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Return To Biking With: Synapse 2 LE, Endurace CF 7 Di2, or Caledonia?

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Return To Biking With: Synapse 2 LE, Endurace CF 7 Di2, or Caledonia?

Old 02-07-24, 01:37 AM
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Return To Biking With: Synapse 2 LE, Endurace CF 7 Di2, or Caledonia?

I just turned 55 and I want to start getting into biking again. We used to bike 10-20 miles a few times a week with a small group of friends but stopped 25+ years ago. Although I still have my 1985 Nishiki road bike, I believe I am due for an upgrade.


On one hand, I want to be prudent and buy an AL bike and try it out for a year before I spring up for something better; on the other hand, I feel that buying a nicer bike now will make me want to ride it more and I will have more fun in the process. The below bikes are around $2,500-$3,000, which is around the maximum I want to spend for now.


CANNONDALE Synapse 2 LE. (has the Shimano 105 Di set)

CANYON Endurace CF7 Di2 (has the 105 Di set)

CERVELO Caledonia 105 (not Di). (Di's price is out of my range)


My main concern is that it is as comfortable as it could be but at the same time agile and fast enough for me to keep up with the local bike club rides. I am partial to the Shimano Di set and also I want hydraulic brakes.


Which one would you choose? Is there another one, I should consider?


Thank you for your guidance on this. Hope to be a regular contributor once I start riding again.

Neal

Last edited by narocan; 02-07-24 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 02-07-24, 05:37 AM
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My vote goes to Canyon.

Forget AL, get CF. Best case, you get to keep it for a long period of time. Worst case, you can sell it (there is a better market for CF bikes than AL. Well, at least where I live).
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Old 02-07-24, 06:36 AM
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I went with the Endurace, it's a very comfortable and fast bike. I would also look at the Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix.
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Old 02-07-24, 03:12 PM
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Buy the bike that -- when the contact points are all properly adjusted -- fits you best.
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Old 02-07-24, 03:27 PM
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Thank you for the reply.

Only if I can find one in stock. They absolutely have nothing in my size other than the real high end ones.
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Old 02-07-24, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
I went with the Endurace, it's a very comfortable and fast bike. I would also look at the Trek Domane and Specialized Roubaix.
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Thank you for the suggestion. I am trying to find an Endurace in my size. It looks like they will be available to purchase in March.
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Old 02-07-24, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Buy the bike that -- when the contact points are all properly adjusted -- fits you best.
The issue is, I won't really know which bike suits me best until I've had a chance to ride it for a bit and tweak it to just how I like it. It's kind of a catch-22, especially with the Canyon bikes since you have to order them online and then wait for them to show up.

As for the other brands like Cannondale, Trek, Cervelo, and Specialized, I'm not sure if they'll let me return the bike for a full refund after I've used it, or if they'll just give me store credit to pick out another one. I'll have to check with them to see what's possible.
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Old 02-07-24, 04:17 PM
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I would go with the Canyon (I'm biased) and ride the Nishiki until then. In fact, I would ride the neighbor kids BMX if that was all I could get my hands on. But I really like the Canyon Endurace
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Old 02-07-24, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by narocan
The issue is, I won't really know which bike suits me best until I've had a chance to ride it for a bit and tweak it to just how I like it.
Try riding your vintage Nishiki for a few miles (e.g. 5 miles) while making tweaks to the touch points to at least get an idea of how it now fits you and how you would prefer your new bike to fit in comparison to your old one. Then you can measure the old bike and/or take it with you to shop for new bike. Or you can just get a bike fit, not necessarily a full blown one, but detailed measurements of your inseam, torso, and arm lengths. REI did this, then setup two adjacent sizes of the same bike for me to try.

Originally Posted by narocan
It's kind of a catch-22, especially with the Canyon bikes since you have to order them online and then wait for them to show up.
I would not buy a bike online unless I already have an existing bike totally dialed-in fit-wise as a basis for comparison.

Originally Posted by narocan
As for the other brands like Cannondale, Trek, Cervelo, and Specialized, I'm not sure if they'll let me return the bike for a full refund after I've used it, or if they'll just give me store credit to pick out another one. I'll have to check with them to see what's possible.
Most of the big brand dealers will let you test ride around the block. But a return after multiple days may require a restocking fee, which is only fair. Another option is to see which dealer also offers bike rental and rent one for a day or two; often the dealer credits the rental charge toward your purchase if made within a reasonable period, e.g., two weeks.

