Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc review

A wonderful set-up for one of the most well-known bikes on the market

cannondale synapse carbon disc
Cycling Weekly Verdict

If you're looking for a bike on which you can ride for a long time - either on a long sportive or a friendly ride - but that can still perform well if the speed increases, the Cannonade Synapse Carbon Disc is always one of the best product out there. This setup, which has a Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting and hydraulic disc brakes, makes it good value for its price if compared to other models on the market of the same price range.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Comfortable frame

  • +

    Impressive groupset

  • +

    Lively ride when needed

  • +

    High quality disc brakes

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Wheelset doesn't match the quality of other components

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Let's clear the field: with a price of £3,250 the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra Di2 it is not a cheap bike. However, its set-up - which includes a Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Shimano disc brakes - make it a great bike. Which of course you would expect for that budget.

Buy now:


cannondale synapse di2 disc 2016 (5)

The frame of the Cannondale is really high quality and features and hole before the bottom bracket to lead the forces on its external side

Even though the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc is described as an endurance bike, its specs mean its just as much about racing (if the UCI lifts the disc brake ban) as a sportive, thanks to Cannondale’s Speed Save system. The Synapse isn’t a slow bike and does perform well. In terms of pure performance, though, it lags behind other models of the same range price.

>>> Endurance bikes: a complete buyer's guide

The Speed Save system is claimed to improve the rolling speed and giving a better acceleration to the bike (and I was definitely convinced after a full test). At the same time, Cannondale says that the cornering of this bike is also improved and it doesn't negatively affect the power transfer to the bike. Even though I am not as speedy and bold as Vincenzo Nibali on descnets, I personally felt great balance and stability on the bike.


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The Synapse Carbon comes with an Ultegra Di2 groupset but with a Cannondale HollowGram crank

Without a doubt, the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc has a great specification. It does come with a price, but it also comes with a with a full Ultegra Di2 (the only alteration is the HollowGram crankset) and with hydraulic disc brakes for superior wet-weather braking performance. Looking forward to 2017, the trend for disc brakes is likely to continue, so this feature offers an element of future-proofing.

>>> The new Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc – First Ride

The carbon used for the frame, says Cannondale, is the BallisTec: that is the American company's method of high-strength, high-stiffness construction of the carbon frame. After many years from my first rides on the original Synapse, this frame remains as one of the best ones I have ever ridden.

Being picky, though, the wheelset you'll get with the Synapse (Mavic Aksium Disc) is good, but not great. It's ok for everyday use, but doens't quite match the standard of the other components on this bike.


cannondale synapse di2 disc 2016 (4)

The Shimano hydraulic disc brakes make the ride safer in wet conditions and more you'd also have more control downhills

Out on the road, the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc offers a comfortable ride that's great to long, enjoyable hours in the saddle without sacrificing speed. I've used the older rim-braked version in the past but liked the disc option even better, and the brand new electronic shifting gave me no problems. Thankfully, despite its endurance billing, I was still able to get an aggressive position on the Synapse.

>>> Cannondale SuperX and CAADX cyclocross bike ranges relaunched

Probably, and that's why the Synapse has been so successful for so many years, the best feature of this bike is its great versatility: you can just roll and spin easily and enjoy the scenery from a more upright position, but if you're up to a more challenging ride, get down on the drops and you can easily get up to a decent speed. On this bike I did my first half Ironman (in the Austrian Alps, with more than 1,000 metres of climbing): at that time it was simply the best choice ever.


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One of the few down side of this bike were the wheels, which didn't really match the high quality of the other components

Buy now:

As already said, this isn't a cheap bike, but for the price you spend, it definitely has all you need to enjoy a great and long ride, as well as a racy one. For a budget of £3,000 you expect a great product and apart from the wheelset (the only downside of its spec if we want to be picky), the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc will satisfy even the most demanding riders.

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