The best road bike of 2022

Voted the best road bike of 2022 by Bicycling and Outside Magazine – you’ve got to check out the Synapse Carbon road bike with SmartSense technology.

Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or are just getting started in your journey, finding consensus on exactly what the best road bike of 2022 is seems like it’d be a sizable challenge. Editors at Outside and Bicycling magazines however, found that one bike –– the Cannondale Synapse –– distinguished itself as one of the best bikes in the world today. In fact, both publications included the bike in their ‘Best Road Bikes of 2022’ rankings.

Let’s explore the attributes that set the 2022 Synapse apart from the competition in the editors’ minds.

Qualities of the Best Road Bike of 2022

Comfortable Ride Quality

One of the defining qualities of an endurance road bike is a smooth, comfortable ride. Cannondale redefined endurance road bike comfort when it launched the Synapse in 2006, and with the 2022 Synapse, Cannondale has once again raised the bar for ride comfort.

Discreetly hidden flex zones in the rear triangle, seat tube and seatpost effectively mute vibration and bumps from road surfaces before they reach the rider. This lets cyclists go further, more comfortably. That’s a benefit virtually anyone can appreciate.

The ability to run up to 35mm tires gives Synapse riders the option to run a larger tire, which can be safely run at lower pressure. This provides even more comfort and greater control, especially over rough road surfaces including broken pavement and gravel roads.

Cannondale’s Proportional Response size-specific carbon fiber frame construction tunes stiffness and compliance for each frame size, so every rider experiences Synapse’s supremely smooth ride.

Engaging Handling

While the Synapse is not designed specifically as a race bike, it should not be mistaken for a dull, uninspired ride. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. The responsiveness Cannondale designed into the Synapse frame and fork result in an engaging, communicative, and fun to ride bike for riders of virtually any ability, on any road ride.

In the Bicycling magazine review, test editor, Trevor Raab, said the riding position on the new Synapse “is pleasantly neutral but leans towards sporty, and the handling is intuitive without being dull.

“In short, the Synapse is a great riding road bike that can handle the steepest climbs, as well as plenty of dirt roads,” Raab said.

Outside test editor, Josh Patterson agreed, saying “this updated jack-of-all-trades road bike impressed us with its eager yet forgiving handling.”

All-Road Versatility

One of the most notable improvements Cannondale made to the 2022 Synapse was increased tire clearance. With the ability to run up to 35mm wide tires, riders have increased freedom to decide the best tire size for their specific conditions.

From narrow, racy 25c tires for speed demons, to wide, high-volume 35c tires for those craving as much comfort as possible, or venturing out onto gravel, the new Synapse is ready for virtually any road.

Patterson said the ability to run larger tires is a significant benefit for Synapse riders.

“While it’s not a gravel bike, having clearance for 35mm wide tires makes the Synapse more versatile than many of its competitors.”

Easy to Service

Cannondale went to great lengths to ensure the 2022 Synapse is easy to service, with standard, easy to find components whenever possible. For example, the round 27.2mm seatpost is a universal, nearly ubiquitous component that can be found at almost any bike shop in the world.

While a proprietary seat mast or post is an acceptable tradeoff on an aero-optimized road racing bike (such as Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO and SystemSix models), an endurance road bike like the Synapse should be designed for practicality and ease of service.

The fact that the 2022 Synapse uses industry standard components such as a BSA threaded bottom bracket, an external, replaceable seatpost clamp and yes, a round 27.2mm seatpost, isn’t lost on Bicycling’s Raab.

“The design language is shared with other drop-bar Cannondale bikes – like the SuperSix EVO – with dropped seat stays and subtle aero shaping throughout the bike,” Raab said. “What’s missing are many of the proprietary designs that, to some, represent marginal performance gains and to others, maintenance headaches.”

The 2022 Cannondale Synapse

Redesigned for 2022, the new Synapse is Cannondale’s entry into the endurance road bike market. The new Synapse retains the comfortable ride and rider position of the previous model but adds speed with new aero features including dropped seat stays and subtle aerodynamic tube shaping. Yet, with clearance for up to 35mm tires, the Synapse is ideal for comfort-minded road cyclists or folks whose rides aren’t strictly limited to pavement, or who don’t need the features of a dedicated gravel bike.

The 2022 Synapse Carbon road bike also raises the bar for rider awareness and visibility with its exclusive SmartSense technology.

Developed in partnership with Garmin, SmartSense integrates front and rear lights with rear-facing radar to alert riders to approaching vehicles. Powered by a central frame-mounted battery, SmartSense gives Synapse Carbon riders peace of mind on the road by ensuring visibility and offering a heightened awareness on the road. SmartSense also streamlines the electronics on the bike, so fewer batteries need charging between rides.

Outside’s Patterson called SmartSense “some of the most exciting bike-safety tech out there.”

Frame of Reference

Since its introduction in 2006, the Synapse has showcased the latest in Cannondale frame technology. In fact, the first Synapse was the company’s first full carbon fiber road bike, and the first integration of Cannondale’s SAVE (Synapse Active Vibration Elimination) technology.

Designed to actively reduce vibrations from the road that reach the rider, SAVE technology is a feature of every 2022 Cannondale road bike, from road race bikes to endurance road and gravel bikes, in carbon and alloy frame materials.

Synapse Carbon endurance road bikes feature Cannondale’s BallisTec carbon frames. One model even uses the company’s lightest, highest performing Hi-MOD BallisTec carbon Synapse frame. That’s the same material as Cannondale’s pro-level racing bikes use, in an endurance road form that fits everyday riders like a glove. It’s the perfect intersection of technology and function.

Cannondale also offers a range of alloy frame Synapse models, which are ideal for beginning riders, or cyclists on a budget. Alloy Synapse models deliver much of the performance, handling, and smooth ride of the carbon models but trade a bit more weight for a cost savings.

Every 2022 Synapse features a full carbon fiber fork designed to deliver a sublime mix of ride quality and pinpoint handling. Plus, hidden rack and fender mounts on the frame and fork, multiple bottle mounts and a bento bag mount on the top tube make it easy to outfit the Synapse for a wide range of adventures.

The 2022 Synapse endurance road bike line starts with the alloy Synapse Sora and Synapse Tiagra models. Five carbon frame models are available, starting with the Synapse Carbon 4, and topping out with the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE. The Synapse Carbon 3L is the first SmartSense technology-equipped model in Cannondale’s 2022 line.

When you’re ready to step up from a good bike to the best road bike of 2022, it’s time to come ride with Cannondale. Let’s make your adventure dreams reality. We’ll see you on the road!

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