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your god hates me
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, first time poster here. I've been an avid recreational cyclist for almost 40 years now (yikes!) but this year decided it was time to jump in to the adult swim: My wife, who's been an aggressively competitive distance biker for 11 years, got me to sign up with the New York Cycle Club, and since February we've been doing between 40-80 miles every weekend. And I am having a blast! I know it's only been 2 months, but I can see myself doing this longer/faster/harder thing for the rest of my life

...except that my current bike must weigh a good 35-40 lbs, and it's alarmingly undergeared for those flat roads where we're cruising over 25 mph. It's a ten year old Trek 750 Multitrack (hybrid). It'll probably last forever, and if I weren't getting so serious about distance cycling & group riding it'd probably be fine as the last bike I ever owned. But I'm ready to step up to something that will let me realize my full potential...or at least that will force me to point to my own abilities as the limiting factor, rather than my gear.

So anyway, after a bit of research, I'm leaning towards a Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 (triple). I admit I'm somewhat predisposed to go with a full carbon frame: I'm a professional bass player, & 2 of my instruments have composite necks, so I'm well aware of the advantages of carbon's high elastic modulus, high STW ratios, & inert resonance. So I'd love to hear from folks who can offer well-reasoned encouragement -- or discouragement -- for pursuing this technology in a bicycle frame. If there are better bikes in a similar price range (<$2500) in titanium or aluminum, I'd love to hear about them.

Suggestions welcome, and I would especially appreciate explanations for *why* you're recommending a particular make/model. Or why you might steer me away from the Synapse. Thanks so much.
 

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TWD
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synapse

you might want to check the bicycling mag last couple of issues because they reviewed this bike and several others in that price range. standard advice: go to the lbs and ride several for a few miles, hone in size and fit and make a buy
 

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Get me to In&Out
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Have a gander at Look bikes as well. The 555 is a real nice ride and is probably comparable in price.
 

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Too many bikes. Too many opinions. I would test some carbon, test some Ti, test some AL. Figure what my budget is and then get fitted for a bike that is for you. Then spend some money get a little bling and enjoy...:)
 

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gastarbeiter
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go around to some shops and kick some tires. see what else is on offer. if it's really your first bike, my main advice would be to get properly fitted.

just went to CF afer years on steel and alu. my only gripe so far is based on the fact that i don't have a torque wrench, and i'm too paranoid about cracking something. just yesterday i started a group ride with my saddle at the appropriate height. by the end of the ride it was about 7-10mm lower. :(

from what i've read, that's an easy fix. :)


Bob Ross said:
Hi all, first time poster here. I've been an avid recreational cyclist for almost 40 years now (yikes!) but this year decided it was time to jump in to the adult swim: My wife, who's been an aggressively competitive distance biker for 11 years, got me to sign up with the New York Cycle Club, and since February we've been doing between 40-80 miles every weekend. And I am having a blast! I know it's only been 2 months, but I can see myself doing this longer/faster/harder thing for the rest of my life

...except that my current bike must weigh a good 35-40 lbs, and it's alarmingly undergeared for those flat roads where we're cruising over 25 mph. It's a ten year old Trek 750 Multitrack (hybrid). It'll probably last forever, and if I weren't getting so serious about distance cycling & group riding it'd probably be fine as the last bike I ever owned. But I'm ready to step up to something that will let me realize my full potential...or at least that will force me to point to my own abilities as the limiting factor, rather than my gear.

So anyway, after a bit of research, I'm leaning towards a Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 (triple). I admit I'm somewhat predisposed to go with a full carbon frame: I'm a professional bass player, & 2 of my instruments have composite necks, so I'm well aware of the advantages of carbon's high elastic modulus, high STW ratios, & inert resonance. So I'd love to hear from folks who can offer well-reasoned encouragement -- or discouragement -- for pursuing this technology in a bicycle frame. If there are better bikes in a similar price range (<$2500) in titanium or aluminum, I'd love to hear about them.

Suggestions welcome, and I would especially appreciate explanations for *why* you're recommending a particular make/model. Or why you might steer me away from the Synapse. Thanks so much.
 

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Bob
I'm in my mid 50's (which I assume you must be). 1 year ago I bought my first 'real' road bike (Trek 5200). People on this forum gave me grief for buying a Trek (too common), for spending so much on a first bike and for buying carbon ('steel is real').

My experience:
carbon is great. It's comfortable, it's quiet and it's stiff. And, quite frankly, I enjoy just looking at it!

If you want carbon (and I think that's great), find a lbs you like and test ride what they sell. The Synapse is a fabulous bike. I would try one or two others so you know what's available, but if the Synapse feels good...buy it..
 

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What the Hell is going on
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Fit over material

Bike fit should be paramount and frame material secondary. If your bike fits you properly (well) you'll tend to want to ride it (more). It's as simple as that.
 

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Bob, I love my Synapse Carbon. I went about it a bit different, buying a Moto SL from bikes direct and then taking the parts off to put on a Synapse frame later on. It is stiff, very light, and since I am not a racer I dont mind the slightly relaxed geometry and longer chainstays. That being said, if I had it to do all over again I would have just bought the bike from an LBS, even though I would have paid prob $300-500 more. And I would probably buy a Six-13 because even though I do not race, will not race, I am still a poseur at heart and I am occasionally self-conscious about riding what is often perceived as a "comfort" bike. It is the same thing that keeps me carrying my golf clubs instead getting one of those push carts. But if you are not an OCP'r and wont feel emasculated by your non-race bike then the Synapse will be very hard to beat.
 

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Bob, I have a Synapse and it's a great bike, very comfortable with an extremely stiff bottom bracket. It's more of a performance bike than a comfort bike regardless of what the Cannondale blurb says. Anyway as suggested try some others especially the Specialized Roubaix and a Trek Pilot.
 

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I second (or third) the recommendation of the Specialized Roubaix. It was named after the classic Paris-Roubaix race where it is used by some of the pro racers. It's the most comfortable "race" bike I ever rode. If going at racing speed is not very important to you, the synapse will do just fine though.
 

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Beetpull DeLite
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zooog said:
Too many bikes. Too many opinions. I would test some carbon, test some Ti, test some AL.
What about steel? It's my material of choice...affordable, comfortable, durable, repairable, and it looks great. I'm not a huge fan of bloated carbon monocoque frames with deep aero wheels and ugly thick Shimano cranks.

But anyway, I'm not a huge fan of carbon. I haven't found it to be any more comfortable than my steel rides, and this way I don't have to worry about every little scratch or dent. Carbon's too fragile for my taste - I'd much rather have my parts bend instead of break.

What are your proportions? Are you tall with long legs and arms with a short torso, or what? Many brands have common geometry, with some having longer top tubes than others, so keep that in mind. Fit's most important.

If you have a Jamis dealer nearby, check them out...they have some great bikes at good prices. One of theirs is a Reynolds 853 steel/carbon mix that's simply gorgeous. I own one of their Reynolds 520 tubed bikes, and love it.
 

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your god hates me
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
grampy bone said:
If going at racing speed is not very important to you, the synapse will do just fine though.
This seems to be a veiled implication that the Synapse will not achieve racing speed?
 

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your god hates me
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
GirchyGirchy said:
What about steel? It's my material of choice...affordable, comfortable, durable, repairable, and it looks great. I'm not a huge fan of bloated carbon monocoque frames with deep aero wheels and ugly thick Shimano cranks.

But anyway, I'm not a huge fan of carbon. I haven't found it to be any more comfortable than my steel rides, and this way I don't have to worry about every little scratch or dent. Carbon's too fragile for my taste - I'd much rather have my parts bend instead of break..

As mentioned in my previous post, my predisposition towards carbon is based on my experience with that material in musical instrument applications. Many of the advantages composites offer to the bass guitar seem to me as if they would be advantages to bicycle frames as well: High strength-to-weight ratio, completely uniform resonance profile, and -- at least up until I started investigating its application to cycling -- relative indestructability

This "fragility" of carbon is something I've only just recently heard of in the context of bike frames. (I read Craig Calfee's enlightening white papers, as well as an alarmingly cautious owner's manual supplement to the Synapse.) So how fragile *are* carbon frames? I'm not too concerned about finish scratches & dings, but if the integrity & safety of the frame will be compromised by normal road riding/racing, that's a pretty substantial strike against any of the composite bikes I may consider. Ideally I want a bike that could last forever!

