Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 (2020) - 1 month review...

@Alaskan we did finally end up working with Cannondale Canada to get the bike in the shop and adjust the wheel circumference settings, as they confirmed that the factory settings were set incorrectly. Having said that, I haven't yet had the opportunity to focus on testing the accuracy. It's on the list and I'll report back when I know more. @William - Bosch Team was a big help in putting the bike shop and Cannondale in touch with each other, as you suggested he would be so thanks for that.
 
What do they expect us to do if we put wider tires on the bike (which will increase its outside diameter and therefore its circumference) or 650b wheels?
 
I'm running 650b Shimano GRX wheels with WTB Byway tires (47 mm) and they're fantastic on both road and light gravel / trails.
carsonjones: A question just out of curiosity... I know that you have both 700c tires and wheels and 650b wheels with wider tires and that you can hot-swap between the two sets on your Synapse Neo 1. Do you do this often, or do you find that you are mostly leaving one set of tires/wheels on the bike and ride "wherever"? I have been toying with the idea of having two sets of wheel/tires or perhaps just getting a bit wider tire than the 32c that came on my bike. I have been doing pretty well on gravel roads with the 32c tires, but there are a few roads that I wish I had a wider tire.
Thanks in advance for your reply, NH-Senior-Gal
 
@NH-Senior-Gal - I typically ride with the 650b / 47 mm wheelset and ride mainly farm roads / gravel roads / rail trails. A caveat is that the WTB Byway tires, while 47 mm, also are slick down the middle with tread pattern on the sides. This makes them ideal for the type of riding I do and means that I don't lose a lot of speed when on regular roads. I do switch out to the 700c / 32 mm wheelset if I'm doing all road and doing longer distances (e.g. 80 km+). I've also had situations where we'll be travelling to a destination ride and there's been concern about one of the tires losing air. I'll take the second set of wheels knowing that I'll be able to ride no matter what. I've been fortunate also that the wheels are truly hot-swappable, meaning I don't have to faff about with fine-tuning the derailleur alignment. Your local bike shop should be able to set up both wheelsets this way. I highly recommend having the two sets and you'll certainly appreciate the much wider tires for days on gravel roads and trails. It lets you ride comfortably pretty much everywhere.
 
@NH-Senior-Gal - I typically ride with the 650b / 47 mm wheelset and ride mainly farm roads / gravel roads / rail trails. A caveat is that the WTB Byway tires, while 47 mm, also are slick down the middle with tread pattern on the sides. This makes them ideal for the type of riding I do and means that I don't lose a lot of speed when on regular roads. I do switch out to the 700c / 32 mm wheelset if I'm doing all road and doing longer distances (e.g. 80 km+). I've also had situations where we'll be travelling to a destination ride and there's been concern about one of the tires losing air. I'll take the second set of wheels knowing that I'll be able to ride no matter what. I've been fortunate also that the wheels are truly hot-swappable, meaning I don't have to faff about with fine-tuning the derailleur alignment. Your local bike shop should be able to set up both wheelsets this way. I highly recommend having the two sets and you'll certainly appreciate the much wider tires for days on gravel roads and trails. It lets you ride comfortably pretty much everywhere.
Thanks for your answer! This also helps me answer some questions that I've had from some e-bike wannabes. ;) The WTB Byway tires look very similar to the WTB Expanse 32c with the exception that the 47 tires have a little knobby on the outside edge in addition to being wider. The smooth center tread is great on the road and both tires have this. It's good to know that you don't have to fiddle with stuff after hot-swapping your wheels!
 
I too have found that the "correct" tire choice can vary significantly by trail. I've ridden some really hard packed trails that are possible to ride on a set of 23 mm racing slicks. But I've been on other trails that even a 700 x 40 tire with a tread pattern feels like it's not enough tire. You can ride the trail but there are some sketchy moments and you'd feel more comfortable with an even wider tire. Plus personal preference has a lot to do with it as well.

