NEW: Cannondale Synapse
The Cannondale Synapse has long been one of the go-to road bikes for those looking for more comfort, or a sportive bike that would allow them to ride further than ever before. With its last iteration, Cannondale took that endurance ride but imbued it with SuperSix DNA to create a bike that was not only comfortable for long days in the saddle, but had a racier edge to it.
Now, Cannondale have lifted the lid on a new Synapse, taking everything that has made the Synapse great in the past - and made it better in every way.
Read on to find out all about the new bike, plus Cannondale’s new and innovative SmartSense system.
The perfect "road" bike
Road cycling - and road bikes - have changed a lot in the last few years, with the advent of disc brakes and a renewed focus on comfort and practicality which has been a boon for those of us who want to ride where we want, how we want, with bikes that are more capable. With the new Synapse, Cannondale have taken this evolution to heart, looking to create a bike that delivers the ideal mix of speed, comfort and capability; a bike that is the right bike for most road riders.
Designed to be easy to ride hard on all kinds of roads, the new Synapse offers the perfect balance between a race bike like the SuperSix Evo or the SystemSix, and gravel bikes like the Topstone, leaving where you ride up to you rather than the limitations of your equipment. So what does that philosophy mean for the new bike itself?
If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it - for starters, the new Cannondale Synapse retains the dialed rider position and geometry that has proven so popular in previous iterations, maintaining a perfect balance between racy, forward-leaning efficiency, and upright comfort, so it’ll be just at home on an all-day sportive ride as it will in a bunch race. It means a familiar fit and feel for those who have ridden a Synapse in the past, making it an easy transition to the new model. The new bike may even feel faster, with some subtle aerodynamic shaping on the frame and fork tube profiles to give you extra speed for less effort.
That geometry already means that the Cannondale Synapse scores highly in the comfort stakes, but the new model also has enhanced frame compliance, and what Cannondale call ‘Proportional Response Construction’ to ensure that, regardless of your frame size, the same balance of stiffness and compliance is experienced. Plus, the ride is smoothed out with discreet flex zones in the rear triangle, seat tube and seatpost to absorb road chatter. There’s also much larger tyre clearance, allowing you to run wider rubber for extra comfort or something a little more gravel-friendly, with clearance for up to 35mm tyres while still retaining a comfortable 6mm of clearance. That clearance also means you can fit mudguards for winter riding and still have space for a 30mm tyre.
There’s also a handful of other practical features that make for a user-friendly package - you’ll find mounts on the top tube for snack boxes or extra luggage; a standard seatbinder; a turbo trainer compatible rear thru-axle; and a threaded bottom bracket and tube-in-tube cable routing for easy maintenance. All those extra features come with no weight penalty either, as weight savings elsewhere mean that despite all the improvements, the bike comes in at the same weight as the previous version.
All these changes add up to a fantastically capable, smooth-riding endurance bike that isn’t afraid to go where you want it to. But to top it off, Cannondale have also introduced a new system alongside the Synapse that promises to improve your ride experience for the better.
Unveiled on the new Synapse is SmartSense, Cannondale’s integrated system of lights and radar designed to give you full visibility, and full awareness.Greater than the sum of its parts, SmartSense connects different bits of technology into an intelligent system granting increased capability and enhanced function to each element.
In the most basic terms, SmartSense is made up of font and rear lights, a rear facing radar, power pack, a Cannondale wheel sensor and the Cannondale App, all working together around you and the bike. The lights, developed in partnership with Lezyne, comprise a 350 lumen front light and 25 lumen rear light with ambient light sensors to ensure optimal visibility in all light conditions. These lights are smart too, working with the rest of the system to keep you safe - when the radar system detects cars approaching from behind the brightness of the lights will adjust, making the rear brighter to alert the vehicle, and the front brighter to alert you. There’s also a brake ‘alert’ function built into the rear light which responds to braking decelerations to warn riders and vehicles behind you that you’re slowing down.
SmartSense uses Garmin’s popular Varia rear facing radar, with some adaptations for this new system, to ensure that you are aware of everything going on around you and allows you to keep your eyes on the road, rather than shoulder checking. The radar detects vehicles approaching from 140 metres away and alerts you with both visual and audible signals via the display unit - or, alternatively, via your own Garmin or Wahoo GPS unit or smartphone via the Cannondale app, which will also link up to the radar system. This will show the relative position and speed of all upcoming vehicles, plus warn you when cars are coming too fast or too close.
This is all fueled by the SmartSense Powerpack, tucked away at the bottom of the downtube. The master control center for the SmartSense ecosystem, this is a removable, rechargeable battery and smart cradle which powers all other parts of the system. When something needs charging, everything else can stay on your bike with the Powerpack removed for juice - you’ll get an average of 5 hours from the battery, from 2:45 hours at full blast, to 20+ hours in the lowest Battery Saver setting. There’s also various ways that the SmartSense system will power up when you head out for a ride, from pressing the battery button to a Proximity Wake function which turns the system on when your approach your bike with the Cannondale App on, to simply hopping on and riding with the wheel sensor firing the system up once you start moving.
The last piece of the puzzle for the new Cannondale Synapse is the Cannondale App which allows you to programme the system. Here, you can cycle through your light modes, customise configurations and settings, update firmware for the system, and set the system up exactly how you want to use it.
Cannondale Synapse Range
The new Cannondale Synapse Carbon comes in a range of specification options to suit most budgets and riding styles, from Shimano GRX equipped models with the full SmartSense bundle to more entry level price points. There are six models in the range with the R, L, or E designation to indicate the features on each model - ‘R’ models include the Garmin Radar, ‘L’ models include lights and ‘E’ models are specced with electronic shifting. The radar package is also available as an upgrade for those models which do not come with it as part of the original specification.