Cannondale recently updated its Synapse line with new geometry and frame construction, and the Hi-Mod Disc builds on that racier endurance configuration with an all-new layup, along with disc-specific ENVE carbon rims and Shimano electronic shifting with hydraulic braking.
All the 2014 Cannondale Synapse bikes feature what the company calls SAVE Plus, a three-point comfort system that includes a particular layup, highly sculpted and compliant chainstays and seatstays, and a narrow 25.4mm seatpost in a compliant seat tube. Cannondale says this system provides twice the give of a similarly sized bike (even another Cannondale) with the same seat height.
BikeRadar has tested both the 2013 and 2014 Synapse bikes, and the difference in comfort is substantial. Our senior road technical editor gave the 2014 Synapse a rare five-star review.
The most notable frame feature of the 2014 Synapse line is the split lower seat tube, which Cannondale calls the ‘power pyramid’. The reasoning for this, aside from the visual differentiation, is to increase torsional stiffness at the bottom bracket without increasing weight.
Cannondale claims the ‘power pyramid' design bolsters stiffness
"The material on the outside of the tube contributes more to the stiffness of the frame," Cannondale's road marketing manager, Jonathan Geran, told BikeRadar. "Removing material from the center of the tube allows us to add more on the outside without adding more material overall to the frame."
As if there weren’t already enough bottom bracket standards, this bike has what Cannondale calls BB30A – a BB30 with the left side being 5mm wider (the ‘A’ is for asymmetric). The bike has the same Q-factor as earlier models.
Disc-specific features, aka the 'Reach Around'
Although the best manufacturers have figured out solutions for rim braking on carbon clinchers, these involve adding material – and therefore weight – to the rims compared to tubulars. With disc brake bikes, the friction and heat are removed from the rims and the lightweight promise of carbon hoops can be delivered.
For the Synapse Hi-Mod Disc, Cannondale worked with ENVE for disc-specific rims. ENVE is selling the disc-specific carbon road rims to anyone now, but it appears that Cannondale is the first major manufacturer to spec them.
The unique mounting bracket for the rear brake caliper positions the caliper further back
Adding disc brakes to road bikes means reworking the layup of the frame, and especially the fork, but Cannondale has added a frame extension to move the rear caliper further back towards the rear axle. The name for this curved caliper mount? The Reach Around.
Cannondale engineers wanted to avoid mounting the caliper on the seatstay because the strengthening required would compromise compliance, Geran said. Similarly, moving the caliper somewhat off the chainstay allows for better vertical flex of those stays.
Cannondale also has an alloy version of the Synapse Disc, which has a triple crank on the continental European model and a compact crank on the North American bike.
For more information see www.cannondale.com.