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Cannondale Synapse Range Review

Words by Aaron Scott

on 08/06/2017 17:07:56

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Made for the pavé of northern France and Belgium, the Cannondale Synapse is the ‘perfect blend’ of racing pedigree, dialled handling and all-day comfort. Unique features like the ‘Power Pyramid’ seat-tube and flattened chain-stays illustrate the ability of Cannondale to create innovative bikes, and with an impressively smooth ride, it’s easy to see why the Synapse is one of the most popular sportive bikes on the market.

Cannondale themselves say that the Synapse is perfect for ‘240km days, chasing the cobbled classics, hammering the classic Gran Fondos and taking some roads you've never taken before’. They’re not wrong. Riders who enjoy spending their entire weekend on the bike will thrive on the Synapse. With a responsive kick and good power transfer, the Synapse is also a capable racing machine.

Price: From £799.99

Discipline: Road

Usage: Sportive and Endurance

  • + Endurance Geometry
  • + SAVE Plus Microsuspension
  • + 'Power Pyramid’ Frame Design

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Frame and Forks

The latest range of Synapse models are built using either SmartFormed Alloy or BallisTec Carbon. At the very top-end of the range – the ‘Hi-Mod’ models – Cannondale specify the same frame used by the Cannondale-Drapac professional team. All variations use the same S.E.R.G geometry and SAVE Plus vibration technology, but the Alloy frames lack details like the Power Pyramid bottom bracket.

Other Stand-out Features

Stand-out features of the Synapse are to be found in the details of the frame design, such as the Power Pyramid asymmetric seat-tube – found above the bottom bracket on carbon frames – which helps reduce frame weight and increase stiffness. The smooth ride quality offered by the Synapse owes a lot to Cannondale’s SAVE Plus micro-suspension technology, which makes use of a unique carbon layup and flattened chain-stays to aid vertical compliance and dissipate road buzz.

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Groupset

The entire Synapse range – from alloy frames to top-end carbon models – is built using Shimano shifting components. Known for crisp gear changes and reliability, Shimano groupsets compliment the all-day usability of the Synapse well. Alloy Synapse models start with the entry-level Claris components and top-out with Shimano 105, whilst the BallisTec Carbon frames start with Shimano Tiagra and use either Ultegra Di2 or Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting on the Hi-Mod variants.

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Wheels and Brakes

At the alloy end of the spectrum, the Synapse uses either 32-spoke or 28-spoke wheels on both the disc and rim brake models. High-spoke counts like these ensure a durable, rugged wheelset (ideal if you enjoy the challenge of rough roads). The mid-range Synapse models – again, both rim and disc options – are specified with ultra-reliable Mavic Aksium wheels, whilst the very top-end Hi-Mod bikes get special treatment; full carbon, deep-section disc wheels.

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