“Endurance race, not endurance cruise”. With the beginning of the 2018 range coming to the market from the big retailers, Cannondale have released the all new Synapse. The Synapse has long been one of Cannondale’s most popular ranges, catering for a huge range of the road bike spectrum. Whether you love a Sunday social ride with friends, or you’re targeting an international spring classic, the new Cannondale Synapse 2018 could be for you.
Retailing anywhere from £2199.99, to £7799.99, the Synapse doesn’t start with the basic entry level of bikes. Starting higher up this bike has been considered with performance in mind. Since the Synapse was released in 2006 it’s won multiple bike of the year awards through it’s various models and with a tag line of ‘true endurance machinery’, we hope the latest range lives up to our expectations.
The striking new feature is the introduction of disc brakes. And only disc brakes. A new introduction from the UCI in 2017, disc brakes are starting to feature in the majority of the coming race bikes. In previous editions both were available but Cannondale have moved away from this. One of the safest mechanisms for carbon braking, disc brakes allow an extra level of safety out on the road and in the peloton.
The new carbon frame weighs in at an exceptional 950g, or so Cannondale claim. Cannondale have tried to maximize comfort while improving the speed of the bike, allowing it to accommodate high performance riding.
It can also fit 32mm (measured) tyres and has mudguard eyelets ready for the gritty off season riding. Gone are the days of 23mm and 120 psi, often 85-90psi and 28mm is doing the job just fine! This also means means you don’t have to get a whole new run around just to keep it well maintained through the darker months.
A new integrated handlebar boosts front end comfort and offers a slightly different aesthetic. The eliptical shape offers 8 degrees of pitch adjustment and allows the Synapse to be used without bar tape.
One of the other main differences is the cable routing. It’s completely moved to an internal system that is compatible with all current mechanical and electronic groupsets, with the main entry port on the top of the down tube. The Specialized Tarmac and BMC Teammachine have a very similar system. The front mech of the 2018 Synapse is removable due to the growing popularity of SRAM’s 1×11 drivetrain, which combines a single chainring with a wide-range cassette.
The Synapse was never a particularly heavy bike, but the 2018 version has been re-engineered to save the marginal gains and they’ve found it from all the right places. Reducing the weight of the fork & frame but adding to the overall stiffness of the bike. It’s claiming an impressive 220g weight reduction for the frame for the HM version. HM standing for high-modulus carbon adding to the cost of the bike. Cannondale have reduced the weight of the fork to just under 380g. Most of this is due to the asymmetric geometry that comes as a result of the Si, and the majority of the other benefits of the bike come from this carefully engineered system.
Si (system integration) has been at the heart of Cannondale’s bikes since day 1 & allows them to really focus on the finer details of the bike. By creating an asymmetric geometry they can accommodate the components & technologies as a complete package.
As part of the Si the seat tube and down tube are asymmetrically offset around the 73mm wide BB30a bottom bracket. On top of this the non-drive side chainstay is bigger in the main areas compared to the drive side. As well as these, the left side of the fork is bigger as well as adding extra resistance for any heavy braking impact.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All:
A 9.4% increase in stiffness really adds to the ever growing list of positives surrounding this bike. It also brings the Synapse much closer to the SuperSix Evo in standard. The head tube stiffness increases as you go up the size range too. Similar to the SuperSix Evo, the synapse offers a different approach for each size. This is to reduce any handling differences between the different sizes available.
This manifests itself as different diameter tubing for the various frame sizes, and an increase in the size of the lower headset bearing, starting with a standard 1 1/8″ diameter for the smallest frame sizes (44, 48) that increases to 1 1/4” for sizes 51 and 54, while the largest frames (56, 58, 61) make use of a very sturdy 1 3/8” diameter bearing.
SAVE micro-suspension technology has been a key feature of the Synapse throughout its history. Cannondale have further improved the technology to give the right amount of compliance as well as soak up bumps and vibration.
Carbon lay-up in the system allows it to minimize the smaller vibrations. The Synapse 2018’s carbon layup was designed to maximize something called “inter-laminar shear dissapation”. Basically this means that the fibers are oriented in such a way that vibrations get caught up in the layers and are diffused before they can make it to rider. This helps tune out that energy-sapping road buzz and keeps you fresher.
The rear triangle and fork deal with the smaller bumps by allowing the wheels to track the ground whether the rider is seated or standing. The seat stays feature a unique helixed shape, that both bends and compresses under load like a spring, while the fork has a curved shape and offset dropouts that enable it to offer balanced vertical compliance with excellent steering precision.
While the SAVE system in the seat post & seat tube stop larger bumps from happening. Without a seat collar extending above the top tube, more of the seatpost is exposed and able to flex and absorb shock. The seatpost is complimented by a seat tube that, due to its carbon layup and scalloped, flattened design, is able to bow in concert with the seatpost, maximizing comfort when the rider is seated.
All of the Cannondale Technology can be found on the Cannondale website.
Comfortable with a Synapse?
The the forefront of design for the new Cannondale Synapse 2018 is comfort. With it’s first appearance being the Cannondale-Drapac team on the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix and comfort designed to last the 320km sportive on a complete mix of surfaces, this bike is designed for all endurance cyclists worldwide. Keeping you comfy whilst letting you do your thing. We thing this is a fantastic all round bike catering for almost any road rider.
You can check out the full 2018 synapse range here.