Cannondale Synapse

BikeRide Score

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Cannondale Synapse. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

18 reasons to buy

  • Compliance is high, as the seatpost and seat stays are designed to flex for comfort on rough roads.
  • On Hi-Mod models, comfort was deemed ‘highest in class’ by a number of experts.
  • The Synapse came across faster than many other high-end endurance bikes.
  • The large range across gears even included the 1x Apex model.
  • A strong climbing ability was experienced on board this rig.
  • Frames across the range were delightfully light, as were complete bikes in higher-end models.
  • Beautiful, metallic-sky-blue paintwork impressed on the Apex SE.
  • Shifting was smooth and easy, markedly so on the wireless eTap.
  • Rims arrive tubeless-ready on the Apex.
  • Comfortable 28mm tires come standard across models.
  • Responsive hydraulic brakes were enjoyed on the Synapse Dura Ace.
  • An expert considered the Dura Ace model to be great value at the recommended price.
  • Pedaling efficiency was considered high, due to the bike’s stiff rear triangle.
  • Hidden fender-mounts and an integrated seat-clamp added to the Synapse's finish.
  • Clean, internal cable routing allows for upgrading to a Di2 electronic drivetrain.
  • Headset sizes vary in relation to frame sizes: 1⅛ for 44-48cm, 1¼ for 51-54cm, 1⅜ for 56-61cm.
  • Handling was said to be highly responsive and suited to both endurance and sprints.
  • The Synapse has clearance for 32mm tires, catering to a range of uses.

13 reasons not to buy

  • Both Fulcrum Racing 500 Disc wheels and Mavic Aksium Discs, were disappointingly heavy on lower-end models.
  • Some reviewers felt that alloy frames transmitted more bumps and vibration to the rider.
  • One expert felt that the long top-tube placed him in a posture that was ‘too stretched out’.
  • For some, carbon frames were too flexy at higher speeds.
  • With tire clearance being for a maximum 32mm on the Apex SE, this seemed to limit it to on-road use.
  • It was felt that WTB Exposure tires were not tough enough for commuting or handling any level of debris.
  • A shocking and bumpy ride was experienced by one expert, on carbon models at faster speeds.
  • On the Sora model, one expert felt that Promax DSK 718R mechanical brakes lacked power. The same was true for TRP Spire C mechanical discs on the 105 SE model.
  • Numerous reviewers found that the integrated seatpost clamp was tedious to adjust and led to the seatpost being susceptible to slippage.
  • Hi-mod editions commanded astronomical prices.
  • The two-tone paint job on a Hi-mod model did not impress one expert, while matte-white finish acted as a grime-magnet.
  • Opinions were divided over the Synapse’s handlebar. One expert felt that it wasn’t ergonomic.
  • The conical spacer on the steerer tube prohibited owners from fully lowering the stem.

Bottom line

Cannondale’s Synapse is spread across a myriad of models and specifications in alloy, carbon and hi-modulus carbon. Although it is clearly an endurance machine, experts felt that it was definitely aggressive enough to be entered in races. Innovative ‘S.A.V.E.’ frame technology ensured an exceedingly comfortable ride on a bike that is available exclusively with disc brakes. The only gripe that stood out for testers and buyers, was the weight of wheels on lower-end models. Oh, and the fact that most folks will never be able to consider the five zeros behind the dollar sign on a 2020 Synapse Hi-MOD Disc with RED eTap AXS.
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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
Gearing Type
16.8, 19.1, 17.5, 20.8, 18.8 lb
Brake Type
Frame Material

Expert Reviews

81/100 based on 16 rated expert reviews

Cannondale Synapse 2018 Alloy Sora

So overall, it’s decent. It’s just heavy. It’s like a ‘Walmart bike heavy’.

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Cannondale 2018 Synapse Hi-Mod Review

The bike really is as good as Cannondale claims, and not just for endurance-oriented riders, but for road cycling in general.

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Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc 2018 Review

…the Synapse was sublimely smooth over even the most pitted road surfaces, and grip in corners was confidence-inspiring.

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Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Dura-Ace Di2

Compared with the previous version, the new Cannondale Synapse is smoother, more comfortable, lighter and stiffer – and one of the best endurance bikes on the market right now.

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Cycling Weekly

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red eTap Review

One of the original dedicated endurance machines has continued to impress us with regards to its stunning performance in almost all areas of riding.

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Cannondale Synapse Disc Sora

…with those tire clearances and mudguard/rack mounts it is a very versatile machine. Sort the brakes and you’ll be very happy.

