Now in its fourth iteration, It’s easy to forget that the Synapse has been part of the Cannondale stable for 11 years. For 2018, Cannondale has made a host of changes to its “endurance race” platform, aiming to be lighter, stiffer, better handling and faster than the competition and designed to go harder, for longer. In addition to a step up in performance, the new Synapse is ready to be taken beyond the sealed roads. Here are ten things to know about the new Synapse.
1. Disc Specific
Previous iterations of the Synapse were offered in both rim- and disc-brake versions, but that’s no longer the case. The new Synapse is now disc-only. Disc sizes have been upped to 160mm at both ends to provide impressive braking performance regardless of weather conditions or terrain.
2. Race level frame
Weighing in at a svelte 950g, the new Synapse Hi-Mod lives up to its “Endurance-Racing” moniker, shaving over 220g from the previous iteration released in 2014. Fork weights are also down, with the Hi-Mod frame weighing in at 367g, a saving of 116g from the previous Synapse.
The regular BallisTec carbon frame models also see a weight reduction, tipping the scales at a commendable 1,100g.
3. Increased stiffness
The racy feel of the Synapse can be attributed to the redesigned Asymmetrical frame and fork design which Cannondale claim is 9.4% stiffer at the headtube than the previous model. This meets the company’s goal of bringing the Synapse closer to the SuperSix Evo in terms of responsiveness. The asymmetrical fork also aids in coping with the demands the increased braking performance provides with the new flat mount disc brakes.
4.Size optimized design
The new Synapse takes Cannondale’s size-specific construction philosophy to a whole new level. Every frame size gets its own rider-appropriate carbon layup and tube dimensions and Cannondale offers three different fork steerer and headtube diameters with three different fork offsets to ensure all riders enjoy the same ride feel and handling, regardless of size.
The geometry has also been slightly tweaked, with an emphasis on positioning the rider in a way that balances low, forward efficiency and upright comfort, for a feel said to be perfect for full-gas efforts and long days in the saddle. This is achieved through lowering stack height by a single millimeter, lowering the bottom bracket height 5mm (to accommodate the larger tire clearance) and shortening the wheelbase by 4mm.
5. SAVE Micro suspension
At the heart of the new Synapse frame is the all-new SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) PLUS micro-suspension system. Whereas rival manufacturers are increasingly putting active suspension onto their endurance models, Cannondale have taken a different approach in engineering flex into the frame, fork and 25.4mm seatpost to aid compliance.
6. SAVE SystemBar
The SAVE system is further complemented by the new SAVE SystemBar, which Cannondale claim can deflect up to 4-6mm when riding on normal roads, a considerable amount of flex to smooth out rough roads. The SystemBar is available in 38-44cm widths and features interchangeable stem lengths, 70-100mm in +6º varieties and 80-130mm in -6º varieties. The bar itself can also be tilted up to 8º for a more dialed fit.
The new SystemBar is also compatible with proprietary detachable mounts for a Garmin GPS unit (on top) and Fabric Lumaray light (underneath). Cannondale says the new bar, in conjunction with the existing SAVE system, creates “a full, holistic comfort and performance enhancing system” that both absorbs shock and dulls road vibrations, yet at the same doesn’t blunt the feel of the ride, promising to retain a connected feel when riding.
7. Up to 32c Tires
In another effort to increase comfort and versatility, the new Synapse is ready and willing to explore the wilder side of endurance riding with tire clearance for up to 32mm. The majority of new Synapse models will be supplied with 28C tires and so buyers will have to source their own aftermarket tires to take full advantage of the extra clearance.
8. Cable Control
All wires, cables, and brake hoses are routed internally within the new frameset, with Cannondale offering interchangeable fittings to suit both electronic and mechanical groupsets. With a removable braze-on mount for the front derailleur, this allows the new Synapse to accommodate the broad range of groupset options currently available on the market.
9. Thru Axles, Fenders and Flat Mounts
True to it’s all day adventure aspirations, the new Synapse features hidden mounts and a removable seatstay bridge for fender-ready and spray free riding on your winter commute or day long adventure.
Where previous disc-equipped Synapse models featured quick-release axles for the wheels and post-mounts for the disc calipers, the new Synapse now adopts what is becoming the norm for road disc bikes with 12mm thru-axles for the wheels and flat-mounts for the disc calipers. The switch to flat mount disc brakes means less hardware, a cleaner look, and a lower weight.
10. Models and Pricing.
The 2018 Synapse range is expected to be available from late September (Hi-Mod models) with Carbon Models expected to be available from mid-November. Pricing for the US 2018 Synapse range is as below:
- Synapse Hi-MOD Disc eTap: $7,999
- Synapse Carbon Disc eTap: $5,999
- Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra Di2 (+Women’s Option Available): $4,199
- Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra (+Women’s Option Available): $3,499
- Synapse Carbon Disc 105: $2,499