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  1. #1
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    2018 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 105 dilema

    currently ride a '10 Alloy Synapse 5 but looking to upgrade. The '18 Synapse frame got a nice rework and I was all set to go that route. However, it appears the latest frame upgrades are only on the 105 Carbon Disc version as the 105 Carbon with rim brakes has the previous generation frame.

    I'd like to avoid going the disc route for a couple of reasons, primarily due to the fact that I'd like to take my existing wheelset (Easton EA90 SLX R4) from my '10 Synapse and use them on the '18. That and it's $500 or so cheaper to stick with the rim brakes. Eastons are old as I got them on clearance back in '11 or so but I imagine they're still a good bet better than the stocks that the '18 comes with?

    I understand the '19 is due out shortly though I haven't seen any catalog/specs on what may be out there if I wait a few months.

    I know even the previous generation frame on the rim '18 Carbon 105 will be an upgrade over what I've got now but was really hoping to take advantage of all the new changes to the '18 frame.

    I suppose I could see if the LBS could order the updated '18 frame and then pick up a 105 groupset, etc.. though I'm not sure that's going to be the best use of my $$.

    thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Buy the latest 105 and sell the old bike and wheels (while someone might want them). Start saving to upgrade the wheels.

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    What size tires can that disc C-Dale handle ?.

    If 28 or bigger, that’s a useful reason to go with disc.

    As well if you ever want to go to carbon wheels, generally good options for durable wheels with disc.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    What size tires can that disc C-Dale handle ?.

    If 28 or bigger, that’s a useful reason to go with disc.

    As well if you ever want to go to carbon wheels, generally good options for durable wheels with disc.
    They go 32C .

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon View Post
    They go 32C .
    Then disc would be my choice. Easy to get a 2nd set of wheels and use on gravel.

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    I don't ever see myself going the gravel route so it's really a matter of comparing the improvements made to the '18 frame for the carbon disc line and going with disc brakes versus the previous-gen frame (updated in '15 iirc?) that carried over from the '17 line if I wanted to stick with rim brakes.

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    If you are determined to get a Synapse, stick with rim brakes, and keep your old wheels, the 2018 rim equipped Synapse is probably the way to go. My guess is that the Synapse will be all disc brakes for 2019 as many endurance bikes will be. If you want options and aren’t married to Cannondale, check out the Trek Domane. Trek is committed to providing rim and disc options across their lineup (at least right now they are). I currently ride an SL5 Disc with some upgrades and love that bike on every surface I ride it on. Plenty fast and super comfortable.

    You could even get a 2018 SL frameset from Trek and just transfer over everything from your old bike if you want and use the funds saved to customize and personalize in areas you want to.
    Last edited by Rashadabd; 08-07-2018 at 11:53 AM.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    I should mention my primary motivation for the upgrade is a trip to France next year to do Alpe d Huez, Galibier, Glandon/Croix de Fer.. with that in mind, I'm leaning towards the lighter weight of the rim brakes and using the $$ saved to grab another set of wheels (Hunt or similar) if the need arises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabsabre View Post
    I should mention my primary motivation for the upgrade is a trip to France next year to do Alpe d Huez, Galibier, Glandon/Croix de Fer.. with that in mind, I'm leaning towards the lighter weight of the rim brakes and using the $$ saved to grab another set of wheels (Hunt or similar) if the need arises.
    Either of the bikes (Synapse or Domane) should hold their own there, but neither is considered light by weight weenie/climbing bike standards. Why not consider a Cannondale Supersix Evo or Trek Emonda SL or SLR with H2 geometry then? Just a thought.
    Last edited by Rashadabd; 08-07-2018 at 01:48 PM.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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    I'll have to check out the Emonda H2 (ALR5 or SL5). The ALR5 looks like a really nice bang for my buck given its weight

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabsabre View Post
    I'll have to check out the Emonda H2 (ALR5 or SL5). The ALR5 looks like a really nice bang for my buck given its weight
    Makes sense to me.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  12. #12
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    My '15 Synapse 105 w/rim brakes weighs 17.0 lbs, including Speedplay pedals, fwiw.

    I can't say enough good things about this bike in every respect. Quick handling, super comfortable and fast, all in one package!

    Gary

  13. #13
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    I didn't read the thread but the headline caught my eye. My shop has a demo fleet of '18 Synapse 105 disc bikes. I took the time to set up both a 61 and 58 for myself and took them for good rides (40mi and hilly). It is hands down the slowest* road bike I've ridden including my first road bike, a $450 1993 Giant. Oh, and it weighs more than my full suspension dropper post XC bike. What a dog! I was underwhelmed by the brakes as well. I noticed no improvement over the 105 rim brakes with alloy rims on my travel bike. Last year our demo fleet was Super Six 105s and those felt great (and were cheaper!) The road bike world has taken an odd turn.

