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  1. #1
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    Cool Specialized Roubaix or Cannondale Synapse?

    I started back into cycling last summer (used to do it in the 70’s) buying the base model all carbon Scattante bike (cost $1,200). I live in LA, and my goal is to ride in the canyons. I love riding – the carbon bike feels so powerful & responsive. I’m getting stronger, using higher gears & deliberately riding hills. I haven’t ridden any other bikes, but the idea of a more comfortable ride appeals.

    I am thinking about the Specialized Roubaix or Cannondale Synapse, in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. I ride about 60 miles per week, am 59 years old and weigh 155 lbs. I’d appreciate feedback re these bikes: will they really be more comfortable than what I ride, what other differences can I expect, is there much difference between the $3k model (i.e Roubaix Expert or Synapse 3) & $2k models, what about durability, etc. Appreciate your thoughts, Terry

  2. #2
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    JMO's, but I doubt you'll see any appreciable difference in ride quality. Differences in geo may dictate that one will fit better (or worse) than another, but the only way to determine that is to get sized, fitted and test ride the bikes.

    As far as differences between $2 and $3k bikes, you'll likely move from 105 to Ultegra (or SRAM's equivalent) and slightly upgraded wheelsets. Durability may actually be slightly better at the lower end because (generally speaking) the frames are manufactured using more materials (thus, added weight), but this is my opinion based on the limited research I've done.

    Much of what you're asking is subjective, so IMO your best bet is to take some time out and test ride the bikes. If you're otherwise happy with your bike, you may find that it's not enough of an upgrade to warrant the expense.

  3. #3
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    Giant Defy

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352
    JMO's, but I doubt you'll see any appreciable difference in ride quality. Differences in geo may dictate that one will fit better (or worse) than another, but the only way to determine that is to get sized, fitted and test ride the bikes.

    As far as differences between $2 and $3k bikes, you'll likely move from 105 to Ultegra (or SRAM's equivalent) and slightly upgraded wheelsets. Durability may actually be slightly better at the lower end because (generally speaking) the frames are manufactured using more materials (thus, added weight), but this is my opinion based on the limited research I've done.

    Much of what you're asking is subjective, so IMO your best bet is to take some time out and test ride the bikes. If you're otherwise happy with your bike, you may find that it's not enough of an upgrade to warrant the expense.
    CF weight? Hmm...how about it’s less the case that less is less and more [heavy] the better. Rather, it’s about the method, lay up and direction where less can be better than a heavier more. Now that makes sense…right?

    Anyway...I noticed this post as I ride a SL Roubaix and a riding partner rides a Synapse. We ride everything from crap roads to slick glass to rollers to mountain passes…oh, and for long hauls. Both bikes hold up, are bullet proof and we both would state neither bike leaves you feeling like you have had the life sucked out of you after a long ride. My Roubaix happens to fit and feel better than a Synapse does. He likes the overall handling of his Synapse better than the Roubaix. He had a Retul bike fit…I had a Spec BG 3D road fitting. PJ352 nails it with “subjective” betwixt the bikes. And if anybody on this forum tells you one is better than the other…ignore that alias/handle…as they’re talking from their 6's

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonDenver
    CF weight? Hmm...how about it’s less the case that less is less and more [heavy] the better. Rather, it’s about the method, lay up and direction where less can be better than a heavier more. Now that makes sense…right?
    I 1/2 agree. I think the method of construction and/ or layup can contribute (or detract) from the durability issue, but more material/ weight tends to add durability.

    Again, this is based on my limited research, so feel free to post sources that counter this belief. I'm reasonably open to the possibility that I'm mistaken.

  6. #6
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    Specialized Roubaix. Although mine is a bottom of the line 2006, it's been my favorite. I also have a 1999 "steel is real" Schwinn Peloton 853.

  7. #7
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    http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/la...5_5668crx.aspx

    http://cgi.ebay.com/2008-Cannondale-...item20b109fe5a

    With the right tires, it can climb like a goat, and still be comfortable for distance. I have done many climbing centuries with my System Six. I sold my 06 Roubaix because it had too much flex in the frame to be a good climbing bike. Wasted energy!
    Last edited by shibaman; 05-29-2010 at 08:35 PM.
    Miata 93LE
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  8. #8
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    Look 566

  9. #9
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    I'd just go to the shops that sell them and decide which strikes your fancy, feels better, or which shop you like better. Both are quality bikes, and the geometry is so similar that fit from one to the other shouldn't be an issue. For what it's worth, the Felt Z frames have a very similar geometry, so if you have a local shop, check them out too. It might just come down to preference for shop and/or how you like the bikes' looks.

