Peter Sagan once again raced Cannondale’s Synapse, first introduced this time last year, at both Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. It’s at these cobbled Classics that we often see special bikes prepared just for the rigours of racing over pavé, and the Synapse was designed expressly for such roads.
For the rest of the season Peter Sagan and the Cannondale Pro Racing team will ride the SuperSix Evo, one of the lightest bikes in the peloton, but for races like the Hell of the North there are more important concerns than weight. One of the biggest issues is that of tyre clearance, a frame and fork that is able to accommodate tyres up to 27mm and often even 30mm is pivotal. The wider tyres, run at lower pressures, provide much needed impact absorption over the cobbles. In this regard the Synapse will easily take 28mm tyres; Sagan rode a pair of 25mm wide tyres from tyre sponsor Kenda for Tour of Flanders, where this bike was photographed.
Most teams go wide for the Spring Classics, but many are also ditching their 23mm tyres in favour of 25mm tyres for the rest of the season. It's the latest trend you see.
Who needs GPS? Notes on his stem to remind of upcoming cobbled sectors
The other change from the SuperSix Evo that makes the Synapse better suited to the cobbles is the longer wheelbase, which provides more stability and calmer handling. That's useful on cobbled road like the Arenberg or the Oude Kwaremont. The Cannondale designers have also packed the Synapse with a lot of technology designed to reduce the vibrations passing through the frame and components to the contact points, to both make it more comfortable to ride, and to prevent the tyres bouncing and skittering over the pave quite so much.
This includes the carbon fibre layup, the shape of the tubes and the skinny 25.4mm seatpost with an integrated seat clamp, all measures which they reckon combine to produce a smoother and more forgiving ride than the Evo over such roads. While the geometry of a stock Synapse is higher at the front than the Evo, Sagan gets the full custom treatment, and rides a bespoke frame to meet his fit requirements. And no, you can’t buy this size frame, unlike Trek who have made their Domane Pro Fit readily available through Project One. Sagan’s frame combines the reach of a 58cm frame with the stack of a 54cm, think very long and very low at the front. It's the way most pros prefer their bikes.
Like the rest of the Cannondale team, Sagan’s bike is fitted with a SRAM Red 22 groupset, first introduced last year but now in full service in the pro peloton this season. Unlike Niki Terpstra, Sagan chooses to race with an SRM Powermeter but we can’t imagine he spends much time looking at the display when he’s racing.
His wheels are Vision’s latest Metron 40s, which feature a 25mm wide cross-section and rounded profile. They’re fitted with Kenda SC tubular tyres in a 25mm width here, though rumour is they’re rebadged Veloflex Arenberg 25mm tyres. There’s certainly no Kenda tyre fitting the description on the company’s website. Speedplay pedals and a Fizik Aliante saddle along with an FSA handlebar, stem and seatpost complete the build on his bike, all finished in a new black and green paint job.
You can read what we think of the Cannondale Synapse in our review here.
Photos reproduced with kind permission of www.theroaddiaries.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.