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Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE Review

Last Updated on November 4, 2022 by Emmanuel

If you dream of a mountain bike featured with high-top technology, you can look at this Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE review and find out why.

We will see in detail the features that this bike comes with, its other benefits, and its other alternative.

Are Cannondale Bikes Any Good?

Cannondale is an American bike manufacturer with 39 years of experience since its first aluminum touring bike in 1983.

The first bike was a success. Since then, the brand continued to grow and even became one of the main sponsors of the Tour de France throughout the 90s.

Moreover, this brand has pioneered many ground-breaking bike technologies like the Lefty Oliver fork, Kingpin suspension system, and many more.

Having all of those technologies means that the Cannondale brand puts so much effort into building perfect bikes for riders.

Its technologies are not for their flagship bikes but also trickle down to their mid-range and entry-level models.

So, no matter which bike you purchase, you will get a carefully designed bike that can last forever.

Moreover, if you spend more money, you will have a better bike with high-end components and technologies that will undoubtedly make your riding better.

That said, let’s have a look at one of the best Cannondale Synapse bikes that come with carbon or aluminum frames.

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE

Key Features 

The Synapse is an excellent bike for both amateurs and professionals.

Check out this model if you are looking for a road bike that is smooth, fast, and confident.  

FrameSynapse Carbon, 12x142mm thru-axle.
RimHollowGram 45 SL KNØT, Carbon, 20h front.
TiresVittoria Corsa tan wall, 700 x 30c.
DrivetrainShimano Dura-Ace, 12-speed, 50/34 crankset.
BrakesShimano Dura-Ace Di2 hydraulic disc.
ExtrasTrainer-compatible thru-axle, Cannondale Wheel Sensor.

The Synapse Carbon 1 RLE is an endurance bike that looks stunning. With a lightweight carbon frame and aerodynamic shape, you can crank the bike so fast that you feel like flying.

They have built this bike with comfort in mind that the design could damp vibrations and is easy to maneuver.

Rolling on the open road, rough pavement, and long rides is best.

However, this bike is not for gravel roads, even if the 30mm tires could accommodate you to roll over the gravel.

Moreover, this bike can fit 35mm wide tires, meaning you can ride it on mostly gravel roads.

It features hydraulic disc brakes that provide consistent stopping power regardless of the conditions.

RELATED: The five best Cannondale mountain bikes at Mike’s Bikes.

SmartSense features

Did you know that each letter of ‘RLE’ means a specific thing? Cannondale uses these letters for name structure purposes.

Indeed, these letters make it easier to identify what SmartSense technology is equipped in a bike.

Bikes with the ‘R’ letter will include radar, ‘L’ signifies lights, and ‘E’ means electronic shifting.

In other words, Synapse Carbon 1 RLE is a variant that has all of SmartSense technologies.

What can this technology do exactly? The short answer is that SmartSense will alert you about what is happening around you while riding a bike.

You don’t need to strap multiple safety devices anymore. SmartSense includes Garmin Varia radar and Lezyne lights powered by a rechargeable battery.

The Radar

The radar is located under the saddle facing the back. It covers up to 140 meters, so the radar will pick up anything within that range.

The information will instantly send to you via the monitoring gadget on the handlebar.

The rear radar will inform you about the amount of approaching vehicles, the distance between you and the nearest vehicle behind you, and your current speed.

The Lights

The front light is placed under the handlebar on a dedicated mount. It has an aluminum body and can project light of about 350 lumens.

It is enough to enhance visibility when you ride in the dark. You can adjust the brightness to meet your needs.

The rear light wraps around the radar unit and has 85 lumens.

With the Wheel Sensor, you do not need to switch the light on or off as it automatically activates as soon as the wheels start rolling.

Not only that, but the motion sensor can also adjust the brightness.

So, when you hit the brake, the light will also brighten so that those who follow you behind know that you are slowing down.

RELATED: Cannondale trail mounatin bikes review.

The Battery

As the heart of the SmartSense, The Synapse Carbon 1 RLE includes a battery that lasts about five hours on standard usage.

The battery itself sits on the down tube next to a bottle holder. It takes about three hours to charge the battery with any USB type C charger fully.

