Cycling Plus’ 2014 Bike of the Year: The Cannondale Synapse 5. So what makes it a worthy winner?
The engineers at Cannondale have taken the very best from a race bike, and by that we mean handling, agility, efficiency, and just out and out pace, and they have blended that with comfort levels that you rarely see on a bike this much fun and this aggressive.
Starting out at the front. Cannondale has reduced the head tube so it sits in the middle of the old Synapse and Cannondale’s racing bikes. Moving on to the fork. It is slightly flared and the save plus design is there to take out all the bumps, and does so really successfully.
On the backend is where Cannondale has done most of their work. Around the bottom bracket, you will notice what Cannondale is calling the power pyramid, where the seat tube effectively separates out the bottom, creating a really nice, super stiff, structure. The bottom bracket itself is a new variation on the BB30 standard that Cannondale created. The new BB30a is slightly wider, which has led to massive improvements in all out stiffness. In addition to the bike being super comfortable, all your power when pedaling is going directly through with no unwanted flex. The seat tube tapers as it moves towards the top tube junction. The seat post is slimmer than normal which adds to the compliance of the bike making it very comfortable.
All of the compliance and comfort of the bike makes skeptics think it could be boring, but the opposite is true. All of the comfort is wrapped up in a bike that handles brilliantly. It is one of the fastest descending bikes we have ever tried. Out of all the bikes tested for bike of the year, the Cannondale posted the fastest descending time and was smooth going over all the bumps of the road.
We’ve taken this bike out in the worst weather and on barely rideable roads, and through it all the bike has been unfazed and has performed wonderfully. It is a perfect companion if you want to get somewhere quickly and comfortably. Not only is this an easy choice for bike of the year, but it will change how bikes are designed forever.
This one is a real game changer.
*The complete bike offered by Cannondale comes with Shimano 105 components.