The Specs1 of 11
Frame: BallisTec Hi-Mod Carbon
Fork: Synapse Disc, BallisTec Hi-Mod Carbon
Components: Shimano Ultegra with Cannondale HollowGram Si Crankset/FSA Chainrings
Wheelset: CZero Carbon 20mm Clinchers
Seatpost: FSA SL-K Carbon
Tires: Schwalbe ONE, 700x28c
Overall Weight: Not specified
The Frame2 of 11
The Hi-Mod carbon that the frame is constructed from is Cannondale's own in-house product. The beefy head tube and downtube, slender seat stays, and carbon dropouts make it smooth and comfortable on the road.
The Frame (Continued)3 of 11
The Micro-Suspension rear triangle reduces the noise and vibration that are common on most race bikes, providing just enough flex to absorb shock from the road, which should keep you from fatiguing on long rides.
The Components4 of 11
The new Ultegra group set is a workhorse of Shimano's and the quality of the shifting and braking is right up there with the best available. It's a little heavier than Dura Ace, but performs well enough to be suitable for racing. The HollowGram crankset and FSA chainrings were worthy upgrades.
The Components (Continued)5 of 11
The big improvement here is the addition of the disc brakes. The performance of the braking is really superb—not too grabby when feathering the brake levers and good control when an all-out stop is required. And in wet conditions, you'll notice the difference over your standard caliper brake, especially on carbon rims.
The Ride6 of 11
You'll notice right away just how comfortable this bike is. It's not the Ferrari in Cannondale's lineup; it's the Cadillac. The inclusion of disc brakes give the frame the ability to handle a much wider tire, which makes the ride even more plush. Bumps and potholes are handled easily and after hours in the saddle, the wear and tear on your body will be held to a minimum.
The Ride (Continued)7 of 11
What surprised us about this model of the Synapse was its responsiveness. Bikes in the endurance category usually sacrifice handling and performance in favor of comfort and durability, which wasn't true of this model. It hugs tight turns with ease and can accelerate like a bullet out of a hard corner. Handling at high speeds was equally impressive.
The Ride (Continued)8 of 11
When the road heads up, the compact gearing, large rear cassette and reasonably light weight (about 16 pounds) will have you looking for hills to climb as opposed to dreading them.
The Verdict9 of 11
The carbon seatpost, CZero Wheels, and Fabric Scoop saddle leave little room for upgrades. The only thing we might change is the front end, which could use a better stem and handlebar. The wide 28mm Schwalbe One tires were also one of our favorite specs, and we would gladly add them to our other bikes.
The Verdict (Continued)10 of 11
This bike is easily one of the top we've tested this year. While it won't be what you're looking for if you're into shorter races like time trials or criteriums, the Synapse Hi-Mod Disc is perfect if you're into century rides or Gran Fondos. The longer head tube and shock absorbing carbon frame are about as comfortable as you are going to find. Add in the performance upgrades from older models of the Synapse, and you've got an endurance frame that's ready for the races.