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Dogma - 2011

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Dogma - 2011

The human body is symmetrical. But there's an inherent asymmetry to how your bicycle catalyzes the power you put into the pedals. It's easy to visualize, for example, how in a high-wattage effort your right chainstay is torqued more acutely than the left. The cause is obvious: Your crankset, chain, and cassette attach to the right side of your bike. It's more than just a chainstay issue, though. Power is absorbed unevenly across your bike as a whole. The Pinarello Dogma Carbon is the first dedicated effort by a manufacturer to design a frame that creates an equilibrium by conceiving and constructing each side of a frame individually. Thanks to its asymmetrical design, the Dogma Carbon is Pinarello's lightest bike (40g lighter than the Prince Carbon at 950g);Pinarello Dogma Carbon Detail it provides maximum drivetrain efficiency with no degradation of ride quality; and between the sculpted tubes and sparkling "Diamond" paint treatment it's the loveliest Pinarello we've ever beheld.

During the design process of the Dogma Carbon, Pinarello calculated the variance in frame distortion (left side of the frame vs. right side, at multiple points in the frame) first by using finite element analysis, and then they confirmed their calculations in laboratory testing. In comparing one side to the other, they found simultaneous variances of up to 3mm in deflection. The real-world implication is straightforward: When building a frame in the traditional fashion, i.e. with two symmetrical halves, it's easy to over-build the non-drivetrain side of a frame, adding unnecessary harshness to the ride quality, as well as excess weight. Likewise, it's easy to under-build the drivetrain side, allowing for power-robbing frame flex in an attempt to de-stiffen the ride quality.

Couldn't Pinarello just add more layers of carbon or tweak the fiber orientation in order to beef up the stiffness on the drivetrain-side of the Dogma? That would've been inadequate. Stiffness is more a function of tubing shape than wall thickness (hence the evolution of frames with mammoth tube diameters) -- which brings us to the heart & soul of the Dogma concept: Pinarello made the effort to fully map out the asymmetrical forces exerted on each side of a frame. Armed with this information they then build an asymmetrical frame, each half of which is uniquely optimized for these different sets of forces. For the first time ever, the left and right halves of a frame aren't a mirror image of each other.

The asymmetrical design of the Dogma Carbon is subtle -- you won't notice it from across the room. But when you're within touching distance you'll see how the right half of the top tube is rounded, while the left half is more squared-off. You'll see how the right leg of the Onda FPX1 fork is bigger and more curvaceous throughout its circumference in comparison to the left leg. The left chainstay is more muscular as it approaches the bottom bracket shell, and the right chainstay is less substantial there but gains significant size and strength as it extends towards the dropout. Lastly, the right seatstay has added bulk up towards the brake bridge.

Beyond its asymmetrical design, there are two other advancements of note with the Dogma Carbon. First is the new grade of carbon Pinarello uses. The carbon fiber itself is still made by Torayca -- the Japanese composites behemoth with whom Pinarello has had a long collaboration, and whose carbon is used in the Prince Carbon and the Montello FP8. Unique to the Dogma Carbon is its 60HM1K grade of carbon -- meaning that it's built to withstand 60 tons per square cm, the strongest-ever carbon seen on a Pinarello. Stronger carbon, of course, allows for the use of less material as a whole, which results in the 40g weight savings of the Dogma Carbon in comparison to the Prince Carbon. (NB on the weight: Pinarello's catalog indicates that the Dogma weighs 950g. This weight is before paint and "mechanization", i.e. installation of BB shell, bottle bosses, etc. Once mechanized, a 53cm Dogma weighs 1210g.)

One added bonus exclusive to 60HM1K is Torayca's Nanoalloy technology. Alloy nano-particles are embedded into the carbon itself. Upon significant impact (i.e. a final turn crash at the State Crit Championship), these particles "explode" -- in other words, they absorb the kinetic energy of impact forces so the carbon itself won't have to. According to Pinarello testing, the net result is that the Dogma Carbon is 23% more impact-resistant than the Prince Carbon. Less weight hand-in-hand with added durability is a rare combination, but it's one provided by the Dogma Carbon.

The other advancement of note is the actual manufacturing process of the Dogma Carbon. By now we're all familiar with how carbon frames and such are made -- you lay up the carbon over a form (air bladders are popular, Shimano likes metal mandrels, while other options exist.) Then put this form in a mold and, in a sense, pressure cook it 'til it's done, at which point you remove the form. Pinarello is breaking new ground by using Polystyrene for the form during the lay up phase of the Dogma Carbon's construction. If Polystyrene sounds familiar, it should: It's what your helmet is made out of. According to Pinarello, the use of Polystyrene results in the most consistent wall-thicknesses possible, with less wrinkling or the other types of imperfections that could cause structural weak spots over time.

The Pinarello Dogma Carbon is available in 11 sizes in a wide array of colors. The frame comes standard with an Onda FPX1 monocoque carbon fiber fork, a Pinarello integrated headset, and a 31.6mm MOst carbon fiber seatpost. It requires an Italian bottom bracket and a braze-on front derailleur.