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Cannondale Synapse 2022: Long haul made longer with enhanced comfort and safety features

Will Strickson
18 Jan 2022

With adjusted geometry and the launch of the new SmartSense system, the Synapse is becoming all about ride experience

Cannondale has launched the latest iteration of its endurance specialist Synapse bike with its relaxed geometry pushed even further, a hint at all-road and a new innovative safety system, SmartSense.

First released 15 years ago, when the brand claims it 'established the endurance bike category', the Synapse finds itself at the business end of the cyclical nature of fashion, with comfort and versatility being thrust front and centre by both manufacturers and riders.

This new generation doubles down on what has made it so popular – with a more upright riding position and a claimed 8% increase in compliance – while plucking features such as improved aerodynamics from its high performance siblings like the SystemSix.

That makes the Synapse, with its clearance for 35mm tyres, a wealth of mounts, and a Shimano GRX-specced option a touring specialist but a solid all-round choice.

Cannondale Synapse 2022 features and SmartSense technology

Obviously the priority is still a comfortable and rewarding ride feel, so it has been tailored for vibration damping and easy handling with a lightweight carbon frame and 30mm tyres fitted on all models, plus built-in flexibility in the rear triangle, seat tube and seatpost, which keeps both weight and road chatter down.

Cannondale has also been in the lab to improve safety in the form of its new SmartSense system of integrated lights and a radar so you're always aware of vehicles around you.

SmartSense has several elements that come with the bike despite being developed by other brands: the Garmin Varia Radar and Core Battery, the Lezyne Front and Rear Daytime Running Lights and the Cannondale Wheel Sensor.

When paired with the Cannondale app, they work to keep you visible to other road users and keep other road users visible to you through audible and visual alerts on your phone or bike computer.

The rear-facing radar can tell you the speed, distance and number of approaching vehicles, the battery – which you can see on the down tube – can charge all the necessary tech and doubles up as a USB-C charger when not on the bike, the lights do what they say on the tin while also adjusting brightness for changing visibility and offering a brake alert. The Wheel Sensor ensures that SmartSense is automatically activated as soon as the front wheel starts spinning, so you don't have to remember to switch it on.

It's a bike primed for ultra-distance riding or bike touring when extended days and periods in the saddle don't impact the quality of your ride.

Cannondale Synapse 2022 geometry

A system called Proportional Response is used by Cannondale to try to achieve the right ride feel for everyone, no matter their height – as long as they can ride sizes 48-61 – meaning each size should have unique geometry, build, stiffness and steering.

Cannondale Synapse 2022 models

Not all specs get all the features as you'd expect and that goes for SmartSense too as the lower-end builds aren't equipped with the radar.

The two top specced bikes also feature Cannondale's HollowGram 45 SL KNØT carbon wheels with 45mm deep rims for extra aerodnyamics and better comfort and grip, as well as the SAVE handlebar, which the brand says adds extra damping capability and maintains two-piece bar and stem adjustability while adopting the integrated aesthetics of a one-piece build.

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE

  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, 2×12, hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels: HollowGram 45 SL KNØT carbon, 700×30c Vittoria Corsa tan wall tyres
  • SmartSense: Lights and radar
  • Colours: Stealth Gray with Mercury
  • Price: £9,000

Cannondale Synapse Carbon LTD RLE

  • Groupset: Shimano GRX Di2, 2×11, hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels: HollowGram 45 KNØT carbon, 700×30c WTB Exposure TCS tyres
  • SmartSense: Lights and radar
  • Colours: Gunmetal Green
  • Price: £6,750

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 2 RLE

  • Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2, 2×12, hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels: Fulcrum Rapid Red 500, 700×30c Vittoria Rubino Pro Bright Black reflective tyres
  • SmartSense: Lights and radar
  • Colours: Cool Mint, Charcoal Gray, Quicksand (above)
  • Price: £5,800

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 2 RL

  • Groupset: Shimano Ultegra, 2×11, hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels: Fulcrum Rapid Red 900, 700×30c Vittoria Rubino Pro Bright Black reflective tyres
  • SmartSense: Lights and radar
  • Colours: Black Pearl, Beetle Green (above, a.k.a. RIP Team Liquigas)
  • Price: £4,000

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 L

  • Groupset: Shimano 105, 2×11, hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels: RD 2.1, 700×30c Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Reflective tyres
  • SmartSense: Lights
  • Colours: Purple Haze (above), Jet Black, Black Cherry
  • Price: £3,200

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4

  • Groupset: Shimano Tiagra 2×10
  • Wheels: RD, Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Graphene 2.0 tyres
  • Colours: black, rose (above)
  • Price: £2,400

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