After having gone through several handmade bicycles, and when the time came to replace my steel Soma Double Cross Disc frame, I ended up with the Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc. What went through my mind as buying decisions, and why go for a mass produced carbon fibre bicycle instead of a handmade steel or titanium one?
Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc
We start by presenting my daily bicycle in its present form. As many cyclists know, the state of the bicycle is a continuously changing affair.
In its current state, the frame is the Pinarello Dogma F10 Disc with MOST stem, bar and saddle. The wheels are Fulcrum Racing Quattro DB Carbon Disk with Pirelli P-Zero 700×28 tyres. The drive train was originally full Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9120-P with power meter.
Evolution of ownership – Dogma 65.1 Hydro, and F10
My history with Pinarello started rather negatively, if I may say so. I had originally thought them to be flashy, Ferarri-esque styling not to be what I would be riding. But the same good friend whose hand made bicycles I have been riding, yes the Pegoretti Responsorium, the Zullo MaxSilaneus, and both Baum Correttos, is also a big Pinarello fan, and so I got to try them as well.
The first Pinarello I tried was back in 2015, with the first disc brake version of the Dogma. This was a bright orange Dogma 65.1 Hydro, designed to take the then new road disc brakes. I rode this bike some 2,000 km, and developed a liking to it. The frame was very stiff, and sometimes unyielding, especially for someone whose daily beater then was a steel bike, and whose experience have had been with steel and titanium frames. But the geometry was very race-like, and the bike felt like it wanted to go faster.
Shimano and Road Disc Brakes
Shimano had just introduced road discs with the R785. These brakes are non-series (Shimano-speak), and the first generation had very large hoods to house the cylinders. I believe Shimano adapted their highly developed Mountain Bike hydraulic disc brake system to be mounted inside the hoods. The brake feel was very soft, but many had issues with the lever travel. On the bike I had, the brake lever tend to bottom out at the end of the stroke, though it always had enough bite to stop the bike safely. The brakes do squeal when wet, more on metallic pads than with organic ones, but this is not unusual for disc brakes.
Then in 2016, Shimano was confident enough to release the hydraulic disc brakes with the Dura-Ace label in the FC-9120. This incorporated many improvements they learnt with the R785. The hoods were still rather large, but much smaller than the earlier iteration. And the brakes performed flawlessly.
I then switched the 65.1 Hydro to the first of the F10, skipping the F8, which I never rode. The green F10 was equipped with rim brakes. The groupset was Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9000, but with components upgraded. The brakes were eeBrakes, which was the next generation of the ones used in the Baum Corretto. And CeramicSpeed provided the Oversized Pulley system as well as the bottom bracket bearings. These are very expensive upgrades. The stem and bar combination is a one piece, all carbon MOST affair, with a stem length of 120mm and a width of 42mm.
The eeBrakes on the Campagnolo Bora Ultra were superb. The brake feel was nearly as soft and nuanced as with the R785 hydraulic brakes. There were no changes to the geometry of the frame going from 65.1 to F10, but the carbon layout is different, and the bike is much more compliant vertically while remaining very stiff. Making it surprisingly comfortable for a race bike. The drive train was particularly stiff. And the tubes had an aerodynamic profile.
The F10 Disc
And in 2018, we arrive at my own Dogma F10 Disc. My frame size turned out to be almost perfect Size 53. Pinarello offers their bikes in many sizes, from very small 46 to very large ones up to 60 in small steps. While many carbon fibre frames are available in only three options via the usual S/M/L sizes. This ensures a good fit. I mulled over a 54 frame, but felt the 53 being slightly smaller will fit better and be stiffer. With a longer 120mm stem, this works out very well.
I have 72cm from the top of the saddle to the middle of the bottom bracket, and from the tip of the saddle to the end of the stem at the headtube measures 56cm. The bike, fully assembled with my Crank Brothers Eggbeaters 11 pedals weigh in at 7.7kg. Not bad for a bike with disc brakes and a power meter.
Both the stem and bars were made by MOST, a Pinarello owned company, and measured 120mm and 42mm respectively. The bar and stem are alloy, but covered with a carbon fibre skin for aesthetics. I preferred an alloy combination as they are stronger, and I don’t have to worry when the bike topples over, and the weight penalty is very small. A Garmin Edge 1030 head unit attaches to the front of the cockpit.
The new Dura-Ace FC-9120 hoods are smaller than the R785, and now feature reach adjustments, and in my experience, have not bottomed out at the end of the stroke. Brake feel is superb, with light, smooth and very nuanced modulation. Stopping power on the 160mm IceTech rotors is phenomenal and performance on the dry and wet is superb. It still squeals when the rotors are wet.
