2020 Cannondale Synapse Neo 1First Impression

eliot3b4

Member
The 2020 Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 was received yesterday, and I managed to squeeze in 5 mile ride before I began to get cold (41 degrees (f) and a light wind). Here is my first impression on this bike.

WOW! This feels like a road bike and she is like a wild Mustang wanting to go throttle wide open all of the time. Because this bike is light weight, the battery and motor are more efficient. I was riding a Trek Super Commuter 7+ (still have it). On the exact same route I ride, the Cannondale was kept in the Sport mode whereas the Trek would have been kept in Turbo mode. This translates into being able to ride longer distances on a single ride, although I never had any issues with the Trek running out of juice.

I love the Cannondale because it is so much lighter than the Trek. I can put the bike on the bike rack on my car by myself, which is huge.

Some of the dislikes is taking the battery off and then trying to put it back on. This is when I began to question my decision to buy this bike. The lack of information on taking the battery on and off just bugs me and I cannot find any videos on Youtube, so if anyone has any thoughts or a video please share.

No front and rear lights are included in this bike. So I'll be brining this back to the bike dealer to add the lights.

The bike comes with the basic Purion controller, and I'll be looking to upgrade this.

Since the plan is to keep this bike for many years, I spent some extra money and had the electronic shifting added to this bike. What a pleasure and shifting is now seamless. I was able to bike up heartbreak hill back to my house effortlessly compared to the Trek. I always felt I was going to run out of juice peddling the Trek.

I'll post some pictures if anyone is interested.
 

eliot3b4

Member
I thought I’d post a photo of the Cannondale electric Synapse Neo 1. This is an awesome electric bike to ride. To date, 21miles and no issues. I’ve named the bike “wild thing” as she, in a heart beat, could go faster than intended. I am able to peddle the bike without the electric assist, with not a lot of effort.

I’m planning to put this bike on an indoor trainer for the winter.
 

Attachments

eliot3b4

Member
No, the Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 is a class 1 bike, meaning it is limited to 20 mph. Many states now limit the speed of electric bikes to 20 mph on certain roads and parks.
 

eliot3b4

Member
I just tried taking the battery off and on as I was greatly annoyed with the response from Cannondale when I asked about the battery installation and removal.

There is a secret to taking off the battery and placing it back on.

Bike must be standing straight up. DO NOT TRY THIS WITH THE BIKE ON THE BIKE KICK STAND AS THE ANGLE WILL NOT BE CORRECT and the battery will not come on and off easily.

TO REMOVE THE BATTERY:
1. Insert key into the lock.

2. Unlock the battery. There should be a click and the battery should pop out.

3. Push the lower lever up. This releases the battery form the holder.

4. Remove battery.

TO INSTALL

1. Slide the battery with the shallow rails on the side of the battery compartment.

2. The battery should be able to be inserted correctly. (I’ll have to do this again, as I cannot remember if there was a c lick when it was inserted correctly).

3. Put pressure on the battery in the lower portion of the battery and push the battery all the way. There should be a clicking sound and the key should be easily removed.

I'll try to make a video and post on you tube
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
When you say you upgraded to electronic shifting does that mean you went to Di2?
I have Di2 on my Giant Defy Advance Pro 0 (not an ebike) and love it. It's really hard to go back to mechanical shifting after you've tried electronic.
 

eliot3b4

Member
Hello! I believe it is the "red tap". But I'm not certain. I'm getting a carbon fiber drop bar handle that is sized for me. Yes, difficult to go back to mechanical shifting. I have this bike now on a trainer and I plan to stay in shape over this winter by riding this bike indoors.
 

David Mortimer

New Member
This is my first post. Impression of Synapse Neo 1 (2019 model)…

If I look back on how technology has impacted me personally, I would point back at these moments. I’m not mentioning the personal computer because that was a slow evolution and I’ve owned many PCs. There is the moment I hung my first flat screen TV. Also when I threw away paper maps when I got my first Garmin GPS. I also remember the first time recording TV shows on a DVR. There is the time I permanently parked my Blackberry in my desk after getting the iPhone 6. My first iPod was another moment.

Okay and now bike talk. A disclaimer first, I know nothing about bikes. I retired early, not in the best of shape and in my mid-fifties. Now, what to do with all that time. Health is everything, so more time devoted to physical fitness is a no brainer. I found myself on my city bike a lot more. We have a lot of bike paths in our city. It is fun but those killer hills; not so fun. A 20 km city ride at about 20 km/hr was a big ride. How to have more fun? Make the biking experience better while on a senior path to better physical fitness.

So our bike shop was having an end of summer sale and the 2019 Cannondale NEO 1 was on the list. A very expensive bike that was in their rental pool. I decided to rent it for a day at a price higher than it would be to rent a car. A day of discovery. Why are people buying ebikes? Wow, love at first sight and first ride. Another life impacting technology moment.

