Review: SmartSense with Cannondale Synapse LTD RLE.

Carbon fibre upgrade to Cannondale’s classic road bike now comes with a new radar car-detection system.

Cannondale promises to make cycling safer by equipping the newly launched 2022 Synapse with the Canon Deal SmartSense system, which includes a central battery connected to the headlight, taillight and radar.  How do we test the bike and test it to see how the SmartSense system works?  Read on for all the details.

Cannondale Synapse with SmartSense Bike image Photo: Cannondale

Review: SmartSense with Cannondale Synapse LTD RLE

I was riding synapses for a week before this happened.  As I approach the stop light, Garmin’s Smartsense system’s horrible Red Alert โ€” a sign that you must take defensive action immediately โ€” is Blairde.  I do not live in a very dense city and I do not ride a bike on high traffic roads.  I have compromised the fact that I never see small blinking lights on my handlebars.

Fortunately, I was pedalling slowly, which I was able to pull off immediately.  I scanned around me.  Nothing.  It was interesting, because in the last hour, several cars failed to give me what I considered to be sufficient clearance when passing by.  SmartSense’s Varia Radar Detector failed to warn me of real threats and instead increased my heart rate to a point where none existed.

I can see why anyone might think that a technology like SmartSense is useful.  After all, radars and other safety systems are already common in mass-market cars and are part of future autonomous cars.  But I enjoy riding Synapse so much that I can withhold SmartSense for a while.  Protecting yourself from cars while biking is more complicated than a little pinging warning.

SmartSense bike image with Cannondale Synapse Photo: Cannondale)

Carbon Fibre Classic

The 2022 Carbon Fiber Synapse is the latest version of Cannondale’s popular road bike.  The LTD RLE I tested was a $ 7,000 version, a high-end $ 9,000 version and a low-end $ 2,400 version on both ends of the line.

The Synapse LTD RLE (LTD RLE with constrained edition, radar and lights) would not have the flowery little updates like a carbon headset to soak up even greater bumps, however it is nonetheless a very good bike.  It has a carbon body and carbon rims;  I like my very versatile, gravel-specific (GRX) gearing system, due to the fact the terrain close to my home in Portland varies greatly.

A few years ago, Cannondale introduced proportional feedback โ€” basically, the company did a comprehensive study to identify the true centre of gravity of each rider, adjusting the frame to make the pedalling and braking experience, depending on their gender, height and weight.  Uniform.  I have never ridden road biking before, and now I understand that maybe the bikes I ride are probably not the right fit.  This is my first experience with proportional feedback, and it’s incredibly comfortable, but riding a shock-absorbing frame with smooth electronic Shimano shifters certainly didn’t hurt.

Cannondale Synapse with SmartSense Tools image Photo: Cannondale

SmartSense runs a portable battery % that clips to the bike’s down tube. You connect your bike to the Cannondale app by turning the Cannondale wheel sensor, then control SmartSense from the app.  If you are taking your bike home in the car, I suggest you do this before you load.  I placed it on the back of my Honda Element, and it constantly beeps and pinged as I traced the cars through my rear window.

The radar detector is located below the seat, so if you keep your repair kit, it’s time to buy a handlebar bag.  You also control integrated lights through SmartSense.  All the wires are threaded through the frame so the bike still looks smooth and beautiful. The SmartSense % has a compact USB-C port to charge your phone.

What are the actual problems?

The first problem is battery life – both your phone and SmartSense.  If you use the Cannondale app to track your ride, it will quickly reduce the battery on your phone.  About an hour later my phone was dead.  Cannondale spokeswoman Sofia Burr said that in the future, the company hopes to offer a dark mode in its app to save power;  In the meantime, you can also turn off the auto-brightness, but you won’t be able to see it if you put it on your handlebars later.

In my test, the SmartSense battery dropped to 20 percent after a two-hour ride.  Cannondale claims you will be able to get around seven to 10 hours.  You can tinker with the light and radar settings in the app โ€” for example, you can put the lights in power-saving mode instead of lighting them.  Unfortunately, even during the day, Oregon can be quite grey and rainy in the winter;  I am safe from turning on the lights.

(SmartSense Bike with Cannondale Synapse) Image Photo: Cannondale

If you’re a serious cyclist enough to buy a $ 7,000 bike, you’ll probably warm up after an hour or two.  You can charge your phone with SmartSense, but it’s best if you carry the cable and charge it at your next ride coffee stop.  You can pair SmartSense with your cycling computer;  It can be detected by any device that receives ANT + radar.  Unfortunately, you can’t pair it with wearable items.

I decided to test it as a serious cyclist, really got into the excitement of the thing and revamped my cycling cadence from 50 to 60 turns per minute to a much improved 80 rpm.  As you can imagine, it’s really hard to put in so much physical effort!  As far as I can tell when pedalling wildly on the road, Smartsense accurately detects cars approaching 40 feet behind me.

But when you work hard and go fast, your options for evasive manoeuvres are very limited.  What am I going to do, throw the jersey into the wall at a speed of 20 mph?  Furthermore, the detector only detects cars going at a relative speed of 6 to 99 mph, so you cannot tell if the car is moving at the same speed as you, and it cannot detect side threats.

The whole time I was riding, cars and trucks were moving close enough to touch me.  As SmartSense beeped โ€” or not โ€” sometimes alerting me to cars, sometimes not – my safety routine didn’t change much.  I was still afraid to sideswipe and checked the driver’s seats without locking the door.  As a friend put it in the text, “By the time you realize it’s a legit threat, you’re fucked.”

You can buy and upgrade 1-3 Synapse models without SmartSense;  It and Topstone Carbon are currently only compatible models.  If you need a new road bike, I’d say Synapse is a good option.  And I’m sure we’ll start seeing it on eBikes soon, as Garmin SmartSense does.

I really understand the urge to try to protect cyclists from cars, especially as parents who take their children to and from school.  But if you are a cyclist who does not want to die, I want to tell you that it is not your responsibility.  There is a restriction to how a good deal we are able to do personally. Aside from buying a really good helmet, contacting your local transportation bureau is the most productive and inexpensive

Cannondale Synapse with SmartSense Bike image Photo: Cannondale

2022 Our Judgement on the Cannondale Synapse

With the Cannondale Synapse 2022, the American brand is launching its new SmartSense system and taking safety a step further with integrated lights and radar support.  We should get more people on their bikes which we think is better from a climate policy perspective.  The bike impressed us with its clever details and balanced handling.  However, there is room for improvement on integration around the cockpit.

Pros & Cons


Double-plus good ride quality.

Added safety to cyclists

The lights automatically switch from daytime to night mode

Mounting points etc. for mudguards.

You can charge your phone on your bike and predictable maintenance

Carbon fibre frame.  Combined headlights.  Electronic Shimano Shifters.  Good handlebars.


Lack of longer cable integration

Slight lack of comfort in the distance


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