Cannondale Synapse Neo Review
Cannondale Synapse Neo is a lineup of premium road/gravel electric bicycles with powerful Bosch components and breathtaking looks!
The Cannondale Synapse Neo series lets you have fun both on and off-road thanks to the two similar but different models in the lineup. Synapse Neo 1 is a proper e-road bike, whereas the Synapse Neo SE is a purebred electric gravel grinder.
In this Cannondale Synapse Neo review, we’ll take a closer look at both of them.
- Lightweight SmartForm C1 aluminum frames and carbon fiber forks.
- Powerful and reliable Bosch components on both models.
- 700C and 650B wheels and tires available for road and gravel applications.
- Mid-range Shimano and SRAM groupsets with 1x and 2x drivetrains.
- Sleek appearance with integrated batteries and mid-drive positioned motors.
All Cannondale Synapse Neo bikes are Class 1 e-bikes, which means they do not have a throttle and their maximum assisted speed is limited to 20 mph. That being said, they have sufficient torque to pull you up a steep slope or help you maintain a constant speed in spite of a strong headwind.
- MSRP: From $4,500
- Class: Class 1 e-bikes
- Motor: Bosch Active Line Plus
- Battery: Bosch PowerTube 500Wh
- Range: Up to 149 mi (240 km)
Cannondale Synapse Neo Models
At the moment, Cannondale offers two Synapse Neo models for the US market. These are:
- Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 – MSRP $5,000 – An electric road bike built around an aluminum frame and carbon fork, with 700c wheels, Shimano 2×11 drivetrain, and Bosch electronic components.
- Cannondale Synapse Neo SE – MSRP $4,500 – A 650b gravel electric bicycle with the same aluminum frame and carbon fork, but with a SRAM Apex 1×11 drivetrain and Bosch motor and battery.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from each of these models in terms of the frameset, geometry, electronic and mechanical components, and more.
Alloy Frameset & Endurance Geometry
Both Cannondale Synapse Neo models are built around the same aluminum frameset with a carbon fork. The frame is made from Cannondale’s popular SmartForm C1 alloy, with SAVE micro-suspension technology, internal cable routing, flat-mount brakes, and 12×142 mm thru-axles.
The fork reduces the overall weight and increases stiffness as it is made from BallisTec Carbon. This is a tapered fork with a 55 mm offset, 12×100 mm thru-axle, internal cable routing, and flat-mount brakes.
The frame comes with generous bosses that allow you to attach front and rear fenders, a front mech, two bottle cages, a rear rack, and a kickstand. Synapse Neo 1 also comes with a carbon seat post, which makes for a more comfortable riding experience.
The Synapse Neo e-bikes feature relaxed, upright geometry that prioritizes comfort and endurance over speed and aerodynamics. This is reflected in the 71° head tube angle followed by a 74° seat tube angle.
Moreover, the bikes have a long wheelbase and the mid-drive motor gives them a low center of gravity, so both feel stable and grounded no matter the terrain.
Cannondale Synapse Neo Motor and Battery
This is another area where Synapse Neo 1 and Synapse Neo SE are essentially twins. Both bikes use mid-drive Bosch Active Line motors that offer pedal-assistance up to 20 mph. The motor is powered by a 500Wh Bosch PowerTube battery pack that’s neatly hidden inside the downtube. The 149-mile maximum range is probably one of the highest in the industry.
The assistance you get from the motor is pretty impressive, so it’s advisable to stay in ECO or TOUR modes if you’re riding off-road, as it’s challenging to control the bike in higher modes.
The motor and battery are complemented by an advanced Bosch Purion LCD screen and a Cannondale Wheel Sensor. The display lets you shift through four pedal-assistance levels (ECO, TOUR, SPORT, TURBO, as well as a WALK+ mode) and adjust how much assistance you want to receive. It also shows you the most important ride and e-metrics, such as battery level, expected range, speed, distance, time, odometer, and more.
Shimano and SRAM Components
The drivetrain is the area where the Cannondale Synapse Neo models differ the most.
Namely, the Synapse Neo 1 e-road bike sports a 2×11 setup comprised of Shimano 105 and Ultegra parts. The front mech is a 105, whereas the rear mech is Ultegra. The drivetrain consists of a compact crankset and a climbing-specific 11-34T cassette. The brakes are a mix as well, with Shimano 105 hydraulic discs and Ultegra levers.
On the other hand, Synapse Neo SE has a more gravel-specific SRAM Apex 1×11 drivetrain. It has a 44T crankset and an 11-42T cassette, which makes it ideal for climbing and off-road riding. The SRAM Apex hydraulic discs are on par with the 105s on the previous model.
All in all, both models have a sufficiently wide range of gearing to climb very steep hills or maintain an efficient average speed on flat and sloping sections. Moreover, the braking systems are more than adequate for keeping your speed in check.
