Cyclist Mag review – Carried out by Peter Stuart
If ever a bike needed no introduction, it’s the Pinarello Dogma. The bike has ferried both Wiggins and Froome to yellow hued glory at the Tour de France and has since enjoyed an aptly dogmatic following among Team Sky admirers. Indeed our recent reader survey suggested that the Pinarello Dogma was by far the most desired bike. As such, we felt compelled to put it to the test.
Pinarello has long been a giant of bike building. The company was formed in 1953 by Giovanni Pinarello, who gain notoriety in 1946 by claiming the maglia nera jersey for last place in the Giro d’Italia. It took 20 years of perfecting steel frames before the Pinarello brand saw its first significant win, at the Giro d’Italia no less, and after that the company made something of a habit out of it.
Riders aboard Pinarellos have won a total of 11 yellow jerseys at the Tour de France on bikes made from a variety of steel, aluminium, magnesium and carbon fibre. Last year Pinarello took first and second at the Tour de France and top slot at the World Championships. Not a bad showing at all.
Pinarello still operates out of Treviso, but its concerns have shifted from sourcing and welding steel tubing to the subtle science of carbon. The Dogma’s particular claim to superiority in the carbon game is printed on the chain stay – “Carbon Torayca 65HMK1”. That alludes to the grade of carbon that Pinarello claims is the highest standard and is exclusive to its bikes. We took that claim directly to carbon producer Toray, whose carbon threads furnish a large number of high end bikes. The Japanese carbon giant sung the praises of the Dogma, saying that the fibre is only half the picture, and that the nanoalloy resins it provides for Pinarello help to create an exceptionally strong and stiff construction. It’s expensive stuff, running into thousands of pounds per kilo, and while its impossible to know just how much of this special carbon fibre Pinarello uses in each Dogma frame, its a sign that it hasn’t cut any corners on its flagship racer.
Walking the Dogma
Unlike the majority of big brands that present a comfort, a lightweight, and an aero offering, the Dogma is tasked with providing all three. And it seems to succeed.
Riding the Dogma the first impression is one of striking responsiveness – from the first press on the pedal. Nothing seems to be lost in the transition of power between your quads and the road, attesting to an impressive level of stiffness. But when a bike boasts stiffness, that’s often a sign that its going to give you a rough ride. The Dogma, perplexingly, does no such thing.
Having spent a month riding some of the sketchiest roads that Surrey and the Cotswolds has to offer, I never found myself uncomfortable on the Dogma, almost miraculously so. Pinarello would probably credit to a combination of asymmetry used in its design and its wavy forks. The asymmetrical design loads more material onto the drive side stays, increasing rigidity where the stresses are greatest while allowing more flex elsewhere where it can aid comfort. The wavy forks, meanwhile, aim to increase vertical flex and absorb vibration and resonance from the road, while not detracting from the feeling of connection with the road surface – a tough balance to strike. The extend to which either design truly helps compliance is hard to determine, but given that they both contribute to the weight of the Dogma’s frameset – which at close to 1kg is certainly on the heavier side for a bike of this level – we’d have to hope Pinarello had good reason to do it. But it seems to be a worthy sacrifice for the level of comfort, and more importantly, ride quality.
One of the most notable sensations I experienced on the Dogma was the feedback from the road. It offers the rider a clear perception of traction, road surface and the general resonance that lets you know that your traveling at speed. I gave me the confidence to push the bike hard, and the copious road feedback was in no way uncomfortable. In fact, the Dogma offered a smoothness that I found endearingly similar to riding a finely made steel frame.
For me, comfort and predictable handling are agreeable characteristics in a bike, but what I’m really looking for it speed. Call me shallow, but my underlying craving is always is always for a couple of extra kilometres per hour and, despite the harsh winter winds, I managed some of my fastest rides ever on the Dogma.
On a trip to the Cotswolds, my Strava data showed an average of more that 35kmh despite the long undulating. And its just as impressive over short drags. The low position of the head tube makes it pretty aerodynamic, inviting you to get your head down and blast. Its swiftness, married to its responsiveness, meant I was forever out of the saddle, pushing the Dogma as hard as I could, and no matter what I threw at it, the bike responded with unflustered efficiency.
There is so much more to say about the Dogma. The Most finishing kit for instance, won me over, despite the lack of adjustability on the integrated bar and stem I found its ergonomics both comfortable and rigid. The saddle too was genuinely a pleasant surprise in terms of comfort, weight and support. The entire set up testified to a high level of attention paid to the Dogma’s design and evolution.
I really would have liked to say that the Pinarello isn’t such a special bike, but I have been entirely bewitched. The Dogma begs to be ridden hard but also offers comfort for the long ride. Yes its expensive but, in an age of mass production carbon, the Dogma shows how well it can be done.
Spec of Bike Ridden
Pinarello Dogma 65.1
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Fulcrum Racing Zero Wheelset
Vittoria Corsa Tyres
Carbon Most Finishing Kit