    The hillarious thing is we've had several renters (all old so maybe I'm the wrong demographic) who said it was the best bike they've ever ridden and wanted to by it. I'm like, what other bikes have you been riding, recumbents?


    *I went hard both rides and barely averaged 20mph. Harsh, draggy tires. Wide bar and upright position (despite slammed stem) that caught air. HEAVY. Gearing with big gaps between cogs and a big jump between chainrings. Ths 50t forced me to use smaller cogs than normal and that makes for more friction. I was struggling to exceed 25mph and working hard to go 23 when my normal bike would have been going 26+. It felt like I was riding a hybrid or good XC bike.
    Last edited by Lelandjt; 09-01-2018 at 06:28 AM.

  14. #14
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    have you looked outside cannondale?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    I didn't read the thread but the headline caught my eye. My shop has a demo fleet of '18 Synapse 105 disc bikes. I took the time to set up both a 61 and 58 for myself and took them for good rides (40mi and hilly). It is hands down the slowest* road bike I've ridden including my first road bike, a $450 1993 Giant. Oh, and it weighs more than my full suspension dropper post XC bike. What a dog! I was underwhelmed by the brakes as well. I noticed no improvement over the 105 rim brakes with alloy rims on my travel bike. Last year our demo fleet was Super Six 105s and those felt great (and were cheaper!) The road bike world has taken an odd turn.

    The hillarious thing is we've had several renters (all old so maybe I'm the wrong demographic) who said it was the best bike they've ever ridden and wanted to by it. I'm like, what other bikes have you been riding, recumbents?


    *I went hard both rides and barely averaged 20mph. Harsh, draggy tires. Wide bar and upright position (despite slammed stem) that caught air. HEAVY. Gearing with big gaps between cogs and a big jump between chainrings. Ths 50t forced me to use smaller cogs than normal and that makes for more friction. I was struggling to exceed 25mph and working hard to go 23 when my normal bike would have been going 26+. It felt like I was riding a hybrid or good XC bike.
    What an awesome review! Those idiots at Cycling magazine who named the 2015 Cannondale Synapse the "bike of the year" obviously don't know anything about bikes. Neither does anyone else who posts the *actual* weight (16.8 lbs w/out pedals, 2015 rim brake 105 model) instead of just making general "heavy" claims.

    Sorry, this bike is **far** from a "dog". The handling is superb. The ride is smooth. It's got as much speed as the engine that rides it. (Maybe that's why it was so slow for you?)

    Oh, no, I haven't ridden a recumbent. I have a Bianchi Sempre with thousands of recently ridden miles to compare it to, along with a ton of other name brand bikes that my brother and riding friends have that I have ridden.

    Pass the popcorn, please...

    Gary

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    Weighs more than a full sus mtb huh? Nice fact based reporting there bro. LOL

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    I didn't read the thread but the headline caught my eye. My shop has a demo fleet of '18 Synapse 105 disc bikes. I took the time to set up both a 61 and 58 for myself and took them for good rides (40mi and hilly). It is hands down the slowest* road bike I've ridden including my first road bike, a $450 1993 Giant. Oh, and it weighs more than my full suspension dropper post XC bike. What a dog! I was underwhelmed by the brakes as well. I noticed no improvement over the 105 rim brakes with alloy rims on my travel bike. Last year our demo fleet was Super Six 105s and those felt great (and were cheaper!) The road bike world has taken an odd turn.

    The hillarious thing is we've had several renters (all old so maybe I'm the wrong demographic) who said it was the best bike they've ever ridden and wanted to by it. I'm like, what other bikes have you been riding, recumbents?


    *I went hard both rides and barely averaged 20mph. Harsh, draggy tires. Wide bar and upright position (despite slammed stem) that caught air. HEAVY. Gearing with big gaps between cogs and a big jump between chainrings. Ths 50t forced me to use smaller cogs than normal and that makes for more friction. I was struggling to exceed 25mph and working hard to go 23 when my normal bike would have been going 26+. It felt like I was riding a hybrid or good XC bike.
    Don't know where you're coming up with this stuff. The Synapse is not slow. And you're comparing the Synapse to the Evo and criticizing the Synapse's upright position and "big gaps" in gearing? Apples to oranges. The Synapse is an endurance bike, the Evo a race bike.