It is not until the F12 that Pinarello managed to get most of the cables hidden inside the bar/stem combination. As can be seen here, the F10 had the cables hanging free from bar to insertion point on the frame.
As mentioned, the F10 is designed for a more aerodynamic profile than the F8 which came immediately before it, with most of the work was done in wind tunnels. As a result, the bike presents a very small frontal area to the wind. The tubes are also feature shapes which are aerofoil like to smooth the airflow around the frame.
Shimano Dura-Ace R9120P
The groupset is the Shimano Dura-Ace FC-9120-P. This is the “new” Dura-Ace introduced in 2016, and is still the current top of the line offering from Shimano. The 9120 is mechanical and delivered with hydraulic disc brakes, this time with the Dura-Ace insignia, indicating that Shimano is confident to put their top of the line tag on the system.
The power meter is dual sided, and uses a total of 4 strain gauges on the crank arms. I chose to use 52/36 chainrings instead of the professional standard 53/39 or the novice 50/34. My crank length is 172.5mm. The power meter is rather basic. It does not report full pedaling dynamics information to the head unit. But it works flawlessly broadcasting power, cadence, and power balance. Zero offset is performed by pushing a small button on the unit or via a command from the Garmin Edge 1030, and it is recommended to do this before each ride. The rechargeable battery needs only a recharge for once every 6 months or so, and low battery condition is reported to the Garmin head unit.
The bike is now 2+ years old with some 20,000 km under its belt, and both the Dura-Ace cassette and chain are worn out, so I have changed both. The cassette was replaced by an Ultegra cassette, with a wider range of teeth – easier to get up slopes for old legs, and at 1/3 the price, its a good buy. And the chain is a Campagnolo Chorus 11 speed chain which I happen to have lying around and as it fits perfectly, had it installed and using it.
The wheels are attached via through axels, which are stiffer than quick release skewers, and the Shimano IceTech 160mm discs are center locked, with the calipers directly mounted on the frame.
Wheels are wide Fulcrum Racing Quattro DB Carbon, which are light and stiff. The only negative I find about these wheels are that the bearings, though sealed, are not long lasting, and wear out annually in my case (about 10,000 km). The bearings are a proprietary size, and not inexpensive to replace.
Tyres are Pirelli P-Zero 700 x 28, and as can be seen below there is sufficient space on the seat stays and in the front forks to accommodate the wide rubber. The P-Zeros measure 29mm with 80 psi. I would guess a 30mm would be a tight squeeze, but may fit. I have also used Continental GP 4Seasons 700 x 28, and these measure 28mm on these rims. The bike was delivered with Panasonic Race A 700 x 28 tyres. Of the three I have tried, the Pirelli offered the most supple ride, but I think the Continentals will probably be the most rugged. In the 20,000 km or so I have ridden on 5 tyres (back tyres are changed more often due to heavier wear), I have never had a puncture.
The Pinarello Dogma F10 offers the best ride and handling I have ever encountered in a bicycle. The frame is very stiff, yet very comfortable, even on very long rides (which, for me, the longest is 125km on a single ride). In this combination, with the Shimano groupset and Fulcrum wheelset, it works flawlessly, requiring only maintenance once a year.
Unlike the hand made frames I have had the pleasure to ride, the Dogma F10 is a mass produced bicycle, made to Pinarello design, specifications and quality control in a factory in China. While there are carbon frames build one at a time by hand in the Europe and the US (Filament bikes in the UK and Argonaut in the US are two examples), all mass produced carbon fibre frames are manufactured in China. The manufacture of carbon fibre bikes are very labour intensive, and almost exclusively done by hand, with China and Taiwan leading the charge for the highest level of expertise worldwide. The build quality of the F10 is exceptional, with detailing being executed at the highest levels. My F10 Disc comes with a “nude” Black on Black finish, with no paintwork on the frame – just a matte finished laquer to protect the carbon against the elements. Some silver pattern accents provide some visual interest on the black frame. Over the 2 years of ownership and 20,000 km, it still looks almost new, especially after a good clean.
This is not an inexpensive bicycle, costing about what Rolex would be charging for a GMT-Master II, but it is a joy to ride. Even as a daily beater.
Photo notes: The F10 Disc was photographed with the Leica C at stops during a ride. The F10 and 65.1 Hydro were photographed with an iPhone.