A cushy ride and custom long-and-low geometry for the cobbles
So how important is Peter Sagan to Cannondale Pro Cycling? Team sponsor Cannondale hasn't just cut a custom mold for his everyday SuperSix EVO road racer; Sagan also gets a fully custom Synapse Hi-Mod for the cobbled classics, built with a particularly long-and-low geometry to suit his aggressive riding position.
Just as with his SuperSix, Sagan's Synapse Hi-Mod effectively melds two frame geometries into one: the cockpit length (or reach) is borrowed from a standard 58cm size but the frame's height (or stack) is taken from a far smaller 51cm model. This yields a front end that's a whopping 62mm lower than usual and certainly nothing like the '61cm' label stuck to the down tube.
Unlike some of his competitors that might opt for their sponsors' classics machines in much smaller-than-usual sizes – and thus forcing the use of radically proportioned stems – Sagan gets to use a standard 120mm length. More importantly, his position is virtually identical to his usual SuperSix EVO so there's no adjustment required for such critical races.
Luckily for Cannondale, part of the cost of that custom mold can be amortized across multiple riders. As it turns out, that's also lucky for Sagan as a late mechanical in the E3 Harelbeke forced him to swap bikes with teammate Alan Marangoni, who rides the identical frame geometry.
If it's so much trouble, one might wonder why Sagan doesn't just ride his standard SuperSix EVO instead. Cannondale's latest Synapse Hi-Mod incorporates a number of unique features that soften the ride relative to its flagship road racing model, such as radically shaped 'SAVE PLUS' stays, more forward-swept fork blades, and a smaller 25.4mm-diameter seatpost – all of which are designed to give slightly under impact to help improve rider comfort and provide a bit more tire traction.
The Synapse Hi-Mod also incorporates extra clearance for the high-volume tires necessary to survive the brutal Belgian cobbles plus a slightly more relaxed geometry for extra stability.
Speaking of tires, Sagan's tubulars are clearly labeled with 'Kenda SC' hot stamps – but they're unlike anything Kenda currently offers and are more likely handmade tires from another brand that have been rebadged. Otherwise, the rest of the build is quite straightforward, including a SRAM Red 22 group, SRM/Cannondale power meter cranks, FSA cockpit components, a fi'zi:k Aliante saddle with k:ium rails and a plastic shell, Speedplay Zero Stainless pedals, and Vision Metron 40 carbon tubular wheels.
Finishing things off are a pair of aluminum Elite Ciussi bottle cages, fi'zi:k bar tape, and an SRM PowerControl 7 computer.
Total weight as pictured is 7.45kg (16.42lb).
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Complete bike specifications • Frame: Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod, custom "58 x 51cm" geometry • Fork: Cannondale Synapse SAVE PLUS • Headset: FSA Orbit IS, 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in tapered • Stem: FSA OS-98, 120mm x -6° • Handlebar: FSA Energy T, 42cm (c-c) • Tape: fi'zi:k • Front brake: SRAM Red w/carbon-specific pads • Rear brake: SRAM Red w/carbon-specific pads • Brake levers: SRAM Red 22 DoubleTap • Front derailleur: SRAM Red 22 • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red 22 • Shift levers: SRAM Red 22 DoubleTap • Cassette: SRAM PG-1170, 11-26T • Chain: SRAM Red 22 • Crankset: SRM PowerMeter Cannondale, 172.5mm, 53/39T • Bottom bracket: Cannondale BB30 • Pedals: Speedplay Zero Stainless • Wheelset: Vision Metron 40 tubular • Front tire: "Kenda SC" • Rear tire: "Kenda SC" • Saddle: fi'zi:k Aliante K:ium, plastic shell • Seatpost: FSA SL-K • Bottle cages: Elite Ciussi (2) • Other accessories: SRM PowerControl 7 computer
Critical measurements • Rider's height: 1.84m (6ft 0in) • Rider's weight: 73kg (161lb) • Saddle height from BB, c-t: 752mm • Saddle setback: 82mm • Seat tube length (c-t): 460mm • Seat tube length (c-c): 450mm • Tip of saddle nose to center of bars (next to stem): 625mm • Saddle-to-bar drop: 104mm • Head tube length: 146mm • Top tube length (effective): 581mm • Weight: 7.45kg (16.42lb, with computer and cages)