When a bicycle comes with the pedigree of winning the coveted "Cycling Plus - UK Magazine" Road bicycle of the year in 2014, it puts a lot of pressure on its future generations. Cannondale, part of the "Cycling Sports Group (CSG)" have always considered innovation and learning's from their professional racing teams, to drive its product strategy for consumers. Therefore, when they launched the 2016 Cannondale Synapse DISC 105 5, they were confident that the bicycle would do all the talking. This bicycle has been purpose built to be an all-rounder; by ensuring the rider has the versatility of quick, spirited riding or long distance touring at various speeds. So, to know just how good this new kid on the block is, we took this Road endurance bicycle out on a warm summer morning to find out if it lives up to its expectations.
The Synapse 105 5 – 2016 comes with an optimized 6061 Alloy with double pass welds which is smoother and stiffer. Cannondale’s aluminum frames have been built using some of their proprietary technology such as their Micro suspension S.A.V.E PLUS (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) tech that reduces road shocks and vibrations. It also features its ‘Smartformed Alloy’ technology that makes frames stronger, lighter and with precision handling. The frame also has some neat performance focused design elements such as Carbon Fork blades (S.A.V.E Tech), flattened chainstays and helix-shaped seat stays. Helix shaped tubes allows a smaller, lighter tube without losing the stiffness of the frame. This bicycle also comes with rack and fender mounts to stay true to it’s touring badge. The Synapse comes with the famed FSA BB30, which does a great job in the transfer of power exerted by the rider. All these elements ensure that this bicycle has a strong, stiff frame upon which the rest of the bicycle can be built.
Cannondale boasts of some really impressive race bicycles that are completely performance oriented, and have gone on to win many races across Europe and America. They were clear that with the Synapse Aluminum series, they were going to build and design an endurance road bicycle that will ensure performance with comfort over long distances for the amateur rider and enthusiasts. The design embodies just that, with cleans aggressive lines accompanied with certain modifications from the carbon version, to ensure that the aluminum frame performs as well as it’s carbon counterpart.
The Cannondale Synapse DISC 105 5 – 2016 comes with a 105 Groupset . This means that the front derailleur is a Shimano 105, FD 5800 - 2 Speed, and the rear derailleur is a Shimano 105 RD, 5800 – 11 Speed. These are controlled by Shimano 105, ST-5800 (2 * 11) shifters. This combination of the 105 drivetrain family translates to butter smooth shifting, and at no point will you be found wanting for an extra gear. You will find that the gear system does all the hard work and gives you the necessary response with you on the saddle. You will seldom find yourself getting off the saddle to pedal your way to a faster click.
With the Synapse 105 5 being positioned as an Endurance road bicycle, it is critical that it has the right type of stopping power to assist the rider across all terrains. The Promax Mechanical discs (160mm Front / 140mm Rear Rotors) that are connected to Shimano 105 STI levers (integrated), do a really good job on all terrains. You can be rest assured that these brakes will stop on cobblestones, muddy tracks and on any kind of tarmac as well.
When it comes to handling, this bicycle is not as responsive as some of its performance road siblings or competitors. The steering has a gentle but precise feedback about it, which does not throw you off balance if you tend to over steer. This is a good element in an endurance bicycle, as you want the steering feedback to be a little more relaxed as compared to race road bicycles. This bicycle was stable and predictable on corners and descents, at speed. The one sore point was that the Synapse Disc Alloy 105 5 was not too responsive to off the saddle hard riding.
The Wheel size on this bicycle is 26”. The tires that come as standard on Cannondale Synapse 105 5 are the Schwalbe Lugano, 700 * 25c. These are fitted on Maddux RD 3.0 Disc rims (32 H). Being an Enduro road bicycle the tires are critical. The Schwalbe Lugano series is a hybrid tire that takes the best of racing tires and rough all terrain tires. The roll of the tire was pretty good, and with the belts under the treads offering protection against punctures, this durable tire will take you through most terrains without a hiccup.
Cannondale have been extremely clear in wanting to build a comfortable endurance road bicycle with the Synapse. Post our ride we can say that they have succeeded. The bicycle comes with Cannondale’s Stage Ergo saddle. The ride quality was extremely pliant and comfortable. The frame and it’s suspension tech have played a huge roll in soaking up a lot of the vibrations on most small to moderate bumps. This is a crucial factor in ensuring that endurance riders can go 100s of kms without too much strain to the body.
If you are a road touring enthusiast or someone who is getting yourself a first road bicycle from a good brand, the Cannondale Synapse 105 5 – 2016 is a bicycle that will make sure it ticks most of your boxes. This well built aluminum road bicycle is an all rounder that lives up to its pedigree. It is fast, nimble and most importantly comfortable, so that it can give you consistent performance and pleasure of riding, across all your long rides. To add to it’s on road capabilities, the Synapse 105 5 is well priced at Rs.1,05,000 for a bicycle with it’s build and componentry. So from now on, you can ignore anyone who tells you that a road bicycle will give you the odd aches and pains on longer rides. Have fun riding the Synapse 105 5, because we sure had a great time with it.