Cannondale’s SAVE “Micro Suspension”
Combines materials knowledge, manufacturing techniques and a complimentary host of parts to attempt to provide riders across all classes of bikes with a more comfortable ride.
What is it and how does it work?
Technology in Short
Technology Type: Suspension, Compliance
Availability: Proprietary – Cannondale bikes only
Cost: N/A. Part of frameset
What Does Cannondale SAVE Do?
SAVE is not strictly a technology per se, but more of a manufacturing approach – by manipulating the composition and material of their aluminium frames in certain areas, Cannondale claim that SAVE can enhance frame compliance (comfort) without sacrificing rigidity and performance.
There are 4 main areas of the bike where SAVE is applied:
- Layup – Only applied on carbon bikes; the orientation of the fibres is designed to reduce vibration.
- Fork – Cannondale forks with SAVE technology have specifically shaped forks to help comfort.
- Rear Triangle – The rear triangle on SAVE bikes have a unique profile and shape to help compliance.
- Seat Post and Seat Tube – SAVE seat tubes have a sloping design that is designed to help smooth rides in concert with Cannondale’s smaller diameter SAVE seatposts.
Cannondale then applies the manufacturing differently across models depending on their intended purpose:
- SAVE – Simplified manufacturing designed for alloy frames.
- SAVE PLUS – Designed to work with Endurance bikes.
- SPEED SAVE – Designed to work with race orientated machines.
- AERO SAVE – Designed to work in concert with the shapes of Aero and TT bikes.
So a TT focused Slice comes with AERO SAVE while a SuperSix will come with SPEED SAVE.
Cannondale SAVE also comes with a lot of capital letters.
Does Cannondale Save Work & How Has it Been Reviewed?
It’s fair to say that SAVE is now pretty old technology as it featured on the very first Synapse and is still and integral part of that bike – and many more across the Cannondale range – today. While the principle of the system hasn’t changed there’s been huge advances in materials technology for bikes – especially around carbon fibre and additive manufacturing. You knew an old Synapse when you saw one – while a great riding bike, it’s shilouette could be politely called “distinctive”. Advances in materials mean that newer Cannondale bikes with SAVE look a lot more contemporary and the shaping is far more subtle.
With manufacturing changing so much over the life of the technology, we thought it only fair to include some reviews of the latest model bikes:
Fundamental to the Synapse bike is Cannondale’s SAVE design. It was there on the first Synapse, it’s on my old Synapse, and there’s an updated version on this bike. It’s sort of like suspension. But unlike the head tube shock in Specialized’s Roubaix or the pivots in Trek’s IsoSpeed system—designs that use something like a shock to allow some travel—Cannondale engineers a modest amount of give into the seatstays and fork legs. It’s more like an old mountain bike flex stay than a suspension shock. Cannondale calls it micro-suspension, and given that it yields about 4mm of travel, that feels right.
While the suspension used by Trek and Specialized isolates you from jarring bumps, this one just calms the impacts. It’s like turning the volume down on the music instead of turning it off. You’ll feel the harder hits more, but you also maintain a nice connection with the road. The bike feels a little more lively because of it.
It holds onto speed well and, despite the road surfaces on the Vermont test roads varying from smooth to deeply frost scarred, potholed, and rutted the EVO proved itself to be a smooth riding companion.
Up front, the clever System SAVE bar muted road buzz and vibration, and at the back, the new slimline SAVE carbon post matched the front for smooth compliance without feeling saggy or overly flexy.
So the verdict seems to be that yes, you can be SAVEd – although the trend towards larger width tyres has also helped road bikes generally with comfort over the last few years.
Are There Any Known Issues with Cannondale SAVE
As SAVE is mainly integrated into the overall bike structure, there is limited feedback and conversation on issues with the overall system. Squeaky seatposts and proprietary sizing are perennial headaches for cyclists though, and Cannondale’s seatposts are no different from other manufacturers: