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Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 vs Felt Z5

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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

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 vs Felt Z5

Old 09-21-10, 08:01 PM
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Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 vs Felt Z5

I'm looking to purchase a road bike to replace the hybrid (Marin Fairfax) I've been riding. I was considering a Carbon Synapse, either the 6 or 5. Today I stopped in a shop where they carried the Synapse and they also showed me the Felt Z5. I will probably return this weekend and ride both. I am now leaning toward the Felt unless the Synapse rides a lot better. Both are supposed to have relatively relaxed geometry and offer a comfortable ride for long distances (I don't intend to race but I do like to ride long distances).

The big difference will be transitioning from the hybrid to the road bike, but most people who have done this seem to like the road bike once they've made the change.

The 2011 Z5, which is the one I'm looking at has full 105 (the new 105) components including brakes and crankset. I also like the wheels a little more, they have 32 spokes which I feel would better support my 200lb weight.

It will come down to which frame fits me better and just how the whole bike feels when I'm riding. The shop seems to place a high importance on a good fit which I totally agree with.

Anyone see any other reasons to prefer one of these bikes over the other?

Last edited by kh6idf; 09-21-10 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 09-22-10, 05:30 PM
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I have the Synapse but the Felt is comparable - nice bike. I chose the C'Dale because of the dealer and I felt it absorbed more road noise. BTW my Synapse w/Tiagra was $1190. I didn't have a big reason for 105 group - I'm a Fred enough!
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Old 09-22-10, 05:46 PM
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I have an '08 Synapse Carbon 5, which I bought new (for a discount) in April '09. 4,900 miles on it thus far. 105 components all around. I love this bike! Over the same route, the ride on the Synapse, with 700 x 23s, is noticeably smoother than the ride on my aluminum road bike with 700 x 25s. I still ride both bikes, but the Synapse is my weekend bike. I wanted to try a Felt Z series, but no one in the sells them.
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Old 09-22-10, 09:16 PM
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Two votes for Synapse so far! If the weather cooperates this weekend I will try to test ride both Synapse and Z5.
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Old 09-23-10, 08:01 PM
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Today I got some clipless pedals (Shimano PD5700) and shoes (Shimano RO86L). in preparation for the new bike, whatever it turns out to be.
This will be my first time using clipless pedals, maybe I should put them on the hybrid and practice before putting the new bike at risk of a fall-over.
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Old 09-23-10, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by kh6idf
Today I got some clipless pedals (Shimano PD5700) and shoes (Shimano RO86L). in preparation for the new bike, whatever it turns out to be.
This will be my first time using clipless pedals, maybe I should put them on the hybrid and practice before putting the new bike at risk of a fall-over.
wise.
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Old 09-24-10, 07:26 PM
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Going to ride the Felt Z5 tomorrow morning (weather permitting). I also located another shop that has a 2010 Synapse Carbon 3 that they are selling for $2500. I plan to ride that also. Too bad I won't be riding both over the same course though.
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Old 09-24-10, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kh6idf
Going to ride the Felt Z5 tomorrow morning (weather permitting). I also located another shop that has a 2010 Synapse Carbon 3 that they are selling for $2500. I plan to ride that also. Too bad I won't be riding both over the same course though.
Go to the LBS, take your current bike with you, choose a course, and ride it on your current bike. Go in, put your current pedals on the prospective bike, and ride the same course. Do that with the Synapse as well.
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Old 09-24-10, 08:44 PM
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Good advice. My current bike, a Marin Fairfax, has clips & straps on the pedals and I can ride it in my cross trainers. Yes, we can then take my pedals off and put them on the Z5 and I can ride that in the same shoes, and do the same with the Synapse at the other shop. I have a feeling I will buy one of these bikes, I'm leaning now toward the Synapse since it is such a nice bike for $500 more. Which ever one I decide to buy, I will have that shop put the cleats on my new shoes and fit them to the 105 pedals I just bought. Then they can fit me to the new bike with the 105 pedals on it. I will still have the option of riding with the old pedals if I don't want to go clipless right away. Actually I think I will ride the hybrid with the clipless to gain some experience then transfer them to the new bike when I feel comfortable.

One question, do you feel the RS80 wheels on the synapse will adequately support 200 lbs with such a few number of spokes? From what I've read they will, but I wonder about having the shop swap the wheels for another good quality wheel with a higher number of spokes.

Last edited by kh6idf; 09-24-10 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 09-25-10, 08:20 AM
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I do not believe you can go wrong with either bike. Advice is good, ride them both and see which one feels best for you. I like the color scheme of the Cdale. As far as paying $500 more for the upgraded Cdale...ride and shift with the rival. Sram is different and some people really like them; however, Shimano groupsets are pretty smooth and mine have always been pretty dependable. I have looked for a reason to change out my Shimano groupset to go with something different like SRAM or Campy and just cannot find a reason to do it. With the exception of the brakes, 105 groupset is very dependable and smooth. I did not check the wheels on the different models, but do not know if you will see $500 difference between rival and 105 groupset. Now I am sure some SRAM diehards will call me out, and if so, please enlighten as I would like to know as well. Now a solid upgrade in wheelset may be noticeable. Both bikes are great and you will enjoy no matter what decision you make. Thanks for the post by the way, I have been in a mountain bike mindset this summer and neglected my road riding, your post has reminded me how excited i was to get my Roubaix and sparked some interest in getting on it for a nice ride this weekend....thank you.
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Old 09-25-10, 09:35 AM
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Do you have a giant dealer in your area? I would highly recommend trying out a defy advance if possible. I have a defy advanced 2, 2010 and absolutely love it.
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Old 09-27-10, 07:01 PM
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I'm a little late to update this thread as our internet service was down for about a day, but I ended up not getting either bike. I test rode both, and I think I actually preferred the Felt Z5 over the Synapse They were both very good bikes so it was a close decision. The Synapse I rode was a Carbon 3. But for the ultimate outcome you need to check out these links:

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ghlight=kh6idf

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post11525253

It was nice meeting (for the first time) and riding Sunday morning with 10 Wheels. Made an already great morning even better.
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Old 09-28-10, 04:50 AM
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Nice bike - it would make me a better 'Fred'
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