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Cannondale Synapse Carbon Range Review

CANNONDALE SYNAPSE CARBON REVIEW

  • Price Range: £1,399.99 - £7,799.99
  • Discipline: Sportive Road Bike
  • Usage: Sportive and endurance racing
  • Super lightweight carbon frames
  • Wide range of models for all budgets
  • Comfortable and fast geometry
  • No flagship women’s model
  • Limited colour options
  • Not as aggressive as some sportive bikes

Updated: 7th November 2017

Overview

Cannondale’s latest carbon endurance road bike, the Synapse Carbon, features a whole new frame for 2018. Compared to the more aggressive and racier Supersix, the Synapse has a sportive focus, with a taller handlebar height and more relaxed geometry. This makes it great for longer distance riding in comfort. Cannondale also offers the Synapse Alloy  for more budget minded riders who still want a fantastic quality ride without breaking the bank.

The frame and fork have certain technologies that make the bike super comfortable, and also allows for the use of larger tyres. The Cannondale Synapse Carbon comes in both men’s and women’s models, and uses Cannondale’s Ballistec carbon as well as their exclusive Hi-MOD carbon for the flagship models. The drivetrains on models vary from Shimano Tiagra to Dura Ace, and two models get SRAM Red drivetrains.

Cannondale Synapse Carbon frame

Frame

Ballistec and Hi-MOD carbon frames

The Cannondale Synapse Carbon range is available with two different carbon frames: Ballistec and Hi-MOD carbon. Ballistec carbon is Cannondale’s proprietary carbon, is highly impact resistant and strong, and uses fibres that are found in ballistic armour. Cannondale’s Hi-MOD carbon has the same benefits as Ballistec, yet is lighter weight. Ballistec carbon is found on most of the range, while Hi-MOD carbon frames are found on the range-topping models, and feature the Power Pyramid design near the bottom bracket.

One of the best highlights of the Synapse Carbon frame is the option to run any modern groupset you’d like. There’s a modular cable port on the downtube that allows for mechanical drivetrain routing, a Di2 charging port, or a blank finish if you’re running SRAM’s Red eTap wireless groupset. The frames feature Cannondale’s size-specific carbon layup technology, giving every bike the same excellent feeling no matter the size. The frames also include middle mudguard mounts for winter riding, and Cannondale’s SAVE seatpost in a 25.4 diameter, which allows it more compliance for greater comfort.

[T]he the new Synapse is faster, stiffer, more agile and responsive, wrapped up with a geometry that lets you get a reasonably low position if you want it, yet has the silky smoothness to not batter you into submission on a long ride. - Road.cc

Cannondale Synapse Carbon groupset

Groupset

Wide range of Shimano drivetrains

The Cannondale Synapse Carbon range comes with every Shimano groupset from Tiagra all the way to Dura Ace Di2, and every disc model gets hydraulic disc brakes.

The Synapse models cover a wide range of budgets, and the Ballistec carbon framed models are offered with groupsets ranging from Shimano Tiagra to Dura Ace, as well as SRAM’s Red eTap. The Tiagra models features the previous year’s frame, whereas models from the 105 upwards get the new 2018 frame, as well as hydraulic disc brakes.

The Hi-MOD models get only high-end groupsets, including Shimano Dura Ace – both mechanical and Di2 electric – and SRAM Red eTap wireless. All Synapse Carbon models are made to be ridden longer distances, so Cannondale specced compact, 50/34T chainsets matched to 11-32T cassettes. With every Synapse, you receive high quality shifting and powerful braking.

Cannondale Synapse Carbon wheels

Wheels

Room for up to 32c sized tyres

The Cannondale Synapse range all feature standard 700c wheels, as you would expect. For the entry level models, either Cannondale’s own RD wheels are used or aftermarket spec Mavic wheels. These include the Tiagra, 105 and Ultegra models. The SE edition model gets WTB wheels to match the WTB tyres. Lightweight alloy Fulcrum wheels are also featured on the Carbon Dura Ace model. 

For the high-end Synapse models, Cannondale’s Hollowgram wheels are featured. These carbon rimmed wheels are lightweight and have a wide internal width, giving the tyres a greater platform for stability. They are stiffer than alloy wheels, giving better power transfer and more direct handling, and come as tubeless ready.

Bigger tyres play a big part in adding more isolation from rough roads. The new Synapse takes up to 32mm measured tyres  – Road.cc

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Best For

Best for

Comfortable endurance performance

Always popular for sportives and endurance riding, the 2018 Cannondale Synapse Carbon is even more versatile than before. Its updated frame is almost as light as a road race bike, and combined with its bottom bracket and headtube stiffness, you get the handling you need when pushing hard. It doesn’t lack in comfort either, making long distance rides a pleasure.

It’s hard to find fault with the Cannondale Synapse Carbon. It balances comfort and high speed performance, meaning that you don’t need to compromise when choosing your next road bike. The fact that it can take up to 32c sized tyres as well as mudguards, means that the Synapse Carbon can be that single do-it-all road bike, making for a fast commuter, long distance mile clocker and race bike in one.

Cannondale Synapse Carbon derailleur Cannondale Synapse Carbon wheels small
Cannondale Synapse Carbon stem and integrated GPS mount Cannondale Synapse Carbon internal cable routing
Cannondale Synapse Carbon headtube Cannondale Synapse Carbon disc brake

Cannondale Synapse Carbon range models

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