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A Tally - Synapse 5 vs. Roubaix Elite

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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

A Tally - Synapse 5 vs. Roubaix Elite

Old 04-23-08, 07:01 PM
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samersereau
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A Tally - Synapse 5 vs. Roubaix Elite

OK... I know, I have said in previous threads that I have made up my mind, but after test riding tonight I am definitely choosing between these 2. Please let me know what you think as I intend to buy 1 or the other on Friday.

Choices...

Cannondale Synapse 5 - $1800
All Carbon Frame
https://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/c...el-8RCS5T.html
Full 105s groupo (except for Shimano BR-R560 breakset)
Shimano WH-RS-10

Specialized Roubaix Elite - $1800
All Carbon Frame
https://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=33107
Not quite a full set 105s (non-105 crank, a few other minor things)
Wheels - Mavic Open Sport

They both feel VERY similar to me (probably because as a noob, I don't know good vs. better)

I could see myself being happy with either purchase.

A bit about me...
- I am 6'0 260lbs. (and dropping fast)
- I will mostly be using the bike for 30-50's on weekends 10-20s once a week. Occasional group rides and a few centuries (maybe even a double, I hope). No races... as of now.

Please let me know your thoughts/votes.

Last edited by samersereau; 04-23-08 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 04-23-08, 07:10 PM
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You couldn't go wrong with either, that being said I like cannondale more as a brand.

The two bikes are very comparable though. So in the end it'll come down to which one you like the color of more...

I think the synapse can be set up more aggressively if you want to do that at some point in the future.
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Old 04-23-08, 07:13 PM
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I tried both of these bikes as well and I picked the Roubaix, because I thought it was more comfortable to me. I guess only you can make that decision now. I think the bikes are pretty similar and I think they are both good bikes.
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Old 04-23-08, 07:45 PM
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i tried both bikes as well when i first went road bike shopping...

i chose the roubaix...it just fit me better...felt smoother, more comfortable...and really took off when i mashed down on the pedals.
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Old 04-23-08, 08:39 PM
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felt z35
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Old 04-23-08, 09:03 PM
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I just went through the same comparison and ended up with the Synapse. I now have the Synapse 3, but that was because my first 5 was too big for me and when I went back to try the smaller bike, it was a 3. It wasn't so bad to pay the price difference a month later. Same frame, but with Ultegra components.

That said, I found the Roubaix to be too soft. Both bikes smoothed things out and I even tested them on brick roads. However, the Synapse seemed to smooth them out without as much sacrifice in performance. Others will definitely disagree, and I think this has a lot to do with the way you ride.

I tend to accelerate without down-shifting by really powering the bike and I swear the Roubaix felt flexible when doing this. I know they are both carbon frames, but there are definitely differences in the construction. I also don't think the Syanpse is quite as upright as the Roubaix, and I have flipped mine to actually lower it a bit.

I don't think you can go wrong with either bike. I would say that the Roubaix is a little more oriented for comfort and the Synapse is a little closer to a race bike. Both look to strike a balance, but it depends on which side of the spectrum you prefer. Ride them and choose the one that feels best.
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Old 04-24-08, 10:07 AM
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OP Here...

Thanks for the replies.

Anyone else care to weigh in??

Thanks in advance
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Old 04-24-08, 10:34 AM
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i chose between the same 2 bikes about a month ago. did tons of research before i went to my LBS which stocks both bikes. i went in with a definite bias towards the synapse. i thought that was going to be the one i took home. but after two test rides on each i ended up going with the roubaix. (i got the comp instead of the elite though. i liked the paint scheme better). i was just more comfortable on the specialized. the best way to describe it is that i felt more "attached" to the roubaix. more a part of the bike. as opposed to feeling like i was riding on top of the c-dale. if that makes any sense.

after a couple weeks of riding the roubaix in the drops i did go back and had them flip the stem down. i then went back a few weeks later to get a shorter stem and now feel pretty dialed in.

i think they are both good values and solid bikes. neither is going to perform like a cervelo soloist but then again that is not why you are buying them.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:13 AM
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Synapse 5.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by roubaix-ron View Post
i went in with a definite bias towards the synapse. i thought that was going to be the one i took home. but after two test rides on each i ended up going with the roubaix. (i got the comp instead of the elite though. i liked the paint scheme better). i was just more comfortable on the specialized. the best way to describe it is that i felt more "attached" to the roubaix. more a part of the bike. as opposed to feeling like i was riding on top of the c-dale. if that makes any sense.
That is why it is so important to ride them. I went in intending to buy the Roubaix. I hadn't even heard of the Synapse and the LBS I use doesn't carry Cannondale. However, based on my feedback on my test rides, the tech recommended I go to try a Synapse, so I saw that REI carried them. My LBS was totally cool with me buying from REI, because I still bought my shoes, pedals, and accessories there. I am also going to pay them to do a custom fit, but they recommended I put about 500 miles on first (almost there!). You just can't buy a bike by reading its specs.