    I'm about the same age as you, and my friendly advice is to buy as much bike as you can affort. Indulge yourelf! If not now, when? 8-)

  10. #10
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    I second the 566!

    I also have a Roubaix, which I love, but my Look 566 is my favorite ride!

    Joseph

  11. #11
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    Last year I was in the same situation, couldn't decide between Roubaix and Synapse. I bought Synapse because sales lady was much hotter then the dude in other store, LOL.
    Love my Synapse and never looked back at Roubaix.

  12. #12
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    + 3 on the 566 and I own a Roubaix as well.

  13. #13
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    +4 on the 566, comes with 105's (cheap) or Rivals (average) or Ultegras (not so cheap). Get the Rivals.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the feedback. I know the more expensive models will have higher quality components, etc. Not sure whether it's worth the extra $$.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbsurf
    Thanks for the feedback. I know the more expensive models will have higher quality components, etc. Not sure whether it's worth the extra $$.

    It's all about your personal budget!

    Buy, the best you can afford. Better components work better, and more smoothly, especially cranks, bottom brackets, and derailleurs. Better wheelsets are lighter, have better hubs and bearings and ride significantly better!

    So get the best you can afford, you will enjoy your investment every time you ride!

    Joseph

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbsurf
    Thanks for the feedback. I know the more expensive models will have higher quality components, etc. Not sure whether it's worth the extra $$.
    then i guess get back to us when you figure out your budget. other than that theres not much we can help you with.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyliner1004
    then i guess get back to us when you figure out your budget. other than that theres not much we can help you with.
    But within his budget - whatever that is - there is no "black and white" difference between any of the frames of the category being mentioned (the "relaxed" category). They are all quality frames, all have similar geometry in angles, head tubes, wheel base, etc. There are not enough objective differences to point him at one frame vs. another.... other than what he actually "feels" when he looks at and rides the bike and gets to know the shop selling it.

    If it were me, I'd probably base it on a test ride, but maybe even more importantly, the way I liked the looks and the shop selling it.

  18. #18
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    I test rode these same bikes back-back on a variety if pavement surfaces. At the end of the test route was some cracked, rougher pavement with a lot of pebbles starting to protrude fron the asphalt. The synapse shook my arms and hand - a lot of vibration. The Roubaix was so much smoother. I would have chosen the Roubaix.

    The one wild card is rubber in zertz inserts degrading over time. Don't know if it actually happens.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganRaider
    ...The one wild card is rubber in zertz inserts degrading over time. Don't know if it actually happens.
    I have no idea what kind of timeline you have regarding expected lifetime of a bike. And while anything will degrade over time…those “Zertz” will outlast the CF frame in normal wear and tear all things considered.

    Think of Zertz less of shock absorption and more of buzz dampening whereas the real pounding is managed via designed frame flex and compliant layup of the CF. And expect the next generation of Roubaix’s to be sporting even larger [significantly so at fork] Zertz inserts as some initial earlier season pro modified Spec bikes used on circuit have demonstrated.

  20. #20
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    As silly as it sounds, I don't think the bikes are that similar. Sure, they are both "comfort" bikes, but they achieve it differently. The Synapse has a slightly longer head tube and chainstays than their racing bikes (CAAD, Six), but only slightly. The comfort comes from chainstays borrowed from their mountain bikes, basically designed to act a bit like titanium, and a fork with similar technology. These give the bike a bit of a spongy feel when you are out of the saddle that I'm not sure I like. Conversely, I can pedal through rough corners and sections of rough pavement with the Synapse that on other bikes I could barely stay on the saddle. The Specialized gets its comfort from a more upright position (at least compared with the original Synapse) and the zerts inserts. I have not ridden the Specialized, but I would guess the Roubaix takes out road buzz better than the Cannondale, but the Synapse takes bigger hits better.

    I would describe the handling on the Synapse as somewhat unintuitive and takes a little getting used to. It doesn't have the stability or quick turn in that I have had on other bikes, but some of that may be positioning.

    My saddle and bar position are virtually identical across other bikes I have owned and the geometry of my 56 Synapse is identical to my mid-80s steel Bianchi and very close to my mid-2000's Sampson. My Wilier was totally different and my favorite before it cracked.
    Last edited by bigreen505; 06-12-2010 at 02:13 PM.

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