Cannondale Synapse bike’s battery also provides power for front and rear lights and the radar.


The Synapse Carbon 1 RLE is an excellent bike with high-end components. It comes with the SmartSense system that offers safety devices and riding information.

That includes the radar with front and rear lights. The appearance of the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE is neat, with a carbon frame that is light and stiff.


Not everyone wants all of the features that Synapse has. And also, the battery can’t be integrated with electronic gearing.

You can get your hands on the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE for $8,999.99. However, if you consider that as part of the cons, then here is an alternative for you:

Synapse Carbon 2 RLE

Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE Review

The bike has most of the features of the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE. It even has ‘RLE’ on the variant’s name.

So, this bike will also get all of the SmartSense technology. Take a look at the Synapse Carbon 2 RLE specs below:

  • Frame: Synapse Carbon, 12x142mm thru-axle, w/ 12x100mm thru-axle fork.
  • Rim: Fulcrum Rapid Red 500.
  • Tires: Vittoria Rubino Pro Bright Black, 700 x 30c, reflective.
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra, 12-speed, 11-34T rear cogs, 50/34 crankset.
  • Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Di2 hydraulic disc, 160/160mm RT800 rotors.
  • Extras: SmartSense, Trainer-compatible thru-axle, Cannondale Wheel Sensor. 
  • Price: $5,499.99.

At first glance, you won’t notice the difference between the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE with the Carbon 2 RLE.

They share a similar shape and even geometry. What differentiates the two bicycles are the components they use.

The Synapse Carbon 2 RLE rolls on the alloy wheels adding more weight to the bike. The bike uses the Shimano Ultegra drivetrain.

Although it is categorized as a high-end drivetrain, the level is one class below the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE’s Dura-Ace.

Using a Synapse Carbon frame adds more confidence to the durability and stiffness.

With the same geometry as the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE, you can crank the bike as fast as possible and feel the comfort.

So, all in all, you will experience the Synapse model with all its glory. A bit of downgrade in some of the components is not a problem.

After all, you can take the Synapse Carbon 2 RLE home for $5,499.99. Pretty good deal for the performance it offers, right?

Can a Cannondale Synapse be used as a gravel bike?

Pick “the Cannondale Synapse Carbon Disc SE 105 Men’s” if you want a gravel bike made by this brand.

Cannondale designed this bike in 2019 and equipped it with big tires and wide rims to be ridden on all road surfaces.

Besides being versatile, this bike is durable and offers more riding comfort than many gravel bikes.

How much does Cannondale Synapse Carbon weigh?

According to Cannondale, the Synapse Carbon typically weighs 8.3 kg / 18.4 lbs (56cm), but the frame weights can vary slightly in final production.

Final Thoughts 

If you are looking for an endurance road bike, consider the relaxed geometry, stable ride, and comfort.

The best way to know it all is by trying it before. Moreover, inspecting the specs sheet can help if you can’t try the bike yourself.

The Synapse Carbon 1 RLE is an excellent choice if you want something serious. It is built around a carbon frame that is stiff and lightweight.

The geometry provides a comfortable position, so you will have much fun riding the bike.

The Synapse Carbon 1 RLE includes SmartSense technology for safety precautions while riding the bike. It also has enough clearance to install 35mm wide tires.

However, if you are looking for a bike that is a bit more affordable, you can opt for the Synapse Carbon 2 RLE.

Most of the features are similar to the Synapse Carbon 1 RLE.

Also, you will still enjoy the SmartSense technology, lightweight carbon frame, and comfortable geometry.

But, some of the components will be downgraded to compensate for the price. Don’t worry! The components’ quality is still considered on a high-end level.

These Synapse models will give you the most out of road biking, so which one would you choose?

Thank you for reading the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE review.

You can ask questions or comment at the bottom of this page. We will reply quickly.

2 thoughts on “Cannondale Synapse Carbon 1 RLE Review”

  1. Cannondale Synapse is one of the most successful designs in the endurance bike genre. It is a winner of multiple awards (including our Bike of the Year back in 2014) and has even seen success at the highest level. My husband and I got two new ones last year and we are happy with them.                                                                      


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