The Synapse has been a popular bike since it was last updated in 2014, and for the new version that has just been launched, the US company has refined, rather than revolutionised, the new bike, keeping everything that was well received about the original but bringing it firmly up to date with the latest endurance road bike standards, such as disc brakes and wider tyres.
Here's everything you need to know about Cannondale's updated endurance bike. We've had the chance to ride the new bike and we'll post a separate first ride review soon.
Cannondale has sought to close the performance gap to the SuperSix Evo with the new Synapse, and it's done that by shedding weight and ramping up the stiffness.
Moving to disc brakes has freed up the designers to really maximise the frame in every way. The result is a fully asymmetric frame that weighs 950g for a size 56cm, an impressive 220g lighter than the previous frame. Stiffness at the head tube has gone up by 9.4%.
There's also a size-specific tune to the new Synapse. It involves three forks with different offsets and steerer tube dimensions aimed at providing the same desired handling traits across the size range.
Cable routing has been cleaned up a lot over the old bike. Central to the revised routing layout is a port on the down tube into which the gear cables are routed. It is easily compatible with electronic, mechanical and wireless groupsets, with different plugs that accommodate the different requirements.
SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) has been a key design feature of the Synapse over the years, and it was also added to the SuperSix Evo when it was introduced in 2011.
SAVE is micro suspension, and involves areas of the frame that are designed, by the shape of the tube and carbon layup, to provide active deflection. It's used in the chainstays, seatstays and forks. And it has now been added to the seatpost and handlebar.
The SAVE seatpost, which keeps the same 25.4mm diameter of the old bike, has a new shape to ramp up the deflection. But most interesting of all is the new Systembar, a two-piece handlebar and stem with the appearance of an integrated handlebar.
Cannondale says it offers between 4-6mm of deflection (it recorded 15mm deflection in its most extreme testing) and drastically increases front end compliance. It's also more aero, with an elliptical shaped bar, though Cannondale isn't talking much about the aero efficiency of the new bike.
Because it's a two-piece design, fit adjustments can be made relatively easily. The angle of the handlebars can also be adjusted with 8° of available adjustment. Cannondale is offering a wide choice of stem lengths and angles so you should be able to dial in the fit. There's also a Garmin and light mount that can be bolted to the front of the bar.
The new Synapse has been designed wholly around disc brakes, there is no rim brake option. That disc brake focus has allowed Cannondale to really refine the design and carbon construction of the new frame and fork, and make fewer concessions to rim brakes.
Disc brake standards have settled down finally, and Cannondale is using flat mount brake calipers and 12mm thru-axles front and rear.
Cannondale believes disc brakes are the right choice for this type of bike and the style of riding endurance bikes are being used for, and as well as the braking benefits in all weather conditions, opens up the designers to offer the weight, comfort and tyre clearance benefits that the new Synapse offers.
Tyre clearance has been increased, from the 28mm tyres of the previous Synapse, to 32mm (measured) on the new bike. Stock bikes will ship with 28mm tyres with Vittoria tyres a common option, a tyre we like here at Bespoke.
The new Synapse also takes mudguards, with hidden eyelets on the inside for the fork legs and a removable brake bridge for attaching 'guards when the roads are wet and you don't want to get a soggy bum.
The new Synapse will be available in a choice of builds starting from £2,199 and rising to £7,999, with a split between the lighter Hi-Mod frame on the top models, and a regular Carbon (without high-modulus carbon) on the lower models.
Tune in soon for a first ride of the new Synapse…
The Cannondale Black Inc Supersix, ridden and reviewed.Read more