Cannondale Synapse

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
shadwellrhino
Posts: 63
Joined: 14 Feb 2010, 9:51pm

Cannondale Synapse

Postby shadwellrhino » 14 Oct 2016, 8:44am

I'm planning a 2 to 3 week solo LeJog for next May using a 20 speed Synapse. I will stick to roads. Previous tours were just 2-3 days on MTB or hybrid. Synapse spec can be found here:

https://www.evanscycles.com/cannondale- ... e-EV199152

Will this bike be suitable, or are there any obvious adjustments I should make eg gearing or wheels? I'm trying to avoid using a tourer as they seem to be too heavy and slow (certainly at lower price points).

Thanks in anticipation!

papjordan
Posts: 13
Joined: 20 Mar 2014, 8:19pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby papjordan » 14 Oct 2016, 9:11am

What load are you intending to carry? How fit and strong are you? If you are very fit and carrying little in the way of luggage then it would cope... But ...
Personally I wouldn't use a road bike for a long trip because the gears are far too high and I carry a full load ... camping equipment etc... in panniers on front and rear. I did a JOGLE in May on a hybrid ... Specialized Sirrus Comp.Over 20 days it coped quite well though it was perhaps a little over loaded.
Good luck with your trip
.

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roubaixtuesday
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Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby roubaixtuesday » 14 Oct 2016, 9:41am

You'll probably get a lot of people recommending full on touring set ups, but I think that *if* you're travelling light that'll be a great bike.

If you're camping.... no way.

I would suggest carrying the absolute minimum luggage, and fitting a lower geared cassette (I think Tiagra 10 speed does an 11-34, and there are probably lower still available). You'd probably need a longer reach rear mech and chain to accommodate it, but I'm not sure on that.

shadwellrhino
Posts: 63
Joined: 14 Feb 2010, 9:51pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby shadwellrhino » 14 Oct 2016, 10:26pm

Thanks for the replies. I will use YHA, B&Bs and similar, so no camping gear but will have a couple of full panniers and maybe a bar or saddle bag. I'm reasonably fit, so more concerned about the bike than my legs, but like the idea of lower gears. Any thoughts on the ability of the wheels to carry the weight?
Thanks!

pwa
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Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby pwa » 15 Oct 2016, 2:14pm

BrianFox wrote:You'll probably get a lot of people recommending full on touring set ups, but I think that *if* you're travelling light that'll be a great bike.

If you're camping.... no way.

I would suggest carrying the absolute minimum luggage, and fitting a lower geared cassette (I think Tiagra 10 speed does an 11-34, and there are probably lower still available). You'd probably need a longer reach rear mech and chain to accommodate it, but I'm not sure on that.


A purpose made tourer would be ideal but it would be daft to buy a new bike just for LEJOG when you already have a nice bike that could be adapted. Unless you are particularly heavy you will probably be okay with the wheels you have. Lowering the gears will make the whole thing more pleasurable.

reohn2
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Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby reohn2 » 17 Oct 2016, 10:07am

shadwellrhino wrote:Thanks for the replies. I will use YHA, B&Bs and similar, so no camping gear but will have a couple of full panniers and maybe a bar or saddle bag. I'm reasonably fit, so more concerned about the bike than my legs, but like the idea of lower gears. Any thoughts on the ability of the wheels to carry the weight?
Thanks!

The wheels should get you through(though wouldn't be my choice)the tyres however are cheap and inferior I'd definitely go for something bigger,minimum 28mm probably the higher spec 150TPI Vittoria Rubino Pro.
If you want to lower the gearing you'll need a wider range cassette 11/34(?) but you'll need a different rear mech as the short cage one fitted won't handle the larger cogs,I believe a 9sp MTB mech such as a Deore M591,will work with 10sp cassettes and STI's,such a set up will give you a 1 to 1 bottom gear for the steeper hills.

Can someone confirm this please
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I cycle therefore I am.

rareposter
Posts: 129
Joined: 27 Aug 2014, 2:40pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby rareposter » 17 Oct 2016, 11:30am

Firstly, you can do the ride on pretty much ANY bike - it's been done on unicycles, penny farthings, a Boris Bike - it just depends on your particular requiements. I can see it's got space for mudguards, not sure if it's got rack mounts though?

You could of course go for some sort of bikepacking set up:
https://www.apidura.com/shop/
whcih I personally find infintely preferable to traditional panniers.

