Buying my 1st "serious" bike: Cannondale Synapse Carbon, or...?



B

Bob Ross

Guest
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. (Eg., one fellow told me the Synapse
gets no respect from racers because it's a "comfort" bike. Irrespective
of whether I care what others think about my ride, ideally I want
comfort *and* performance.)

Thanks so much.
 
L

landotter

Guest
If you like the Synapse, go for it. Personally, I'd never get a full
carbon bike unless I was competitive. It's a lot of change for a pound
or two of weight saved. If it were my $2500, I'd get either a nice
lugless steel bike made from triple buttle tubing, or any number of Ti
frames, and build up with 105 or Centaur. Metal is just so much more
"no fuss". Again, if the carbon makes ya swoon go for it, but if it was
me, It'd be a built up frame like a Soma Smoothie or similar. Such a
bike can easily be built up with strong parts and hand made wheels, and
still come in at around twenty pounds.


With a decent, affordable steel or aluminum frame, $2500 buys you a
heck of a lot more bike. Instead of 105 you could get Ultegra, and
instead of those bogus Shimano wheels, you could have a hand built set
laced up that suits your style and weight perfectly.
 
T

Ted

Guest
Look at a Bianchi Virata; it has a carbon fork, chain stays, and seat
stays, with a steel triangle. It is light and very comfortable riding.
My last bike was a 1971 vintage Reynolds 531 and when I first started
riding my Virata I kept thinking my tires were soft it is so
comfortable. It has Ultegra parts and is in your price range. And the
celeste color is a cult thing.

Have fun,
Ted.
 
L

landotter

Guest
Ted wrote:
> Look at a Bianchi Virata; it has a carbon fork, chain stays, and seat
> stays, with a steel triangle. It is light and very comfortable riding.
> My last bike was a 1971 vintage Reynolds 531 and when I first started
> riding my Virata I kept thinking my tires were soft it is so
> comfortable. It has Ultegra parts and is in your price range. And the
> celeste color is a cult thing.
>



Nice recommendation! High zoot, good spec, and sane use of carbon.
Celeste does indeed rock. :) I'm not usually a fan of boutique
wheelsets, but those Mavics have proven themselves as pretty dang
reliable.
 
M

Mike Jacoubowsky

Guest
> 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. (Eg., one fellow told me the Synapse
> gets no respect from racers because it's a "comfort" bike. Irrespective
> of whether I care what others think about my ride, ideally I want
> comfort *and* performance.)


First, anything I suggest should be regarded as 100% biased and
self-serving, since we're the largest Trek carbon road bike dealer in the
country (although there's no way I could sell you a bike anyway, since
you're in New York, a bit of a drive from California...). Having said
that...

OK, unbiased part first. Your choice of dealer may be the single
most-important part of the equation, since it's that dealer that is going to
help make sure you're getting something appropriate for how you're going to
ride, knows the riding opportunities in your area, and perhaps
most-important, is the person who's going to make sure it fits you properly.
The best bike in the world, with a poor fit, is not going to be anywhere
near as nice to ride as a "lesser" bike with a great fit.

Now on to the biased part. Trek has been building full-carbon road bikes
since 1992, and partial carbon bikes six years prior to that. They've thrown
more resources at carbon technology than any other manufacturer, and have
made continual improvements in the product over the years. Unlike most bike
companies, they're more centered on product than marketing, and don't
reinvent themselves every three years, claiming they now have something new,
improved, and so much better than what you had before that it's time to
throw that old dinosaur out. So you've got an investment in something that
you're going to enjoy for a good number of years, and Trek is known to be
one of, if not the best in the business in terms of standing behind their
product (warranty issues).

Plus they have a full range of carbon road product now, including bikes with
a taller front end so you can get a higher bar position if you wish.

Like I said, purely selfish, 100% biased drivel from a dealer. But it's from
a dealer who actually believes the stuff he says (and weirdly speaks in
3rd-person at times).

Oh, one more thing to check out on our website.
www.ChainReaction.com/roadbiketestrides.htm. It's one of the few completely
unbiased articles on our website, in terms of both brand & materials. It
will give you a good idea of what to look for when test-riding a bike, and
might help to evaluate different dealers as well.

In the end though, the right bike is the bike that you just can't stand to
walk past without feeling like you want to get on it and go for a ride.

--Mike Jacoubowsky
Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReaction.com
Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA


"Bob Ross" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> 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. (Eg., one fellow told me the Synapse
> gets no respect from racers because it's a "comfort" bike. Irrespective
> of whether I care what others think about my ride, ideally I want
> comfort *and* performance.)
>
> Thanks so much.
>
 
B

Bob Ross

Guest
Mike, thank you for the roadbikestrides link, that looks like it'll be
a good read.

