Andy from Competitive Cyclist reviews the exceptional Pinarello Dogma F8. Its unrivaled Grand Tour pedigree has made the Dogma an object of desire amongst discerning cyclists, and the latest version amazingly manages to improve on what we had previously assumed was perfection.
My love affair with Pinarello began the day I rolled a Cosmic Blue and Black Prince off the showroom floor here at Competitive Cyclist in 2002. It was the same bike Ullrich rode when he won the tour a few years earlier, and it was everything you’d want in an Italian race bike: fast, stable, sure-footed, and predictable.
Not long after that, Pinarello sent us something unfathomable for the time: a ten-thousand-dollar road bike. It was called the Dogma Ego: It had Campy Record and Charisma carbon wheels, it was made from magnesium, and it was painted with a mirror-like chrome finish. I walked by it every morning, and I wanted it more every day. And every year after that, I put our customers on newer and more mouthwatering iterations of their flagship bike. First the Dogma FP, and then the breathtaking FPX and finally in 2010 they made the switch from magnesium to carbon with the Dogma 60.1 then the Dogma 2.
But, the Dogma still eluded my grasp. Until a few years ago when I started doing these reviews for the US importer, and they surprised me by sending a brand new Dogma 65.1 Think 2 with Chorus and Shamals as my ‘demo bike.’ I’ve had that bike for the past two years, and I promise you: until a few weeks ago I would have told you there’s no better all-around bike on the planet. And, then the F8 showed up on my doorstep.
The previous version of the Dogma—the one I’d been riding—was one of the most decorated bikes in pro racing: grand tours, world championships, and over 100 individual stages and races. It climbed like a goat, sprinted like a dragster, and handled like an Italian supercar. So, how do you make THAT bike better? Well, for one you make it lighter. Then you make it hold the road better, and you follow those updates by making it more aerodynamic. And, if you’re Pinarello you don’t accomplish these goals by throwing darts at a board – you pull in athletes from Team Sky (the guys who won all those races), and you call the engineering team behind another supercar—the F Type Jaguar. And, then you align all these forces to push your carbon manufacturer to supply you with something truly unique in the cycling world: carbon fiber that’s more reactive and rigid than anything you’ve used before.
And, on the other end of this collaboration the 8th generation Dogma was unleashed. And, it’s a beast. Here’s the tale of the tape: without altering the geometry they netted a 47% improvement in aerodynamics, a 16% more balanced feel, a 12% increase in rigidity, and a 120 gram weight loss. The frame still employs asymmetric construction, but the tubes have been completely reshaped and there’s an increase in the actual asymmetry of the material as well.
But, what does that mean on the road and how does it stack up against the previous Dogma (or, for that matter, other dream bikes)? Here’s the answer: they made the best bike I’ve ever ridden BETTER in just about every way.
The F8 I’m riding has SRAM eTap, and I alternate between a set of 404 NSW’s and Campy Shamals, depending on the terrain. Either setup points into the red on the superbike spectrum, and while the bike feels slightly different with each wheelset, the overall takeaways are the same: almost every climb is a new PR, and when I’m on the rivet in the flats the bike begs for more than I can give it. Every ride on the F8 resulted in at least one jaw dropping moment – whether it was sprinting for a town sign or pushing myself past sensible limits in a corner. I can honestly tell you that I literally said “Holy cow!” three or four times on every ride.
The F8 will out corner and out-descend any bike in your quiver, you’ll probably find yourself minutes ahead of your buddies at the bottom of the local bergs, and you can even negotiate reasonable stretches of gravel with ease. Granted, it’s not the ideal gravel bike because the biggest tire you can fit is a 25, but for the occasional short burst of well-groomed singletrack and fire road the F8 will surprise you with it’s compliance and agility.
The Dogma F8 absolutely lives up to dream bike status. It’s nearly perfect in every way, and I’m seriously considering selling a kidney or two to buy one for myself.