It was not in my budget to buy, and I knew there would be hell to pay with my wife, but I warned her in advance of the possibility. Not a good marriage day. Neither was I sure about buying a used but pristine bike, but a quick check at the front desk showed that it had only been rented out 5 times over the summer season and mostly to the bike shop staff, who loved it. Still out of my price range and an obvious impulse buy, the logical part of my brain handed it back over to the bike mechanic who did a rental check out, so I could get back my fifteen hundred dollar damage deposit. Glued in my shoes I couldn’t leave the store. What to do. Time froze. On last thought I snatched it back out of the mechanic’s hands, and over-maxed my credit card. I am sure glad I did. I love this mechanical thing and I only got to ride it six weeks before the snow arrived.

Why do I like it? Well first there are a lot of aggressive cyclists in our city. The kind with carbon fibre bikes that wear silk pajamas and shout out “passing on left!!!”, with a big scowl on their face as they zoom past. The kind that won’t mount a bell on their bike because it would increase the weight of their bike by 50 grams. Plus it is just so uncool to ring a bell. Well now I can catch some of them on the hills and shout out “passing on your left” but instead, with a big smile on my face. The NEO 1 motor is silent and maybe they don’t quite get a long enough glance to see that I’m on an ebike. I clearly sense they are pissed off. Yes, childish fun for sure. Oh, and I did mount a 4 dollar bell on my 9,000 dollar list price bike. That’s Canadian dollars by the way.

Now I am doing 60 km city rides and Strava tells me that my speed average is 26-27 km/hr. Hills are not a problem. I like keeping it in Sport mode. Way too much fun to go fast. This is what it is like to ride a bike in top physical shape. Wow. The logical part of my brain speaks again, to tell me that it is a good thing the bike is speed assist limited to 32 km/hr. But I can pedal past the assist on the flats. 35-40 km/hr is possible.

And then there is my life long cyclist friend. He is the friend who will not cycle with me, unless it is a family day outing which happens about once a year. I understand. He has his cyclist friends plan their yearly pilgrimage to Europe to replicate a stage from the Tour de France or some other hellish cycle ride. They train for it all spring and summer. I rarely see him when he is training. They pedal something alien to me like 1500 km in 7 days or something like that. Okay, so now he invites me to do the Canmore to Banff bike run with a bit of an overshoot. I’ve never done that before. He has never invited me out. A short ride for him of about 80 km. We are now cruising at 30 km/hr on a very windy trail. He is drafting me. I can beat him on the hills. He tells me he is not holding back. He calls the Synapse Neo 1 the great equalizer. On the last hill he grabs onto the back of my seat. I didn’t really even notice. I'm pulling him up the hill. So much fun. There is still some charge left in my battery.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
David, your post made me laugh. It was a very enjoyable read.
I ride with two riding groups. One, where everyone wears cycling gear and rides light carbon bikes (me included), and another (slower group) where almost half the riders are on ebikes. I say slower, only because the riders on non-ebikes can't ride as fast. The riders on ebikes could easily keep up with the faster carbon-bike set if they wanted to (and were welcomed).

On my last group ride, with the slower group, we had to climb a short, but steep hill to where we planned to stop for coffee. A kilometre or so before the hill I decided to "stretch my legs" (on my carbon road bike) and pull away from the group. When I got to the coffee shop, at the top of the hill, I noticed that the five riders who had caught up to me were all on ebikes. The big difference was I was panting away, trying to get my breath back and they were all breathing normally. Big hill? What hill? ;)
Along with my two carbon road bikes I have a Pedego Ridgerider trail bike. My next bike, either this year or next year, will be an e-road bike.
I think there's a Specialized Creo with my name on it.
 

eliot3b4

Member
The Cannondale is my third electric bike. The electric bike has been a progression from I want to ride a bike again, to I want to explore and ride further distances. I have had a lot of joy riding my ebike, and in the process I am getting in shape. This Cannondale opens up the ability to go places other than around my home, since it is light, I can easily put it on and off a bike rack, and now that I have made adjustments, it is very comfortable to ride.

The adjustments I've made is a different seat, and I replaced the handle bars to a smaller, carbon fiber handle bar. I may change the tires which will help in the comfort area. There is a lot to learn about bike riding.
 

TomRiddle

New Member
I'm about to order the 2020 Synapse Neo SE from REI. Do you have any advice about pedals (I've had enough of clips and stirrups.), seat, lock, wisdom of a 2nd battery, rack, fenders etc. One reviewer said that the crank rubbed against the motor. That sounded strange to me. You can find that attached here. My guess is that the reviewer's bike wasn't assembled correctly.
 

Attachments

eliot3b4

Member
Hello! You are gonna love the Synapse Neo. Light, fast, and fun to peddle. I have no suggestions on peddles. My bike shop put the peddles on and so far, they are working great. You can get fenders for this, and I may in the fitter, but right now, I do not need them. I've had no problems with the bike, other than taking the battery on and off. I suspect if the person was having an issue with the crank ruddying against the motor, the assembly is not correct or unknown damage. I'd go back to the bike shop and tell them to fix it.

