First ride: Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Ultegra Disc (2015)


Maybe they weren’t exactly what the doctor prescribed when they first appeared, but endurance road bikes shaped up with every new model year. And they didn’t only improve in all respects, but they also entered the line-ups of more and more manufacturers, especially premium ones. Cannondale fits this last description perfectly, and having an entire pro team to test and develop their road bikes, the final product couldn’t leave too much to be desired. Is this the case of the Synapse Hi-Mod Ultegra Disc as well?


Synapse Hi-Mod Ultegra Disc sits right below the endurance line’s top notch model, therefore sharing the same frame with it, which is equipped with some lower components that reduce the price to an around-4.000 euro level. Considering Shimano Ultegra’s credentials, which has only weight as a penalty compared to top-end groupsets, since the functioning respects a clock-work precision, we dare say that the drawback is minimal, save for the situation of those who want the very best things money can buy. Anyway, simply using this set might be the key to melting even the most fierce skeptics’ hearts, once they start riding. Quality speaks for itself, after all.


We can’t praise too much the brakes present on the Synapse we rode, however, but there is a catch. Shimano’s BR-CX77 mechanical disc brakes present on the test bike were just a subtitute, as the stock bicycles will feature the same manufacturer’s hydraulic RS685. This also means that the specific dual-control levers will be present, yet there’s no reason for distress, as Shimano worked hard on reducing differences between the two versions up to the point were they are almost alike. Still, if you’ll come upon the CX77s, you should know that we expected more efficient action from them, and we could do just fine without the squeaky noises.

Synapse Hi-Mod Ultegra Disc features great specifications, but there is something even more mouth-watering than them: the frameset. It’s simple and it’s also a great feast for the eyes to witness Cannondales’s bike manufacturing skills at work. They’re all there: elaborate tube designs and shapes, attention to details, charming inner cable routing, and a geometry that makes riding feel like hovering over the road. Of course, we have to also pay credit to the SAVE Plus suspension system, and to the 28mm-wide tires installed, which deliver a great riding experience even if you’re not a endurance road bike fan.