isn’t very precise in tight turns. Thanks to the traction offered by the rear wheel and the excellent eMTB mode of the Bosch motor, the Cannondale Moterra 1 makes easy work of steep climbs. Going downhill, you feel like you’re sitting in the Cannondale Moterra 1 rather than on top of it. The Moterra 1 instils you with confidence on the descents, which is only amplified by the MAGURA MT7 brakes. The Moterra 1 handles with predictable precision. Once you’ve decided where you want to go, it will hold its line no matter how imperfect your posture or riding technique. The FOX suspension absorbs all the bumps, though it could offer the rider a little more feedback from the trail. More playful riders will want a little more support from the suspension, to pop off roots and ledges, but above all the Moterra 1 feels stable.
Our base was the West Coast coal-mining settlement of Seddonville, 50km north of Westport, named in honour of the legendary Liberal Premier, Richard Seddon. It was also the site of an early experiment in state socialism – New Zealand’s first state-owned coal mine opened there in 1903. Seddonville is in the isolated north of the West Coast in the foothills of the Glasgow Range, on the southern bank of the Mokihinui River. Seddonville isn’t the easiest place to get to, as with most of the West Coast of the South Island. The coast is isolated for a reason and that’s the gem of the region - it’s almost stuck in time or at least it feels that way when you’re there.
Words: Liam Friary
Images: Cameron Mackenzie