Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 or Giant OCR2 Carbon?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by SUPER RIDER, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. SUPER RIDER

    SUPER RIDER New Member

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    I am in the market for a new CF bike. I have decided it is gonna be either a Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3, or the Giant OCR2 Carbon.

    I do have some issues I'll like resolved before making a decision.

    The Giant dealer has offered to sell me the OCR2 with an upgrade of the wheelset (Mavic Aksium to Ksyrium SL) for $2300.

    The Cannondale comes with Shimano WH-R550 wheelset, and it can be had for around the same price.

    The Giant has Ultegra shifters, and the Cannondale has 105s.

    My questions are, which is the better buy, and why?

    I am also worried about wheels. I weigh 220Ibs, and I like strong wheels. I do not want wheels that I'll have to spend most of my time getting trued. The Giant dealer claims that the Mavic Ksyrium SLs is plenty strong to handle my weight. Is this true?

    Also, I have had some Cannondale aluminum bikes in the past, and I have been happy with them. One thing has always bothered me about Cannondale though, and that is their tendency to have a different standard for some bicycle parts that is different from the rest of the industry. I have a Cannondale aluminum mountain bike that came with an inch and a quarter steerer tube, and it took me forever to find a replacement stem, as the industry standard is an inch and an eight. Also, I am kind of worried that Cannondale does not have a lot of experience with carbon fiber, although one could argue that, since they do not build the bike in-house, it really does not matter much. Giant does have a long experience with carbon fiber.

    I really do like Cannondale bicycles that I have, and have had in the past. I especially appreciate the stiffness of the Cannondales around the bottom bracket.

    Please help me make the choice.

    If it helps, I am strictly an exercise/recreational rider. Most of my rides are going to be 60milers on weekends, and of course, the ocassional century and charity rides.

    Also, I am shopping for a CF bike because aluminum beats me up real good, although I do appreciate the stiffness.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. kleng

    kleng New Member

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    Super Rider

    An interesting point is that the Synapse carbon is made in the Giant factory.
    So the same quality control and production techniques would be used on both bikes.

    I would probably go with the Ksyrium SL's and the ultegra (on balance Ultegra is better than 105 as it uses bearings instead of the 105's bushings in some areas) on the OCR frame. The Ksyrium are about 300gms lighter per set compared to the Shimano R550, this is where you'll notice the difference if any. I think no one would disagree the Ksyrium SL are better wheels, stronger and with smoother rolling hubs.


    http://www.mavic.com/ewb_pages/c/comparateur.php?product_id=192&titre=Ksyrium%20SL&image=roue_vignette_ksyriumsscsl.jpg&detail=1591&dimcomparateur=7

    Here are some of the differences I've seen from the websites.

    The OCR 2 is not full ultegra (cranks, bottom bracket and front derailleur are not Ultegra), but the main components are.
    The OCR 2 has 30 gears courtesy of the triple chain ring, the C'dale has 2 chain rings (20 gears)
    The OCR 2 comes with shimano pedal (mtb type) while the C'dale doesn't come with any pedals.
    The C'dale has 105 brake calipers which are better than the "no name" included on the giant.
    The giant looks like a semi compact geometry (so be careful on the sizing)
    The C'dale looks like a normal geometry frame.
     
  3. SUPER RIDER

    SUPER RIDER New Member

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    Thanks for your response Kleng. The Cannondale I am actually considering is the Synapse Carbon 3, which has three chainrings, and thus 30 gears. I understand that the cannondale is not made by Giant, but by a company in mainland China. I could be wrong, of course.
     
  4. mrkott3r

    mrkott3r New Member

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    the giant is a much better deal. Mavic wheels and a mix of ultegra/105 with ultegra brifters! And you want to go with the bike with the triple crank? A triple crank is gonna cost a lot less than upgrading the cannondale to that level. Unless you live in a really really hilly area a triple is not required. If you're worried about your climbing ability now buy a wider cassette first, then if you arent improving over time (which is unlikely), or want to do more climbing buy a compact or triple crank.

    The Giant is a much better deal for the money.
     
  5. kleng

    kleng New Member

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    Super Rider, you might want to also consider the TCR 2 and TCR 3, more performance orientated frame but still just as comfortable as the OCR and only a 100usd more. Brakes are better, but its not a triple. A TCR 2 with Ksyrium SL's would be a seriously quick bike, but I guess you don't want it for speed.

    Yes, I didn't see the other Synapse triple on the website, the other small thing is Giant is giving away a jersey for any new purchases.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/000.000.000/000.000.000.asp?lArticleID=10132

    Check out the conditions.
     
  6. rek

    rek New Member

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    See if you can take a Synapse for a ride. Just one. That'll be all it takes to make your mind up... :D For long distance non-racing road rides they are a brilliant bike. I wouldn't worry about their engineering team's experience with CF. They managed to engineer a carbon fibre chainstay for one of their mountain bikes (Scalpel) that acts as a suspension pivot: it has to provide 2.5 inches of vertical flex at a stable spring rate, while still being rock solid laterally.. it does that, completely reliably, and the design hasn't needed any tweaking since the frame's introduction 5 years ago. Designing a CF road bike would be a cinch compared to that!

