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  1. #1
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    Cannondale Synapse v. Specialized Roubaix

    I've pretty much decided, maybe irrationally, to get a new carbon bike. I've given my Specialized Sequoia to my wife, and though I love my steel Bianchi, I guess I'm just a bike ****. I'm not a racer, but I'm doing a fair number of long rides, working up to a century in a couple of weeks, and I'm looking for a combination of light weight, comfort, speed, and stability.

    My lbs is in the process of finding a Roubaix Comp or Elite in my size so I can test it against a Cannondale Synapse they already have in stock. Before I do the test, I'd appreciate any opinions you guys may have about this choice, given my riding style, age, and size (67; 6'2", 190)

    Thanks,

    Bernie
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  2. #2
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    I bought the Synapse this spring, I've put over 3000 miles on it so far, which includes 12 century rides. The reason I selected the Synapse was because I like to do long rides, and the geometry seemed perfect for me. I was right, this is the most comfortable bike I've ever owned, I can cruise at 18 - 19 mph all day. It dosen't matter what the roads are like, the carbon frame design soaks up vibration, and keeps it off your hands, arms and butt, and it handles well, very stable ride. I just did a 200 mile ride over two days, it was no problem what so ever getting back on the bike on the second morning, and I felt great at the finish also.
    My advice, take both bikes on the same 65 -70 mile ride, see how you feel after each ride then decide. I am very satisfied with my Cannondale, can't say enough good things about it.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  3. #3
    Senior Member VT Biker's Avatar
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    Get the Synapse. It is just a much better frame in terms of the construction. Yes - they are made in Asia (unlike the System Six and Six 13.). Unless you are planning on racing (and when I say racing, I mean racing in a CAT # race), then either frame will work. However, the Synapse is a much better frame in terms of design and construction.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by VT Biker
    However, the Synapse is a much better frame in terms of design and construction.
    How do you work that out?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by VT Biker
    However, the Synapse is a much better frame in terms of design and construction.
    You can find a million Roubaix enthusiasts that would call BS on this one. Both manufacturers are reputable and both bikes are made to do exactly what you're looking for in a bike. Sounds like you've done your research and taking each for a test ride will answer your question for you. Which level are you looking at for the Synapse? The DA model has some sweet components with the Kwing and Mavic SLs, if you're looking at that level I would have to lean towards Cdale just for the bling factor.

  6. #6
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    Cannondale Synapse v. Specialized Roubaix
    I was in an LBS recently and the guy working there would tell you that both these frames come from the same factory. While I had a hard time believing it, he claimed all Carbon frames come from one of two factories, and one of those is in Wisconsin.

    By the way, that shop sold Motobecane, Fuji, Windsor, and another brand. Perhaps all his brands came from the same factory.

  7. #7
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    Get a Trek or Giant
    2009 Pinarello Prince | 2007 Time VXRS Ulteam | 2006 Colnago President
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    2008 DeSalvo 29er, single speed rigid | 2004 Santa Cruz Superlight | 2003 Cannondale Jekyll 1000

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapidcarbon
    Get a Trek or Giant
    I like that reply. While i am partial to Trek because I have been riding one for 18 years, I was looking at the Giant OCR and TCR's today, and they looked great. A little less expensive than the Trek. The Giant shop also sold FELT, and they were nice too.

    Kid told me that Giant has a lifetime warranty on the frame, like Trek. He said he believes the FELT does too, but wasnt sure.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badsac
    How do you work that out?
    Because the Synapse is made by Giant in Taiwan, the Synapse is a high end Giant in the long run.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kleng
    Because the Synapse is made by Giant in Taiwan, the Synapse is a high end Giant in the long run.
    So what makes that special?

  11. #11
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badsac
    So what makes that special?
    Giant manufacturing techniques and quality control.
    www.magentareign.com, I'm pretty sure they would apply the same qualities to all the carbon bikes they produce.

  12. #12
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azwhelan
    You can find a million Roubaix enthusiasts that would call BS on this one.
    Ok I will be the first one to set up.

    There is no point saying the Synapse is better in every way than the Roubaix because it simply isn't true. The fact is that they are both top notch bikes that are slightly different. The Synapse is a little stiffer in the rear end and a little racier in the front and (thus making it a little racier overall) but still is more upright than a CAAD8 or Six13 and more compliant as well. Plus it does a good job of absorbing the road vibrations. The Roubaix is a little slower in the handling and the rear triangle is a little more vertically compliant. This makes the Roubaix a little less racy than the Synapse but it does a little bit better job absorbing the bumps in the road and is just slightly more stable.

    IMO both bikes are great and it all comes down to fit and personal preference. I went with the Roubaix over the Synapse for maybe not the best reasons, I could sell the slightly higher parts spec for more (since I only wanted the frame anyway) and I liked the paint job. To me that is what it came down to...I could have been happy on either bike.
    The views expressed by this poster do not reflect the views of BikeForums.net.

