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Canondale Synapse 105 disk, a year on

April 9, 2016

After a full year of riding my Canondale Synapse 105 disk, here is a quick review.

Does not get cleaned enough.

I bought to bike on the Bike to Work scheme, to replace the one I bought the year before which was stolen. Both were bought for just one purpose, commuting during the winter. My commute is slightly odd, being a 92km round trip that essentially follows the Thames from Walton on Thames to Reading. No hills a bit of suburban riding and quite a lot on unlit “B” roads in the country.
So I added mudguards, rack and hub Dynamo, which meant a new front wheel.

Speaking of wheels. The only really bad thing about the bike is the rear wheel ( the front wheel may also be crap but I never used it). On my stolen bike the wheel broke spokes and then had to be completely rebuilt. The new bike has “only” broken one spoke but the free hub is not true. Even the QR skewers are nasty, though were not subject to the recent safety recall but have visible signs of rust on them. If I was getting another one I would really try and get the wheels upgraded from day one.

Now despite buying this just for commuting I have used it for a few longer rides, a weekend to Paris and back, a three day trip to Leeds, a 360km Audax and some weekend rides. In total it’s done 9420km.

I’ve found the bike comfortable and the handling ok. Not outstanding like a carbon racing bike but adequate for slogging to work or getting the miles in on a longer ride. If you want a real racing bike this is not it.

The disk brakes are good, very good in the wet but they are not perfect. You have to regularly adjust them as the pads wear, something hydrolic brakes would solve. For commuting in winter though I would not go back to long reach rim brakes needed with mudguards or, God forbid cantilever brakes.

Would I buy one again?

Probably not but only because things have moved on. You can now get hydrolic disk equipped bikes at the same price point and even if they also have shockingly bad wheels I would still be better off.

Do I regret this bike? Well the fact I replaced the stolen one with another gives a clue, not in the slightest.


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  1. Hey Chris – reading this review this actually looks a lot like the sort of bike I’d like for cycling to work. I wasn’t aware of the issue with disc brakes. What hydraulic disc brake bike would you recommend over this for whatever the same price is?

  2. chrisgerhard permalink

    I’ve not researched it in detail but I’ve seen a few reviews fly past of bike to work compatible bikes which have fittings for mudgaurds and rack and also have hydraulic brakes. eg:

    Like I say in the review I’m pretty happy with the Canondale but I would really seriously look at the Pinnacle if I was buying today and I’m sure there are others.

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