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  1. #1
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    2011 Cannondale Synapse 5 Alloy 105 Ride Report

    Well the weather here in the Toronto area has finally broken enough where I could get my new bike out for its inaugural ride:
    I rode out of the back of our complex at 7:30AM and decided to do a short sprint around the bend into the neighbourhood behind us. Now I have heard some call the Synapse "sluggish" when it is stomped on but I found that, even at my 210lbs, this bike seemed to just take off. I was feeling very good about this as it was not what I expected. Another rather immeidate impression was the comfort of this bike. The roads up here in the GTA are hardly in ideal condition yet but this bike did not even beat me up a little bit. The ride qwas incredibly smooth, easily the most comfoirtable aluminum bike I have ever ridden. I did begin to notice that I really do need that fitting for which i am scheduled on the 26th, as i was a bit stretched out in the cockpit. After going through that neighbourhood, the next portion of the ride was on the local MUP, which was quite deserted at this time of morning (it won't be in a couple of months though). It was here that I noticed the only shortcoming of the bike....the stock Shimano RS10 wheels. I have heard them described as "noodly" by some and that seems to be an apt description. I am no expert at high quality wheels but I am certain that the stock Bontrager Select wheels that came on my old LeMond could kick the tail out of these. An eventual upgrade is a virual certainty.

    This is also my first time owning a compact double, after running triples for years. I must say that I was a bit apprehensive but now I am sure I made the right decision in ditching the triple. Although I did not find the "sweet spot" with my cadence yet, I am sure that given time, I will. The 105 shifters were flawless, as they were on my LeMond, so there were no surprises there. I was surprised at the range of usable gears I now had on only 2 chainrings, and the 11-28 rear cogs seem to be enough for any riding I will be doing.

    I do not have any really subnstantial hills on my ride to work but I did have to cross a hwy overpass....hardly a climbing test but it was a climb nonetheless. Now...I am noone's climber, in fact I SUCK at hills....really and truly SUCK! but I was able to fly over this one, such as it was, without even going to the small ring. I don't know about you lightweights but ast my 210lbs I was feeling pretty darned good right now. I will, likely, have to swap out the saddle for the Fizik saddle on my backup bike and losesome of the aesthetics (oh well, comfort trumps looks everytime) and I am also likely to be switching over to Look Keo pedals from my SPD pedals when i get my fitting done.

    OIverall my first impression of my new ride is ovewrwhelmingly favourable. The comfort IS what it is cracked up to be. The sluggishness about which I had read from some sources was non-existent for me. I have become a fan ofcompact doubles. The one drawback was the cheap Shimano wheels. I would think that, for $1500.00, the wheels could be of higher quality. I suppose many bike manufacturers go this route these days (wheels were on reason I decided against Giant bikes at this price range).

    Finally I must say that, after finally getting a chance to ride this bike that there is no buyer's remorse whatsoever. I am extremely happy and can only imagine being moreso once I get fitted on it. I am now one proud Cannondale Synapse rider.

    Cheers,

    Brian J.
    Last edited by 8toes; 03-16-2011 at 11:05 AM.

  2. #2
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    That is truly one beautiful bicycle. You're right, Cannondale makes the best aluminum bikes out there. Thanks for the ride report and congratulations.
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

  3. #3
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    Brian - thanks for the report. I'm a newbie rider (but longtime competitive distance runner) debating between this bike and a 2009 Trek 2.3. Would love to get the Synapse 105, but it's a little out of my price range. May have to drop down to the Tiagra model. Good luck with the bike.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the well wishes and I happen to think that you will be happy, no matter which of them you choose. As I stated in your thread, I would not obsess over the groupset. Tiagra is about as good as 105 from just a few short years ago. I even knew some guys who raced with Tiagra when i was living back in New Jersey and they told me that they never had trouble with it in their races. Now, having said that, The Trek 2.3 is a fine bike and a terrific buy at the price you were offered, easily the best value of the bikes you mentioned, provided you like its ride. I would certainly rate the wheels alone as a serious consideration for buying that one. Nonetheless, I love my Synapse and really have never ridden such a comfortable aluminum bike.

    Have you ridden any of the bikes yet?

    Cheers,

    Brian J.
    Last edited by 8toes; 03-16-2011 at 12:09 PM.

  5. #5
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    Oops....double post.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hooben
    That is truly one beautiful bicycle. You're right, Cannondale makes the best aluminum bikes out there. Thanks for the ride report and congratulations.
    Thank you and the bike looks even better in person, which is true more often than not .

    Cheers,

    Brian J.

  7. #7
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    Great looking bike! Just got a 2011 Synapse Alloy 5 in white myself. Problem is the shop, REI, swapped out the carbon fork for a cheesy Al one because they said a bike that is ridden they cannot sell carbon fork with it! It was a test ride bike so now I am stuck with a non OEM fork. Would you happen to have any reccomendations for a carbon fork for these bikes? Thanks!

  8. #8
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    That makes no sense. They 'will not sell a bike with the OEM fork because it was test ridden'? I repeat... That makes no sense.

