My last Cannondale bike was a mid-90’s R 800 with Spinergy Rev X wheels. I blame that bike for most of my current brain damage. But, the Cannondale technology has come a long way through the years. When I got my hands on a brand new 58 cm 2016 Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra Di2, I couldn’t help but build it up, quickly fit it for myself, and ride it at the first available opportunity. It didn’t matter that the shop was busy that day, or that “the first available opportunity” happened to be a 30 degree Saturdaymorning speedy group ride that I was leading. No. Like an excited kid, my mind was made. I was going to throw some Reynolds Attack wheels on, and see what the bike could do. The bright green color seemed to instantly catch some eyes, as almost every one of the 20 people on the ride approached me with some sort of comment. More important, the Synapse captured my attention, as it had a truly exceptional ride quality and feel.
I have put over 300 miles on the bike since bringing it out for its debut. I have it completely dialed-in for fit, and have tested it extensively both here in the hills of New Hampshire, and on the flat and speedy roads of North Carolina. There are many resources that get into the nitty-gritty details of the Cannondale technology. What I would like to emphasize is how the bike makes you feel.
I have ridden many different bikes, all with their own personality, and the word that keeps coming to my mind is: planted. I feel like I am part of this Synapse when I am riding it. I can be descending at 50 mph, or sprinting at 35 mph, and still feel stable as can be. The bike is also very comfortable. I can hammer for miles, and though my legs may be tired at the end, my back and neck feel great. This may be partly attributed to the position and geometry (which strikes the balance between pure-race and upright).
But, the other important piece of this is the way that the bike has been designed to absorb bumps and cracks in the road. I tested this feature by literally riding into every crack and pothole during my trip in Wilmington, North Carolina. What I found was that the bike did not kick back at all. The Cannondale Synapse is dialed in to soak up the turbulence of even the roughest roads, and deliver a very smooth ride. When you add Shimano hydro disc brakes and Di2 to this equation, what you get is a machine that shifts seamlessly, rides fast and comfortably, and is able to stop on a dime. I could tell you more about my ride experiences, or how pleased I was to discover that the stock Fabric saddle and stock bars (with a modern bend) worked well within this setup. The truth is that I notice a new thing that I like about this bike almost every day that I ride it. So, what I will say is that I have tested many bikes, and I will definitely be keeping this one and riding it around.Pros: Feel of the bike – handling, stability, comfort. Di2, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, green paint scheme with clear coat over the top, stock saddle by Fabric, modern bend bars.
Cons: Prefer upgraded wheelset. The 28c Mavic stock tires feel a bit sticky and slow for the road, though might be ideal for dirt.