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First ride review: Cannondale Synapse + video

Cannondale’s endurance bike has always focused on comfort and now takes this to the next level. Here’s what we think after around 100 kilometres of riding

Cannondale’s Synapse line-up has always focused on comfort first, and this latest edition takes that ride quality to the next level.

Now, this is only a first ride report, those all important early impressions, and while I’ve only covered around 100 kilometres so far, it’s been long enough to leave me very impressed.

If you're looking for more on the tech deets of the Synapse and Cannondale's new SmartSense system that comes with it, you can find those over here. 

2022 Cannondale Synapse 2 RL - riding 10.jpg

The geometry is unchanged from the previous version, which is a good thing, as I found the Synapse to fit me like a glove. Its endurance styled set up gives a slightly more upright front end than Cannondale’s race bikes, but I found with a decent saddle to bar drop I can still get into a racy position when in the drops or stretched out onto the hoods.

The new Synapse has a performance feel to it. Its weight means it is no slouch off the line and the oversized tube profiles and compact rear triangle offer all of the stiffness you are likely to need.

2022 Cannondale Synapse 2 RL - riding 2.jpg

On some of the quicker sections of the first ride I was loving how responsive the Synapse felt, and it’s the same on the hills, especially when climbing out of the saddle.

2022 Cannondale Synapse 2 RL - bars 3.jpg

Saying that, though this mid-range model deserves some lighter wheels than the Fulcrums fitted as standard, something I will be trying over the test period to really see just how good this frameset is.

2022 Cannondale Synapse 2 RL.jpg

As I mentioned in my opening sentence though, it is the comfort that really blows me away.

For such a stiff and firm bike, the ride quality is sublime, and that’s even with the tyres pumped up hard.

The Cannondale always feels tight. It feels like it shouldn’t be comfortable, or at least not to this level, but as soon as I started to hit some of the rougher road sections it showed an unexpected absorption of high frequency road buzz for a bike of this ilk.

Over the next few weeks of testing, I’m looking forward to exploiting the increased tyre clearance of up to 35mm to push the comfort levels even further, and its versatility.

2022 Cannondale Synapse 2 RL - clearance.jpg

The fact that the new Synapse can still run 30mm tyres with fully fitted mudguards opens it up to year-round riding, commuting or audaxing.

2022 Cannondale Synapse 2 RL - fork.jpg

The geometry is well suited for all of those riding styles. Aggressive enough to feel fun in the bends or at speed but stepped back just enough that it isn’t too quick for riding on wet roads, or on those longer rides where fatigue can become an issue.

However you are riding though the front end feels well planted, and the whole bike gives plenty of feedback so that you can really let it fly.

So, those are my first thoughts which overall, are very positive.

There are plenty more hours in the saddle to come though which will let me really get to know the Synapse from top to bottom, and play with the SmartSense system, the integrated electronics set up and app.

2022 Cannondale Synapse 2 RL - rear light and smart sense sensor.jpg

I’ll be back soon with a full review of the Synapse.  For now, you can scroll through the photos we have of this stunning bike.  

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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