Founded in 1971, Cannondale have developed a strong reputation for innovation and quality, pioneering the use of new materials, namely aluminium and carbon fibre. As a result their products have achieved great success on the world circuit, most notably winning the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana within the same year.
These days there are a wide range of cycling disciplines, with bikes tailored to excel within their set niche, yet many cyclists still desire that one strong allrounder, able to hold its own in all situations; the Cannondale Synapse is one such bike.
Designed to meet the demands of the cyclist looking to race, commute and everything in between aboard the same bike, the Synapse is certainly a versatile option. With its intuitive geometry and design, it breaks the traditional stereotype whereby one must compromise performance for endurance; offering riders both speed and comfort by the bucket load.
The Synapse’s versatility stems directly from its frame design. Focussing on comfort and performance, it utilises the Synapse Endurance Race Geometry; S.E.R.G for short, to provide riders with a relaxed yet sporty position. This makes the Synapse equally suited to urban commutes and all-day sportives.
The wheelbase and headtube are slightly longer than equivalent bikes, whilst the head angle is slackened a little too, resulting in a very stable, confidence inspiring ride. Additionally, the head tube is 2.5cm taller than that of Cannondale’s race geometry bikes, placing the rider in an upright position with a full view of the road ahead. This is critical for safe commuting as any obstacles or obstructions ahead can be clearly seen with plenty of reaction time to spare.
For those who plan to spend more hours in the saddle, the SAVE PLUS micro-suspension technology, found in the rear triangle and fork, will be a welcome addition. Essentially the rear stays and fork are shaped in such a way that they flex and absorb unwanted road feedback before it is transferred onto the rider. The flattened and helixed shape also results in higher levels of control by allowing the wheels to track smoothly over bumps, for a stable ride across varying terrain.
Now we've established the Synapse is comfortable enough for daily commuting and endurance riding, its out and out performance needs to be addressed too. The BallisTec carbon construction ensures an extremely lightweight, stiff and durable end result. The frame also features Cannondale's Power Pyramid, whereby the seat tube splits asymmetrically to accommodate the wide BB30A bottom bracket, further increasing stiffness where it's desired most, for a fast, responsive ride.
The carbon layup starts with a base structure of ultra-strong fibres and mimics those of military ballistic armour. This results in high levels of strength and durability. Combined with Cannondale's lifetime warranty this should provide the rider with complete peace of mind, whatever the terrain.
The bike's components have been selected to match its intended application perfectly, balancing efficiency, durability and value for money for a smile inducing ride.
Shimano's Tiagra 4700 makes up the majority of the bikes 10-speed drivetrain, providing crisp, smooth and reliable performance at a wallet friendly price point. The 4700 has received some positive changes over its predecessors, now offering aesthetics and ergonomics similar to that found on the top end Shimano groupsets. Sporting a 50/34 tooth FSA chainset and 12-30t cassette combination, riders are provided with a large gear range, equally as at home spinning up a long, steep climb, as it is at high velocity, on a flat, open road.
The Maddux RD 2.0 is a tough, durable wheelset, ready to take on the demands of commuting with grace. Featuring 28 hole, shallow depth rims, strength is kept high, while their low profile increases comfort and control in strong crosswinds. The sealed bearings nestled within the hubs also ensure durability, keeping grit and grime on the outside, for smooth spinning wheels all year round.
Reliability is another key element of all good four-season bikes, making the Schwalbe Lugano tyres a great choice. With a 25mm width you can be assured of high levels of comfort and grip, whilst the K-Guard Kevlar® protection layer helps to reduce the amount of time spent at the side of the road repairing punctures.
The final aspects of the specification, and arguably the most important, are the contact points between the rider and bike. The Cannondale C3 Compact Handlebars utilise a low drop, allowing maximum control and visibility even when riding on the limit. Wrapped around these is Cannondale's Grip Bar Tape, which as the name suggests offers high levels of grip, ideal for maintaining control in wet conditions, whilst the 3.5mm gel inserts beneath help keep fatigue at bay. Similarly, the Cannondale Stage Ergo Saddle features an ergonomic design, eliminating pressure points, for a comfortable, chafe-free ride from sunrise through to sunset.
The Cannondale Synapse Carbon Tiagra Road Bike certainly is a versatile, swiss army knife style road bike, packed with great features at an even greater price point. The design is innovative, practical and future proof; allowing riders adequate clearance for clip on mudguards and the option to add Di2 at a later date, making it a fantastic choice for those new to the sport and seasoned cyclists chasing a tough, dependable training bike alike.