As a result I've accumulated a bunch of different tires and I'll probably need to ride another 30,000 to 40,000 km's to wear them all out!

I would say though with a motor, that tire choice matters a little less. Just go bigger and the motor will compensate. That does cut your range, but if I had a Bosch, Yamaha or Shimano motor 500 watts or better I think I'd just go with a wide tire. I wouldn't care about weight, aerodynamics or rolling resistance nearly as much. But again personal preference matters a lot here. If you were planning on doing 100+ km days well then I guess tire choice does matter.
 
I too have found that the "correct" tire choice can vary significantly by trail. I've ridden some really hard packed trails that are possible to ride on a set of 23 mm racing slicks. But I've been on other trails that even a 700 x 40 tire with a tread pattern feels like it's not enough tire. You can ride the trail but there are some sketchy moments and you'd feel more comfortable with an even wider tire. Plus personal preference has a lot to do with it as well.

As a result I've accumulated a bunch of different tires and I'll probably need to ride another 30,000 to 40,000 km's to wear them all out!

I would say though with a motor, that tire choice matters a little less. Just go bigger and the motor will compensate. That does cut your range, but if I had a Bosch, Yamaha or Shimano motor 500 watts or better I think I'd just go with a wide tire. I wouldn't care about weight, aerodynamics or rolling resistance nearly as much. But again personal preference matters a lot here. If you were planning on doing 100+ km days well then I guess tire choice does matter.
I walked sections of loose 'gravel' (?) like this... I would have wanted a fat tire bike, but even then I might have been walking. ;)
 

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I walked sections of loose 'gravel' (?) like this... I would have wanted a fat tire bike, but even then I might have been walking. ;)
I have a pair of 650b x 47 WTB Byway tubeless tires on my Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3. They do very nicely on rocky, gravely logging roads, when inflated at 22-25 PSI and are superb on roads inflated at 28-32 PSI. Very grippy on pavement and amazingly durable on rock strewn dirt roads. I really like these tires set up tubeless. No flats in almost 2,500 miles. One self-healed puncture center tread with a 1/2" staple that healed leaving a dime size latex tab on the outside of the tire covering the staple. It leaking out about 2 or 3 psi before sealing. No hiss or air lost when I pulled the staple out.

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I have a pair of 650b x 47 WTB Byway tubeless tires on my Cannondale Topstone Neo Carbon 3. They do very nicely on rocky, gravely logging roads, when inflated at 22-25 PSI and are superb on roads inflated at 28-32 PSI. Very grippy on pavement and amazingly durable on rock strewn dirt roads. I really like these tires set up tubeless. No flats in almost 2,500 miles. One self-healed puncture center tread with a 1/2" staple that healed leaving a dime size latex tab on the outside of the tire covering the staple. It leaking out about 2 or 3 psi before sealing. No hiss or air lost when I pulled the staple out.

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I have heard good things about those tires. Thanks for sharing your experience!
 
I have a tire similar to the WTB Byways (47mm Specialized Pathway 2Bliss) and I'm very happy with them. The Pathways are great on most surfaces, but not much fun on sandy surfaces.
I've been running mine at 40f/45r. I'll have to lower them a bit to see how they feel. Maybe they'll behave better on sandy pathways.
 
Just added a rack and pannier setup to the bike for touring. Really impressed with how the Ortlieb panniers and Bontrager rack fit the Synapse Neo. Can't wait to try it out!

FOLLOW UP: Aug 22 2021 - tried out the new touring setup today on a nice 100 km ride. The new rack and pannier system is fantastic and the bike performs and rides really well.
 

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@Hops I'm glad you found this post helpful and I'll continue to follow up with my experience with the bike.

In terms of touring, I don't think I have the experience necessary to give you any really solid feedback as I my rides are typically single day loops and out and backs. That said, I can say this about the Synapse Neo...

