Cannondale revamp Synapse Disc endurance race bike for model year 2018

Redesigned frame said to be lighter and stiffer, with additional tyre clearance and new comfort-boosting handlebar

Cannondale’s 2013 redesign of the Synapse helped define the ‘endurance race bike’ – as a machine capable of mixing it in the toughest one-day Classics while retaining wider appeal to the everyday rider – and now the American firm has introduced the latest version. It’s lighter and stiffer than its predecessor, with additional clearance for 32mm tyres and a Synapse-specific cockpit.

While the Synapse has previously been available with either rim or disc brakes, the model year 2018 machine is disc-only. Claimed weight for the frame is 950g, which is said to be 220g lighter than the previous Synapse Disc frame, while the fork now weighs 367g, offering a 116g saving.

These weights, we should add, are for the top-level ‘Hi-Mod’ frame, which uses a higher grade of carbon fibre to achieve lower weight and increased stiffness. There’s also a more affordable ‘Carbon’ frame, with a claimed weigh of 1,110g, which Cannondale say is lighter than the previous generation Synapse Hi-Mod Disc.

Cannondale’s popular endurance bike, the Synapse, has been redesigned


Cannondale’s SAVE ‘micro-suspension’ has been a key feature of the Synapse range since 2006. As an endurance bike, comfort is important and SAVE is essentially the American firm’s way of describing the tube profiles and carbon layups of the Synapse, designed, in Cannondale’s words, ‘to insulate you from the bumps [in the road], without isolating you from the experience’.

The green areas show where Cannondale’s comfort-boosting SAVE tech is put into action

The SAVE tech has been refined in the chainstays, seatstays and fork on his latest version of the Synapse. The seatpost, which retains its super-skinny 25.4mm diameter, has also had some attention, while Cannondale has expanded its holistic approach to bike design by introducing a new SAVE SystemBar handlebar and stem.

Comfort-enhancing cockpit

The elliptical shape of the handlebar is said to provide 4mm to 6mm of deflection under ‘normal riding conditions’, with Cannondale’s testing apparently producing a maximum of 15mm of deflection in more extreme circumstances.

The handlebar and stem work together to provide the aesthetic and clean lines of a one-piece cockpit, with the functionality of a traditional two-piece setup, so the stem length and handlebar width can still be changed independent of one another. The handlebar also features a detachable mount which can hold a Garmin computer and Fabric Lumaray front light.

The new SystemBar is said to increase comfort, while offering the aesthetic of a single-piece design and the adjustability of a conventional setup

“The SystemBar’s ergonomic and elliptical Save shape feels great in the hands and provides riders more deflection than a standard bar,” said Cannondale’s senior road product manager, David Devine. “The SystemBar works with the rest of the bike’s Save features to really smooth the ride and increase control.

“Additionally, the two-piece system offers integrated style without the hassle of a one-piece design, allowing riders to fine tune their ride position with interchangeable stem lengths and eight-degrees of pitch adjustment.”

Improved stiffness, additional tyre clearance

Claims of a ten per cent increase in frame stiffness come as a result of an asymmetric design said to ‘more effectively resist disc brake and pedaling loads’. On top of that, the tube dimensions and carbon layup vary by frame size, in order to ensure the same ride quality and stiffness is offered through the range, while three forks with different steerer diameters and offsets are used to ensure consistent handling.

The Synapse has clearance for up to 32mm tyres

Meanwhile, frame features include Cannondale’s neatly-integrated ‘intelligent cable port’ on the downtube, which can accept mechanical cables or electronic wires, as well as housing a Di2 junction box if you run a Shimano electronic groupset. You’ll also find discreet mudguard mounts (the frame comes with a removable seatstay bridge to allow for the easy installation of ‘guards) and, as we mentioned at the top, clearance for 32mm tyres, although Cannondale has specced 28mm rubber as standard.

Cannondale describe the Synapse’s geometry as ‘endurance race’. Or, in other words, it’s ‘low enough to go hard [and] upright enough to encourage you to ride longer’.

Cannondale Synapse 2018 endurance race bike
Cannondale Synapse 2018 endurance race bike
Cannondale Synapse 2018 endurance race bike
Cannondale Synapse 2018 endurance race bike

Eleven bikes from £2,199.99 to £7,799.99

The 2018 Cannondale Synapse will be available in eleven builds, with three based around the flagship Hi-Mod frame and eight using the standard Carbon frame. Of those eight, two are female-specific bikes.

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Dura-Ace Di2 – £7,799.99
Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc eTap – £6,499.99
Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Dura-Ace – £4,999.99

The flagship bike comes with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc eTap – £4,999.99
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Dura-Ace – £3,999.99
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra Di2 – £3,799.99
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Women’s Ultegra Di2 – £3,699.99
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc SE Ultegra – £3,249.99
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra – £2,699.99
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Women’s Ultegra – £2,699.99
Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc 105 – £2,199.99

Website: Cannondale


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