Cannondale Synapse Carbon 6 Apex £1800

Pothole-proof cruiser of a road bike

BikeRadar score 3/5

The 6 is the entry level carbon Synapse, but uses the same sculpted SAVE PLUS frame as more expensive models. 

  • Highs: Smooth, pothole-proof cruiser ride with the widest off-the-peg spread of gears
  • Lows: Frame weight, flex and heavy wheels all bog it down when you put the boot in
  • Buy if: You let rides unfold at a comfortable pace rather than pushing them along

Developed from the pivotless rear ends of Cannondale’s full suspension mountain bikes, flat sections on the chainstays and seatstays are designed to provide ‘micro suspension’ between you and the road. 

The fork, seat tube and seatpost are designed with dramatically tapered centre sections to increase flex too. The result certainly isolates a decent amount of road shock over rough surfaces and reduces jolting over potholes. 

That’s more impressive considering the decidedly firm ride of the heavy duty Schwalbe Lugano tyres, although their inertia does add a helpful steamroller effect on rough roads compared with lighter rubber.

On the subject of weight, aluminium inserts for the seatpost and the fork’s alloy crown and steerer mean the chassis is heavy. The sturdy Shimano wheels are also weighty, so spinning the Synapse up to speed is a relatively prolonged process.

You need to make the most of the extra-large 32-tooth sprocket on the SRAM WiFli transmission to keep power application smooth rather than jerky in or out of the saddle too; try to push a bigger gear and the SAVE rear end can start to bounce to the rhythm of your cranking, which is really off-putting on the steepest climbs, when it’s better to have all your effort winching you up from the valley floor, not turning your bike into a spacehopper.

While the handling geometry itself is fine, there’s also noticeable distortion between rider and rubber when you start snaking downhill. It’s more of an approximate line vagueness than a treacherous load up and twang trait, but it’s another reason why more aggressive riders should be looking at the racier Super Six at the same price.

But as we’ve said, the extra wheel weight and the frame’s ability to shrug off holes and sustain speed is a real bonus in terms of flatland momentum, so if you’re more into cruising than climbing the Synapse is on your wavelength.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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