Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Pinarello Dogma F8


The Peaks Coaching Group team was able to spend some time in Mallorca this March testing out our new team bikes, the Pinarello Dogma F8. Yeah, yeah, we know: tough job. The really cool thing is that we’d already been riding the 2014 Dogma Think 2, and we were able to compare the two; now we can hopefully give some insight into the upgrade.

I have to note one thing right up front: the moment we built the bikes and did the “pick-up test” (you know, when you get it together and pick it up and mentally calibrate the weight, measuring instantly against all historical bikes and future perceptions of what a bike should weigh), we knew this F8 was going to be something special. It feels considerably lighter than its predecessors.

Next we have to get the aero question out of the way. Pinarello makes lots of claims in its marketing of increased aerodynamics compared to the Think 2 and other bikes. We have no scientific method of testing this; we’re going by our feeling and perceptions on the bike (I know someone will comment about any thoughts we have in this area about aerodynamics, so I’m getting the disclaimer out of the way right here).

I’m going to start this review backwards and start with the final key point. The Pinarello Dogma F8 is faster. Period. Read my note above on aerodynamics, but I can tell you that the feel of the F8 compared to the Think 2 or any other bike we tested is that this is one fast bike.

What do we mean by fast? Great question! Thanks for asking. Let’s break it down into three fields: acceleration, handling, and feel.

Acceleration

The F8 is stiffer, crisper, and lighter than the Think 2. Don’t get me wrong; the Think 2 had a great feel of blended comfort and snap. But the F8 is sharp, with a stiff and responsive answer to any power applied to the pedals. The decreased weight makes the bike feel livelier, while the improved bottom bracket and head tube stiffness really allow you to wind this bike up quickly. The Think 2 has an amazing “feel” as a bike, but the F8 ups the ante by giving it the snappy response.

Handling

The F8 is a weapon! The bike has an incredible handling feeling when pushing hard through turns. It seems to capture the best of both worlds. The Think 2 was the most rock-solid turn/downhill handling bike we have ever ridden, but it could be a touch sluggish in setting up turns, though once in it would hold lines like it had Velcro tires. The F8 is fast into any turn, and it sticks. The new fork and head tube setup really allows you to push this bike into cornering at speeds that make those hairs on the back of your hands stand up, but then it delivers a smooth handling feel that gives you confidence that you can go through that turn that fast. One of the hard-to-explain feelings it delivers is how well the whole bike tracks. I’ve commented on this before: some bikes out there are stiff up front and soft in the bottom bracket area (or the reverse), which gives them a strange feeling in handling hard cornering and descending. The F8 literally feels like it “snaps” through a turn, with the rear end smartly aligning to all pressure applied up front. Again, this is a confidence builder. It’s almost as if in a deep corner you feel the rear end “hook up” and you’re shot out of the turn, just like a fine race car would do. Just a note: the Think 2 has the same feeling, but the lighter, more agile F8 really brings it to life.

Feel

This is a simple one. The F8 feels fast, damn fast, I will crush you fast! We have ridden and tested aero bikes before, and we can say the F8 nails the feeling you want. It feels like a standard road bike while delivering the aero advantage. Everything just feels (and is) faster on this bike. Wednesday night worlds? Faster! Hard interval session? Faster! Recovery ride? Faster! (Careful….)

This one is a keeper! We love everything about the new F8 and honestly struggle to find any negative. Our only comment of caution is to use a torque wrench when adjusting the set post.

And go faster!


Author Tim Cusick

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