    How long have you worked in a bike shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    Either of the bikes (Synapse or Domane) should hold their own there, but neither is considered light by weight weenie/climbing bike standards. Why not consider a Cannondale Supersix Evo or Trek Emonda SL or SLR with H2 geometry then? Just a thought.
    Here again I must point out that the Evo and Emonda are different types of road bikes from the Synapse or Domane. If you don't mind an aggressive low position race bike, the Evo or Emonda may be right for you. But considering the OP is looking at the Synapse, I'm ass-u-me-ing he's looking for an endurance bike.


    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli View Post
    Weighs more than a full sus mtb huh? Nice fact based reporting there bro. LOL
    It does. The scale doesn't lie.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Don't know where you're coming up with this stuff. The Synapse is not slow. And you're comparing the Synapse to the Evo and criticizing the Synapse's upright position and "big gaps" in gearing? Apples to oranges. How long have you worked in a bike shop?
    I've worked in a bike shop on and off since '95. I've raced professionally and worked for bike companies on and off since 2001. They're both road bikes and I rode them on the same roads. One felt fast and fun, the other felt draggy and had annoying quirks. I gave my honest comparison. Sorry you didn't like it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    I've worked in a bike shop on and off since '95. I've raced professionally and worked for bike companies on and off since 2001. They're both road bikes and I rode them on the same roads. One felt fast and fun, the other felt draggy and had annoying quirks. I gave my honest comparison. Sorry you didn't like it.
    But you're forgetting that these two bikes are designed for different purposes and toward different buyers. If the OP is looking at an endurance bike, what makes you think he would all of a sudden be interested in an aggressive race bike?

    And these two bikes certainly have more in common than either of these has to a full suspension mountain bike (I really have a hard time believing your FS mountain bike weighs less than 18lbs) or a recumbent. Don't know where you came up with that one.

    I own a 2014 Synapse Carbon and it is anything but slow. It's not a race bike and it's not supposed to be. But hey, your opinion is your opinion. Carry on.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    If the OP is looking at an endurance bike, what makes you think he would all of a sudden be interested in an aggressive race bike?

    I own a 2014 Synapse Carbon and it is anything but slow.
    So you haven't ridden the bike I'm reviewing but you disagree with my review? You also think the bike in question weighs 18lbs? You also think my review was somehow supposed to take into account the preferences of someone I've never met? Re-read what I wrote. Ride a 2018 Synapse Disc 105 (remember to weight it also). Then ride the 2017 Super Six 105. Then come back and tell me how my review is way off base.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    I've worked in a bike shop on and off since '95. I've raced professionally and worked for bike companies on and off since 2001.
    "What a dog!", you write.

    It's funny - all ya gotta do is Google "2018 Cannondale Synapse" and there are a ton of reviews out there, including some direct comparisons to rival bikes. Reading them and reading your "review" is like comparing Star Wars to Fred Flintstone.

    OP, do what architects do when taking bids on projects. Throw out the high one and throw out the low one and pick from the ones in the middle. You can decide where this "review" is high or low...

    Gary

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brazad View Post
    "What a dog!", you write.

    It's funny - all ya gotta do is Google "2018 Cannondale Synapse" and there are a ton of reviews out there, including some direct comparisons to rival bikes. Reading them and reading your "review" is like comparing Star Wars to Fred Flintstone.

    OP, do what architects do when taking bids on projects. Throw out the high one and throw out the low one and pick from the ones in the middle. You can decide where this "review" is high or low...

    Gary
    I wonder if a lot of those glowing reviews are of higher spec models. If you read my ride report the only knock I have against the frame is a tall stack and that's personal preference. I'm specifically talking about the 105 Disc model I rode and considering it in the context of its $2400ish price. It had cheap, heavy tires that felt draggy while also feeling harsh. It had a very heavy build with handlebar and gearing I didn't like. I felt it was just way too slow for a $2000+ road bike, especially compared to last year's slightly cheaper bike that it replaced in our demo fleet.

    Instead of getting offended because I didn't like a bike that you did, consider the points I made and how they relate to your priorities. Like I said, we've had several renters rave about this bike so it suits someone.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lelandjt View Post
    It had cheap, heavy tires that felt draggy while also feeling harsh.
    Interesting observation. While you don't buy a bike for its tires as they can be easily replaced, most of the time road bikes are stocked with light race tires (and often also ultra-light tubes) so they ride fast on the test ride. What tires are these bikes stocked with?
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  25. #25
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    A very thick casing wire bead Schwalbe that looks wider than the claimed 28mm and retails for $20. At 100psi they were way too harsh. At 80 they felt mushy. I settled for 90 and had some of each sensaton. They would probably be a good cheap commuter tire as the casings must be somewhat puncture resistant. In fact I just sold our 54cm to a guy who's gonna use it for year round commuting that includes a gravel section.

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