Review – Cannondale Synapse 2017

Cannondale was in dire need of an endurance bike, although they introduced the Road Warrior in the early 2000s before the boom in Gran-Fondos which was an alternate to the race bike. Cannondale transformed the Road Warrior into the first-generation Synapse which was also the company’s first carbon bike.

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DESIGN

So is the Synapse a fast bike or a comfortable bike? Cannondale came back with an answer in the form of a newly designed & re-engineed Synapse in 2015 which is both fast & comfortable.

The design challenge was to come up with a bike that was under 1000g & comfortable enough to smooth out the road vibrations, & also had to be stiff enough for the pros to race. It became the design teams job to sort out a solution to an answer for the conflicting market demands of a well performing bike & good looking one & design a bike that would please both.

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Over the course of 4 years 50 to 60 of the Synapse were created & examined before the first rider ready prototype was read.

The split-seat-tube design, or as Cannondale patented it, the Power Pyramid, emerged from one such brainstorming session. “It was one of those rare moments,” as one of the Cannondale designers mentioned, “where great-looking design contributed to improved performance.”

At first there were about 20 different prototype designs but none came up with an answer to fulfill the need for performance. The split-seat-tube design or the Power Pyramid, arrived in a moment of enlightenment as its design took out  redundant material away from the centre of the seat-tube and redistributing it where it was needed: at the outer edges of the bottom bracket. The slim & twisted seat-stays was also another design feature of the new Synapse ensuring the frame’s design contributed to a compliant, plush ride which enhanced the riders performance.

PERFORMANCE

Cannondale built the Synapse for the hardcore racers. Its Geometry was tweaked from the old Synapse & it weighed less than 1000g for a medium frame. The “S.A.V.E (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) Micro-Suspension Technology™” were incorporated to the fork, seat-stays & chain-stays of the frame.

 

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The asymmetric bottom bracket BB30A design provided torsional stiffness & the headtube was further stiffened after the inputs of the pro-riders during its prototype stage.

 

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The Cannondale sponsored Cyclocross Team started testing the bike & after a couple more iterations the Italian Cannondale Team headed by Peter Sagan got their hands to the new Synapse.

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In the 2013 classics Peter Sagan took to the bike immediately & he rode a signature version with a longer top-tube to second place behind his team-mate Moreno Moser in the tough Italian race, Strade Bianche. Three weeks later, at a freezing Gent-Wevelgem, Sagan attacked with 4km to go and rode solo to the line. It was the first time that the bike was ridden to victory. It was at this moment when the four year effort was rewarded with its first pro victory. The Synapse has proven itself in the hardest races on the planet & by Ted King’s “All Day Adventures”.

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SAVE MICRO-SUSPENSION TECHNOLOGY

It started as an acronym for Synapse Active Vibration Elimination

SAVE technology is all about reducing road shock and vibration. By pairing precise tube shapes with sophisticated carbon lay-up or highly manipulated aluminum, Cannondale was able to create areas on the rear chain-stays and seat-stays, fork or seat-post that can deflect to absorb shock, while staying completely rigid laterally and torsionally. The enhanced vertical compliance provided by these combined features greatly improves comfort and performance.

wp_20161003_16_49_19_proFRAMESET

The Synapse Frameset is made out of BallisTec Carbon & has features running all over with SAVE Plus Technology on the Fork & Stays. Internal Cable Routing, System Integration Frame that support Cannondale specific components like the fork & BB30A bottom bracket & Hollowgram Crank. The seat-clam is also hidden within the frame giving it a very sleek look & appearance. The Split Seat-Tube or as Cannondale patent calls it the “Power Pyramid” is the most noticeable design feature of the whole bike

 

 

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Hollowgram SpiderRing Crankset

Cannondale’s patented OPI 3D forging process has enabled them to build hollow, seamless crank-arms that are not only extremely light but also incredibly strong and stiff. In fact, they are the stiffest, strongest crank-arms they have ever made. Lighter and stiffer than Dura Ace and completely compatible with every HollowGram spider and chain-ring set-up. The Crank is a 50/34T perfect for multiple types of terrain & easy on the climbs.

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GROUPSET

The SuperSix Evo is equipped fully with a Shimano Ultegra (6800) 11-Speed drivetrain  which includes Shimano Ultegra (11x2spd) Shifters, a Brazed-On Front Derailleur,  Ultegra Rear Derailleur.

& a Ultegra 11-32T cassette. The group-set is ultra-light and has very accurate shifting performance which is extremely smooth & reliable.

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WHEELS / TIRES : MAVIC AKSIUM  /  MAVIC AKSION

The Synapse comes in with Mavic Aksium wheelset is an ideal for training weighing at 1890g is a bit on the heavier side but the wheelset is stiff & highly tensioned with straight pull spokes & 20 Spoke count on both the front & rear wheel, the front wheel has round spokes while the rear has round spokes on the non-drive (left) side & bladed spokes on the drive (right) side. The Aksium’s are ready for most types of road riding & the latest Aksium’s have had some improvements on the Hubs to make them last longer .

The wheels are fitted with Mavic’s Aksion Folding Tires The tires work well as all weather training tires and are reliable on the rougher roads too.

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SADDLE: FABRIC SCOOP SHALLOW

The Scoop saddle is designed to provide flexibility and great ergonomic feel for all genres of cycling. Starting with its unique flexible base, vacuum bonded upper and custom design rail, the Fabric Scoop is proven to be the perfect balance of comfort, performance and simplicity. The Scoop Shallow is meant for all day performance . Its unique 3 part bonding process not only results in super comfort but also an easy to clean saddle with smooth lines and superb durability.

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TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Brand Cannondale
Model Synapse Carbon 3 Ultegra
Category ROAD – Endurance
  Frame   Synapse, BallisTec Carbon, Di2 ready, SAVE PLUS, BB30a
  Fork   Synapse SAVE PLUS, BallisTec Carbon, 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ tapered steerer
  Crank   Cannondale HollowGram Si, hollow forged, w/ OPI SpideRing, BB30a, 50/34T
  Bottom Bracket   FSA BB30 Bearings
  Shifters   Shimano Ultegra ST-6800, 11-Speed (2×11-Speed)
  Cog Set   Shimano Ultegra CS-6800, 11-32T, 11-Speed
  Chain   Shimano HG700, 11-Speed
  Front Derailleur   Shimano Ultegra, FD-6800, Braze-On, 2-Speed
  Rear Derailleur   Shimano Ultegra, RD-6800 -GS, 11-Speed
  Rims   Mavic Aksium One WTS
  Hubs   Mavic Aksium One
  Tires   Mavic Aksion WTS, 700x25c, Folding
  Pedals   Not Included
  Brakes   Shimano Ultegra 6800
  Brake Levers   Shimano Ultegra 6800
  Handlebar   Cannondale C2, Compact, Butted 2014 Alloy
  Stem   Cannondale C2, 7050 Alloy, 31.8mm, 6 Deg.
  Headset   Synapse Si, 1-1/4″ Lower Bearing, 25mm Carbon Top Cap
  Grips   Cannondale Grip Bar Tape w/Gel, 3.5mm
  Saddle   Fabric Spoon Shallow Race, Ti Rail
  Seat Post   Cannondale C2, UD Carbon, 25.4x300mm (48-51) 350mm (54-61)
  Sizes   (Small 51cm), (Medium 54cm), (Large 56cm)

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