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.
What our customers are saying...
I hesitate to call this an ‘LBS’, because it is really not your typical Local Bike Shop. It is definitely tilted toward the high end/enthusiast on the cycling spectrum. That said, I’m into the shop probably once a month for various things.
Dick and Gene are very laid back and always willing to chat about bikes and share their opinions. I’ve never felt like they are selling me anything. I describe my issues/problems and they come up with solutions.
I went in today for a new bike fit (was ordering a custom frame from an independent frame builder and needed a top quality fit before I shelled out big bucks on a custom frame), and Dick worked with me for several hours measuring and making sure my position on the bike was ideal. Dick did a pretty good job explaining/teaching about how your body interacts with the bike, and the different ways you can adjust the fit.
I have been fit before at another shop, so I can compare the two. The other fitter was more of a ‘black box’ approach, in which he made measurements, I pedaled for a while on video, he made some adjustments, and then sent me on my way with my new ‘fit measurements’. At Drummond’s, I stayed on the bike for a long time, I relayed a lot of information to Dick, and he was able to incorporate it into his process, and explain what I was feeling and why. All said, I was very happy with the fit.
Drummond’s goes way out of their way to make sure their customers are taken care of. I had a wheel relaced earlier this year, and I needed it for an evening ride. They turned it around super fast and made sure it got back to me for my ride.
When you hang out there for a while, you get the feeling that they just enjoy biking and want their customers to have fun, be comfortable and succeed on their bikes.
I suggest to my cycling enthusiast friends (ie. experienced cyclists coming to the area for school) to go to Drummond’s.