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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 06-09-16, 06:40 PM   #1
LUW
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Synapse Roubaix; any BIG differences between them?

Hey guys!

I'm looking forward to buying a "proper" road bike, and both the Synapse and Roubaix 105 models are within my reach - pricewise and local availability. I'm interested in these two bikes specifically because I want a comfortable road bike, something that I can spend hours on the saddle over not exactly perfect roads with comfort. I've been cycling for that last three decades, but my last road bike was some 10 years ago. Since then I've been only on mountain bikes and lately on CX bikes, but I want something specifically for smooth roads.

In terms of price they're basically equivalent, and for my cycling level a 105 groupset delivers a perfect bang-for-the-buck - my CAADX has a 105 drive train and I love the thing. I'm fairly certain that the Synapse accepts 70028C tires, and being quite heavy (105 kg) that would be the first thing I would change. But what is the widest tire that I could use on the Roubaix? And though I know this is hard to answer, what about frame rigidity? How does the Synapse compare to the Roubaix? I want comfort, but like everybody out there, I would not like to waste power on a too-soft frame.

I'm confident both are great bikes, and possibly very equivalent, but any general info on these two models would be greatly appreciated .
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Old 06-09-16, 06:54 PM   #2
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I've only ridden the Roubaix so don't quote me on anything here. There will be some small differences in fit and feel in them. Both are great bikes, both are relaxed geometry, and they'll have the same goupset. If your in a position to go ride both, I'd do that and go with the one that fits you best. If I couldn't make up my mind, I'd get the better looking bike.
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Old 06-09-16, 06:55 PM   #3
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Months ago when I was in the market I was looking at those along with the Domane. I road all three extensively. To me the Synapse felt most like a regular race bike while the Domane and the roubaix were more comfortable with a slight edge going to the Domane.
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Old 06-09-16, 07:11 PM   #4
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At least down here, the (equivalent) Domane is much more expensive, so it's out .

I have the feeling that the big difference between the two would be brand loyalty and overall looks, with just a few minor differences in feel, but I would like to be certain that it's only that. If so, I would go with the one I think is the coolest, and right now I'm not really certain about that .

But what about tires? Could I fit a 28C on both of them?
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Old 06-09-16, 07:16 PM   #5
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Synapse is a tiny bit more agile while the Roubaix has a more comfortable front-end (less road vibrations/buzz felt). Other than that it's up to aesthetics (I prefer the Roubaix there). I have the Diverge and I love it (slightly more sluggish/heavier than the Roubaix but that much more comfortable/stable).
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Old 06-10-16, 01:17 AM   #6
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I have an SL3 roubaix with 28mm tubeless tires... and there is still tons of room.

I bought my wife a synapse (Al) and she loves it. I think they're under rated.

Get the bike from the better shop, whichever that is.
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Old 06-10-16, 01:58 AM   #7
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One is made by cannondale the other by specializdd
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Old 06-10-16, 09:20 AM   #8
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I've ridden older models of both, so it may not be relevant now, but....... I thought the Roubaix was a little more upright out of the box than the synapse and a touch more comfy/cushy on the ride. That said, I bought a used '13 Synapse, it doesn't quite completely isolate you from the road, felt a little more "spirited" when riding. slightly sharper handling, I felt a bit more connected to the road. both are great bikes though. You wouldn't go wrong with either so test ride both and figure out which fits your needs best. as I get a bit older I've considered revisiting the roubaix, but I'm very happy with the synapse after two seasons, it serves my needs well.
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Old 06-10-16, 09:35 AM   #9
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Did you mention whether you are looking at Aluminum or carbon models of each?
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Old 06-10-16, 09:39 AM   #10
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bonz, I've been reading all I can on them and that's the vibe I'm getting: the Roubaix is a bit more comfortable while the Synapse is more firm on good pavement. I'm far from a pro-cyclist and I do not race - I just like to ride bikes - so maybe the Roubaix would be the best bet. All this questioning would be avoided if I could demo them, but living in a small town that unfortunately is a luxury that I don't have access to. I can get them at my LBS but only as an order, and since high-end road bikes are not very popular around here (of all the bikes you see around here 95% are mtb bikes), the owner can't afford to keep a bike like this gathering dust on the show room floor . So here am I.
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Old 06-10-16, 09:41 AM   #11
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Did you mention whether you are looking at Aluminum or carbon models of each?
Carbon. Nothing against Al, I l-o-v-e my CAADX, but I want carbon for the added little bit comfort. And being honest, if I wanted Al I doubt I would look at anything else that not a CAAD.
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Old 06-10-16, 09:52 AM   #12
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You can't beat the cobble gobler seat post in my opinion -- and the Zertz inserts are not night and day, but over a 2 hour ride, the dampening adds up.

