2012 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 – No Buyers Remorse
After spending decades on a mountain bike the switch to a road bike is like traveling to a foreign planet. Luckily I took my time, did a lot of up front research, kept an open mind and most importantly I had a good understanding of exactly how much of a budget the “Right Bike” would cost. I learned the hard way with my Gary Fisher Sugar 3 Disc. It was an awesome bike in its day but there was a lot of room for improvement in the controls. I ended up spending I believe $1600 in 2002 for the bike then spending another $1800 in upgrades two years later. I should have just bought a higher end Sugar from the start. it would have been cheaper. So this time around I was determined to get the right bike and live with the decision.
Road Bike Budget
Enter the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 – As I mentioned previously I knew roughly how much the road bike would cost. It would range between $1800 and $3000 dollars. Fortunately October is a great time to buy a bike as dealers are looking to unload 2012 models to make room for the 2013’s. In many cases there is almost no difference other than a paint job in a new model year. Simply put bikes are not redesigned every year. They are redesigned every few years with maybe a tweak here or there to the hardware choices. The biggest detail that set my budget was the type of bike I wanted or should I say needed. (Read Below). The 2012 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 had a MSRP of about $2350 but they were selling for about $2500 locally. Go figure. I ended up paying $2150 for mine. That was pretty much inline with prices from online retailers. Buying from the local bike shop was a better value…read on.
Selecting the Proper Road Bike For Me
Being 46 years old with a bad back as well as a few other physical issues I knew I needed a bike with relaxed geometry allowing for a little more upright position. Just about every big name bike manufacturer has a class of bike for folks like me who need and want the relaxed geometry over a race bike. Some times when looking for these types of bikes you need to look for keywords of phrases like “all day comfort” The following bikes made it to my possibility list.
- Trek Madone
- Felt Z4
- Giant Defy
- Specialized Roubaix
- Cervelo RS
I know what your thinking the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 is not even on the list. That’s the open-minded part I was referring too. I decided to visit my favorite local bike shop Class Cycles in Southbury Connecticut. They are the fine folks who sold my Gary Fisher back in 2002. You see when I started this road bike quest I emailed Class Cycles about the Felt Z4 and Greg the manager replied the same day or should I say night. It was a Saturday around 11pm when he replied. Class Cycles sells Felt, Trek and Cannondale. After a few messages back and forth Greg felt that the Trek and Cannondale would be better options but unfortunately he had no Trek Madone’s in stock that would fit my big butt 6 foot frame and it would be a few weeks before they had stock. He suggested I come up and try the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 and the Carbon 6 Apex to see which controls I preferred and get that out-of-the-way. The Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 has the Shimano 105 control group and the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 6 Apex SRAM Apex control group. Something I have not mentioned up to this point is I’m missing half of the finger length on my right hand so the proper controls were going to be important. The Shimano 105 group was much easier for me to manipulate and was much more precise. The SRAM Apex required more effort, longer travel and felt mushy and in-precise. This was an easy decision.
Now here’s where it get’s interesting. As I was test riding the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 it struck me how nice the bike was. It was comfortable, nimble, light and I liked the controls. I thought to myself what more could I want in a bike. About the only fault I could find was the saddle. I did not care for it then and I don’t care for it now a month later. Anyhow I rode back to the shop and to everyone’s surprise I said “Let’s Do It, I Want This Bike”. Just like that the search was over. Well almost. I decided that I would pick out pedals and shoes and go for another test ride after the bike was set up for my body. I settled on the Shimano 105 PD-5700 Road Pedals and Shimano SH-R087 Road Bike Shoes. Admittedly there was another pair of shoes I preferred the Shimano SH-R240 Road Shoes but they were $100 more and I suddenly got cheap.We did the deal I bought the bike.
Getting the Bike Fitted
Aside from great service another reason to patronize Class Cycles is their ability to fit the bike to the rider. They have this hardware/software system called “Cyfac Postural System” that allows your body to be precisely measured and have those measurements transferred to the bikes setup. They offer the “Simple Fitting” with the purchase of the bike. For $200 you can get a “Complete” fitting.
Test Riding My Bike
After about half an hour my bike appeared from the basement with the Shimano 105 PD-5700 Road Pedals installed and I installed the Shimano SH-R087 Road Bike Shoes on my feet. Out the door I went. I will save the pedal discussion for another day. After about 15 minutes of riding around the parking lot and adjacent streets and in general having a blast I knew I had made the right choice with Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105.
No way do I have buyers remorse with the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105. After getting out several times a week and putting nearly 100 miles on the bike I am still confident I made the right choice. In fact I am hard pressed to find anything wrong with the bike other than the darn saddle.
To be continued.