    The Synapse double spec options usually include a compact crank, which is a sensible option for those humble enough to admit they'll never need Robbie McEwen style gearing. ;) Like mrkott3r said, if you will be doing many really hilly rides your knees may thank you for choosing a triple instead, especially if those mountainous rides are also long rides.

    About non-standard componentry, the only thing on the Synapse Carbon worth mentioning in that regard is the oversized Si bottom bracket shell. However the Si BB uses cartridge bearings you can buy from any industrial bearing factory, so there's never going to be any problem of getting new ones. If you wanted to use a normal crank in the future, you can get an insert that converts the Si bottom bracket shell to a standard English thread BB. However this insert is permanent: once it's in, you can never remove it and go back to the Si BB. Depending on the spec level, some Synapse frames come out of the factory with the BB insert from day one.

    (I've waffled on a few times about the Synapse Carbon here before.. do a search to find those posts if you are after some more info/a review on what it's like)

    Have you also considered the Specialized Roubaix? Like the Synapse, thats another frameset that has been engineered from the ground up as a top end road bike that pays attention to long distance comfort issues.

    I have heard a zillion reports confirming that Ksyrium SLs will hold up just fine with your weight.. and no matter what benchmark you choose, they're vastly superior to both the Aksium and the Shimano 550. IMO the SLs are overpriced at retail, but that doesn't matter as you'd be getting them as part of a bike deal.

    That being said, my Synapse came with Ksyrium SLs... and sold them about 10 seconds after I took delivery of the bike. Why? Given the kind of road riding the bike is designed for, and what I'd be using it for (long epic road riding), I want a wheelset that can still be easily ridden if a spoke happens to break 80km from home... and that means a traditionally handbuilt wheel. Call me a bit paranoid, but you can see the method to the madness. The fact that the wheelset ended up being cheaper, lighter, comfier and easier to maintain than Ksyriums wasn't half bad either. :p

    I wouldn't put too much stock in the relatively minor differences in groupsets; thinking in the long term, compared to the frameset you could almost say the groupset is disposable. If this is a bike you intend on keeping for a long time, it would be prudent to make sure your money is going towards getting the better frame. For this reason I'd suggest looking at a Giant TCR rather than the OCR.. however the TCR has a more aggressive race geometry, rather than the more relaxed OCR/Synapse/Roubaix.
     
  7. SUPER RIDER

    SUPER RIDER New Member

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    Thanks Rek for you response and comments. I have also looked at the Specialized Roubaix Expert Triple, but I think I prefer the Giant or Cannondale. I really like Cannondale bikes, and like I said, I have been mightily impressed with their bikes that I have owned in the past, albeit, those were aluminum bikes.

    I wonder if I wouldn't try and sell the stock wheels that comes with the Cannondale and buy a wheelset like the Mavic Open Pro with Ultegra hubs. I intend to use the bike like you use yours, i.e. long rides, and I would not want to have broken spokes ruin my rides. If I do go the "buy a replacement wheelset" route, I sure will be looking for the lightest, stiffest and strongest wheels that I can afford.

    I'll try and search for your previous posts on the Synapse.

    Regards
     
  8. vascdoc

    vascdoc New Member

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    I ride a Cannondale Six Thirteen which is both carbon fiber and al. This is the second season and I have logged over 4500 miles on it without a problem and it has been very comfortable. My wife bought a Synapse 3 Feminine Carbon bike. She loves it. Very comfortable and relatively light.

    My advise is that if you like Cannondale - go for it. Trade the wheels up if you want but you are buying a frame that you will ride with for a long time.
     
  9. Bob Ross

    Bob Ross New Member

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    FWIW:

    In my hunt for a new bike not too long ago, I came to my LBS with a not-so-short-list that among other bikes included both the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 and the Giant OCR Comp 2. My LBS guy told me they weren't moving a lot of Giant OCR's because as soon as their clients saw, lifted, and rode the Giant TCR, they all changed their minds! Something about the clunkier frame construction & heavier weight of the OCR swaying opinions...apparently no one felt that the more "aggressive" geometry outweighed the lighter, slimmer, smoother riding frame of the TCR.

    Anyway, long story short, through a bunch of exhaustive test rides I eventually whittled my list down to either the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 2 or the Giant TCR Comp 2. (Or maybe it was the TCR Comp 1, I forget...whichever was in the similar price range as the Synapse 2.)

    And as soon as I rode those two bikes back to back, their was no comparison: Cannondale Synapse was a markedly smoother rolling and faster accelerating bike. The Giant *did* have slightly more responsive steering, which in a crit could be useful...but some folks might consider that "twitchy" I suppose. I bought the Synapse and have been happier than the proverbial pig in poop.

    YMMV.
     
  10. umatillarider

    umatillarider New Member

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    i have the ocr2 carbon and haven't looked back. there are faster, more expensive and smoother riding machines out there, but for the bucks and for (for me) the solid comfort, i chose the ocr2.

    then, i suppose you may have noticed, the choice is an individual one, and only you can decide what is best for you. the advice you get here is very valuable and can help you choose what, in the end, is a very individual thing - kind of like what kind of saddle to ride, what kind of shorts to wear, etc.

    good luck, and it IS fun checking out all those bikes.
     
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