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Old 02-07-24, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast
I would go with the Canyon (I'm biased) and ride the Nishiki until then. In fact, I would ride the neighbor kids BMX if that was all I could get my hands on. But I really like the Canyon Endurace
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Old 02-07-24, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Try riding your vintage Nishiki for a few miles (e.g. 5 miles) while making tweaks to the touch points to at least get an idea of how it now fits you and how you would prefer your new bike to fit in comparison to your old one. Then you can measure the old bike and/or take it with you to shop for new bike. Or you can just get a bike fit, not necessarily a full blown one, but detailed measurements of your inseam, torso, and arm lengths. REI did this, then setup two adjacent sizes of the same bike for me to try.



I would not buy a bike online unless I already have an existing bike totally dialed-in fit-wise as a basis for comparison.



Most of the big brand dealers will let you test ride around the block. But a return after multiple days may require a restocking fee, which is only fair. Another option is to see which dealer also offers bike rental and rent one for a day or two; often the dealer credits the rental charge toward your purchase if made within a reasonable period, e.g., two weeks.
Thank you.

There is an REI and Trek store close by. Let me try to get a fit and also see if I can rent.
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Old 02-07-24, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by narocan
Thank you.

There is an REI and Trek store close by. Let me try to get a fit and also see if I can rent.
Good luck. The time is definitely ripe for an upgrade.

At REI you are limited to Cannondale, but the Synapse is a great bike, and ticks many boxes as a first road bike, including the lack of cables and hoses through the stem and headset, so you can conveniently tweak its front end fit to your heart's content.
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Old 02-07-24, 07:15 PM
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I just went through something just like you. I chose the Giant Defy after test riding the, TCR, Domane, Emonda Synapse, Roubaix, and Road Machine. I am coming back after 2 or 3 decades too and while I road seriously back then, it doesn't translate to knowing what size frame to get so that's why I chose not to include Canyon (or any other DTC bike). I created a spreadsheet and it was fairly simple. The Giant just gave me more for the buck, including Di2. Good luck!
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Old 02-08-24, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by howaboutme
I just went through something just like you. I chose the Giant Defy after test riding the, TCR, Domane, Emonda Synapse, Roubaix, and Road Machine. I am coming back after 2 or 3 decades too and while I road seriously back then, it doesn't translate to knowing what size frame to get so that's why I chose not to include Canyon (or any other DTC bike). I created a spreadsheet and it was fairly simple. The Giant just gave me more for the buck, including Di2. Good luck!
Thank you. How do you like Defy?

Are you riding as much as you expected? What was your longest ride so far?

I am about to pull the trigger on Cervelo Caledonia.

My local shop fitted me and recommended the higher of the two sizes. I rode both and liked the higher size.

They are trying to price-match the online price from Northern California ($2,399). I will know tomorrow. It has the mechanical 105 set. Given that I have been riding around with a 1985 Nishiki road bike, I don't know if I will notice the Di2 difference I hope I am not mistaken.

Synapse 2LE would have been $1,000 more.

I am open to tips about which gear to get.

Last edited by narocan; 02-08-24 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 02-08-24, 08:40 PM
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I bought a new Canyon Endurace cf8 disc in July. I like the bike but if I had to do it over I would buy a bike that was carried in the local bike shops. You will find that you can not get any spare parts from Canyon. I was on the line with them today and they admitted that in the US they did not have any spare parts and that most likely they would not getting them because it was a german company and the US part operated separate from the main company. I said they should divulge that to prospective customers and the guy said he would relay that to his supervisor but suggested I just try and find parts from other places....I it was not a good conversation to be having with a 6 month old bike.
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Old 02-08-24, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
I bought a new Canyon Endurace cf8 disc in July. I like the bike but if I had to do it over I would buy a bike that was carried in the local bike shops. You will find that you can not get any spare parts from Canyon. I was on the line with them today and they admitted that in the US they did not have any spare parts and that most likely they would not getting them because it was a german company and the US part operated separate from the main company. I said they should divulge that to prospective customers and the guy said he would relay that to his supervisor but suggested I just try and find parts from other places....I it was not a good conversation to be having with a 6 month old bike.

That is a bummer.


I noticed that there is a huge fan base for Canyon. The availability plus the likely issues with LBS’ treatment gave me pause about buying one. It is a difficult to pass up an amazing deal that is generally 20-25% cheaper than a comparable bike. But if more people know the concerns you have raised, it could tip the balance.
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Old 02-09-24, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by narocan
Thank you. How do you like Defy?

Are you riding as much as you expected? What was your longest ride so far?

I am about to pull the trigger on Cervelo Caledonia.

My local shop fitted me and recommended the higher of the two sizes. I rode both and liked the higher size.

They are trying to price-match the online price from Northern California ($2,399). I will know tomorrow. It has the mechanical 105 set. Given that I have been riding around with a 1985 Nishiki road bike, I don't know if I will notice the Di2 difference I hope I am not mistaken.

Synapse 2LE would have been $1,000 more.

