Cycle Life

The Synapse     Photo: Courtesy Cannondale

Best in Show: Cannondale Synapse

From roadies to 29ers, we pick five of the best new bikes from Bike PressCamp 2013.

The first Synapse won our coveted Gear of the Year award back in 2006, and the totally overhauled 2014 model looks like it might be just as groundbreaking. The 2014 model retains a taller head tube, slacker head angle, and longer wheelbase, but Cannondale is quick to say this is not some sluggish old man’s ride, but actually a racer that’s more stable and easier on the back.

Damping properties come from highly manipulated, helix-shaped seat stays, chain stays, and fork, plus the collarless 25.4mm seat post configuration is said to provide 113 percent more vertical deflection than the previous design. But it’s the seat tube that’s most eye-catching, with a scallop shape for even more bump absorption and an oval-shaped cutout above the bottom bracket that saves weight but adds rigidity in the same way that flying buttresses shore up a building.

It’s a dramatic and unconventional design, but first ride impressions were very favorable, with a nice dampened road feel but still-snappy handling. The Synapse will come in seven carbon models from $2,000 to $8,000, and five alloy frames.

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