CAN­NON­DALE SY­NAPSE SORA AL DISC

£849.99 › Disc-braked en­durance bike built for com­fort rather than speed

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

The Sy­napse is Can­non­dale’s en­durance bike and is the only one of our test bikes with disc brakes, though given the speed at which discs and ro­tors are ap­pear­ing on road bikes, it may only be a mat­ter of time be­fore rim brakes are the out­lier rather than the norm.

With its 28mm tyres, su­per­skinny seat­post, com­fort-boost­ing SAVE (‘mi­cro sus­pen­sion’ in Can­non­dale-speak) frame and fork, this bike is not aimed at the wannabe Mark Cavendish, but for those of us look­ing to rack up the miles with­out numb­ing our nether re­gions.

This model is new for 2018. The frame fea­tures what Can­non­dale calls ‘SAVE Plus, which de­liv­ers ‘even more ver­ti­cal com­pli­ance than Speed SAVE’. In prac­tice this means Can­non­dale’s unique 25.4mm seat­post and a seat-tube that nar­rows up its length, which is de­signed to take the st­ing out of medium to large bumps; and the SAVE fork and rear tri­an­gle, with its slim flat­tened seat­stays that com­bine to soften the blow from small to medium bumps. The seat­stays are de­signed to bend and com­press like a spring, while the curved fork’s off­set dropouts ‘en­able it to of­fer bal­anced ver­ti­cal com­pli­ance with ex­cel­lent steer­ing pre­ci­sion’. Yes, re­ally.

The kit is based around nine­speed Shi­mano Sora levers and de­railleurs, with an FSA chain­set and Pro­max ca­ble-ac­tu­ated disc brakes. Sora works very well, even if doesn’t have the slick shift­ing of 105, and our tester is a huge fan of the cas­sette’s 34-tooth sprocket, of­fer­ing a granny gear that laughs in the face of hills.

If any­thing lets down the com­po­nen­try it’s the disc brakes rather than the driv­e­train. Hy­draulic discs are the bees’ knees for power and con­trol, but the Can­non­dale has less ex­pen­sive and less ef­fec­tive me­chan­i­cal discs. Yes, they brake on

both sides of the large 160mm ro­tors, but there’s lit­tle per­for­mance ben­e­fit over the bet­ter rim brakes here. The main ad­van­tage is that they’ll of­fer im­proved rim life and the abil­ity to run the wheels when they’re kinked.

Where the Can­non­dale does score is in its com­fort. That SAVE tech­nol­ogy, aided by 28mm tyres, means you are never go­ing to feel beaten up. At nearly 11kg you’re not go­ing to be fly­ing, but you are go­ing to be cruis­ing at a very de­cent lick, hour af­ter hour, and com­ing back for more the next day. The ge­om­e­try isn’t mas­sively up­right, with a longish top-tube and only a slightly tall head-tube.

The slightly shal­low head an­gle and over-a-me­tre wheel­base serve to re­lax the ride, though the han­dling from the ta­pered fork is as ac­cu­rate as Can­non­dale claims. Other pos­i­tives are the rear rack mounts and bags of clear­ance for mud­guards with 28mm rub­ber, or 32mm tyres with­out ’guards. You could eas­ily go knob­bly to take on less chal­leng­ing non-tar­mac sur­faces, and even with the Zaf­firo tyres it was fine on far from per­fect Sus­trans routes.

We re­ally en­joyed this Sy­napse, but can’t help but feel that it’s car­ry­ing a lit­tle ex­cess weight, and we’d love hy­draulic discs to make it come alive on tar­mac and track. And though the bailout gear does help on climbs, even that can’t dis­guise the bike’s weight en­tirely.

The kit is based around nine-speed Shi­mano Sora levers and de­railleurs

Be­low Can­non­dale’s 25.4mm seat­post takes the st­ing out of road vi­bra­tions Bot­tom To keep costs down, me­chan­i­cal disc brakes have been used

You could eas­ily go knob­bly tyred to take on less chal­leng­ing non-tar­mac sur­faces

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