  13. #13
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by not2fast
    I was in an LBS recently and the guy working there would tell you that both these frames come from the same factory. While I had a hard time believing it, he claimed all Carbon frames come from one of two factories, and one of those is in Wisconsin.

    By the way, that shop sold Motobecane, Fuji, Windsor, and another brand. Perhaps all his brands came from the same factory.
    hmmmm...he might want to tell the Look frame people in France and Algeria about that. They might be surprised. And the carbon frame manufacturing that Serotta does with the Mei Vici in Saratoga Springs.

    The amount of misinformation in this thread is astounding.
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  14. #14
    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    The Synapse is a little stiffer in the rear end and a little racier in the front and (thus making it a little racier overall) but still is more upright than a CAAD8 or Six13 and more compliant as well. Plus it does a good job of absorbing the road vibrations. The Roubaix is a little slower in the handling and the rear triangle is a little more vertically compliant. This makes the Roubaix a little less racy than the Synapse but it does a little bit better job absorbing the bumps in the road and is just slightly more stable.

    That's pretty much verbatim what my LBS guy told me when I was shopping earlier this year. Since I was looking for something more towards the performance end of the spectrum (without going to a full-on aggressive race geometry) I decided to take the Roubaix out of consideration. Narrowed it down to the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 2, the Giant TCR Comp 1, & the Kestrel Talon.

    Synapse won. Gorgeously smooth ride: it glides like a hovercraft on a cushion of air, corners like it's on rails, and has the most astoundingly responsive acceleration of any bike I've ever ridden. I'm very happy with my Synapse.

  15. #15
    Just do it!! pitchn23's Avatar
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    I just bought the Synapse and I love it.! IT pretty much has been described here as a very comfortable bike and one that absorbs the vibrations very well!! I am so happy with this bike - go with what is most comfortable!!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    Ok I will be the first one to set up.

    There is no point saying the Synapse is better in every way than the Roubaix because it simply isn't true. The fact is that they are both top notch bikes that are slightly different. The Synapse is a little stiffer in the rear end and a little racier in the front and (thus making it a little racier overall) but still is more upright than a CAAD8 or Six13 and more compliant as well. Plus it does a good job of absorbing the road vibrations. The Roubaix is a little slower in the handling and the rear triangle is a little more vertically compliant. This makes the Roubaix a little less racy than the Synapse but it does a little bit better job absorbing the bumps in the road and is just slightly more stable.

    IMO both bikes are great and it all comes down to fit and personal preference. I went with the Roubaix over the Synapse for maybe not the best reasons, I could sell the slightly higher parts spec for more (since I only wanted the frame anyway) and I liked the paint job. To me that is what it came down to...I could have been happy on either bike.
    I rode both of these back to back last night, and this was my exact observation. I went home with the Roubaix. It's personal preference for sure, but I was willing to give up a minute amount of handling for a significant gain in comfort.

    Just try them both. They were different enough for me to tell fairly quickly which one I liked better.

  17. #17
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your advice. I test-rode both bikes. Both were 2006 on sale for good prices. As Grasschopper and buzzwire said, the Synapse is just a tad racier, the Roubaix a bit more stable. Both fine bikes. But the Roubaix just fit me better. I felt too stretched out on the Synapse, and the saddle was too far above the bar.

    Too be sure, playing with stems, etc. could have fixed it. But the Roubaix was fine just as is, and the lbs gave me a great deal on it. So it's mine, and I love it.

    Thanks again to all.

    Bernie
    Specialized Roubaix Pro
    Specialized Sequoia Elite

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kleng
    Because the Synapse is made by Giant in Taiwan, the Synapse is a high end Giant in the long run.
    No it's not. Besides the Synapse has a different geometry to the Giant TCR and OCR.

  19. #19
    Senior Member kergin's Avatar
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    I'm sure I read a thread where the question of Cannondale's Synapse manufacturing location came up. At first it was thought they were made by Giant, but then it was determined that wasn't the case. Regardless, I don't understand these holy wars about the origins of bike frames. If it does the job, and has the warranty to back up the stated quality, who cares?

  20. #20
    IF/Parlee/Sachs/Legend ST onkey's Avatar
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    Get the Specialized.

    I'm surprised Crank-and-Fail is still in business.

  21. #21
    Senior Member kleng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahv
    No it's not. Besides the Synapse has a different geometry to the Giant TCR and OCR.
    What I am refering to is the quality control and production methods, their obviously not the same bike, I'm riding a TCR Advanced Team and its nothing like the the Synapse which is more upright and has a longer wheelbase and a totally different design concept.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzwire
    I rode both of these back to back last night, and this was my exact observation. I went home with the Roubaix. It's personal preference for sure, but I was willing to give up a minute amount of handling for a significant gain in comfort.