Originally Posted by roubaix-ron View Post

after a couple weeks of riding the roubaix in the drops i did go back and had them flip the stem down. i then went back a few weeks later to get a shorter stem and now feel pretty dialed in.
I really thought I wanted the upright position, but am not needing it. My back has been fine on 60 mile rides so far and I think it will be on centuries too. I like that you can have the smooth frames these bikes offer, but easily alter the position. Mine is flipped right now, but I am sure I will go with a shorter stem when I do my custom fit.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by roubaix-ron View Post
i chose between the same 2 bikes about a month ago. did tons of research before i went to my LBS which stocks both bikes. i went in with a definite bias towards the synapse. i thought that was going to be the one i took home. but after two test rides on each i ended up going with the roubaix.
My LBS was kind enough to let me extensively test both bikes several times (it took me that long to realize my research-based bias toward to Synapse didn't hold up on the road). I bought the Roubaix Expert.
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Old 04-24-08, 11:51 AM
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As you can see, the tally is just about split evenly.
I am a Specialized fan, but they both look comparable.
You could really flip a coin and be o.k.
Good luck and have fun.
Maybe, see which one you can talk down lower in price?


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Old 04-24-08, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Slackerprince View Post
As you can see, the tally is just about split evenly.
I am a Specialized fan, but they both look comparable.
You could really flip a coin and be o.k.
Good luck and have fun.
Maybe, see which one you can talk down lower in price?

Slackerprince
You are quite right...

I hope hoping for an obvious winner.

Let me add some more questions into the mix.

Should I choose based on warranty?? Both have lifetime, but I understand that Specialized may have better customer service (or so I have read)

Is it true that Cannondale is having financial trouble?? That they may not be around after the next few years??
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Old 04-24-08, 01:03 PM
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Here is my assessment based on the comments:
It sounds like you will be fine with either one, but, nonetheless, you have a
bit of uncertainty to work out. Therefore, I say, test ride both and then go
with your gut; don't ignore a little thing that you think might be ridiculous to
be a difference maker (because, if it stays on your mind, then, it is not a little
thing). As Obi-Wan would say, trust your feelings. Good luck. You will be a
lucky soul no matter which one you get.

Also, warranty and customer service are reasonable considerations. But, what
is the likelihood that you will need to call on it? I don't have personal experience
with these brands, but, they both have good reputations and I
imagine that it is likely that you would be taken care of properly.

Finally, Dorel Industries acquired Cannondale. I believe Dorel is in reasonable
financial shape and that it plans on supporting this elite brand!!! I'm a B-school
professor and I am considering a Cannondale purchase and I am not concerned
about this acquisition with respect to support for the brand. It can be argued
that this acquisition is a good thing for Cannondale owners and prospective owners.
Dorel revenues and earnings are up according their most recent conference call
on results. Here are their brands/lines. By the way, it is reasonable for anyone
to express concern about the Cannondale brand; personally, I believe it is going to
be fine.
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Old 04-24-08, 02:23 PM
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Synapse.

I too was considering both brands and picked the Cannondale, (a Trek Pilot was in there for a brief second as well). Although I picked the Synapse on pure function alone, there was a cost difference in the Cannondale's favor. A Synapse 3 was $2249 and the Roubaix was $2300, close in price to be negligible but the Synapse came with Ultegra at that price point whereas the Roubaix came with 105. It could have been different pricing policies as the bikes were in two different shops.

While both bikes fit the same niche, the Synapse did seem more lively and spirited when it came time to put the pedal down. This was the big deal maker for me. No amount of comfort could compensate for placing 'one place worse' when riding with buds. It's all about one's priorities. True comfort was last on the list, or I would be looking at some 38c tires with a suspension seatpost and fork.

Make a list of your priorities and see where it points you.
For me -
1) Fit right, correct size
2) Be in my range of acceptable geometries, (nixed the Cervelo Soloist I was initially wanting)
3) Minimal performance liability for a relaxed geometry frame.
4)--No where on my list is more comfortable for riding centuries. I rode my first century last year on a CAAD4 frame slightly too large for me. I didn't feel bad, additional comfort was not necessary for me.
5)--Minimal performance liability,-much of my cycling is with friends or group rides, which may include a spirited portion somewhere along the ride. Whether the faster feel of the Synapse is real or not, I will not be wondering if I would have placed worse if I bought the Roubaix, and I will not be wondering ''hmm, I sure am sore, I wonder if I would be feeling less sore if I bought the Roubaix''

If all of my riding was solo, I could make a better argument for the Roubaix, but I still would choose the Synapse. For me, the comfort comparisons were closer in feel than the performance comparisons. I chose the one I felt had a better performance character and a similar comfort feel.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by samersereau View Post
OK... I know, I have said in previous threads that I have made up my mind, but after test riding tonight I am definitely choosing between these 2. Please let me know what you think as I intend to buy 1 or the other on Friday.
Well it's Friday and the winner is .........
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Old 04-25-08, 11:24 AM
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Thanks for this thread. I am looking ahead to a new higher-perf bike next year and have mentally pared it down to these two as my first choices. I'm probably looking at the next level up on each to the Ultegra level, and also want to stay with a triple.

In my case it might come down to which LBS I like better. The Cannondale dealer is the most road-oriented shop in the area and offers a really professional fit session with the bikes they sell; the Specialized dealer is a bit flaky at times and a "fit" means setting the seat height. Of course, if his price is right, I could take it to the first shop and pay for a fit.

I'll be interested in your final choice.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Bird View Post
Well it's Friday and the winner is .........
I didn't want to spoil the news until I had some pics to post but since you asked...

As of 5:00PM today I will be the proud owner of a Cannondale Synapse 5. I test rode it last night and LOVED it.

Thanks again for the advice guys!!! I'll post some pics this weekend.
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Old 04-25-08, 12:27 PM
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Congratulations!

Looking forward to the pictures
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Old 04-25-08, 12:48 PM
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Congrats. Is it 5pm Friday yet?
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