That said, They both will come with a 25mm tire -- and the 28 will fit on the Roubaix, from everything I have read. I don't see a reason to change the tires, unless you're going on towpaths with lots of half-buried rocks, etc.

They both have the 50/34 and 11-32, so that's a moot point. Both come with 700x25.

At the end of the day, they are very similar. I don't think you'd be going wrong with either choice. For me, it would come down to the bike shop, and even what color I liked better...or how big or a hurry I was in and if someone had my size/color in stock and the other didn't.
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Old 06-10-16, 09:59 AM   #13
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bonz, I've been reading all I can on them and that's the vibe I'm getting: the Roubaix is a bit more comfortable while the Synapse is more firm on good pavement. I'm far from a pro-cyclist and I do not race - I just like to ride bikes - so maybe the Roubaix would be the best bet. All this questioning would be avoided if I could demo them, but living in a small town that unfortunately is a luxury that I don't have access to. I can get them at my LBS but only as an order, and since high-end road bikes are not very popular around here (of all the bikes you see around here 95% are mtb bikes), the owner can't afford to keep a bike like this gathering dust on the show room floor . So here am I.
haha, I hear ya, makes life difficult when you can't try 'em out. doubt you'd be disappointed by either. they are both more comfy than a standard road bike (Allez or CAAD), so if that's what you're looking for you won't go wrong

I see you're from brazil, I travel to Sao Paulo occasionally for business, love coming there, great food!!
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Old 06-10-16, 10:48 AM   #14
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You can't beat the cobble gobler seat post in my opinion -- and the Zertz inserts are not night and day, but over a 2 hour ride, the dampening adds up.

That said, They both will come with a 25mm tire -- and the 28 will fit on the Roubaix, from everything I have read. I don't see a reason to change the tires, unless you're going on towpaths with lots of half-buried rocks, etc.

They both have the 50/34 and 11-32, so that's a moot point. Both come with 700x25.

At the end of the day, they are very similar. I don't think you'd be going wrong with either choice. For me, it would come down to the bike shop, and even what color I liked better...or how big or a hurry I was in and if someone had my size/color in stock and the other didn't.
You may like the COBL seatpost but the top riders in the world riding for Specialized racing over the harshest cobble stages of the Classics...many on custom Roubaixs with short head tubes...they don't use it. You would think of all that needed it over these brutal 5 hr races, it would be them.
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Old 06-10-16, 10:51 AM   #15
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I can't speak for the Roubaix but I've a Tiagra Synapse. I've really enjoyed it - I picked it because it was a deal on a last-season leftover.

I tried a 28 tire on the rear and it would rub so I went back to a 25. I've been thinking of some of the intermediate sized tires if I could fit a 26/27 in there but 25 works out fine for me so I've not pursued.

I'm around your weight as well and not had a tire issue**. I pump up the rear to about 100-110psi and the front is ~90psi. I believe the manual notes that the bike's rated for a rider up to 275lbs/125kg


**except when new: it seemed to never hold air (20-40psi loss per day). I told the shop when I took it in for a tuneup and they said it was fine. After blowing out the tube on a ride that I neglected to check: I replaced the tube and it's held air just fine since.
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Old 06-10-16, 12:11 PM   #16
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You may like the COBL seatpost but the top riders in the world riding for Specialized racing over the harshest cobble stages of the Classics...many on custom Roubaixs with short head tubes...they don't use it. You would think of all that needed it over these brutal 5 hr races, it would be them.
Maybe a little extra discomfort is ok when you're racing for money. I wouldn't know, I ride for fun and like to be as comfortable as I can, within reason, while doing so.
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Old 06-10-16, 02:58 PM   #17
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bonz, I'm some 400 km South of So Paulo, much colder (today was 0C early morning, and they're forecasting -2C for tomorrow) but with (A LOT!) less traffic .

