Cannondale's SmartSense safety tech launches on new Synapse road bike
Cannondale's Synapse has always been a fairly well-regarded road bike, but the latest version sports a little something extra. It's called the SmartSense system, and it's designed to help keep riders from being struck by cars.
SmartSense consists of three main components: a Cannondale wheel motion sensor (on the front wheel), a set of Lezyne front and rear daytime running lights, and the existing Garmin Varia Radar system.
The latter incorporates a rear-facing seatpost-mounted module that sends out radar pulses which reflect off of vehicles approaching from behind. Those echoes are received by the module, which is wirelessly linked to a handlebar-mounted display. As cars close in from the rear, that display visually and audibly warns the rider not only of the vehicles' presence, but also of their speed, distance from the bike, and the number of them.
In the SmartSense setup, the wheel motion sensor triggers the Varia Radar system to power up as soon as the bike starts moving. As vehicles subsequently approach from behind, the handlebar unit still warns the rider, plus the Lezyne lights start flashing brightly to attract the motorists' attention.
An accompanying app is used to set the parameters of the system, plus it coordinates communication between the various hardware components. In order to help keep things simple, all of those components are powered by a single down-tube-mounted rechargeable lithium battery – there's no word on runtime.
Pricing for Synapse models which include SmartSense as standard equipment start at US$5,500.