Pinarello Dogma F Review - The epitome of a pure race bike, but it’s not perfect
The Dogma F looks and feels fast, but does have some flex which can impact performance
Pinarello brought its definitive Dogma F to the market in 2021, ditching the numerical suffix that came with all of its predecessors to make this bike the infallible Dogma. It’s a model which has taken Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky) to an incredible number of victories on cycling’s biggest stage as a bike with a focus on aerodynamics and high performance. Pinarello doesn't call this an aero model though, or a climbing one, instead, it aims to strike the perfect balance for a superbike which can do it all.
First released in 2000 and now seven versions in, the latest Dogma is visually very similar to its predecessor but there are some subtle changes to the tubing and geometry which are said to make it lighter and more aerodynamic. The Pinarello F isn’t made to measure, but it continues to come about as close to a fully tailored fit as any superbike manages with 11 frame size options paired with 16 different handlebar configurations and two seatpost setback options. It has a tailored fit that is good enough for the likes of Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Tom Pidcock, names which have helped the Dogma become one of the main contenders for world’s most widely lusted after bicycle.
But is it suitable for the everyday rider too? Does the frontal stiffness and aggressive style work for those who aren’t in a WorldTour peloton? We have spent the last couple of months with the Pinarello Dogma F to see how it performs on the British roads and if it’s a bike that is worth parting with £12,000 for.
While the aesthetics of a bike are completely subjective, I’m yet to meet another cyclist who isn’t enamoured with the look of the Pinarello Dogma F. The black and silver colourway on the bike I was given to test is undoubtedly one of the most stunning options that Pinarello offers, with an almost otherworldly, spaceship-like look. It’s fair to say that this isn’t a bike that will blend into the crowd, it’s an unapologetically Pinarello-style frame with its twists and curves, but I’ve grown to really like the loud and proud look. It’s not only the paint job that gives the Dogma F its fast, racy style; the geometry and frame play an important role here too.
The basic silhouette of the frame looks relatively similar to the previous Dogma F12 with Pinarello’s notably asymmetrical design. However, there are some changes on the Dogma F which set it clearly apart from its predecessor. The Onda fork has been redesigned from the ground up, while the seat stays and down tube have also been given subtle tweaks which Pinarello says is all with the aim of improving aerodynamics. According to Pinarello, the fork is supposed to work like a sail in crosswinds, while the bump on the downtube below the bottle cage aims to help shield the second seat tube mounted bottle from the wind, as well as increasing the stiffness in the bottom bracket area. Placing the seat stays lower down the on seat tube is perhaps the biggest change on the Dogma F, creating a wing-like look that is said to seriously aid the bike’s efficiency through the wind.
With such a focus on aerodynamics when it comes to the design of the Dogma F, I was prepared to feel some discomfort over rocky terrain or bumpy surfaces – this isn’t a bike which is created for leisurely Sunday rides or bike-packing adventures. However, I was impressed by how much the Dogma F did dampen vibrations, gliding over surfaces smoothly so that I didn’t ever feel rattled. The curved fork design helps to give the bike a calmness and control, even on some seriously poorly kept British tarmac (the now-stiffer chassis helped with this too.) I’m used to a fairly aggressive race position, so the low geometry on the Dogma F wasn’t a problem for me and I was comfortable on the bike even on endurance rides that crept up to the five hour mark, however this aerodynamic stance might not be to everyone’s taste.
In terms of the handling of the Dogma F, the bike is incredibly responsive and glides around corners without needing much direction at all. This is achieved with an impressive balance though, the bike doesn’t feel jumpy or nervous. While the entry into corners is precise, I did notice some slight flex in the very thin seat tube and seat post which can throw the rear end of the bike slightly off balance when entering corners at high speed, something that I found a bit precarious on certain sections of a ride. This slight flex also manifested itself when I was doing hard, seated accelerations in my local chain gang on an outdoor velodrome, the seat tube slightly swings from side to side which makes the bike feel slightly untrustworthy. The open and wide environment an outdoor velodrome offers also meant that I rode the Dogma F in some pretty changeable wind conditions, and I found that while the Dogma F is extremely stiff and stable at high-speed when the wind is calm, it doesn’t handle very well in crosswinds, making me feel like I was really having to focus to keep the bike straight.
When the road goes up, the Dogma F really comes into its own. The lack of flex on the front end of the bike makes it super stiff when climbing out of the saddle, giving off the feeling that every watt is being successfully transferred through the bike and made use out of. As soon as I made the first couple of pedal strokes on the Dogma F, I could feel a serious difference from my usual bike on how quickly it accelerated. Pinarello has shed some weight on the Dogma F compared to the previous F12, meaning that the frame weighs what Pinarello claims is 865 grams (in a size 53, unpainted) which is a 265g reduction from the previous Dogma F12. This helps on the climbs, but there are lighter bike options out there and this isn’t a bike specifically designed for going up mountains, it’s meant to be a machine that can do it all.
The bike I had to test was a Shimano bike which was equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 12-speed groupset which I’ve reviewed in full here, but to summarise, the braking power is incredibly sharp and I’m a big fan of the shifter ergonomics as a rider with smaller hands. While Shimano claims that the noise of the disc brakes should be lessened on the newest R9200 model, I still found it to be painstakingly loud in wet weather (though this didn’t impact performance.) The shifting is fast and precise even under heavy load and the bigger range of gears on the 12-speed cassette makes the jumps between gears less severe.
I also used the Shimano Ultegra C50 R8170 wheels on the Dogma F – if you were buying this bike directly from Pinarello it would come with standard DT Swiss wheels – which are great all-rounders for varied terrain. They’re responsive to accelerations on flat roads, but at the same time, the weight of the wheels (approx.1,570g) means that they also perform well in the hills. The light weight of the wheels doesn’t mean Shimano have compromised on rigidity, however, with the wheels feeling extremely stable and solid – ideal for sprinting and larger riders. The wider 21mm internal rim width also means that the wheels are compatible with more modern and popular road tyres, which offer a more comfortable ride. However, the wheels could be as much to blame for the slight uneasiness I felt in crosswinds as the Dogma F frame, so Shimano’s claim that the C50 wheels are stable in windy conditions isn’t something I can fully support.
The Pinarello Dogma F I tested was equipped with a Pro Vibe bar and stem combination, but I can’t comment on the performance of this as I had to change them when the bike arrived in order to achieve my desired fit. The original stem was too long and the handlebars were too wide, so I switched to my usual 120mm stem and 40cm bars for comfort. The Pro Stealth Curved Performance Saddle wasn’t to my liking either, I found the shape to be too long and thin and the cut out in the centre to be too small. I rode my usual Specialized Power Saddle when on the bike. If you were buying the Dogma F from Pinarello or a Pinarello dealer, it would come with the integrated Most Talon Ultra Fast bar and stem combination and a Most Lynx Ultrafast Superflow L Carbon saddle.