2013 Cannondale Synapse Endurance Race Bike Unveiled

2014 Cannondale Synapse endurance road bike

2013 Cannondale Synapse endurance road bike. Photo: Ben @ Peloton Magazine

We spied this a while back in flashy team green, and now it’s official: The new Synapse is a road endurance race machine. And in typical Cannondale fashion, there’s plenty of new tech and dimensions to ooh and aah over.

Actually, it’s more like evolved tech. The stays use a modified version of their SAVE micro suspension, getting a twisted seatstay that winds up a bit during compression to act like a spring, and borrowing BallisTec fibers to keep the frame strong even with the built in deflection. A few of their “standards” have changed, with a new 73mm wide SiSL2 crankset spindle and a narrower 25.4mm diameter SAVE seat post.

Oh, and then there’s the split seat tube design…

New SAVE stay design soaks up cobbles and vibrations. Photo: Ben @ Peloton Magazine

Endurance road bikes are popping up everywhere, with models for the weekend gravel grinder to bikes like this, aimed at pro-race level performance for folks that want to go fast regardless of where the road may take them. In other words, they want you to be able to pack more adventure into your ride time.

With that in mind, overall comfort had to play well alongside efficiency and power transfer. The outcome of their R&D are new SAVE Plus stays, which take the flattened profile of yore and give a twist. Literally. Cannondale says the slightly longer fiber length gained from the twist make for a slightly more compliant ride.

A new fork handles the same bumps on the front. Photo: Ben @ Peloton Magazine

The SAVE Plus fork uses designed in flex from the shape of the legs and by limiting the steerer’s taper to 1-1/4″ at the bottom. Setback dropouts also factor into the “micro suspension” efforts. At the opposite end of things, FSA co-developed a new 25.4mm seatpost diameter standard, and the post clamp is recessed into the frame. The narrower profile and additional post extension provides a claimed 113% more deflection at the saddle, further taking the edge of bumps.

A split seat tube keeps it stiff while still allowing the desired vertical axle path. Photo: Ben @ Peloton Magazine

The show stopper, though, is the split seat tube, which has to do with stiffness rather than compliance. To get the race-level power transfer, they widened their bottom brackets to 73mm, a first for Hollowgram cranksets (word is it’ll still work with older cranksets by removing the 5mm spacer). This provided real estate for a massive seat tube, but their engineers found that a tube that big at the lighter weight they wanted could buckle under load. So, the split tube design solved the problem and didn’t require any additional mass.

Claimed frame weight is under 1,000 grams. There’ll be 11 different frame sizes including three women’s models, with two different fork rakes depending on frame size. No hydraulic or disc brake models yet, but look for high end builds with both Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 and the new SRAM Red 22 when they hit US dealers this summer.

Big thanks to Peloton Magazine for sharing their pics and info with us. Click on over there for more details and an upcoming ride report from the launch!

Comments

bin judgin - 04/16/13 - 1:55pm

thank you cannondale for addressing the 135/68 issue. 11speed and a 68mm shell on a 135 rear is asking for trouble.

cymacyma - 04/16/13 - 1:56pm

Oh… Cannondale kills their BB30… well It’s too old that 68mm width BB… how sad this frame and crankset

wako29 - 04/16/13 - 2:24pm

Eh. I’ll stick with my Domane, thanks.

Fresh - 04/16/13 - 2:36pm

Any word on tire clearance? I believe I read 28′s at Paris Roubaix on this bike but if they wanna market to the “gravel grinder” crowd, they’re gonna need to go slightly bigger than that. 30′s and 32′s in my first two gravel races this year, goin to 38-40′s for Dirty Kanza……

no_saddle_ride - 04/16/13 - 3:13pm

yawn….

Chris - 04/16/13 - 3:59pm

“FSA co-developed a new 25.4mm seatpost diameter standard,”

No they didn’t!

Sorry FSA and Cannondale but 25.4 seatposts have existed for decades. The Vitus 992 used by the Festina team back in the day used them and they’re also very common on English bikes from the 50s-70s (Raleigh, etc).

Just another case of a company taking an old idea and claiming it’s new.