I love Trek bikes. I've been extremely happy with my 750. I've drooled
over their OCLV stuff ever since it was first introduced, and the tech
papers on their carbon frames that I've read strike me as being
thorough & based on solid science rather than marketing babble.

And I currently have a remarkably good relationship w/ the LBS. My wife
bought her Cannondale there a dozen years ago, they do all our
tune-ups, & we've bought 95% of all our bike gack there. Great service,
very knowledgeable guys, generous to a fault, and they really seem to
have the customer's best interests at heart. I'll certainly be taking
their advice & recommendations to heart, just want to go in there armed
with as much info as I can.

Here's the problem:

My LBS isn't a Trek dealer.

I've got a relationship w/ these guys that's solid, beneficial, and
only one year younger than my 10-year-old Trek bike. I am reluctant to
shop elsewhere, not because I don't believe I can find good
service/support elsewhere, but because I believe a well-cultivated
merchant relationship is one of the few remaining bastions of integrity
in commerce.

I think if these guys sold Trek I wouldn't even be shopping other
brands (which itself might be myopic, I know...but since that's just
hypothetical...). LBS sells Cannondale, Specialized, Fuji, Kestrel, &
Calfee, (plus Lightspeed, should I expand my search to Ti). Probably
can't afford a Kestrel or Calfee.

If I'm ever in Redwood City I'll stop by your shop.


Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
>
> First, anything I suggest should be regarded as 100% biased and
> self-serving, since we're the largest Trek carbon road bike dealer in the
> country (although there's no way I could sell you a bike anyway, since
> you're in New York, a bit of a drive from California...). Having said
> that...
>
> OK, unbiased part first. Your choice of dealer may be the single
> most-important part of the equation, since it's that dealer that is going to
> help make sure you're getting something appropriate for how you're going to
> ride, knows the riding opportunities in your area, and perhaps
> most-important, is the person who's going to make sure it fits you properly.
> The best bike in the world, with a poor fit, is not going to be anywhere
> near as nice to ride as a "lesser" bike with a great fit.
>
> Now on to the biased part. Trek has been building full-carbon road bikes
> since 1992, and partial carbon bikes six years prior to that. They've thrown
> more resources at carbon technology than any other manufacturer, and have
> made continual improvements in the product over the years. Unlike most bike
> companies, they're more centered on product than marketing, and don't
> reinvent themselves every three years, claiming they now have something new,
> improved, and so much better than what you had before that it's time to
> throw that old dinosaur out. So you've got an investment in something that
> you're going to enjoy for a good number of years, and Trek is known to be
> one of, if not the best in the business in terms of standing behind their
> product (warranty issues).
>
> Plus they have a full range of carbon road product now, including bikes with
> a taller front end so you can get a higher bar position if you wish.
>
> Like I said, purely selfish, 100% biased drivel from a dealer. But it's from
> a dealer who actually believes the stuff he says (and weirdly speaks in
> 3rd-person at times).
>
> Oh, one more thing to check out on our website.
> www.ChainReaction.com/roadbiketestrides.htm. It's one of the few completely
> unbiased articles on our website, in terms of both brand & materials. It
> will give you a good idea of what to look for when test-riding a bike, and
> might help to evaluate different dealers as well.
>
> In the end though, the right bike is the bike that you just can't stand to
> walk past without feeling like you want to get on it and go for a ride.
>
> --Mike Jacoubowsky
> Chain Reaction Bicycles
> www.ChainReaction.com
> Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
 
G

Gooserider

Guest
If it was MY purchase, I would buy a Gunnar. You can choose between the
Roadie, Sport, or Crosshairs. I have a Sport, which has rack/fender eyelets
and relaxed geometry, and it's a very nice bike. Made in Wisconsin from US
made True Temper steel, and should last me a long time. The Roadie is more
racy, and the Crosshairs is a cyclocross bike with cantis and clearance for
fat tires. I have nothing against carbon, but I like steel, so that's my
bias.
 
M

Mike Jacoubowsky

Guest
> And I currently have a remarkably good relationship w/ the LBS. My wife
> bought her Cannondale there a dozen years ago, they do all our
> tune-ups, & we've bought 95% of all our bike gack there. Great service,
> very knowledgeable guys, generous to a fault, and they really seem to
> have the customer's best interests at heart. I'll certainly be taking
> their advice & recommendations to heart, just want to go in there armed
> with as much info as I can.


