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2005 Sneak Peek: Pinarello, Merckx, others

Amazingly a year has passed and trade show season is back upon us. As we speak the Euro Bike show in Freidrichshafen, Germany is winding up. The Milan show begins just a few days thereafter. Once Milan wraps up, the proverbial cats will all be out of the bag: We’ll know with a good bit of clarity the full gamut of temptations for 2005.

Herewith is real news, not gossip:

Pinarello:
The big news is that of the 3rd generation Dogma known as the Dogma FP (we’ll give you 10 seconds to think of what FP stands for). The 1st generation Dogma had a 32.4mm seatpost. Virtually none of those made it to the US. The 2nd generation Dogma is the one we’ve come to fall insanely in love with — it has the slimmer, thicker-walled seattube that requires a 31.0mm seatpost. The Dogma FP is built with Pinarello’s new M.O.st bottom bracket. It has a 56mm shell into which oversized cartridge bearings are pressed. You choose either an ISIS or a Campy BB spindle. The frame also comes with a 2-piece aluminum insert which allows the use of a standard english bottom bracket. Pinarello assures us that the oversized shell has been shown to give the frame enhanced resistance to lateral flex. Furthermore, the bearings are of super-premium quality, allowing for lower drag and increased durability. Lastly, the BB area has more surface area for the critical welds at the BB shell. This was the frame used by the Fassa Bortolo team in the 2004 Tour de France. Judging by their multiple stage wins, it appears that there’s something to FP technology indeed.

We remember when Cannondale came out with their CAAD6 frames with the integrated Hollowgram crankset and BB several years ago. There was no doubt that the design resulted in a noticeably stiffer frame than its predecessor. The fatal flaw behind Cannondale’s design, though, was the fact that you were nailed down to the use of their proprietary crankset. Thankfully Pinarello isn’t doing the same with the Dogma FP: You’ll have the ability to use any crankset made, and no matter which you choose you’ll benefit from increased frame stiffness.

Two other notes about the Dogma FP: The design of the BB shell will require unique frame geometry. We don’t have exact specs yet, but our hope is that modification is only a slight one, as we have long been in love with Pinarello handling. Also, the lower section of the headtube on the Dogma FP will have an oversized 1-1/4′ inner diameter to increase front end rigidity.

The Dogma, Prince SL, and Prince will all stay the same for 2005 except for some changes to graphics and paint. A sharp-looking new frame for 2005 is the resurrection of the Paris. Like the Paris that Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich rode to their victories in the Tour de France, the new Paris is made from 7003 T6 aluminum. Absolutely unlike the Paris of the mid-to-late-90′s, though, the new version makes extensive use of hydroformed tubing — the technology first seen on the 2004 DeRosa Merak. Hydroforming gives Pinarello greater latitude in forming tube shapes and thicknesses, which ultimately gives them greater latitude to ‘dial in’ the ride quality of the frame. The Paris will use the same M.O.st geometry as the Dogma F.P. (but it will not have the M.O.st bottom bracket system). It will also benefit from the use of the Onda fork and seatstay as previously seen on the Dogma and Prince SL.

The Opera gets the Onda seatstay of the Dogma and Prince SL. Its fork goes unchanged from 2004.

Eddy Merckx:
Eddy’s 25th Anniversary frame, named the AXM is outrageously gorgeous. It’s made from monocoque carbon with unbelieveably shaped and swooping tubes. While there’s something admirable about the nakedly utilitarian look of its precursor, the Carbon MXM, the AXM has gorgeous style — style that frankly has never been present in a Merckx frame. I don’t think many would argue that Eddy makes the Bradley Fighting Vehicles of the peloton — their appeal is in their muscularity. The AXM is a complete change from this.

We’re told that the AXM will be limited to a production run of 100, and that each frame will come with a rather impressive goody bag of tchotchkes. It will be made in non-sloping geometry only, in sizes 48, 51, 54, 57 and 60.

The Carbon MXM and Team SC get some slight graphics changes but are otherwise unchanged from 2004.

The MX Leader will be back again in 2005. In the place of this year’s Molteni orange will be the red, white, and blue scheme of Team Motorola. Our vote was for 7-Eleven, as it seems like the Motorola sponsorship just ended only weeks ago! Perhaps we’re a bit jaded, too, because we’ve got an old Motorola bike floating around here — Dag Otto Lauritzen’s name is stickered to it, with number peg and all. One important note about the Motorola frameset: Only 100 will be made. After these, the MX Leader will be done for good. Eddy’s MXL tubing and lug supply is running out, and he only has enough for these 100.

Eddy is introducing three new framesets in 2005:

The 3XM is a full carbon frame. Its front triangle is monocoque, with a bonded-on rear triangle. It’ll come in several hundred dollars cheaper than the Carbon MXM.

The Premium is a gorgeous machine. It’ll be Eddy’s highest end aluminum frame. Think of it as a Super-Team SC. Like the Team SC it’s made from Easton Scandium, but it’s a new variant of the tubeset known as ‘Flare Scandium’. It looks quite similar to the hydroformed tubing of DeRosa and Pinarello in its curvaceousness. Easton’s new Scandium technology allows Eddy to really concentrate material where it’s required to give the Premium maximum stiffness, while permitting him to use thin walls and skinny diameters where allowable to make it lighter than the Team SC.

The third new frame from Merckx is the Racing. It’s basically the same front triangle as the long-admired Race frame, but without the carbon seatstay. The use of an aluminum seatstay makes the price substantially lower.

Opera Bike:
While the Leonardo and Giorgione stay in the line for 2005, each has a modified version also available. The Leonardo FP features all of the M.O.st bottom bracket technology of the Dogma FP. Also, it will use the same Onda fork and seatstay as the Dogma. When used on the Opera Bike, though, it’s known as the Opus (not Onda) fork and seatstay. And the Giorgione Hydroform is the less-than-poetic name of a Giorgione that utilizes — surprise! — hydroformed tubing in the vein of what’s seen on the new Pinarello Paris.

As of this writing the embargo on public commentary about the Colnago line for 2005 is coming to a close. Visit our site again soon for a detailed overview of 2005 Colnago, 2005 Litespeed, plus details about other big developments for Competitive Cyclist in 2005.