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Pro bike: Peter Sagan's Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod

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Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) is on a rather extreme custom Synapse Hi-Mod for Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, built with the length of a 58cm frame but the height of a 51cm one

Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) is on a rather extreme custom Synapse Hi-Mod for Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix, built with the length of a 58cm frame but the height of a 51cm one
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The tight bend on the rear brake line is ameliorated somewhat by a short segment of Nokon housing, which is especially flexible

The tight bend on the rear brake line is ameliorated somewhat by a short segment of Nokon housing, which is especially flexible
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Sagan's bike was fitted with Vision Metron 40 carbon wheels when we caught up with it on Friday before Ronde van Vlaanderen

Sagan's bike was fitted with Vision Metron 40 carbon wheels when we caught up with it on Friday before Ronde van Vlaanderen
(Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM Red brake calipers are equipped with carbon-specific pads. Note the carbon fiber number plate holder, too

SRAM Red brake calipers are equipped with carbon-specific pads. Note the carbon fiber number plate holder, too
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) is most definitely not riding a standard 61cm frame in any sense

Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) is most definitely not riding a standard 61cm frame in any sense
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The seatpost is fixed in place with an internal wedge system

The seatpost is fixed in place with an internal wedge system
(Image credit: James Huang)
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According to Cannondale global road marketing manager Jonathan Geran, the team puts strips of electrical tape around the levers any time the bikes will see time atop the team car so as to keep debris and water out of the shifter internals. The tab up top makes it easy to rip the tape off when necessary

According to Cannondale global road marketing manager Jonathan Geran, the team puts strips of electrical tape around the levers any time the bikes will see time atop the team car so as to keep debris and water out of the shifter internals. The tab up top makes it easy to rip the tape off when necessary
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The magnet for the SRM power meter is glued directly to the bottom bracket shell

The magnet for the SRM power meter is glued directly to the bottom bracket shell
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod fork uses similar shaping to the stays, plus the legs have a more pronounced rake to provide more flex over bumps. Rearward-reaching dropouts maintain proper geometry, though

The Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod fork uses similar shaping to the stays, plus the legs have a more pronounced rake to provide more flex over bumps. Rearward-reaching dropouts maintain proper geometry, though
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Cobbles wreak havoc on most lightweight bottle cages so Peter Sagan's (Cannondale Pro Cycling) Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod is fitted with tough Elite Ciussi aluminum ones instead

Cobbles wreak havoc on most lightweight bottle cages so Peter Sagan's (Cannondale Pro Cycling) Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod is fitted with tough Elite Ciussi aluminum ones instead
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The uniquely split seat tube supposedly allows for more fore-aft flex while still retaining better drivetrain rigidity than with a single flattened tube

The uniquely split seat tube supposedly allows for more fore-aft flex while still retaining better drivetrain rigidity than with a single flattened tube
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Cannondale's Synapse Hi-Mod chassis is generally lauded for its impressive comfort and excellent efficiency but as do most consumer bikes in that category, the front end is quite high. Peter Sagan's custom version takes care of that, however, with a head tube that's 42mm shorter than a standard 58cm frame

Cannondale's Synapse Hi-Mod chassis is generally lauded for its impressive comfort and excellent efficiency but as do most consumer bikes in that category, the front end is quite high. Peter Sagan's custom version takes care of that, however, with a head tube that's 42mm shorter than a standard 58cm frame
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The SAVE stays are wildly shaped so as to provide some give on bumpy surfaces. Our experience suggests they actually work, too

The SAVE stays are wildly shaped so as to provide some give on bumpy surfaces. Our experience suggests they actually work, too
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Flattened sections on the stays supposedly act as engineered flex points to provide a sort of micro-suspension

Flattened sections on the stays supposedly act as engineered flex points to provide a sort of micro-suspension
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Further helping matters is the unusually small 25.4mm-diameter FSA SL-K carbon seatpost. There's a lot of post sticking out of the frame, too

Further helping matters is the unusually small 25.4mm-diameter FSA SL-K carbon seatpost. There's a lot of post sticking out of the frame, too
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Another look at the wildly shaped chain stays on Peter Sagan's (Cannondale Pro Cycling) custom Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod

Another look at the wildly shaped chain stays on Peter Sagan's (Cannondale Pro Cycling) custom Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The internally routed rear derailleur cable exits right at the dropout. You can just barely see a bit of exposed cable above the quick-release nut

The internally routed rear derailleur cable exits right at the dropout. You can just barely see a bit of exposed cable above the quick-release nut
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Like many pro riders, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) prefers traditional-bend handlebars. Sagan is also following the recent trend of narrower bars with these measuring 42cm center-to-center

Like many pro riders, Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) prefers traditional-bend handlebars. Sagan is also following the recent trend of narrower bars with these measuring 42cm center-to-center
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Peter Sagan is using an SRM power meter crank based on Cannondale Hollowgram Si SL hollow aluminum crankarms

Peter Sagan is using an SRM power meter crank based on Cannondale Hollowgram Si SL hollow aluminum crankarms
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The seat tube isn't cut out like that for aerodynamics. Rather, it makes for a flexier tube and also provides gobs of clearance

The seat tube isn't cut out like that for aerodynamics. Rather, it makes for a flexier tube and also provides gobs of clearance
(Image credit: James Huang)

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)