I am open to tips about which gear to get.
I've only ridden it once! When I got it, we still had snow on the ground and I've only had 1 opportunity to ride it other than my test rides. So truth be told, I'm still dialing it in. But, my opinion of it hasn't changed. It's the right bike for me.

Of course, you should buy a bike that is readily available and serviceable locally so if Cervelo is the name in your area, why not? After coming back from a few decades, I didn't think I'd notice a big difference between mechanical 105 and di2 105. But there is. The shifting is just so much easier. The only way you would understand is to just try it out. Of course you pay for it but if you have the chance and it's within your budget, I'd go direct to di2.

Similar to you, I eliminated The Synapse, Roubaix and the Domane because I wasn't willing to pay a premium just for a brand for essentially the same bike. The only bike that was close for me was BMC Roadmachine but my LBS only had the Ultegra Di2 and that was a big jump in price for me.

Good luck!
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Old 02-09-24, 07:13 AM
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I really like my 2022 Endurace SL8, but it seems like US parts support is poor. Canyon have a much bigger presence in Europe. The Cervelo sounds nice and if you have a good local shop to support it, then that’s a big plus. You do effectively get a 30 day test ride with Canyon, but it might be a fair bit of hassle if you did actually decide to return it.
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Old 02-09-24, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by narocan
The issue is, I won't really know which bike suits me best until I've had a chance to ride it for a bit and tweak it to just how I like it. It's kind of a catch-22, especially with the Canyon bikes since you have to order them online and then wait for them to show up.

As for the other brands like Cannondale, Trek, Cervelo, and Specialized, I'm not sure if they'll let me return the bike for a full refund after I've used it, or if they'll just give me store credit to pick out another one. I'll have to check with them to see what's possible.
Find a local REI. They sell and or can ship in, the Synapse, ignore the bad advice to skip aluminun and go right to carbon. It’s a very good gravel bike, the 105 mechanical group works very well. REI has a very liberal return policy, I think one year or something.
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Old 02-09-24, 09:00 AM
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No matter how much experience you had in the distant past, your body will be on a new journey now if you really get into cycling. Those 25 mile rides weren't worth spit to show you anything about what was a comfortable bike for longer rides that you might want to do now that you have time.

I think you should ride the crap out of your current bike for a year. Then get another inexpensive bike that you think will make up for some of the things your current bike doesn't do well. After that then you can more confidently pick the mid price tier bike you want for yourself.

Don't be all enthralled with those 12 speed rears at the moment. They make most of those models you listed with 10 speed Tiagra or 11 speed 105 for much less money to let you consider them throw away bikes when you get all you can out of them.
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Old 02-09-24, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
I bought a new Canyon Endurace cf8 disc in July. I like the bike but if I had to do it over I would buy a bike that was carried in the local bike shops. You will find that you can not get any spare parts from Canyon. I was on the line with them today and they admitted that in the US they did not have any spare parts and that most likely they would not getting them because it was a german company and the US part operated separate from the main company. I said they should divulge that to prospective customers and the guy said he would relay that to his supervisor but suggested I just try and find parts from other places....I it was not a good conversation to be having with a 6 month old bike.
Excepting the frame (not even including bearings, etc) what is proprietary on a bike these days? Serious question, because I really like Canyon bikes.
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Old 02-09-24, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by narocan
I am about to pull the trigger on Cervelo Caledonia.

This bike with the slammed stem?

I respectfully suggest that you make very certain that you will be comfortable on this rig or anything like it for the mileage you want to ride. Maybe the drop from saddle to bars is less on the bike you have tried and maybe I'm biased because I'm not as flexible as I was in past years and looking at this bike makes me sore! Just don't want to see anybody be disappointed with a new bike purchase.

As another reply suggested - perhaps putting some miles on your Nishiki will inform you as to what you want - and don't want - in a new bike. And, if you are so inclined you can make all kinds of affordable upgrades to that Nishiki frame and fork to make you happier on it in the 21st century. A new 10 speed drivetrain with a compact or sub-compact crank and 11-32/36 cassette, new dual-pivot brakes, new cables, 10 speed brifters, maybe a new wheelset are all possibilities and can be done at a reasonable price if you do the work.

A brand new bike isn't going to make you faster than an updated vintage frame and fork. Carbon fiber isn't faster than aluminum, aluminum isn't faster than steel - its all the same. Comfortable and convenient is fast.

Good luck with your search and welcome back to the road!
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Old 02-09-24, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast
Excepting the frame (not even including bearings, etc) what is proprietary on a bike these days? Serious question, because I really like Canyon bikes.
When the Bianchi Infinito CV went on sale a few months ago I almost pulled the trigger but changed my mind when I learned that it has a proprietary seat post (with a fragile top clamp) that is sold out everywhere. Almost every make and model uses a proprietary seat post nowadays, but at least with the big four (Cannondale, Giant, Specialized, Trek) the part supply situation is better.

