Everyone’s Race Bike: 2014 Cannodale Synapse Hi-Mod 3
Sometimes the brand of bike you buy is the least important factor. Getting the right style of bike is more important than the name in the down tube. This is important whether you are buying a new bike or a used bike. Once you determine the style of bike you need, from a race bike to an endurance bike, from an enduro mountain bike to a hybrid, you can begin looking at used bikes on Bicycle Blue Book or new bicycles at your local shop, research different brands or make a decision based on bicycle value. A few bicycles have found a way to straddle categories, giving them even more value, and a new favorite is the 2014 Cannondale Synapse. This is a bike designed as much for the racer as it is for the endurance road rider and every ounce of it has been inspired by a very special time of year.
The spring classics – the weather, the roads, the fans – conspire to create some of the most demanding racing on earth. The rider that can win in that cobblestone pressure cooker needs a very special bike. Once these bikes are developed and proven in the pro peloton they make their way to the local bike shop and become something very different – an endurance bike.
A compliant ride and stable geometry are key when battering your body over cobblestone sectors at 50kph and those same characteristics are prized by riders tackling centuries at 30kph. Cannondale’s previous Synapse was a hit with the latter crowd, but never made many waves in competition. That all changed when Peter Sagan emerged as a classics superstar. With his massive talent in mind Cannondale created the 2014 Synapse, a bike that adds much more race-ability to its already established comfort and stability.
SAVE micro suspension has been a big part of Cannondale design for many seasons and it has been updated for the new Synapse. Cannondale has flattened the stays for carefully controlled vertical flex like a traditional SAVE set up but has also twisted the stays. This requires carbon fibers longer than the stays themselves, which increases dampening. Careful attention to laminar forces within the lay up, SAVE features in the fork and a new, narrower one-inch diameter seat post all help create more compliance.
To ramp this compliance up with more aggressive race day performance Cannondale developed a new 73mm wide bottom bracket. The major benefit to a wider bottom bracket is the ability to attach larger tubes. Cannondale took full advantage of this with a split seat tube. The forked design creates an incredibly stiff structure with less material than a single tube spanning the same gap would require. Hand in hand with this powerful platform comes geometry that puts stability and comfort only slightly ahead of snappy handling and an aggressive position. The chain stays are 5mm longer than a comparable Super Six EVO and the head tube is about a centimeter taller. Although, both the chain stays and head tube are shorter than a comparable Specialized Roubaix.
The 2014 Synapse is well and truly for the aggressive endurance rider. No other platform can transition as seamlessly from a hectic four-corner criterium to an epic all day ride on fire roads and gravel. In many ways that describes the spring classics perfectly and, while a still an unknown mystery platform, Peter Sagan proved the bikes worth with victory at Gent Wevelgem and a podium at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen.