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Can anybody advise me on this. I've had many fruitless google searches. 

I have a cannondale synapse 105 with cable disc brakes - which I've been running as my winter bike for three winters but since I've purchased a hydraulic brake cyclocross bike I've realised I've been accepting dangerously poor brake performance on my cannondale for too long. 

I had intended on getting a second set of wheels for my cyclocross bike but I have had a change of heart and wonder if converting the cannondale cable disc brakes to hydraulic may be similar cost and allow me to keep my much loved cannondale. I intend to get this done by my LBS but I'm not sure if it's possible or the right decision. 

Any help or or advice would be very welcome as I seem to be going round in circles on this. 

19 comments

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Mr Pennington [25 posts] 1 month ago
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The problem you're going to run into is hydralic hoses not fitting through the frame cable holes. If you have an LBS who can enlarge cable holes to hydralic hose diameter then go for it.

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CXR94Di2 [2273 posts] 1 month ago
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Dremel tool with grinding head would easily open the holes-done carefully it will look factory

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vonhelmet [1318 posts] 1 month ago
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You could try TRP Hy/Rd brakes - cable actuated hydraulic brakes. They’re about £200 new for a pair. They get fairly good reviews, though a consistent grumble seems to be long lever throw before they do anything. That’s about as close as you’ll get without much greater expense and possibly the frame mutilation referred to above.

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sizbut [47 posts] 1 month ago
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Having bikes with TRP Sprye and TRP Hy-Rd I can say that the Hy-Rd are a significant step up in braking power. The initial lever movement before braking starts does throw you at first but you find yourself adjusting for that very quickly.

The only thing that worries me now is that I'm braking much later for things because I know I will stop - its bound to all go wrong sometime.  3 

 

 

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Oshsan [19 posts] 1 month ago
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I’ve been using JuinTech R1 cable operated hydraulics for nearly a year now and they’re excellent. Chose them because they worked with my existing Campagnolo shifters. performance has been surprisingly good - especially once I swapped the stock organic brake pads for more durable sintered pads.

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OS [1 post] 1 month ago
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I would be surprised if the frame was designed exclusively for cable disc brakes, so I would imagine that there wouldn't be a problem fitting hydraulic hoses, but I could be wrong. 

Having said that, it seems surprising that the cable operated brakes have such poor braking, maybe they're contaminated? I've been struggling with very poor braking with my hydraulic disc brakes and I'm now fairly sure the problem is hydraulic fluid leaking and contaminating the pads, so it seems that nothing is perfect.

Hope it goes well.

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kil0ran [1165 posts] 1 month ago
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Another vote here for Juin Tech R1s - the big benefit being you can use your existing cable runs without modification. Swap the standard pads for sintered for more bite and less squeal.

If the frame stops are big enough then another option is the Giant Conduct hybrid system

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/global/showcase/conduct

That's going to be cheaper than replacing shifters, brakes, and swapping cables to hoses

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T_B_K [4 posts] 1 month ago
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Thanks for the advice guys it's really appreciated. I've contacted LBS to ask for a quote and they seem to think it's possible on my bike. The big decision will be based on cost. If it's half the price of a new bike I may just add another to my N+1. 

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cmcg867 [27 posts] 1 month ago
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I highly doubt you'll need to modify your frame, most disc frames have full length outer cables for the brakes. If it fits those, it'll fit a hydraulic hose.
I, for one, have recently upgraded my main CX bike to Shimano hydraulics from a Hope V-Twin. I loved the V-Twin for reliability (especially with Nokon cables), but no brake involving cables can hope (heh) to match a good full hydraulic system.

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T_B_K [4 posts] 1 month ago
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Nearly £700 to convert my cannondale to hydraulic discs so it's back to the drawing board. New wheels or new bike. 

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richardOracleDba [1 post] 1 month ago
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I have the same Cannondale Synapse 105 with cable brakes too.  Like you I was disappointed with braking performance given that the bike cast £1000 especially on the rear.  However, I have improved them to the point where I'm happy enough to stick with them and have now got nearly 6000 miles on them.

I used the barrall adjuster to bring the outer pad closer to the disk and used the grey plastic adjuster to bring the inner pad closer to the disk.   This gives a shorter throw on the brake leaver but even with the pads really close to the disk I've not had any issue with them rubbing.  I then changed from the original 'sintered' pads to 'organic' from nukeproof.  All in all they feel much improved, though they'll never be as good as hydralic..... 

The pads are 7.99 a pair from wiggle, so there is nothing to lose by trying.

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Miller [153 posts] 1 month ago
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For cable disk brakes you need compressionless brake casing. These casings are not spiral wound but have longitudinal wires, like gear cables, and a tough outer layer. If your bike is not cabled up with that stuff, then it would be worth swapping in new brake casings. Jagwire do a good compressionless brake cable, TRP do Disc Connect, there are some others also.

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MonkeyPuzzle [47 posts] 1 month ago
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What are the current brakes and what cables are you using? I have TRP Spyres with Jagwire compressionless housing and they're more than adequate for anything I've come across. I'm a fat bastard too.

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CXR94Di2 [2273 posts] 1 month ago
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There are so many threads either asking to fit larger tyres or hydraulic brakes.   If folk were to do a little more research before purchasing the wrong bike.  Im all for modifying bikes, in fact I've done lots of custom adaptions, but always to a bike/frame that has lots of versatility.

Ask these basic questions below, this would eliminate after purchase disappointment.

Frame size

Max tyre width

Mounts for mudguards/rack mount

Disc or rim brakes-leads to hydro or cable

Internal or external cabling, cross check for hydro cables

Di2 or mechanical shifting

Lastly price, if you cant afford it, the above is irrelevant.  Wait till you can.

  

There are plenty of bikes/frames which allow wide tyres upto 45mm and can take hydro brakes.  From there modify away on gearing, derailleurs, Di2, handlebars, seats/posts etc.

 

 

 

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crazy-legs [1022 posts] 1 month ago
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To change to a FULL hydro brake set up is going to be: new shifters, the full set of hoses, the brake calipers and possibly (depending on brand, set-up etc) new rotors. You're also going to have to look at the mounting, is it flat-mount or post-mount? That will affect the calipers that you buy or possibly the adaptors that you may or may not need.

Obviously buying new shifters, you're then faced with how many gears it has. If it's a really old bike running 9 or 10 speed, you may struggle to get hydro shifters (most now will be 11-speed). So that could potentially mean changing your entire drivetrain too or finding an older hydro lever set that runs a 10-speed.

The other option is to get a cable-operated hydro system like the Hy-Rd or using a Hope V-Twin set-up (you can't actually buy V-Twin from Hope anymore although you can find them on ebay or in classifieds, it's a good system).

Basically though it's far cheaper and far less hassle to buy a new bike!

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Yorkshire wallet [2305 posts] 1 month ago
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As has been mentioned, unless you have some attachment to the bike or can get cheap parts, sell it.

Perversely I would do the conversion but that's only because I enjoy messing with things. If you're not up to doing it yourself and your LBS would also be charging you it's really not worth bothering.

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Paul7189 [33 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Have you looked into the Giant Conduct system? Hope make a similar system. They both use your cable shifters and have a junction box that mounts to your bars or stem and then its hydraulic from there onwards. The hope system is over double the giant system price though.

https://www.swinnertoncycles.co.uk/components-c169/brakes-c176/disc-c181...

 

https://www.cyclestore.co.uk/giant_conduct_hydraulic_disc_brake_upgrade_...

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vonhelmet [1318 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Is there any advantage to one of those systems over Hy/Rd brakes? Is it better to have the majority of the run be hydraulic rather than cable? Do you lose out if there’s any cable in the run at all?

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Paul7189 [33 posts] 2 weeks ago
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vonhelmet wrote:

Is there any advantage to one of those systems over Hy/Rd brakes? Is it better to have the majority of the run be hydraulic rather than cable? Do you lose out if there’s any cable in the run at all?

 

You don’t get any stretch or friction in a hydraulic hose so the shorter the cable the better the feedback and modulation.