Weekend racing or riding to work: why the new Cannondale Synapse could be the only bike you need

It’s a tech-packed speed demon that’s great for newcomers and hardened roadsters alike

Cannondale Synapse
(Image credit: Cannondale)

Looking for a bike that will get you to the office in style, but which can also be used for training, racing and all that fun stuff at the weekend? The latest and greatest Cannondale Synapse makes it easy for everyone to enjoy road cycling. 

When the first Synapse appeared, all of 15 years ago, it was an absolute revelation: a fast, responsive road bike that was actually comfortable to ride. Sales went through the roof, while cases of backache, arse-ache and being vibrated half to death on rougher roads went down. 

Cannondale has continued to refine and improve the Synapse formula and the fifth generation is the latest and greatest. It adds the option of SmartSense – an intelligent lighting and rear radar system powered by one integrated battery making you more visible and aware of whats around you so that you can enjoy the road ahead.

A vision in carbon, the all new, fifth-generation Synapse is supple and comfortable, light and fast. Thanks to a ‘sweet spot’ riding position, it feels fast and responsive, but without putting your body under undue stress. Cannondale’s bike has got enough speed and stiffness to more than satisfy experienced road bikers, but it’s not intimidating to newcomers. Here’s what it can do…

On the commute

Cannondale Synapse

Rear-mounted radar warns you of oncoming traffic

(Image credit: Cannondale)

Approach the new Synapse and it immediately powers up its Lezyne lights and Garmin Varia radar system. That’s thanks to Cannondale’s smartphone app and the marvel of Bluetooth proximity detection. A motion sensor in the wheel means you also have the option of turning on the SmartSense system by pushing or pedalling the bike along. There’s plenty of mounting options to carry additional kit, and it’s one of the only bikes in its category that you can fit mudguards to, for all-weather riding.

The Synapse has always had a great on-road feel, and with the fifth generation, Cannondale has added even more flex to the frame – 8% more vertical flex, to be precise. If the mean streets of your city are uneven and pockmarked with potholes, the Synapse helps to smooth them out.

For commuting, you can take a more upright position but there is plenty of speed available as well – you’ll be able to pull effortlessly away from traffic lights and manoeuvre around or away from problematic patches of traffic.

Cannondale’s Proportional Response frame construction means every rider can get the best performance out of their bike. The bike’s geometry, construction, stiffness and steering can all be adjusted based on your height and centre of gravity. The result is the perfect ride experience, whatever your gender, shape or size.

At the weekend

Cannondale Synapse

The SmartSense battery sits just below one of the water bottle mounts

(Image credit: Cannondale)

Cannondale produces the SystemSix, which just happens to be the world’s fastest road bike. The brand has taken aerodynamic learnings from that speed demon, and incorporated them into the Synapse. As a result, while the bike is comfortable to commute on, it’s also seriously quick. Whether you’re taking on climbs, racing through sportives or pushing your personal best on a training run, the Synapse will not let you down.

SmartSense really comes into its own here too. The high-powered LED front and rear lights from Lezyne have focussed power from dawn til dusk. They can also be used in low-power mode as daytime running lights, keeping you visible and are able to react automatically to changing light levels around you and even glow brighter under braking.

The rear-facing Garmin Varia radar system alerts you to traffic bearing down on you from behind via simple audio and visual cues. On those endless country roads, that is a great boost to your peace of mind, letting you concentrate on powering along the road ahead without constantly looking over your shoulder.

You aren’t just limited to the road, either. With all that flex in the frame, and the ability to accommodate tyres up to 35mm – and mudguards – the Synapse is more than capable of taking on gravel trails, and with two water bottle holders you can stay hydrated all day.

So, whether you’re commuting to work or getting your game face on, Cannondale Synapse is the ultimate bike.

Cannondale Synapse: pricing and availability

Cannondale Synapse with SmartSense

(Image credit: Cycling Weekly)

The new Cannondale Synapse is available in 4 carbon models, priced £2,400 to £9,000 ($2,400 to $9,000 in the USA) in sizes 48 to 61.

SmartSense is featured on carbon models 1, 2, and 3 with a selection of radar, lights and electronic shifting denoted by R, L and E in the model name. 


For 25 years T3 has been the place to go when you need a gadget. From the incredibly useful, to the flat out beautiful T3 has covered it all. We're here to make your life better by bringing you the latest news, reviewing the products you want to buy and hunting for the best deals. You can follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. We also have a monthly magazine which you can buy in newsagents or subscribe to online – print and digital versions available.