Cannondale Synapse LTD RLE with SmartSense Review: Fair Warning

I had been using the Synapse for per week earlier than it occurred. I used to be about to strategy a cease mild when out of the blue, the dreaded purple alert of Garmin’s SmartSense system—the signal you needed to take speedy defensive motion—blared. I do not stay in a really dense metropolis, and I do not bike on extremely trafficked roads. I had reconciled myself to the truth that I’d simply by no means see the small blinking lights on my handlebars.

Luckily, I used to be pedaling sluggish sufficient that it was attainable for me to drag over instantly. I scanned round me. Nothing. That was attention-grabbing, given that previously hour, a number of vehicles had failed to present me what I thought-about enough clearance as they handed me. The SmartSense’s Varia radar detector had didn’t warn me of precise threats and as a substitute despatched my coronary heart price hovering over a nonexistent one.

I can see why somebody may assume {that a} expertise like SmartSense can be helpful. After all, radars and different security methods are already frequent in mass-market vehicles and shall be a part of the autonomous vehicles of the long run. But whereas I very a lot loved using the Synapse, I’d maintain off on SmartSense for now. Protecting your self from vehicles whereas biking is a way more sophisticated matter than a bit pinging alert.

Carbon Fiber Classic

Photograph: Cannondale

The 2022 carbon fiber Synapse is the most recent model of Cannondale’s common street bike. The one I examined, the LTD RLE, is the $7,000 model, with a high-end $9,000 model and a low-end $2,400 model on both finish of the road.

The Synapse LTD RLE (the LTD RLE stands for limited-edition, with radar and lights) doesn’t have the fanciest tiny upgrades, like a carbon headset to soak up much more bumps, however it’s nonetheless a really good bike. It has a carbon body and carbon rims; mine has a flexible, gravel-specific (GRX) gearing system that I really like, for the reason that terrain close to my house in Portland is so variable.

A couple of years in the past, Cannondale launched Proportional Response—principally, the corporate did a complete examine to determine the true middle of gravity for every rider, relying on their gender, peak, and weight, then adjusted the body to make the pedaling and braking expertise uniform. I by no means actually caught on to street biking earlier than, and now I notice that it is likely to be as a result of the bikes I rode in all probability simply didn’t match fairly proper. This was my first expertise with Proportional Response, and it was extremely snug, however using a shock-absorbing body with easy digital Shimano shifters undoubtedly didn’t harm.

Photograph: Cannondale

SmartSense runs off a small battery pack that clips to the bike’s down tube. You join your bike to the Cannondale app by spinning the Cannondale wheel sensor, then management SmartSense from the app. If you’re taking your bike house in a automotive, I counsel doing this earlier than you load up. I put it at the back of my Honda Element, and it beeped and pinged consistently because it detected vehicles by my rear window.

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