Cannondale's Synapse is its endurance bike, with a high front-end and built in comfort features. We've tested the lower spec of two 105-equipped versions.
The Cannondale Synapse endurance bike was completely redesigned a couple of years ago, increasing its comfort features and endurance focus. We’ve tested the entry level 105 bike from the 2015 range, although it’s worth noting that the spec has been upgraded for 2016.
Cannondale has built a myriad of comfort features into the Synapse. From the slender forks and long, tapered headset, to the vertically flattened chainstays and bowed seatstays, this is a frame built for a comfortable riding position and to dampen road imperfections.
The downtube and bottom bracket are overbuilt for power transfer, with Cannondale introducing a new BB30A standard to increase the bottom bracket shell width. The seat tube is pared away at the rear wheel and has a unique split design at its base to ensure rigidity without excess material and the frame takes an extra-slim 25.4mm alloy seatpost which also aids vibration damping.
Watch: Shimano 105 groupset review
The Cannondale comes with 105 shifters and front and rear mechs, whilst the chainset is an FSA Gossamer for compatibility with the BB30A bottom bracket shell. The 50/34 compact chainset and 11-32 cassette give the spread of ratios to tackle pretty much anything. Brakes are from Tektro, whilst the wheels are budget Shimano RS10s shod with Schwalbe Lugano 25mm tyres. All other components are Cannondale own brand, including the compact bars, alloy seatpost and well-padded saddle.
My initial ride on this bike was on roads which were almost all recently regravelled, which immediately brought its road smoothing character to the fore – it’s like riding a cross tyre at 40psi but without the rolling resistance. The Cannondale is astonishingly compliant on such a dodgy surface and felt planted even through loose gravel.
An eight hour ride showed just how comfortable the bike is, with none of the jolted around feel which I would normally expect to come home with, while the long headtube promotes a more upright position and less strain on the shoulders. Fast descents are handled with aplomb due to the frame’s stability, although the supplied brake blocks lack bite on the stock Shimano wheels.
Even at the bottom of Cannondale’s Synapse Carbon range, the fantastic frame makes this a great deal. The 105 groupset is par for this pricepoint and provides smooth, positive shifting. Although Cannondale components dominates, this is all robust, quality stuff and the Cannondale saddle is well padded and comfortable. Only the heavy, budget wheels and underpowered brakes slightly let the side down.
The Synapse Carbon 105 6 has been upgraded in the 2016 range. The current Synapse Carbon 105 still has 105 components, but now uses 105 brakes too. It also has a Cannondale Si chainset rather than FSA and comes with Mavic Aksium wheels. The price increases to £1599.99
A quality endurance ride with great comfort, but a bit let down by brakes and wheels