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Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Dura-Ace Di2 Review

…the Synapse is a fantastically stiff and efficient machine, but also not the most forgiving in this class…

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Cannondale Synapse Carbon 105 SE Review

The Synapse is the sort of bike that simply revels in tight technical turns while at the same time feels sublimely balanced when carving through fast open bends and long descents.

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Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Dura-Ace Review

Voodoo levels of smoothness in a high-value, mostly Dura-Ace package.

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Red eTap [German]

…a fast, willing marathon athlete with effective suspension comfort.

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Endurance [Dutch]

…to be honest: there are no real areas for improvement with this Synapse. We also understand that not everyone has $11000 in their back pockets …

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Apex 1 SE [Dutch]

The Synapse SE in Apex 1 version is a progressive retro racer that appeals to us.

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Ultegra Disc [Dutch]

No criterium flash, rather a racer with great comfort. We would put a lighter wheels and slightly higher quality tires on it. But that’s easily done; the Synapse is certainly worth it.

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Disc 105 SE [German]

The Cannondale Synapse Disc 105 SE is the ideal platform for a wide variety of needs.

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Disc Tiagra [Dutch]

It is not light: 10.5 kilos. You feel that especially when accelerating quickly; it responds somewhat slowly. But, for some tours… the Synapse Disc Tiagra is a great choice.

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra [German]

…a pleasant all-rounder for a very wide audience. Only the heavy wheels slow it down.

Cycling Weekly

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc Red eTap

You still have that nice, engaging power transfer so as soon as you start pedaling, you feel like you’re going somewhere.

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As Good Or Even Better Than Carbon One – 2019 Cannondale Synapse 105 Disc Alloy.

It is the wheels, the tires and the seatpost that will flex the most. So the differences between the alloy and the carbon will be little.

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Bruno Bobbink

Cannondale Synapse Apex 1 SE Gravel Bike Review.

So for offroad, the 1x groupset is just a no-brainer.

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Road Cycling UK

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Review

If you look at every single tube across the entire rig, you can see it’s been shaped to enhance compliance across the ride.

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Ing Guides

2018 Cannondale Synapse Test: Race vs. Endurance Part 2

To get this level of design and engineering that went into this frame, with this brake setup, is tremendous value.

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Cycling Weekly

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc | Editor’s Choice

What is the Cannondale Synapse like to ride? It’s absolutely brilliant.

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Cycling Weekly

Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc | Women’s Bikes Special

Completely redesigned for 2018, the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Women’s Ultegra saves over 200 grams on its previous award-winning model.

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100% Getest: Cannondale Synapse Ultegra Disc [Dutch]

The Synapse Ultegra Disc is not a spectacular bike but it is a very good bike. It is a reliable and robust bike that can handle all surfaces.

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The Cannondale Synapse 105 Is the Best $2,625 Bike You Can Buy

A smooth, comfortable road bike that also has some of the the snap and pop of a race model.

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Test: Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Apex SE

…if you are looking for a versatile road bike, then the new Synapse Carbon Disc is one of the best proposals on the market today. However, if you want to have everything in one, go a step further and choose the SE version…

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Road Bike Action Magazine

Bike Test: Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod With Campagnolo 12-Speed

The sleek Italian components and shapely carbon frame combine for a comfortable ride that maintains a level of performance most endurance bikes lack.

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Road Bike Action Magazine

First Look: New Cannondale Synapse

To ramp up the performance and elevate the race characteristics of this endurance machine, the 2018 Synapse is both lighter and stiffer than previous models.

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Road Bike Action Magazine

Bike Test: Cannondale Synapse 105

The frame, fork and seatpost are all designed to flex and absorb under rough riding conditions.

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Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Red eTap 2018 First-Ride Review

Overall, I found eTap enjoyable to use, thanks to the satisfying click of each button press and impressively smooth shifting.

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Gran Fondo

First Ride Review: Cannondale Synapse 2018 – Striving for Balance

Overall the bike is a great partner on long rides, giving trust in all situations and leaving a smile on your face, it’s one built for the explorers amongst you.

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Review: Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc Road Bike is the Perfect All-Rounder

The Cannondale Synapse rides exactly like I want a road bike to ride. It’s comfortable yet quick. Stable without being slow.

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Radsport News

Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Disc: Light, Comfortable, Versatile

…extremely light, but very well equipped, comfortable and versatile: a clear buy tip in the top price segment.

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User Ratings

93/100 based on 86 ratings
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Bike Comparison

Cannondale Synapse in comparison to averages