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March 9, 2015 – Built with the singular purpose of delivering Chris Froome to the Champs-Elysées wearing his second yellow jersey the new Pinarello Dogma F8 is not just another bike. After Froome won the Tour in 2013 onboard the Dogma 65.1 Think 2, Fausto Pinarello and his army of engineers had their work cut out to create something truly special for his defense. Although by now we all know the results of the crash marred 2014 Tour the results of the 8th generation Dogma didn’t follow that same trajectory.
Aesthetically the F8’s frame is a myriad of tube shapes that don’t look like they should be strewn together, however they are, and each has its purpose. On paper compared to the previous Dogma the F8 is a crushing 12% stiffer, 16% more balanced, 47% more aerodynamic, and 120g lighter.
Asymmetric is the word most commonly associated with Pinarello’s design philosophy. In the bike world tuned asymmetry is intended to improve balance and power transfer, something the F8 claims to have improved by 16%. A naked frameset may appear to be fairly symmetrical on the outside but internally the carbon fibers are scrutinized and layered to direct right side drive train energy into forward momentum.
From the nose of the F8 wind is met with a redesigned sharp-end calculated to pierce the air then route it specifically through the frame cutting down on drag through each section. Compared to its predecessor, the 65.1, the bikes start off fairly close in the drag department but as wind travels past the down tube, seat tube, then around the rear brake area the F8 takes a significant lead cutting drag and accounting for the 47% decrease in drag. The 65.1 was certainly not an aero standout, but that is still a massive reduction.
Tube shape, water bottle placement and rear brake placement have lots to do with the aerodynamic improvements. The most aero shape for tubes was found to be a length/width ratio of 8:1 providing for a smooth uninterrupted flow of air on entry and exit but with the UCI’s ruling that bicycle tube shapes must meet a maximum ratio of 3:1 Pinarello developed the FlatBack patented tube shape. The FlatBack shape not only allows for improved airflow when compared to round tubes but also allows for a sweet spot to tuck the rear brake, bottle cages and increase tube rigidity at the same time. To be fair, it’s a different take on the Kamm tail truncated airfoil that has swept the industry.
Pinarello, like many brands, has chosen Toray carbon and there are many choices of carbon grade under the Toray banner. Pinarello is currently the only brand to use the T11001K carbon, a technical name for a carbon they refer to as ‘Dream Carbon’. This Dream Carbon’ helps the new F8 cut weight by 120g from the previous Dogma.
Our F8 came equipped with Shimano DuraAce Di2, Pinarello’s high-end house brand MOST integrated bar stem combination and was finished off with a trick Fulcrum 0 wheel set. If you are in the market for an F8 don’t get boxed in by stock colors. You can build your dream bike with the MyWay Personalized Bike System, allowing you to start off by choosing one of 13 sizes then fully customize the colors from there.
Like riders, bikes too have similar characteristics and personalities. Some riders have an incredible jump, some can wind up and hold a high speed for 1k or more, and some can dance up climbs, while others are fearless on descents. Raw, untamed, and edgy are some of the thoughts that came to mind during our time aboard the new F8. Attribute it to the improved aerodynamics, asymmetric build or the new carbon but the F8 seems to be able to do it all.
The F8 had one of the crispest sensations we have ever felt when responding to accelerations. At low speeds and on climbs the F8 performed like a rocket, which is what we expected from a bike meant to carry Froome to the top step of a grand tour. What caught us off guard was how fast this bike was at full speed accelerations. The F8 added an impressively smooth transfer of power when sprinting from 30mph and up, this we attribute to the improved aerodynamics and frame rigidity.
A downside to the ultra-rigid F8 was its tendency to amplify ruts and potholes in the road. Although running a soft tire like the Corsa CX from Vittoria between 90-100psi can minimize this, it isn’t muted as fully like some of the other more compliant race bikes we have tested. It was this feature, more than any other, that makes the bike feel slightly less composed than the Dogma 65.1 Think 2 while descending, which was among the best descenders ever made. The F8 is fast, lightening fast, but a bit more hair raising when the descent gets rough.
If you have the means, want to go fast and lust for Italian merchandise, yet don’t mind a little road feedback the Pinarello Dogma F8 could be your next ride. You like attention. Even after all these years, nothing else turns heads in the peloton like a new Pinarello.
Price: $5750.00 (Frameset Only)
Weight: 15.1lbs (56cm)
Specifications: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, MOST bar and Stem, Selle Italia SLR saddle, Fulcrum 0 wheels with Vittoria Corsa CX Tires