Fully internal cables and hoses seem to require proprietary stems and headsets.

And then you have the current Cannondale SuperSix Evo, with the sort of triangular steerer tube, which definitely requires a proprietary stem.
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Old 02-09-24, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jlaw

This bike with the slammed stem?

I respectfully suggest that you make very certain that you will be comfortable on this rig or anything like it for the mileage you want to ride. Maybe the drop from saddle to bars is less on the bike you have tried and maybe I'm biased because I'm not as flexible as I was in past years and looking at this bike makes me sore! Just don't want to see anybody be disappointed with a new bike purchase.

As another reply suggested - perhaps putting some miles on your Nishiki will inform you as to what you want - and don't want - in a new bike. And, if you are so inclined you can make all kinds of affordable upgrades to that Nishiki frame and fork to make you happier on it in the 21st century. A new 10 speed drivetrain with a compact or sub-compact crank and 11-32/36 cassette, new dual-pivot brakes, new cables, 10 speed brifters, maybe a new wheelset are all possibilities and can be done at a reasonable price if you do the work.

A brand new bike isn't going to make you faster than an updated vintage frame and fork. Carbon fiber isn't faster than aluminum, aluminum isn't faster than steel - its all the same. Comfortable and convenient is fast.

Good luck with your search and welcome back to the road!
Um...I think that you will find most, if not all, manufacturer marketing photos have these 2 main features: 1) stem slammed and 2) seat way up high. Why? Because it looks good. I highly doubt the bike is like that. It likely comes with an adequate amount of spacers. My Defy certainly did and most marketing photos show the stem slammed too.

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Old 02-09-24, 05:47 PM
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Upgrading a 1985 Nishiki?! That's awesome! I have upgraded my bikes every 20 years, and notice a HUGE difference when I buy a new bike.

This past summer I wondered how you could get any better than my 2004 Merlin. It's a titanium bike that I outfitted with a triple and 9 speed mountain cassette in the back. Love the bike, have done many, many miles on it. I knew technology improved, and a new bike would be marginally better, but not several thousands of dollars better than my beloved Merlin. One of the local bike shops had a Trek Domane in my size, so I test rode it back-to-back with my Merlin. I'm now the proud owner of a Trek Domane SL7. Every time I ride the Domane, I find something new to love about it. While speed isn't my main concern, Strava tells me that I'm quicker on the Domane than the Merlin without even trying. But it's more than that. I feel like the Domane is the bike I've been looking for since I started riding. I don't know if it's the geometry, the carbon wheels, the bigger tires, or what, but I find the ride quality and handling sublime. Even when I'm tired and slow, I never feel like I'm working hard on this bike. It may not be the bike for everyone, but it's certainly the bike for me!

Since I'm height challenged, it's difficult to find a bike in my size available for test riding. That said, I thought about the other endurance/gravel bike options, and decided to go with the Domane. It blew me away on the test ride, and anything else (Canyon Endurace, Liv Avail, Specialized Roubaix, Cervelo Caledonia, Scott Addict, Cannondale Synapse, etc, etc) would probably have been fine. Incrementally better or worse than the Domane. Since I had already test ridden the Domane and knew that it was a winner, I bought it. I've yet to be disappointed with this decision.

Here's the changes from my 2004 Merlin to the 2023 Domane.
* 12 speed Di2. Electronic shifting is nice -- quick easy shifts pretty much whenever you want them. A compact double is a lot less fussy than my triple. 12 speeds vs. 9 speeds gives me less gaps between gears. I'm looking forward to seeing if the electronic system stays in adjustment longer than the cable-based system did. As far as charging the battery goes, I charge it on the 1st of every month, whether it needs it or not. (It hasn't needed it, since I haven't put 1000 miles on the bike in any given month.)
* Disc brakes. Are they better than my Ultegra rim brakes? Honestly, I was pretty happy with my Ultegra rim brakes. But the disc brakes allow for wider rims and tires.
* Tubeless tires. So far, so good. In the 1500 miles I've put on the Domane, I think I've only seen one puncture that got sealed. If that fails, I have DynaPlugs. If that fails, I have a spare tube.
* 32c tires vs. 23c. This. This is the game changer for me. I cannot stress how much I LOVE the wider tires on the Domane. They're comfortable, and they inspire a ton of confidence when descending roads that have potholes or cracks or debris. According to Strava, the wider tires definitely don't slow me down; if anything, they make me faster.

narocan I hope you choose a bike that you enjoy riding as much as I enjoy my Domane, be it the Caledonia, the Synapse, or something else.
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