    How much of a discount did you get to make you agree to this deal? Personally, I don't think I would have gone for it regardless of discount. If they replaced the fork, it generally means that the fork was damaged... usually because of an accident / crash.

    There are a wide range of forks available on ebay. I'm pretty sure that you would only need a standard 1 1/8" steer tube. The 3T forks seem to be popular. I would also contact a cannondale dealer (or REI) to see how much it would cost to replace the fork.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by specializedcannon View Post
    Great looking bike! Just got a 2011 Synapse Alloy 5 in white myself. Problem is the shop, REI, swapped out the carbon fork for a cheesy Al one because they said a bike that is ridden they cannot sell carbon fork with it! It was a test ride bike so now I am stuck with a non OEM fork. Would you happen to have any reccomendations for a carbon fork for these bikes? Thanks!
    8Toes: congrats, and very sweet looking bike. Black and white is always a classy combo. I got red pedals too!

    Specializedcannon: What REI said is extremely fishy. I have never heard of that before and i have tested plenty of bikes from them and they weren't like "yep, now we gotta replace the fork with an aluminum one. thanks for testing". You should check that out with them and make sure there isn't a way to get that carbon fork replaced by the manufacturer if you are unhappy with the aluminum fork. On my last alum bike, I had a carbon fork and it really helped with road vibration on the handlebars. If it rides fine to you, then no need to fix it I guess, but if you are unhappy with it, I would get them to rectify this situation.
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  10. #10
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    I would talk to the mgr at REI and get a full explanation of this. If they sold you a bike that had been crashed, you should be notified of it and given a discount.

    If that does not work, call Cannondale directly and explain the situation. I bet they would like to know that this is going on, because it doesn't sound right at all.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes, the policy is very strange about the carbon forks. I will contact an REI manager.

    I got the bike for $850.00, they had it as $1399.00 original price.

  12. #12
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    Nice ride report. I have been looking at a Synapse Sora 7 at REI, which I thought was odd because I didn't see it on their site. At first I was looking at a CAAD 10 but I'm 30 lbs heavier than you at 240. I will be at 240 when I move from my MTN bike to a road bike in a few months.

    The CAAD 10 was awesome looking but more money than I wanted to shell out and the wheels were too low on spoke count and that would be more to upgrade the wheels. I knew as soon as I picked up the CAAD 10, it just felt like it would snap like a twig. They have a 58 Red Sora 7 at my local REI I have been drooling over and I'm tempted to get it now and just let it sit till Spring.

    Do you think the Synapse would flex too much if you were 30 lbs heavier? My biggest concern is the carbon fork letting go on a downhill with no warning.

    I'm also thinking of just getting a cyclecross which is beefier all around.

    EDITED. I was on my break and was in a hurry to type
    Last edited by chad68; 08-04-2011 at 08:22 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad68 View Post
    Nice ride report. I have been looking at a Synapse Sora 7 at REI, which I thought was odd because I didn't see it on their site. At first I was looking at a CAAD 10 but I'm 30 lbs heavier than you at 240. I will be at 240 when I move from my MTN bike to a road bike in a few months.

    The CAAD 10 was awesome looking but more money than I wanted to shell out and the wheels were too low on spoke count and that would be more to upgrade the wheels. I knew as soon as I picked up the CAAD 10, it just felt like it would snap like a twig. They have a 58 Red Sora 7 at my local REI I have been drooling over and I'm tempted to get it now and just let it sit till Spring.

    Do you think the Synapse would flex too much if you were 30 lbs heavier? My biggest concern is the carbon fork letting go on a downhill with no warning.

    I'm also thinking of just getting a cyclecross which is beefier all around.

    EDITED. I was on my break and was in a hurry to type
    Cannondale has a 275 lbs rider weight limit on the Synapse. Thier CX bikes go to 300, but you will give up a little efficiency in the geo. That is just "my feel" from riding both.

    The advantage to a CX bike will be that you will get tougher wheels and can run 25 or 28 road tires without any problems.

    I would find a dealer and try both.
    It's a fire road.............
    I'm on a road bike..........

    They have enough in common to blast down it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    Cannondale has a 275 lbs rider weight limit on the Synapse. Thier CX bikes go to 300, but you will give up a little efficiency in the geo. That is just "my feel" from riding both.

    The advantage to a CX bike will be that you will get tougher wheels and can run 25 or 28 road tires without any problems.

    I would find a dealer and try both.
    The Synapse model I was looking at comes standard with 25's. It looks like there would be room for 28's if needed assuming they work with the wheel width but I think 25's should be fine. I'm not doing any riding on city streets or any roads but paved specific bike trails. I went and looked at the Synapse 7 again and man I love everything about the bike excpet the carbon forks. I love the looks of the carbon forks but all the horror stories I keep reading about with carbon stuff, is the only thing holding me back at the moment from pulling the trigger.