Gears should be fine, it's already got a compact chainset with a 12-30 cassette so for lightly loaded touring it should be fine but I guess that'll depend on if you're 70 and have dodgy knees or you're 20 and a former Junior road race champion...!

Don't get too wound up about kit. So long as it fits you, it's comfy and it works FOR YOU, it'll be fine. So many people get stuck on little things like does it need a 28T or 30T cassette or what bar tape should they use and the end answer is - does it work FOR YOU. Do YOU find it comfy. You're the one going to be riding it day in day out, it's no good me telling you that [x] gears are fine just because *I* can use them!

mnichols
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Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby mnichols » 17 Oct 2016, 8:17pm

I have a Cannondale Synapse, and I've also done Lejog twice. I used the Synapse the first time as I was supported and it was fine for the distance. I've used it on a number of hilly sportives and on +200 mile per day rides. It's a great bike and I love it.

I haven't carried luggage on it as I have an Enigma Etape with a rack and panniers and a triple chainset. The Etape is my preferred bike for touring and long distances but I would have no problem using the Synapse with the right gears

I've done long tours (2000 miles) with people who have attached racks through the skewers and seat post or just used bike bags. All have been fine.

Your luggage shouldn't add much to your total weight, so if you would use the same wheels if you were a stone heavier then you'll be fine

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Paul Smith SRCC
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Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby Paul Smith SRCC » 25 Oct 2016, 8:01pm

shadwellrhino wrote:Thanks for the replies. I will use YHA, B&Bs and similar, so no camping gear but will have a couple of full panniers and maybe a bar or saddle bag. I'm reasonably fit, so more concerned about the bike than my legs, but like the idea of lower gears. Any thoughts on the ability of the wheels to carry the weight?
Thanks!

The Cannondale Synapse will struggle if loaded heavily, but if you are using YHA and B & Bs you do not need to carry much so I would suggest using front panniers as small rears. I would also recommend a bar bag over a saddle bag if rear panniers are being used, it will spread the load across the whole bike. I personally find a bar bag useful on tour, I keep a small camera in mine for on the fly shots. A bar bag is useful for valuables as quickly detachable for cafe stops etc, most have a clear pocket on top for notes, route information and even GPS cases.

Modern travel clothing and cycle kit packs small and drys quickly, I have done two week tours using front panniers as rears and that was when I needed to carry cold weather kit as was going over the high Alps. You will be surprised just how you can reduce the packing size, a trial run packing before you go is always a good idea, take enough tooth paste and soap for tour only etc, cut down toothbrush, it is the little obvious things that really make a difference.

The Cannondale Synapse is no load carrying tourer, but keep the load to a minimum and it would be ideal as it's not a million miles away from the Audax focused set up of the Enigma Etape that "mnichols" uses as his "preferred bike for touring and long distances"; a valid and popular choice for Lejog style riding. Endurace-Sportive bikes can be quite close to Audax bikes. In an attempt to illustrate just how close, comparing the Etape (click on Geometry tab') to the Synapse (click 'View Geometry') in my 56cm size, the head and seat tube angles differ by only half a degree, yet overall the Synapse still has slightly more focus as a bike set up for fast day rides. As is often the case it's down to the sum of the parts, yes the angles do not differ by much, but the Synapse is half a degree steeper each end with a shorter wheelbase. The chainstays are also shorter, 410mm versus the 425mm of the Etape, so heel clearance if large panniers are used maybe an issue and another reason I suggested using front panniers as small rears. I have focused the comparison on design and geometry, add to that the 3AL/2.5V Titanium Enigma is also in a different price point to the 6061 Alloy Synapse; frame material does play a part in the riding experience.

Interms of 'bike fit' again both are similar, the frame 'reach' at 384 v 383mm are near identical, although the Synapse actually offers a higher stack height at 597mm v 578mm and that's before you factor in that the Synapse will have a higher upper headset stack than the Enigma. As you can see on the BikeCAD drawings the drop to the bars is less on the Synapse, although the Etape is far from aggressive; I know many actually lower the height by removing spacers on the Cannondale as they find it a bit conservative on such a quick bike; although in Lejog tour set up the extra height maybe welcome. Have you ridden the bike enough already to be confident that you have the correct bike fit?