RR - 04/16/13 - 4:04pm

@cymacyma: Luckily, Hollowgrams are completely modular, everything is interchangeable so you can use widen/narrow your crank at will, or go compact or even put it on your mountain bike.

mike - 04/16/13 - 4:29pm

Chris-re-read your quoted text. FSA co-developed A new 25.4mm seatpost. They didn’t develope the first ever 25.4 post, just this one. As far as I am aware this is the only 25.4mm carbon post, the common ones you speak of tend to be thick walled heavy steel posts.

ChrisW - 04/16/13 - 5:40pm

I was also shocked by the phrase “a new 25.4mm seatpost diameter standard” – there is very little that is standard about seatpost sizes. In response to mike’s comments about this being the first 25.4 mm carbon post – I’ve certainly seen a Look 25.4 mm carbon seatpost before.

Also, I agree that with Cannondale’s crank, it’s not too hard to swap in a longer axle, but this does appear to mean that all other BB30 cranks will not work in this frame! It is amazing that the inventor of BB30 appears to be abandoning the “standard” – the SuperSix EVO uses a PressFit BB30 and this bike uses something that doesn’t even have a name yet and won’t work with BB30 cranks!

I’d still prefer to have my old threaded BB back – apparently it’s stiff enough to satisfy Shimano’s and Campagnolo’s engineers and for people like Mark Cavendish to win on, so I think it’s stiff enough for me.

Whhaaa.....? - 04/16/13 - 5:44pm

Huh? 25.4mm = 1 inch. BMX has used this size for years and years. There are Carbon Fiber 1inch BMX posts on the market.

What is unique about this 1″ post?

endurobob - 04/16/13 - 6:26pm

Here we go. People poo-pooing the bike and commenting negatively based on a 3 paragraph blurb and a couple pictures released from Cannondale. How about we wait till its available and test ride it before forming our opinions? I for one am excited about a re-vamp of what I always thought was an outdated model from cdale.

CXisfun - 04/16/13 - 8:12pm

@ Mike: it actually says “FSA co-developed a new 25.4mm seatpost diameter standard” not just “FSA co-developed A new 25.4mm seatpost”.

Re-Read? - 04/16/13 - 8:30pm

So perhaps I’m reading it differently, but I don’t interpret the author trying to imply that FSA nor C-dale claim to have invented the 25.4 mm diameter standard.

In the 2nd paragraph (yeah…all the way up towards the top), the author already emphasizes the term “standards” by placing it in quotes. Not being a big follower of C-dale or their technologies, I interpret this either to be pointed at C-dale’s normal specs for a Synapse frame, or the normal specs for whatever this SAVE technology is (simply another marketing brand I suspect).

Not that it is a new standard to the bike industry as a whole – just a departure from the norm of what C-dale Synapse or the SAVE stuff traditionally used.

Once the reader gets further down into the article (to the primary statement in question), it is apparent the author is talking specifically about the SAVE technology; first referring to changes with their fork, and then referring to the seatpost both in the same paragraph.

In this context all the author is saying is that FSA helped co-develop the seatpost with C-dale and/or the SAVE product line. Does it imply that FSA developed the 25.4 standard to the bike industry as a whole? No. Does it imply that FSA developed the first ever carbon 25.4 seatpost? No.

Perhaps I’m reading it wrong. But I don’t see what all the hulabaloo is about. ATMO.

carl - 04/16/13 - 9:13pm

I don’t give a rats behind who developed what concerning seat post sizes (and yes, 25.4 has been around for decades). It is, however, a very clever way to build a light seat post with some give. Good thinking…. nice.

A. - 04/16/13 - 9:16pm

Actually, LOOK had a 25.4mm carbon seatpost in their 381/481 bikes about 10 years ago and the posts were pretty great. Unlike this one they didn’t look like an afterthought on a frame. Cannondale didn’t do too well on the Slice seatpost either.

I have a hard time taking high-end, expensive Chinese-made bikes seriously. For the prices they are charging for their bikes and frames you can get pretty phenomenal US-made stuff from guys like Parlee, Alchemy, etc, etc, etc. And they aren’t from a company who is actively trying to kill the local bike shops by selling to Walmart, Target, REI, Dick’s, Sports Authority.

Vote with your dollars and buy a better bike from a better company.