- It's very comfortable to ride 100+ km. As always, assuming you have a good fit and the saddle that works best for you.

- it's versatile with the option to swap out your wheels (700c / 650b). I'm loving the 650b wheels combined with the WTB Byway tires (47 mm). Frankly, I can't recommend the Byway tires enough. They're quick on the asphalt and grippy and comfortable on the gravel.

- Once you've sorted out a battery swapping system (perhaps another post I might make based on my experience) it's very easy to switch out the battery while out on a longer ride (100+ km). My system/method allows me to swap out the battery in a couple of minutes (e.g. while on a water stop). I ride the XL and can easily carry the second battery in a half frame bag. Also, I don't find that the added carrying weight of the second battery is significantly impacting the range I'm getting on a single battery. I'll carry the second battery on rides more than 70 km, just in case I hit some super hilly routes or very strong headwinds.

- The bike does include mounting points for a back rack although I haven't set it up for this yet. It's on the list for sure. If you plan to ride with a rack and frame bags there are lots of available options. I went with a pricey Goldback bag (saddle bag/handlebar - Bags by Bird) and love it. I use it as a handlebar bag. I use the Topeak Midloader (4.5 L) to carry the second battery and some tools. I also recently added two feed bags for the handlebars (Chrome Doubletrack). While bag systems work well and you can mount a rear rack, there aren't a lot of mounting points (i.e. eyelets) when compared to a proper touring bike. That may or may not be an issue for some.

I'll be using the Synapse Neo for some bike packing/touring trips that are typically asphalt and gravel road/trail routes. It's important to note that I haven't actually done this yet. I won't be doing much in the way of single track or heavy gravel routes. To address your question, I think you could make the bike work well for touring. While it lacks a full touring layout, the Synapse Neo does have a rack mounting option and with today's bike bag systems, I think you'll be able to spec it out according to your needs. Simply put, I would be comfortable using the bike for touring based on how I ride and where I ride. Hope that helps to provide some additional insight.
Well....we took the Synapse 1 for a 1000 mile tour and it performed well. We had days of 60-70 miles with 6000/7000 feet of climbing and always had a charge left at the end of the day. Having a little extra battery that could be used as an extender sure would be great as it would add a very nice "cushion of comfort" in the sense of knowing you will not run out of power. I believe the only way to get an extra charge on the fly is with an entire extra battery $$$. We are take the Synapse on a second tour, Tacoma to Missoula, this June. Do you know of any way to hack a small extender battery into the system? Having to take along a whole other battery for even an extra 15 miles of power is a bummer and expensive.
Thanks for all the communication and information.
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Hi All.
Adding my bits to these conversations / issues.
I’m in Australia. Australia has the Euro 250W, 25km/h limits
I have a 2019 Cannondale Synapse Neo 2 bought specifically for commuting ~ 38.5 km each way. Mainly shared trails and quiet roads. 301m climbing in, 413 climbing home. Love the bike but has had a few issues I thought I’d share..
  • Bosh Purion readout shows ~ 2km/h slower faster than GPS. (edited)
    Max speed for maximum power 25.8km/h (Purion) ~23.8 km/h (GPS)
    It does seem that the assistance rolls off by a GPS 25 km/h (Purion 26.8 ish) and my guess was the inaccuracy in the Purion was so the roll off was not sharp at (Purion) 25.0 km/h
  • Rear wheel spokes loose / rim cracked.
    My rear wheel is a 700c 28H WTB i23 KOM Light.
    At about 100km and about 10km from work, I noticed rear wheel way way out of true. Thinking I had busted a spoke I continued to rude gently to work where I found all the spokes were massively loose. I re-trued etc. and all was fine till ~ 2200km where I noticed it was slightly out of true. At just over 2400km I threw it up on the stand and started to re-true only to find ~ ½ the spoke holes cracked. None of the spokes were significantly loose.
    Not sure if the original looseness started the problem or if the wheel is just not strong enough for a ~ 110 kg rider (ready to ride) or the odd bumps on the shared trails, or the torque output of rider & ebike, or all of the above.
    Warranty something on the way (~ 10 weeks so far and no outlook yet.) but in the meantime I built myself a 36h double eyeleted DTSwiss Hybrid hub rear wheel to get it going again also I don’t trust the warranty solution will be any more robust than the original wheel so a spare is good.
  • Seat post.
    Seat came loose after a few rides. (rear bolt)
    Re-tightened to correct torque.
    Came loose again a few rides later.
    Re-tightened to correct torque.
    Came loose again and lost the bolt and special nut. (Turns out I sit pretty consistently on the seat and the bolt can fall out and I don’t know till I stand up and the seat half falls off. (My commute can be non stop for the first / last 37 km, and as the ebike assists on the hills I don’t tend to get out of the saddle any where as near as much as I do on a normal road bike).
Cheers.
Andrew
 