As for an extra battery. Mixed feelings on that. My battery lasts longer than I am able to ride right now. With conservative ing the battery it should last for over 50 miles. I have a lot of hills around me so I generally keep the setting at turbo and forget about the power setting. If I was riding on flat land, I would keep it at the eco mode.

I have my bike on a trainer right now because of the ice and snow around my house. I use the app Zwift, and that keeps me peddling. Being able ot peddle on a trainer is such a blessing. so far I've peddled 89 miles this year and hope to add more miles. I get a good work out and am building up my endurance. I started at 3 miles in one ride and now can do 7 miles in one ride. Goal is 20 miles before I ride outdoors for real.

Will be interested in your analysis on this bike.
 

David Mortimer

New Member
I have no recommendation on pedals. Pick whatever you like. Parts rubbing have not been an issue for me. I did try and have the bike shop mount a kickstand but none would fit. Not enough clearance between the tip of the kickstand and wheel spokes for me to be comfortable. The stand could shift. It's probably not "cool" to have a kickstand on this bike anyway.

On a 60 km ride in Sport Mode between Canmore and Banff Alberta, I finished the ride with 30% charge left. This is with headwinds and some elevation climb. I have not yet tried removing the battery as I store the whole bike inside the house. I would definitely not allow the battery to freeze outside in the garage. The instructions I found state the battery should be stored with 30-60% charge. The battery is expensive and not light weight. Google shows the battery costing $600 Euros. You can only buy the Bosch battery on a trade in program? I hope what I read on the Internet is not true.

I have thought a second battery might be useful to ground ship to my bother's house on the other side of the country for when I visit him this summer. Obviously you cannot put this bike on an airplane with the battery. A bike store in Ottawa told my they could package the battery for hazardous shipping and send it back home for around $90 CAD. I hope to reuse the packaging / labels and learn more details on the shipping carrier they use. There are some bike shops in Europe that will rent you the battery. I'm sure shipping the battery overseas cross/border would be more complicated. Not sure whether this is worth pursuing. $90 each way to ground ship the battery inside Canada, plus $150 bike luggage fee, plus the cost of the 2nd battery and bike travel case. I plan to do more research on this point. If you see a good blog discussion please share.

Eliot3b4, it looks like you traded out the stock seat, can you share details?

I did have an incident this summer on the city bike path where someone pointed at my Synapse NEO 1, and said that's the kind of bike I like to steal! So no, I will not be locking up and walking away from this bike, unless it is within eyesight.

You can definitely ride this bike on flat terrain without any pedal assist. My wife insisted on it when she rode with me last summer. I only got to ride the bike for six weeks before the snow arrived. I am looking forward to the spring.
 

TomRiddle

New Member
Thank you so much for the helpful advice about pedals, kickstand, and battery. I also appreciate the encouragement -- you seem to be definitely enjoying the bike. I too, by the way, am curious to know if there is a better saddle. If all goes well, I'll get the bike and make a video review. I'll also do some serious touring with it around the USA and possibly Canada.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Regarding pedals, I might have two different suggestions.

If you prefer flat (platform) pedals, CrankBrothers Stamp model is the best choice. It is equipped with adjustable pins that hold your feet firmly in place, exactly where you put them on the pedals.

If you would like to venture into SPD pedals, the road-cycling pedals are not good. The best and safest are the MTB-style Shimano PD-M324. These can be ridden with shoes clipped in or on the flat side of the pedal. You would need the MTB shoes, for example the Shimano MT301. And you need cleats to be mounted inside the shoes' soles, of which the Shimano SH-56 is one of the safest to release the shoe.
 

Jimbo08

Member
So nice to hear people enjoying their bikes. E-bikes are the great equalizer!
As far as shipping bikes/batteries. ....only one that is easily carried onto an airplane at this time seems to be the new SL batteries from Specialized found in the Creo and SL Levo. You have to remove the internal battery for flying, but you can take it in your carry-on luggage along with a spare external battery. There may be others that you can do this with but not to my knowledge.
 

TomRiddle

New Member
is me riding my new Cannondale Synapse. The video is only 34 seconds . . . Now the bike has a flat tire and I can't get the tire off. The WTB Byway TCS, 650b x 47mm, is a very tough tire to pry off. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I bought a Creo and I really like it, but I wish it had double chainrings and wheels with the 100x12 and 142x12 spacing that the Synapse has. If I could change anything about the Creo those would be the two things. Who knows I might end up with a Synapse in the future.
 

TomRiddle

New Member
No real trick to it. This is a good video explanation from Park Tool:
Thanks for trying to help. I watched that video before I posted. The Synapse and its WTB Byway TCS, 650b x 47mm tires on had made it very difficult to separate the tire from the rim. I'm hoping that someone who owns the Synapse and who has changed the tire can advise me. I've fixed a lot of flats over the years. This seems to be a new technology that I'm new to.