Thanks for your suggestions.
 

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cog-it-goes ergo sum
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Bob Ross said:
This seems to be a veiled implication that the Synapse will not achieve racing speed?
For 90% of cyclists' needs, the Synapse will exceed requirements. The Synapse, as well as the Trek Pilot, Giant OCR Comp, and the Specialized Roubaix are all perfectly capable of cruising 20-30mph as well as any twitchy race-geometry bike out there. At the very limits of a cyclist's capability, there might be a modicum of increased drag due to a more upright position on the bike, which could be rectified by crouching lower on the bike.

Where I wouldn't take one of the aformentioned "comfort-performance" bikes is a fast, technical crit due to their longer wheelbase. But that doesn't make them "unfast" bikes.

I have a Roubaix, and I'm able to ride in a fast group, climb with "dancing legs" (when my body allows), and still complete a century without hand, shoulder, or back pain. Great bike, in my opinion.
 

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Paying a lot for a 105 bike...

Carbon 3 looks like a decent bike... what you paying for it? MSRP is like $2400, right?That's a lot for a 105 bike with ho-hum wheels on it, IMO. Cannondale, I love my Al Cannondale. Big fat AL tubes is what Cannondale does best.

For that kind of money, the Giants are the deal- TCR Comp3 looks like about the same bike, but MSRP is $1800.

Last year's Roubaix... nice bike for a good price. Also check out Trek Pilot 5.0 or 5.2... if you are short, don't forget the "WSD" models... smaller, shorter top tube, more upright position... "Women Specific Design" ??? sounds good for me. Put a good saddle and wider bars on it, I bet it fits the bill and you upgrade wheels, tires and 105 to Ultegra for your $2400.

If you appreciate fine instruments... if somebody made me ride an all carbon bike I wouldn't mind a Parlee Z3 with ultegra level parts and some handbuilt nothing fancy wheels... I dunno, costs maybe twice what you want to spend, but it's soooooo fine!

What matters-

If the bike fits and you like it, who cares what it costs?

'meat
 

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your god hates me
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've Narrowed It Down To 4 Choices:

(okay, maybe 4 isn't so narrow, but...)

Going to my LBS next weekend to kick the tires & test ride the following:

- Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3
- Specialized Roubaix (either Comp or Expert)
- Fuji Team Pro
- Giant OCR Comp 2 (or maybe TCR Comp 2)

Is there anything I might want to know about these respective manufacturer's or these particular bikes before making my final decision? Any opinions on these specific models, or experiences comparing them (besides the generous contributions already made to this thread)?

Obviously fit & comfort & ride are going to be the determining factors, but if, say, Fuji employs 12-year-old kids in sweatshop conditions, or every Giant OCR that rolled off the line was recalled by the factory, I'd probably want to keep that in the back of my mind.
 

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gastarbeiter
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Bob Ross said:
Going to my LBS next weekend to kick the tires & test ride the following:
- Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3
- Specialized Roubaix (either Comp or Expert)
- Fuji Team Pro
- Giant OCR Comp 2 (or maybe TCR Comp 2)

Is there anything I might want to know about these respective manufacturer's or these particular bikes before making my final decision? Any opinions on these specific models, or experiences comparing them (besides the generous contributions already made to this thread)?
Can only say that the OCR Comps and The Specialized Roubaix have both been praised repeatedly on this and other cycling forums.

Can't say much about either the fuji or the c'dale (apart from the fact that IMO if you're going to buy a c'dale, then buy an aluminum or alu/cf one). I'll repeat the ol' mantra of fit is the most important thing. :rolleyes:

I've been on my TCR Comp 0 since Easter weekend, and LOVE it. After 700 miles on it i'm begining to think that maybe it is the bike and not the motor that makes you fast ;)
 
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