    Just try them both. They were different enough for me to tell fairly quickly which one I liked better.
    I agree w/ Buzzwire and the previous quote from Grasschopper that the bikes are quite different and worth a ride for comparison purposes.

    I rode both bikes and threw in a Six13 since I read so many good comments about that bike. All three are great bikes and there are supporters for each of them here for good reason.

    The Synapse was my first choice while I was researching the bikes but before I had ridden them. After riding the Synapse, I found I liked it, but didn't love it and if I was going to shell out $4K for a bike I better damn sure love it. The Synapse was very fast and cornered well with decent damping from the frame geometry. The bottom bracket was stiff and the bike climbed very well. It handled smoothly in turns but overall I found the bike's response sluggish, almost numb, with less road feel than I wanted. Worst of all, at the end of a 50 Mi. ride, I wasn't comfortable, at least not the way I wanted to be on a bike of this type. My hands hurt, my shoulders hurt. I was ready to get off, and the next day I was not thinking about getting back on.

    Make no mistake; the bike was a beauty. When my LBS rolled out a clear coat CF everyone in the store stopped to look at it and I almost bought it on the spot. The ride, however, was much less than I hoped for.

    I tried the Six13 with no expectation of riding a more comfortable bike, but I was curious about the difference in handling and all the support from BFers. The ride quality was surprisingly different considering how similar the frame geometry is between the two bikes in the larger sizes. The Six13 was more responsive in a way I appreciated and every bit as fast without a whole lot of sacrifice in comfort. Of note, the Six13 was a 58cm and I need a 60 cm frame. I thought the Six13 had a similar numbness to it which I did not like and it was a hand full on steep descents.

    I came to the 'dales wanting to like them and just didn't.

    On the other hand, I approached the Specialized Roubaix with suspicion and trepidation. I didn't like the way Specialized bikes look and the Zertz selling point struck me as ridiculous. The Zertz still strikes me as silly and a replacement problem down the road, but that bike did the right thing by me. I knew almost instantly when I got on the Roubaix that I was going to buy the bike. It felt right from the get go and it kept confirming first impressions the more I rode it. It was stable, it was fast, it was comfortable. It felt right.

    I would give the C'Dales an edge in speed, but only a slight one. The Dales might have been better climbers, but again the difference was small. The Roubaix had much better road feel, was stable and predictable in all conditions, and I actually ended up riding a lot longer on my test ride because the bike felt so comfortable and I didn't want to get off.

    I am a non-racer now, but was one once and am currently rebuilding a full Campi Richard Sachs that I raced way back when. My wife calls it the Dick Sack. I had it out for its first spin in a long time today and wondered why I was considering a new bike, but it was a short ride and the bike still needs work, but it surprised me how well it rode after a change of rubber, and a little rag and oil.

    I have been out of the game for a while which is why I started looking at a new bike, then today I was thinking of all the ways I could goose up the RS to make it a better ride for my 54 year-old-body. It has been a revelation to see some of you guys post your bike inventory. I guess I am caught between turning the RS into a turned-on bike gadget or keeping it old school and adding (to my wife's chagrin) a Roubaix Pro to a bike inventory that would fill none of you with envy. I have trouble enough sneaking my sail inventory past her.

    Special thanks to Grasschopper, Bob Ross, Patentcad and Biker 7 for their insights.

    Jim

  23. #23
    Ca-na-da? krazyderek's Avatar
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    Just finished a century today on my synapse.

    After commuting for 2 weeks on my trusty r1000, the synapse once again took my breath away and felt smooth as ridding a cloud, even after 4 hrs in the saddle (same saddle on both bikes). I've never ridden specialized bikes, but the synapse is light (17.5lbs?) stiff climber, and a smooth rider. I'd recommend it.
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  24. #24
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    Your plans to test ride both is the only way to go. If your LBS can't get the other bike, look around and find someplace with one to test ride.

    Bernmart mentioned he felt too stretched out on the Synapse and the saddle was too fra above the bar. That is ironic because I saw someone stopped yesterday with a Synapse. He wasn't much taller than me but rode a 63cm. His seat post was really extended high, the saddle had the nose tilted down, and he had quite a few spacers on the steerer. Either he's the ideal candidate for a custom frame, someone fitted him that didn't know what they were doing, or the Synapse comes with some weird geometry. I assume it's one of the first.

    But try both out and have fun doing it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven
    But try both out and have fun doing it.
    Most important advice. FWIW I had my heart set on a Synapse last winter. If it wasn't for the Performance bike closeout deals on Giant, I would probably be riding the synapse now.

    That being said, my Giant OCR is the MOST comfortable bike I have ever ridden.

    -DD

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