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"2km/h slower than GPS" As you mentioned in your next sentence the Purion at 25.8km/h is really 23.8km/h, so the Purion reads faster than you're really going.
I have a Purion on my Lefty 3 Cannondale, with the Bosch gen 4 motor, and my Purion does the same thing. From what I've read, almost all, if not all, Purion displays show a faster speed than you're actually going.
Where I live the motor is programmed to cut out at 32km/h, but was actually cutting off at just over (real speed) 30km/h.
I ended up buying a de-restrictor from Epic ebikes in Australia.
 
"2km/h slower than GPS" As you mentioned in your next sentence the Purion at 25.8km/h is really 23.8km/h, so the Purion reads faster than you're really going.
I have a Purion on my Lefty 3 Cannondale, with the Bosch gen 4 motor, and my Purion does the same thing. From what I've read, almost all, if not all, Purion displays show a faster speed than you're actually going.
Where I live the motor is programmed to cut out at 32km/h, but was actually cutting off at just over (real speed) 30km/h.
I ended up buying a de-restrictor from Epic ebikes in Australia.
Ah yes. Wrote that backwards. Purion reads ~ 2km/h fast at 25km/h. Corrected it. Thanks.
I'm keeping the bike (electrically) unmodified at the moment. as 1) I want the ks in the legs, just the ebike taking the edge off of the hills, and 2) Someone on an illegal scooter is going to take someone out and there will be a massive clamp down on e-anything.
(I'm in Melbourne and use the pathes adjacent to the Yarra for the last / first few km, where you tangle with walkers & runners wearing ipods, rowing coaches riding one handed and not looking where they are going cyclists (some NFI) and you have to be ready for any of them to do anything. I was riding at ~ 32 km/h (no assist as over 25km/h) and I was passed by an e-scooter like I was standing still. Est 50km/h, then about a km later another one goes through an intersection (cross road) on the path at about the same speed. I get it where it would be quiet, but these things cannot stop or manouver. They'll stuff it up for everyone.)
 
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@carsonjones You are dealing with this issue on two different thread so I will copy and paste here what I just wrote on the Bosch Product Improvement Thread a few minutes ago

The primary way available to the rider to adjust the speed read out and cut off point on Bosch bikes is through setting accurate tire circumference values.

Having had several ebikes with Bosch motor, I have run into a similar problem of speed inaccuracy with my Trek Allant 9.9, a very sophisticated bike from a very customer responsive company.

Under the Bosch ecosystem each manufacturer sets the limits within which the rider can adjust the tire circumference value, usually based on the tire size range that the bike will safely accommodate. The Allant's lower limit was limited to a value above that of the OEM tire that came on the bike when new, resulting in a 1.7mph error at 20 mph.. I needed to be able to tell the system that the tire circumference was smaller as it was set to interpret each revolution of the tire to be a greater distance traveled than it actually was, reaching the speed limitation sooner than I should have.

