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Old 09-29-10, 08:15 AM   #1
horatio 
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Cannondale Synapse alloy - opinions?

I posted a similar thread in the road bike forum but got no response. I'm curious how the alloy Synapse works as an endurance-type bike.

I'm in the market for a new bike, and right now the Specialized Secteur is the front-runner. CF is not an option financially.

All opinions welcome. Thanks.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:14 AM   #2
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Based on experience, I'd avoid aluminum-framed bikes in general, and especially for endurance riding. In general, they tend to be too stiff, both for comfort and efficiency. Have you looked at any steel options?

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Old 09-29-10, 09:48 AM   #3
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Actually, I have a vintage steel road bike: a 12-speed Nishiki. I have considered upgrading it to a modern drivetrain and wheels, but it would cost almost as much as getting a new bike. I'd rather keep it original at this point.

My other ride is a 2005 Trek 1500, which is aluminum. I have read many unfavorable things about aluminum bikes, but to be honest, the Trek is just as comfortable as the Nishiki, and it's certainly more responsive. I think the CF fork and seatpost probably contribute to the good ride quality.

There's also tires and wheels that come into play when determining ride quality.

I'm not afraid of aluminum. I like the stiffness and light weight, and it's more economical than CF or Titanium.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:09 AM   #4
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I have a CF Synapse. I love the geometry and find it very comfortable for century rides. You will share the same geometry on the aluminum. My guess is that you would be happy with the Synapse. Sometimes the geometry contributes more to comfort than frame material. The Synapse has a bit more upright position, which many people find very comfortable for longer rides. Not particularly designed for racing.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:13 AM   #5
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I posted a similar thread in the road bike forum but got no response.
I've found that to be true about many of the other forums. I'm sorry I don't have anything knowledgeable to add about the bikes, although I'm interested in hearing the responses. I was looking at a Secteur a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:10 AM   #6
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I have a CF Synapse. I love the geometry and find it very comfortable for century rides. You will share the same geometry on the aluminum. My guess is that you would be happy with the Synapse. Sometimes the geometry contributes more to comfort than frame material. The Synapse has a bit more upright position, which many people find very comfortable for longer rides. Not particularly designed for racing.
That's what I'm thinking as well, although the Synapse has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the Secteur - about 13mm. Rake and trail are significantly different, though. My LBS says the Synapse will not be as comfortable because it's not as upright WRT the head tube/stem. If they are willing to order one for me I will certainly try it out. The 2011 Synapse 6 retails for less than the 2011 Secteur Elite. Both have Tiagra groupsets.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:38 AM   #7
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I have a CF Synapse. I love the geometry and find it very comfortable for century rides. You will share the same geometry on the aluminum. My guess is that you would be happy with the Synapse. Sometimes the geometry contributes more to comfort than frame material. The Synapse has a bit more upright position, which many people find very comfortable for longer rides. Not particularly designed for racing.
Same here. 4,969 miles on mine, and I love it.
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Old 09-29-10, 12:48 PM   #8
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Cannondales used to have a reputation for a very stiff frame- Mine is but that is a different beastie (Tandem) As far as Al up against CF for stiffness- do not believe all that is said about the materials. I have an Al frame that I will use in preference to CF as it gives a more compliant ride.

CF Forks and seat post make a world of difference on the comfort of a ride. Quality of them makes a bigger difference But wheels. Stiff frames with Radially spoked wheels will not give a comfortable ride. Then there are the tyres- I use 23's but if you want a softer ride- Go to a 28 with lower pressures (Providing the bike will take them)

Tiagra groupset is not bad- but can always be upgraded if required when it wears out.

But the final test is a "TEST RIDE" That will soon tell you if it is the bike for you.
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Old 09-29-10, 01:37 PM   #9
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But the final test is a "TEST RIDE" That will soon tell you if it is the bike for you.
That's next. I'm leaning towards something with Shimano bits. The SRAM set-up on the Secteur Elite I rode was too noisy, although I did like the 34/32 low gear.