Despite being ugly as sin, the COBL seatpost would be welcome even if it only offers marginal better comfort. In my experience at least what really changes the game for me in terms of feel is saddle and (especially) tires. And now I'm a bit worried about the Synapse after reading SpikedLemon's report. I was fairly certain that a 28C would fit front and rear, with no issues. The roads that I ride are fairly smooth, but are far from a dream come true in terms of pavement. And of course there's always the getting there, since between my house and the highway I go over a lot of rough asphalt and even cobbles. I'm not expecting a plush ride, I just don't want to feel miserable on the bike.

I was under the impression that a 28C gives the perfect compromise between speed and comfort, so that's why I was looking forward to swapping tires almost before I got the bike out the door of the shop. I'm a bit spoiled by my CAADX, with it's Continentals 35C that offer almost a plush ride even on cobbles (if you can go fast enough), and I'm aware that an endurance bike will NOT be as smooth on the rough, but as I said I don't want to take a beating on every ride.
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Old 06-10-16, 03:23 PM   #18
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I personally have a synapse. The latest versions have a skinny seatpost that REALLY smooths things out. Like literally no vibration can be felt in my rear end, even over cobbles. A little in the hands and feet for sure, but nothing gets past the synapse seatpost. It worked so well, they just put the same seat posts on the EVO Hi Mod this year.
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Old 06-10-16, 03:30 PM   #19
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Carbon. Nothing against Al, I l-o-v-e my CAADX, but I want carbon for the added little bit comfort. And being honest, if I wanted Al I doubt I would look at anything else that not a CAAD.
Then I think you need to go Synapse. The Fuji doesn't come in carbon.
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Old 06-10-16, 05:46 PM   #20
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Then I think you need to go Synapse. The Fuji doesn't come in carbon.
He's talking about the other Roubaix. The company that sues for use of names
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Old 06-10-16, 05:53 PM   #21
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OP, both are great rides, let your LBS decide for you, meaning buy from the shop that you feel comfortable with. Ask for a discount on future purchases when you buy the bike!
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Old 06-10-16, 07:24 PM   #22
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I rode them both (2014 models, 105 level). After short test rides (back-to-back as my LBS has both brands) they seemed almost indistinguishable; something made me like the Cannonade just one iota better. Plus, I liked the color scheme of the Cannondale better, so, that's what I bought.
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Old 06-10-16, 09:29 PM   #23
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Thanks guys, you're making it easier .
No, really: if both are in fact pretty equivalent, I can go with the one I think looks the best . However that may be a problem since both look VERY sexy to my eyes...

And what about the 28C tires? Could anyone please confirm if I can easily use a 28C on both? I haven't got in touch with the SPZ rep yet, but the Cannondale guy said "Yeah, they fit" when I asked. But I would like a more down to earth reference on that since in my past experience something branded as yeah-they-fit may only translate to it will fit in there if you hammer it in with a mallet.
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Old 06-11-16, 03:45 AM   #24
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Thanks guys, you're making it easier .
No, really: if both are in fact pretty equivalent, I can go with the one I think looks the best . However that may be a problem since both look VERY sexy to my eyes...

And what about the 28C tires? Could anyone please confirm if I can easily use a 28C on both? I haven't got in touch with the SPZ rep yet, but the Cannondale guy said "Yeah, they fit" when I asked. But I would like a more down to earth reference on that since in my past experience something branded as yeah-they-fit may only translate to it will fit in there if you hammer it in with a mallet.
They aren't equivalent.
They don't have the same geometry
They don't have equivalent ride quality
They don't handle the same.
They don't use the same bottom bracket. You can actually get a '16 Roubaix...not all model Roubaixs...with an English threaded BB...a very good thing.
They don't use the same seat post. A big deal if you want the best seat post. Synapse has proprietary 25.4mm dia post which severely limits seat post options.
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Old 06-11-16, 05:58 AM   #25
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Not to throw a wrench into your bike selection but have you looked at Cannondale's new slate? I know its an aluminum frame (believe its a Synapse frame) not carbon but with that lefty fork and big tires it should ride like a dream. Plus, you'd have the coolest bike in town with the best of both worlds.

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