Durishin - 04/16/13 - 10:04pm

Five women’s-exclusive saddles, actually. And, while the BB shell width increases, I believe it’s the exact same spindle.

RC - 04/17/13 - 12:40am

How is this a 2013? Not available and 2014 bikes are July. Who cares about seatpost history? Been a while to use a 25.4 on a road bike so might be innovative. As far as distribution goes this world is screwed all the way around. Parlee and Alchemy sell direct to consumers, so how is that better? There are only a few companies who love the old fashioned bike shop as it should be loved and the examples given are not those. No reason to be happy for a China made bike but if we as a country/world paid what bikes are worth they would not be made in China. Supply and demand rules.

gravity - 04/17/13 - 12:50am

@A. – I don’t have a price sheet in front of me, but the last time I looked, the cheapest Parlees cost more than all but the absolute most expensive Cannondale, and are also made in Taiwan. The same appears to be true for Alchemy. I would never own or ride one, but there’s no question that the Cannondale EVO models are rightfully among the best carbon fiber bikes in the world, regardless of their country of origin (which is Taiwan, not China, and is obviously a thorny international relations issue).

As for Cannondale’s business practices, they are owned by a massive sporting conglomerate, but except for their decades-old relationship with REI, they have made no effort whatsoever to sell Cannondales through mass-market channels. My experience with the brand is that they have actually focused more acutely on the LBS post-Dorel than before, when they were too busy trying to make motorcycles or sell King James bikes to focus on their core product

The whole 25.4 seatpost “standard” thing is initially a laugh, but when you stop to think about it, why not? The present standard of 27.2 is a holdover from the days and limitations of steel tubing. If a 25.4 carbon seatpost can yield a more compliant ride with equivalent strength, then it seems fine and dandy. Despite Cannondale’s marketing spew, 25.4 is an existing standard with a decent selection of already-available seatposts, including none of then Bike Rumor’s beloved Thomson.

Bill - 04/17/13 - 1:23am

73mm BB30 is not a new standard, BB30 spec is 68mm shell for road and 73mm for MTB so they are just using the MTB BB30 spec.

noodles - 04/17/13 - 3:18am

oh shut it all you whiny buttheads. nobody cares. either try out some weird new stuff or keep riding your old blown out junk.

Will - 04/17/13 - 4:18am

@noodles: Amen. . .

Nash - 04/17/13 - 5:35am

25.4?? take an inch give a mile.

Durishin - 04/17/13 - 7:46am

Sorry! I meant “sizes.” As in five women’s-exclusive sizes.

Chris - 04/17/13 - 2:57pm

To be clear, I’m generally a fan of Cannondale and could care less what size the seatpost is. What’s annoying is when companies take an old or existing idea and then try to claim it’s something new that they created. At best this is sloppy, at worse it’s theft. The number of old ideas that have been reintroduced in recent years as new “innovations” is pretty amazing. A short list includes external bearing bottom brackets, compact chainrings, integrated headsets, electronic shifting, and hydraulic road brakes. All of these “innovations” have existed in the past and none of them are new despite what companies like to claim.

JohnnyBaby - 04/17/13 - 8:22pm

Before everyone gets too tied up over the seatpost diameter, let’s remember we’re reading Bikerumor and not a PR from Cannondale. It’s a possibility the author had never heard of it and assumed it was new. Stranger things have happened.

Ajax - 04/17/13 - 9:28pm

Please just no more BB30. For the love of god.

charligoodvibes - 04/17/13 - 11:32pm

marketing hoopla, recycled nonsense, this isn’t going to make any of you faster or more comfortable. Who cares. Can we see some real innovation.

AndersB - 04/18/13 - 1:54am

25.4 mm seatpost may not be something new ….. but the Vitus (997, 992 etc) frames did use 25.0, not 25.4.

cymacyma - 04/18/13 - 5:58pm

@RR//Yep… That is only the best luck Cdale can use for this year… me think, hmm….

zambony - 04/18/13 - 8:39pm

longer axe BB30.. isn’t BBRIGHT?

CedG - 04/19/13 - 10:37am

Cannondale, thank you for addressing the graphics in such a tasteful way- PLEASE bring this treatment to the other lines and get rid of the nascar vibe found on the caad10/evo. I remain a fan!

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