Well, this was a surprise. A complete surprise. Pinarello kept the design and testing of the new Dogma F8 so secret that it actually caught us dealers by surprise. We actually learned about it from one of our customers and then received the official dealer communication an hour later. Surprised was an understatement. We had no info on ride quality, just pictures and the emailed tech release. Mechanical or Di2 compatible, lighter, stiffer, and sexier.
That was all that was needed, though. What we first saw in our inbox was, both asthetically and technically, the best bike Pinarello has produced and, in person, it’s much better. I get excited when I look at it in my garage. Almost sexually. Seriously. If you are a car person, you’ll know the feeling. It’s what made the Lamborghini Countach or the Ferrari Testarossa such a lusted after car. Or maybe in today’s models it’s the new Jaguar F-Type, which is a nice coincidence, because, in a departure from their Italian roots, Pinarello collaborated with Jaguar on the F8. This was born out of a direct connection to Team Sky, of whom Jaguar is a sponsor. Jaguar, surprisingly, is one of the industry giants for aerodynamics. Yes, they have hidden that well over the years.
Tingly down there, again, but in a different sense. Pinarello has made their point. The F8 is a racer’s bike. The ride is firm. Race bike firm, but not too firm. They can get away with this, because the Sky Team has the Dogma K for the cobblestone days. No longer does one bike have to do everything for the pros, which is both good and bad for the consumer. Now there are a lot more options from almost every brand, but it also means that there for everything a certain model does very well, it probably has an equal negative.
Weight-wise, the Dogma is no slouch. I built my bike with nothing ultralight (11sp Di2 group, MOST Talon Bars, and Reynolds Aero 58 Carbon clinchers) and it’s 15.01 lbs. That’s with pedals, cages, and a Garmin. With some substitutes, you could easily get this bike down below 14 lbs. What’s amazing about this, and is probably my number one praise of the Dogma F8, is that Pinarello has created a very light bike that rides like a lugged steel bike. Too young to remember steel bikes?
In the saddle, the ride quality is just smooth. There is no other suitable term. The road is there, but you don’t feel it. High frequency vibrations just disappear. At the same time, the F8 is definitely firmer than the old Dogma 65.1, especially the front end. This helps tighten the handling, which seems to be a bit quicker in a good way, than the old model. However, that stiffer fork and headtube means that you will feel more of the larger bumps. Hit a road reflector and you will know. It won’t knock your hands off the bars, but it doesn’t just disappear into the fork and frame like it does with the Prince and earlier generation Dogmas. Comparing it one of my all-time favorites, the Cervelo S3, it is lighter than the S3, but the S3 might win the comfort battle. However, the most comfortable bikes aren’t always the best handling. I think I’d have to give the edge to the F8 here. The front end feels stiffer than the S3, which makes it a little quicker and very sure feeling, but remember how it goes –- for every positive, there is almost always a negative. The negative is that bigger hits come through a little harder. Not much, but a bit.
Out of the saddle, the Dogma doesn’t have the liveliness that a Scott Foil
might have, but it accelerates just the same and it’s solid. So solid. There is
no bottom bracket flex and I’ve never experienced any chainring rub, even
when adjusted to Di2 tolerances, which means the front derailleur being super
close to the chain at both the top and bottom of its range. Again, it feels like a
much heavier bike, in a good way, than the weight would suggest. It's not
skittish and stays firmly planted even under the hardest of efforts.
Other “Underwhelming” Surprises
Initially, I saw the lack of integrated brake calipers as “underwhelming.” I
really expected to see brakes similar to the Pinarello Bolide’s integrated into
the frame and fork. Something that was just incredibly hi-tech and a complete
bitch to service was the expectation. To see normal center-mount calipers
was surprising, but a relief, actually. They work. And they are easy to work on.
Too many bikes these days are going to proprietary brake designs (Giant
Propel) and they simply don’t work. Or, in the case of the BMC, they do work
very well, but they are heavy and a major pain to adjust, because of the heavy
Today, threaded bottom brackets seem so rare, to us, at least, that you
almost have to read the directions on how to install them. Everything has
gone to PressFit, which is light, but definitely doesn’t have the durability of the
threaded systems. Threaded BB setups simply work better. They add a little
weight, but I think that if most people had to make the choice between
carrying one ounce less of water (the weight difference) or having a PressFit
BB that develops a click or squeak, almost all would risk dehydration.
A Ferrari vs the new Corvette . . .
Your friend, who is definitely jealous of your Dogma F8, says, “Yeah, but I can
buy a Cervelo S3 bike for the price of the Dogma frame set!” He would be
right. And the performance of the S3 is as good, if not marginally better in
some areas than the F8, but he’d have a Cervelo and you’d have a Pinarello.
End of argument.