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Interms of gear sizes, the 34t inner chainring and 30t rear sprocket actually offers a lower ratio than when I rode it. Gear ratios are personal to us all and can take a while for each of us to work out what we actually need; potentially you may decide that lower than 34/30 is indeed what you require. The overall set up of the bike and personal fitness all play a part in the choice of gear ratios, but many focus the choices purely on the ability to conquer an ascent without stopping. I rode every climb on Lejog and the high Alps, which for many is the only box they need to tick, yet over time especially when on tour I now prefer to go slower, 'chill out' not 'work out' and simply enjoy the surroundings. When I rode Mont Ventoux I stopped to take pictures and soak in the view, for me it's about seeing the sights and cherishing the moment. For others on that tour it was about the challenge of the climb, they wanted to do it without stopping as fast as they could and beat the mountain; "horses for courses" as the saying goes. So, be honest with the style of riding that you want to do on this bike, work out what ratios you need and then you can work out how to achieve them. On a Cannodale Synapse, with light luggage, for a reasonably fit rider then 34/50 chain set with a 30t sprocket for a standard LEJOG route for many riders should be low enough. This is also where a trial 'loaded' ride would be a good idea as this will help determine the ratios that will be desired.

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You mentioned "I believe a 9sp MTB mech such as a Deore M591,will work with 10sp cassettes and STI's", yes the Deore M591 and 10 speed 105 STI 5700 will work so you can lower the gearing further if desired. This thread (click for link) maybe of interest if you have not already seen it, as care is needed when the 10 v 9 speed mix and match is being chosen; they don't all work. Your other concern was wheels, disc wheels do not suffer with rim degradation like rim brake rims, so if you keep load carrying to a minimum and you have had no issues to date then providing you have not ridden so many miles that the spokes have fatigued and are starting to break then personally I would still considering using them; that said an upgrade to a pair if quality wheels is normally well worth the investment. On the same note always make sure the wear and tear items still have the tour mileage in them, so check transmission, brake pads and tyres etc.

It's a great tour and a life long memory in the making.
Last edited by Paul Smith SRCC on 14 Nov 2016, 9:55am, edited 1 time in total.

shadwellrhino
Posts: 63
Joined: 14 Feb 2010, 9:51pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby shadwellrhino » 28 Oct 2016, 9:43am

Thanks for all of your responses, and thanks Paul for the very detailed advice. I now have the confidence I need that the bike will be ok and will probably invest in some new wheels. I will consider the gearing after I've done some loaded test runs. Thanks again.

Eldog
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Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 2:07pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby Eldog » 29 Nov 2016, 9:05pm

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I'm a bit late coming to this but this was my set up for LEJOG last May. No problems at all. Tyres were 700 25 Gatorskins and I had a SRAM gear set up to give me lower gear ratios for the never ending hills.

mnichols
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Joined: 22 Apr 2013, 4:29pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby mnichols » 30 Nov 2016, 7:45pm

Eldog wrote:
I'm a bit late coming to this but this was my set up for LEJOG last May. No problems at all. Tyres were 700 25 Gatorskins and I had a SRAM gear set up to give me lower gear ratios for the never ending hills.


How did you attach the rack?

Eldog
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Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 2:07pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby Eldog » 1 Dec 2016, 3:27pm

How did you attach the rack?


Hi

The rack is an Axiom Streamliner Road Deluxe and fits at the top on the brake attachment and on the bottom on a dedicated attachment if you have one or onto the axle. Simple to fit and I had no problems with it whatsoever carrying about 15kg of stuff.

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shadwellrhino
Posts: 63
Joined: 14 Feb 2010, 9:51pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby shadwellrhino » 1 Dec 2016, 10:23pm

Thanks Eldog, just the sort of reassurance I was hoping for!

@blindpilot
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Joined: 13 Mar 2019, 12:16pm

Re: Cannondale Synapse

Postby @blindpilot » 28 Mar 2019, 4:41pm

Eldog wrote:
How did you attach the rack?


Hi

The rack is an Axiom Streamliner Road Deluxe and fits at the top on the brake attachment and on the bottom on a dedicated attachment if you have one or onto the axle. Simple to fit and I had no problems with it whatsoever carrying about 15kg of stuff.

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Hi,

I have the same bike and going for a long trip.
After reading your comments I've bought the Axiom Streamliner Road Deluxe rack.
But it doesn't fit onto the axle. Could please say how did you mount this rack and what does it mean the dedicated attachment?

Regards
Dmitry
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