New Cannondale Synapse – The bike of the future?

The Cannondale Synapse has been around for a good few years. It is one of our best selling road bikes and is super popular with reviewers and bike journalists. These ‘do it all’ road bikes are fast, but also tough enough to handle rough UK roads and comfortable enough for all day rides. The new Synapse doesn’t mess with that formula but it does add a level of extra technology on top.

SmartSense RLE

The new Synapse comes with the SmartSense system built in. This brings together a number of existing technologies but properly integrates them into 1 system and allows them all to be powered off a single integrated battery. As well as being a neater system SmartSense also hooks into the Cannondale App so you can record rides, update settings and tune the system to how you want it to work. The exact elements you get on each model depend on the RLE letters.

R = Radar – New Synapse models with the R in their name come with built in rear facing radar. This is a Garmin made unit with can detect cars approaching from the rear and give you a subtle warning with lights. This is really helpful when changing lanes or approaching junctions so you can focus on what’s ahead of you without having to crane your neck around to check behind.

L = Lights – These are built in lights from Lezyne which can switch on automatically when you start riding your bike but can also be controlled from the app.

E = Electronic Shifting – These bikes come with the latest electronic gearing systems from Shimano.

The Garmin head unit and integrated front light from an RL level bike

So, on a top of the range bike like the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE you are getting built in Garmin radar, built in Lezyne lights and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting all powered from a single battery. Together this should allow you to be more confident riding in traffic due to increased visibility from the lights and increased awareness from the radar.

A new approach from Cannondale

SmartSense is an interesting change from Cannondale. They have been known in the past for their, sometimes a little crazy, innovation. Lefty forks, HeadShocks and weird new bottom bracket standards were all a part of the Cannondale journey and part of the reason they are such an exciting brand.

With SmartSense Cannondale are using off the shelf parts from other brands like Garmin and Lezyne but integrating them together in a new way. They’ve also got rid of some of the weirdness occasionally found on other Cannondale bikes. The new Synapse comes with a standard thru-axle which will fit most turbo trainers without needing an adaptor. Threaded bottom brackets replace push fit and many of the bikes now come with Shimano cranks rather than Cannondale’s own brand ones. All of this should make the bikes easier to live with and to service.

Cannondale liken the new Synapse to a modern car. Pretty much any car you buy now will come with automatic lights, parking sensors and Sat Nav. The new Synapse is the same. It comes out of the box with automatic lights, rear facing radar and electronic gearing. All controlled from the touch of a button. It’s what you’d expect a modern bike to be.