> I've got a relationship w/ these guys that's solid, beneficial, and
> only one year younger than my 10-year-old Trek bike. I am reluctant to
> shop elsewhere, not because I don't believe I can find good
> service/support elsewhere, but because I believe a well-cultivated
> merchant relationship is one of the few remaining bastions of integrity
> in commerce.


Absolutely in agreement. If your shop has a reasonable solution for your
needs, by all means, that's the way to go. A great shop will stand behind
the product they sell, such that it may negate many of the positives you
might see in another brand at another store.

And maybe they'll carry Trek when it's time for your next bike! :>)

--Mike Jacoubowsky
Chain Reaction Bicycles
www.ChainReaction.com
Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
"Bob Ross" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Mike, thank you for the roadbikestrides link, that looks like it'll be
> a good read.
>
> I love Trek bikes. I've been extremely happy with my 750. I've drooled
> over their OCLV stuff ever since it was first introduced, and the tech
> papers on their carbon frames that I've read strike me as being
> thorough & based on solid science rather than marketing babble.
>
> And I currently have a remarkably good relationship w/ the LBS. My wife
> bought her Cannondale there a dozen years ago, they do all our
> tune-ups, & we've bought 95% of all our bike gack there. Great service,
> very knowledgeable guys, generous to a fault, and they really seem to
> have the customer's best interests at heart. I'll certainly be taking
> their advice & recommendations to heart, just want to go in there armed
> with as much info as I can.
>
> Here's the problem:
>
> My LBS isn't a Trek dealer.
>
> I've got a relationship w/ these guys that's solid, beneficial, and
> only one year younger than my 10-year-old Trek bike. I am reluctant to
> shop elsewhere, not because I don't believe I can find good
> service/support elsewhere, but because I believe a well-cultivated
> merchant relationship is one of the few remaining bastions of integrity
> in commerce.
>
> I think if these guys sold Trek I wouldn't even be shopping other
> brands (which itself might be myopic, I know...but since that's just
> hypothetical...). LBS sells Cannondale, Specialized, Fuji, Kestrel, &
> Calfee, (plus Lightspeed, should I expand my search to Ti). Probably
> can't afford a Kestrel or Calfee.
>
> If I'm ever in Redwood City I'll stop by your shop.
>
>
> Mike Jacoubowsky wrote:
>>
>> First, anything I suggest should be regarded as 100% biased and
>> self-serving, since we're the largest Trek carbon road bike dealer in the
>> country (although there's no way I could sell you a bike anyway, since
>> you're in New York, a bit of a drive from California...). Having said
>> that...
>>
>> OK, unbiased part first. Your choice of dealer may be the single
>> most-important part of the equation, since it's that dealer that is going
>> to
>> help make sure you're getting something appropriate for how you're going
>> to
>> ride, knows the riding opportunities in your area, and perhaps
>> most-important, is the person who's going to make sure it fits you
>> properly.
>> The best bike in the world, with a poor fit, is not going to be anywhere
>> near as nice to ride as a "lesser" bike with a great fit.
>>
>> Now on to the biased part. Trek has been building full-carbon road bikes
>> since 1992, and partial carbon bikes six years prior to that. They've
>> thrown
>> more resources at carbon technology than any other manufacturer, and have
>> made continual improvements in the product over the years. Unlike most
>> bike
>> companies, they're more centered on product than marketing, and don't
>> reinvent themselves every three years, claiming they now have something
>> new,
>> improved, and so much better than what you had before that it's time to
>> throw that old dinosaur out. So you've got an investment in something
>> that
>> you're going to enjoy for a good number of years, and Trek is known to be
>> one of, if not the best in the business in terms of standing behind their
>> product (warranty issues).
>>
>> Plus they have a full range of carbon road product now, including bikes
>> with
>> a taller front end so you can get a higher bar position if you wish.
>>
>> Like I said, purely selfish, 100% biased drivel from a dealer. But it's
>> from
>> a dealer who actually believes the stuff he says (and weirdly speaks in
>> 3rd-person at times).
>>
>> Oh, one more thing to check out on our website.
>> www.ChainReaction.com/roadbiketestrides.htm. It's one of the few
>> completely
>> unbiased articles on our website, in terms of both brand & materials. It
>> will give you a good idea of what to look for when test-riding a bike,
>> and
>> might help to evaluate different dealers as well.
>>
>> In the end though, the right bike is the bike that you just can't stand
>> to
>> walk past without feeling like you want to get on it and go for a ride.
>>
>> --Mike Jacoubowsky
>> Chain Reaction Bicycles
>> www.ChainReaction.com
>> Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA

>