A Choice of 700C and 650B Wheels
When choosing which Synapse Neo model to get, you also have a choice of 700C or 650B wheels and tires.
Namely, the Synapse Neo 1 model sports 700c x 32mm tires, whereas the Synapse Neo SE rolls on gravel-specific 650b x 47mm tires.
Neo 1 has RD 2.0 wheels and WTB Exposure TCS tires, whereas the Neo SE boasts WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 rims and WTB Byway TCS tires. Both systems are tubeless-ready, which is expected in this price range.
Naturally, the 700C model is more suitable for paved roads whereas the 650B model excels on dirt and gravel sections. However, both bikes are definitely capable of tackling mixed-terrain routes with similar success, which makes them ideal for riders who enjoy all-road settings.
When it comes to ordering and assembling the Cannondale Synapse Neo bikes, there are two options you can choose from if you purchase from REI. You can have them ship the bike to your home or you can pick it up at one of REI’s stores.
If you order the bike to your home, it will arrive almost completely assembled, but you’ll have to do several final steps yourself. These include but are not limited to:
- Unboxing the bike and removing the packaging.
- Installing the handlebar.
- Installing the seatpost.
- Attaching the front wheel.
- Inserting the battery.
If you have any experience with bike assembly, you should be able to complete these steps in around 30 minutes or less. If you need any help, you can consult REI’s Bicycle Preparation Guide for detailed instructions on bicycle assembly.
You Might Also Ask
Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Cannondale Synapse Neo electric bikes.
Is Cannondale Synapse Neo a good bike?
Yes, Cannondale Synapse Neo is a good electric bicycle lineup. Synapse Neo bikes come with lightweight aluminum frames and carbon forks and feature quality Shimano and SRAM components. They also have powerful and reliable Bosch electronics with 4 pedal-assist modes and an impressive range.
How fast can Cannondale Synapse Neo go?
Cannondale Synapse Neo bikes are Class 1 electric bicycles, which means their maximum assisted speed is 20 mph. However, they can go much faster than that if you’re able and willing to pedal a bit harder.
Should I buy a Cannondale Synapse Neo bike?
If you need a capable and well-built electric road or gravel bike, you should definitely buy one of the Cannondale Synapse Neo models. These are high-quality electric bicycles with Shimano and SRAM components and Bosch electronics. They are pricey, but the value for the money they offer is fantastic.
Is Cannondale a good brand?
Yes, Cannondale is one of the best bicycle brands. It is one of the biggest and most successful bicycle manufacturers in the US and worldwide. It produces different types of bicycles in various price categories. This includes traditional and electric bikes, as well as models for professionals and beginners. Read our full review of Cannondale Electric Bikes.
What is the difference between Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 and Synapse Neo SE?
Cannondale Synapse Neo 1 is a road-specific electric bicycle, whereas Cannondale Synapse Neo SE is a gravel-specific model. They come with the same aluminum frameset but the former sports 700C wheels and a Shimano 2x drivetrain, whereas the latter comes with 650B wheels and SRAM Apex 1 components.
Cannondale Synapse Neo Size Chart
Both Cannondale Synapse Neo bikes come with the same aluminum frameset that’s available in four sizes. Therefore, the size chart for both bikes looks completely the same.
Small: 5’1″ – 5’6″
Medium: 5’4″ – 5’9″
Large: 5’7″ – 6’0″
X-Large: 5’9″ – 6’6″
As you can see, these two bikes fit a wide range of different rider heights, from very short riders to very tall ones. Moreover, it’s important to note that these are unisex e-bikes, which makes them suitable for both male and female riders.
Cannondale Synapse Neo e-bikes have a streamlined design that emphasizes simplicity. As a result, there are almost no accessories in sight.
The only exception is the Cannondale Wheel Sensor, which is standard equipment on the majority of bicycles that come from this brand. It lets you connect your bike to your smartphone and track ride metrics such as speed, time, and distance, as well as keep track of upcoming servicing.
Even though there are no accessories that come stock with the bike, there are numerous bosses that allow you to add aftermarket parts.
You can equip your Synapse Neo e-bike with front and rear fenders, a rear rack, two water bottles, and even a kickstand. We recommend doing so if you plan to take this bike on long-distance rides or use it for daily commutes.
Bottom Line: Ride or Pass?
Cannondale Synapse Neo is a collection of sturdy and modern-looking aluminum e-bikes. They’re ideal for riders who like mixing the terrain they ride on and who need a bike to ride to work on weekdays and through a forest on weekends.
This is not an affordable option, considering the $4,500 to $5,000 price range. However, you get a lot for your money when you consider both the details and the grand picture. High-quality Bosch electronics, Shimano and SRAM components, lightweight materials, and hydraulic brakes surely make the initial investment worthwhile.
If you’re fine with the 20 mph maximum assisted speed from these Class 1 electric machines, and you want to explore the path beyond the asphalt, you will get a solid bike at a fair price in Cannondale Synapse Neo.