Cannondale Synapse Review

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Green

Price

Between $1,300 and $2,999 - Available on REI.com

Pros​​​​

​Interesting design, responsive breaking, comfortable ride

Cons

N/A

Summary

If you want a bike that can outlast most any environment, the Synapse is an excellent buying option.

Our Rating

93/100

Manufacturer

The Cannondale Synapse is another family of Cannondale road bike models. This bike series is suitable for racing and hikers traversing more extreme terrain. 

The Cannondale Synapse can handle most conditions with ease and provides a good deal of versatility.

Tech Specs

FRAME SIZE: 48 cm, 51 cm, 54 cm, 56 cm, 58 cm, and 61 cm
BRAKE TYPE: Shimano Ultegra Hydro Disc Brake Levers
SHIFTER: Cannondale Synapse Disc Dura Ace
RIMS: RS 2.0 Wheelset or Mavic Aksium Disc
TIRES: Schwalbe Lugano Folding or WTB Exposure
PRICE RANGE: $1,300 - $2,999

The Cannondale Synapse features a design and build for more advanced bike riders. It is a bike that is capable of near-racer level performance. The Cannondale bikes are versatile forms of transportation for rough, off-road conditions.

The Synapse bikes feature elements that make for a sturdy, comfortable bike ride.

The models all have similar builds. The Synapse bikes use New BallisTec Carbon as part of the build for the Synapse Framesets.

Frame Size

The Synapse line offers a bike with 950 grams of BallisTec Carbon. This makes the bike one of the lightest of its type. That along with the asymmetrical fork design offers a sturdier bike riding experience.

Cannondale Synapse Featured

The Synapse bike frames come in a variety of sizes including 48 cm, 51 cm, 54 cm, 56 cm, 58 cm, and 61 cm.

Along with the varying frame sizes, Cannondale developed forks with different offsets. These forks increase handling for bikes specific riders' frame size.

Brake Type

The Synapse Disc bikes feature Shimano Ultegra hydro disc brake levers. The brakes themselves are Shimano Ultegra R8070 hydro disc, flat mount, 160/160mm. An unfortunate issue is that the brake needs specific tools for its maintenance.

With proper care, the brakes are easy to use and give an almost instant braking response.

The Synapse Carbon 105 features the Tektro R741, Dual Pivot with a Cartridge pad. Both brakes offer near-instant braking. This can be problematic if you are not careful, so brake with caution.

Shifter

The Cannondale Synapse Disc Dura Ace offers Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9170 hydro disc. With programmable buttons and speeds, The gear shift makes for a convenient ride.

The Disc Ultegra models offer Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9170 hydro disc. Versatility is king for this shifter. Reviewers have remarked it similar performance to other high quality competitors.

Some noted how surprisingly well the shifters helped with the braking. The brakes even help stop the bike while in the middle of inclement weather.

Rims

The Synapse Carbon 105 and Carbon Disc 105 features the RS 2.0 wheelset. The wheelset is made with 24-hole front and a 28-hole rear on the Carbon 105. The Disc Ultegra models offer the Mavic Aksium Disc. The size and material creates light and affordable wheelset.

Cannondale Synapse Red

The Synapse Carbon Disc Apex 1 SE features the WTB STP i19 TCS 28-hole, tubeless ready wheelset.

Tires

The Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra DI2 and Carbon 105 feature Schwalbe Lugano Folding. The Carbon Disc Apex, Carbon Disc Ultegra SE feature WTB Exposure, tubeless ready, gum wall. The tires measure out to 700x30c and 700x25c.

The Dura-Ace and Disc RED ETAP have Vittoria Rubino Pro 700x28c tires. The tires allow you to take on wilder, rougher rides without making you uncomfortable.

Price Range

The Cannondale Synapse line ;is for trail bikers. the kind who can ride their bikes for day-long trips or are professional racers. The price tag reflects it.

Cannondale doesn't sell their bikes or products directly but through local dealers. Potential buyers can always check the Cannondale site for dealer locations and availability.

The online price listings are:

  • ​Synapse Carbon 105= $1,999.99
  • ​Synapse Carbon Disc Apex 1 SE= $2,499.99
  • ​Synapse Carbon Disc 105= $2,499.99
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    Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra= $2,999.99
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    Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra SE= $3,499.99
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    Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra DI2= $4,199.99
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    Synapse Carbon Dura-Ace= $4,999.99
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    Synapse Carbon Disc RED ETAP= $5,999.99

​What We Like

The Synapse bike is a durable, heavy duty bike that can provide performance like a race bike. Like most Cannondale bikes, it is versatile.

Their bikes meet the highest standards of comfort, and also unbelievable control. The braking is instantaneous. The build of the frame offers great, stiff handling for long, easy trail biking.

Pros

  • ​Frame and asymmetrical design make bike lightweight and durable
  • ​Braking is very responsive
  • ​Micro-Suspension system creates longer, more comfortable rides

​What We Don’t Like

We haven't found any overwhelmingly negative opinions about the Synapse or any of its parts. If you are not a fan of disc brakes, these bikes are not for you. One bit of advice is to be careful with the brake and shifters. They are very quick to respond, and in some instances, haphazard braking could be unsafe.

Cons

  • ​Brakes can sometimes be too responsive if not careful

​Buying Advice

The Cannondale Synapse bike line is not for entry level bike riders. The price tag found on the Cannondale website is a great indicator of this. The bike is for hardcore riders. The bike is for people who love traveling harsh roads, highways, and use their bikes daily.

If you want a bike that can outlast most any environment, the Synapse is an excellent buying option.

The bikes don't have many options as far as color goes. Each model has its own paint job, but many of the models don't have alternate options for color.

With a frame weight makes for a lightweight bike with amazing speed and performance. The seatpost and suspension absorb shock and vibrations like a sponge. It can handle rough rides on hike trails or highways and make them cushy.

Conclusion

The Cannondale Synapse offers riders an excellent, versatile everyday commuting tool. It may not ever be the selection for a first bike, but it is well worth considering. While it isn't the cheapest selection out there, the features available make it well worth the price tag.

The bike line offers excellent braking, and sturdy, lightweight mini suspension. The bike provides a smooth traversal of city streets or rough and rocky hiking trails. It is an excellent choice for long, comfortable bike rides that don't sacrifice speed.

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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