Speaking of tires, I've noticed that running 5-lbs under max pressure has a noticeable effect (i.e. improvement) on ride quality for both my bikes.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:49 PM   #10
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horatio, I like the Cannondale, but I'm biased after almost two decades riding them. It'll be very similar to your 1500.

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Old 09-30-10, 06:42 AM   #11
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I just sold my Synapse 7 alloy triple with a CF fork. Very, very comfortable bike. Not your traditional alloy frame due to the seat stay design..it almost feels like it has suspension. It would be a great choice for long distance riding.

I sold it because it was too big for me. If it had been a 54 I would have kept this bike for years.

I replaced it with a Synapse CF 5, and I am loving that as well.

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Old 09-30-10, 06:55 AM   #12
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I just sold my Synapse 7 alloy triple with a CF fork. Very, very comfortable bike. Not your traditional alloy frame due to the seat stay design..it almost feels like it has suspension. It would be a great choice for long distance riding.

Mike
Thanks, Mike. That's the kind of feedback I was seeking.

I'm not in a hurry, so I'll wait and test ride the 2011 Synapse 6 alloy. BTW, I've never heard of the Maddux wheels that come with these bikes. What's your take on the quality? The higher level Secteurs come with Mavic CXP-22 or Shimano WH-500 wheels. I've only read bad things about the Shimano wheels, so I'm thinking I'll need a wheel swap if I go with the Secteur Elite. Will it be similar for the Maddux wheels?

EDIT: Please disregard that last question. I see the Synapse 7 alloys came with the CXP-22 wheels. I'll do a search on Maddux wheels and see what pops up.
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Old 09-30-10, 08:28 AM   #13
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I had heard the warnings about aluminum's stiffness, but I bought an aluminum Specialized Allez anyway. It's been the most comfortable bike I've owned and its stiffness has not bothered me. It does have a carbon seatpost and fork, and a Brooks saddle, which may contribute to its comfort. I wouldn't be afraid of alumininum. I think it's more in the execution than the material. But I'm no expert. I don't even play one on TV. I'm just sayin'.
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Old 09-30-10, 10:33 AM   #14
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I own a Fuji which is an AL/CF design. It has carbon seat stays, fork, and seat post, the rest is aluminum Before buying it I tested a number of bikes, including 4 cro-moly steel bikes. The Fuji had a smoother, more compliant ride than any of the steel bikes.

That said, some of the other AL bikes that I tested were quite stiff & rough riding.
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Old 09-30-10, 10:53 AM   #15
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Thanks, Mike. That's the kind of feedback I was seeking.


EDIT: Please disregard that last question. I see the Synapse 7 alloys came with the CXP-22 wheels. I'll do a search on Maddux wheels and see what pops up.
The CXP22 refers to the rims only. Not a bad rim but it is the build of the wheel that is important.

I am not a lover of OM wheels or wheels that I have never heard of but providing the shop has a good wheelbuilder- get the shop to detension the spokes and retension and retrue before you buy the bike. Any faults from the Machine building of the wheels will be eliminated.
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Old 09-30-10, 11:19 AM   #16
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I am not a lover of OM wheels or wheels that I have never heard of but providing the shop has a good wheelbuilder- get the shop to detension the spokes and retension and retrue before you buy the bike. Any faults from the Machine building of the wheels will be eliminated.
Good advice. I hope to do that myself someday.
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Old 09-30-10, 12:26 PM   #17
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I owned a 2008 Cannondale Synapse aluminum frame model for about a year. I also own titanium, carbon, and steel road bikes. The Cannondale was comfortable and handled nicely. It was made in the USA which I like and was well made. I sold it however as it felt heavy when riding. I would have liked to have tried the Carbon version of the Synapse.
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Old 09-30-10, 01:04 PM   #18
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FWIW, Maddux = Jalco.

http://www.maddux-wheels.com/introduction.html

Guess I'll be working on a wheel swap, either way I go.
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