    If I did manage to break the forks and or frame, you think the Sora components, could be easilly matched up with another stronger frame and or fork down the road if need be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by specializedcannon View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes, the policy is very strange about the carbon forks. I will contact an REI manager.

    I got the bike for $850.00, they had it as $1399.00 original price.
    That's more likely the reason....money. They probably wanted to salvage some revenue. Still a crummy thing to do.

    Sweet looking bike 8toes and I had heard that Cannondale did great things with the al ride characteristics. Glad you like it.

    I looked at the Synapse too. I have a '97 CDale al and it is a great bike but the ride is a little harsh. The only LBS to carry CDale is over an hour away so I went up to test ride them. If the sales guy hadn't been such an a-hole I might be on one now. It was a terrible experience...like buying a used car. I went home, took a shower and then bought a steel bike
    I also got a compact and love it. I had a triple and I never used the big ring but I'm using every gear now. I have some big hills that start and finish my routes and I usually start on the 34 until I get to the rolling hills and then shift to the 50. I love it.
    Happy riding!!

  16. #16
    T K
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad68 View Post
    The Synapse model I was looking at comes standard with 25's. It looks like there would be room for 28's if needed assuming they work with the wheel width but I think 25's should be fine. I'm not doing any riding on city streets or any roads but paved specific bike trails. I went and looked at the Synapse 7 again and man I love everything about the bike excpet the carbon forks. I love the looks of the carbon forks but all the horror stories I keep reading about with carbon stuff, is the only thing holding me back at the moment from pulling the trigger.

    If I did manage to break the forks and or frame, you think the Sora components, could be easilly matched up with another stronger frame and or fork down the road if need be?
    The Sora will work on pretty much any bike. It will most likely go out before that frame or fork will.
    Also, I think your fork concerns are based on ignorance. Tell me what other bikes out there don't have a carbon fork. Unless you get a steel bike with a steel fork it's gonna have a carbon fork. Millions of them out there. Bigger guys out there usually trash wheels, not forks.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by T K View Post
    The Sora will work on pretty much any bike. It will most likely go out before that frame or fork will.
    Also, I think your fork concerns are based on ignorance. Tell me what other bikes out there don't have a carbon fork. Unless you get a steel bike with a steel fork it's gonna have a carbon fork. Millions of them out there. Bigger guys out there usually trash wheels, not forks.
    I was kind of thinking the same thing too, even though I was still cautious in regards to so many bikes that come with them. If people were die'n left and right it would be all over the 6:00 news and there would be a lot less bike companies around.

    I bought the Synapse this afternoon. Got it home and started yanking off the reflectors and junk. Had to flip the neck the other way. They had it anglled upwards for somebody who is 9 feet tall and was too high. Got it all tweaked and set to my liking now. I have to admit, for such thin 'sounding' aluminium frame tubes it seems very solid. The carbon steerer tube when I flipped the neck, looked like metal and not what I thought it would look like. I plopped my 270 pound butt on it and no creaks or anything. I'm still gonna wait till I burn of about 30 lbs before I start riidng it a lot. One thing am able to do is loose weight when I want to and since I'm pushing 43 now, I need to get in and stay in shape.

    The bike is freakin beautiful too, in racer red LOL. I'm gonna put some areo bars on it, for another position to switch around with on boring straights. Also going to change a few things here and there, mostly for asthetics. I'll try to see if I can get a pic up.

    Later for now.

  18. #18
    T K
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    Good for you. Nice choice! Actually, the steerer tube on those forks should be aluminum. The forks that came on my caad 9 were pretty robust. Full carbon forks usualy only come on the higher end bikes.
    I lost 50 lbs my first year of cycling. Get yourself a stationary trainer like the cycle ops fluid 2 and you'll never have an excuse not to ride. Set it up in front of the TV and watch the games on Sunday. Sometimes I get up real early and watch the news while I'm getting my ride in. Great for the winter training too.

  19. #19
    Fred the Clydesdale
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    Nice ride report. I have been looking at a Synapse Sora 7 at REI, which I thought was odd because I didn't see it on their site. At first I was looking at a CAAD 10 but I'm 30 lbs heavier than you at 240. I will be at 240 when I move from my MTN bike to a road bike in a few months.

    I have the synapse 7 and weigh 240. I have no problem with the bike. I did switch the rear tire from a Schwalbe 700X23 to a Armadillo Elite 700X23/25.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by T K View Post
    Good for you. Nice choice! Actually, the steerer tube on those forks should be aluminum. The forks that came on my caad 9 were pretty robust. Full carbon forks usualy only come on the higher end bikes.
    I lost 50 lbs my first year of cycling. Get yourself a stationary trainer like the cycle ops fluid 2 and you'll never have an excuse not to ride. Set it up in front of the TV and watch the games on Sunday. Sometimes I get up real early and watch the news while I'm getting my ride in. Great for the winter training too.
    Yep I'm going to get one of those stationary trainer gizmos too. If I can, I think I'm going to hook my mtn bike up to it and have it take the wear and tear, since it has slicks for the next year or so before I slap knobbies back on it..

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