Cannondale Synapse Neo EQ Initial Review

EdaleJohn

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
I bought my bike unseen during a Covid-19 lockdown in the UK and relied quite heavily on reviews. This was my go-to website for real-life reviews when selecting the bike, so here are my early observations.

After deciding which bike I wanted, getting the right size was a bit of a conundrum. The Cannondale website put me near the very top of large and Smartfit online sizing put me very near the bottom of large. My calculations, based on my existing bikes, put me spot on the overlap between medium and large.

I went with medium on the basis I could make it a bit larger by changing components. It worked out to be a pretty good fit as supplied, with the saddle a tad further back than recommended. The bars are 35mm below my saddle height, which is a bit low for me these days. Fortunately the saddle to bar measurement is slightly shorter than my other bikes, which seems to compensate without feeling cramped.

Here are a few points not mentioned in the standard spec:
Stem: 105mm
Cranks: 172.5mm
Weight: 19.6kg
Toe Overlap with front mudguard (fender): just level (no overlap) with my size 46 Shimano SPD shoes, both road and MTB versions.
Rear mudguard fixings: the standard, removable bridge plus a brazed-on boss near the bottom rear of the seat tube and substantial stays to take the recommended maximum combined 16kg weight of 2 panniers. The rear mudguard ends short of the bottom bracket so I've added a bit of helitape to protect the motor housing from crud.

My impression of the ebike compared with my standard road bike, built around a Bob Jackson hand built, steel frame that rides superbly.

The Synapse definitely rides a bit firmer than my Bob Jackson. For the pot-holed country lanes that I mainly ride on I’m now running the 35mm tyres at the 3 bar minimum recommended pressure, front and rear, compared with the Jackson on 28mm tyres, 4 bar front , 4.5 bar rear. The Synapse is acceptable at that but did seem a lot less forgiving until I lowered the tyre pressures.

The steering is light but I find it a bit more sluggish than I expected. The slacker head angle, much greater trail and longer wheelbase combine to push the bike in a straight line, which is good at speed but taking a bit of getting used to when I’m riding slowly.

I haven’t noticed the wider Q-factor but do notice the extra 7kg or so weight when riding without the motor. Nevertheless it rides well, with or without the motor, and the overall feel is indistinguishable from that of a conventional bike.

The mechanicals - gears, brakes, motor - are all fine for me, as are the other components. The mantis colour is a bit darker than I expected. Army jeep olive might be a reasonable comparison.

The noise from the motor is obvious but not intrusive and it’s quieter than the Shimano STEPS E6001 on my wife’s Cannondale Quick Neo.

Overall the bike is well suited to my needs. A combination of aging and doing insufficient mileage to get beyond basic fitness has made steep hills a bit of a grind. The ebike has been something of a revelation. I’ve only used the bottom two power levels but that is plenty to take the sting out of climbs. I still push myself a bit but arrive home nicely tired and recover faster than previously.
 

Eraseri

New Member
Region
Europe
Thanks for your review! Cannondale Synapse Neo SE owner here. It's nearly the same bike with exception of 650B-tires and drop-bar etc.

I have been thinking about buying second 700C wheelset for road/light gravel. How wide/tall tire do you think you could fit in there? With 650B there is plenty of space but with 700C you can't fit so wide. Probably the motor is the first place where bigger tire starts rubbing.

Cheers
 

EdaleJohn

New Member
Region
United Kingdom
You are correct, the motor area is the narrowest point. The original equipment 35mm Schwalbe G One Speed TLE tyre that I’m using has a quite low tread profile and inflates at 3 bar to about 36mm all round - width and height. It leaves about 12mm clearance round the curve of the narrowest area, where the chain stays and motor housing meet.

I find it difficult to answer the question of the widest 700c tyre that will fit. I am happy with my tyres, which Schwalbe specify for tarmac and gravel. I’ve used them on both but mainly on (often quite rough) roads. The frame clearance is fine for the intended use. I wouldn't want it tighter on this type of bike as experience has taught me that a bit of extra clearance can be helpful when a wheel is knocked out of true.

If you are looking for something with tighter clearance this website attempts to calculate wheel/tyre diameters: https://www.bikecalc.com/wheel_size_math

Best wishes.
 

Eraseri

New Member
Region
Europe
You are correct, the motor area is the narrowest point. The original equipment 35mm Schwalbe G One Speed TLE tyre that I’m using has a quite low tread profile and inflates at 3 bar to about 36mm all round - width and height. It leaves about 12mm clearance round the curve of the narrowest area, where the chain stays and motor housing meet.

I find it difficult to answer the question of the widest 700c tyre that will fit. I am happy with my tyres, which Schwalbe specify for tarmac and gravel. I’ve used them on both but mainly on (often quite rough) roads. The frame clearance is fine for the intended use. I wouldn't want it tighter on this type of bike as experience has taught me that a bit of extra clearance can be helpful when a wheel is knocked out of true.

If you are looking for something with tighter clearance this website attempts to calculate wheel/tyre diameters: https://www.bikecalc.com/wheel_size_math

Best wishes.
Thanks a lot mate. Appreciate it. I measured my 650B-tires that are 47C width. I have approx 15 mm of clearance from tires riding surface to motor housing.

For the moment I'm looking at buying 32x700C-tires for summer but for winter I would like to have something like 40x700C which could be tight.

Decent spiked 650B winter-tires in widths between 40-50 are non-existing.