Expanding the available circumference range to encompass the OEM tire turned out NOT to be something that was available to the local Trek store. They had to have the bike linked into the Trek diagnostic system on the day that one of the few people at Trek corporate tech support could patch in and use his authorization code to expand the maximum circumference available so that the speed value was accurate. In the era of covid, that took some time to accomplish. My patience was rewarded in getting accurate speed values and having the bike performing up to spec.

My point is that you have identified the wrong culprit in your pursuit of more accurate speed readings and thus, assistance up to the stated max. speed. It is most definitely not an issue that Bosch can solve for you. It is totally Cannondale's call. The problem is that the bike tech at the Cannondale shop you are using does not have full understanding of just who is responsible for what.

I suggest you chill for a bit and let @William - Bosch Team guide you to a more competent Cannondale shop that can solve your problem. In my experience with Bosch with six different Bosch powered bikes over the past three years, is that the get on it quickly, are super responsive compared to most and they know way more than most local bike mechanics. Usually protracted resolution of issues boils down to the mechanic thinking he knows more than he does and not getting the job done until he swallows his pride, gets Bosch involved and actually listens to and follows their lead.

By the way, it is important to have actual circumference of your tire on that bike with the pressure you use. The primary way available to the rider to adjust the speed read out and cut off point on Bosch bikes is through setting accurate tire circumference values.

Rim diameter is usually very accurate. Most tires are famously not spot on as to spec, something further complicated by people running various tire pressures. The best way to measure that is to draw a strait perpendicular chalk line at one point on your tire. Mark the floor when it is perpendicular to the ground. Push the bike forward one wheel rotation and mark where the chalk line on the tire is again perpendicular to the floor. Measure the distance between marks for actual rather than theoretical circumference.

Then go into the bike settings using whatever display unit you have on the bike and try lowering the circumference value accordingly. If it won't go down far enough, only Cannondale can fix that.
I have the speed error with my Neo as well. I measured my wheel circumference and changed it on the Kiox display. No change in speed variations! I tried lowering it to get the speed to match my Garmin (which was about .4 mph slower). I could not get the Kiox to match the Garmin! So I put the circumference back to the actual and am trying to tolerate the errors!!
 
Just added a rack and pannier setup to the bike for touring. Really impressed with how the Ortlieb panniers and Bontrager rack fit the Synapse Neo. Can't wait to try it out!

FOLLOW UP: Aug 22 2021 - tried out the new touring setup today on a nice 100 km ride. The new rack and pannier system is fantastic and the bike performs and rides really well.
What rack do you use on your Synapse ? I have the néo 2 with 700 diameter wheels and i m super happy with it.
 
I have the Néo 2 which is a cheaper version of the néo 1, it is not full carbon, the gear set is only tiagra at the rear and 105 at the front (no idea why the rear is not 105, probably cause the 105 does not offer an extended gear scale).

My wheels are 700x32.

I'm very happy with the bike, range is enormous and i need no assistance on flat roads, according to the bike computer i provide 70% f the power and the motor 30% (on average).

One really strong asset is that when the assistance is off (cause i switched it off, or because i m above 25) it feels like a normal road bike, a quite heavy one 19kilo against 9 or my willier. Of course the willier wins on the flat and even more for sprints but the synapse behave really well. On top one should compare the total weight, i m at 77 for 1.8m, let us take 80 with clothes and stuff you may carry, so the total weight is 99 for the synpase and 108 for the néo, it is only 10% more.

One may argue about nimbleness and reactivity but the synpase is fine there, and it can handle much rougher terrain than my willier (due to its gravel like signature).

I replaced the Purion by the keox, it was expensive but is is worth the money. The keox provide a lot of data and it comes with a remote taht is much convenient than the purion buttons.
The battery charge level is much more accurate, on weakness of the purion is that the last of the 5 battery bar is not 20% but more likely 10 or even less. So with 2 bars you may be at 11% or 30%,

My only issue is the lack of suspension.
 
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