Sky's still the limit.
You're a venerable Italian frame builder. Your flagship race machine (the Dogma F8) has been ridden to the top of the world's most prestigious podium. Twice. The bike it replaced (the Dogma 65.1) was earlier ridden to the same podium step. Also twice. What's your response? If you're Pinarello, it's to revisit those designs, replace them with the Dogma F10 Road Frameset, and further push the limit on a bike that has already defined the limit of what a racing bike can do. Since rolling it out in 2017, the Dogma F10 has already added two more grand tours to Pinarello's palmares. Given Team Sky's embarrassment of riches, talent-wise, we suspect that it'll add a few more before it's retired.
In light of the success that it's already enjoyed, we're not surprised to see the F10 return for an encore with little change. The only significant difference is purely aesthetic, with Pinarello dabbling in some graphical flair to set the model years apart. As with its predecessor, the latest Dogma F10's geometry and material composition are similar to the F8, but the F10 features a few subtle tweaks that result in some claims that, given the impressive gains the F8 made over the Dogma 65.1, are almost comically impressive: 7% more stiffness and 6.3% less weight. We can only assume that, in the next few years, those numbers will add up to another trip (or two) to the top step of that podium.
Since this is the new flagship model of one of the industry's most storied bike brands and one of the sport's most dominant teams, the Dogma F10 warrants healthy consideration. We'll cover the details at length below, but any bike is ultimately defined by its ride, so it makes sense to start there. Featherweight frames are often, well, feathery, but the F10 meets pedal strokes with buoyant solidity. When spinning up out of corners, punching it on Ardennes-esque walls, or turning the screws ever tighter on climbs, the F10's bottom bracket exhibits the stability—but definitely not the weight—of a cinderblock, transforming frantic, stop-and-start pedal inputs into weightless, floating propulsion.
Even while accelerating to sprint speeds or red-lining a double-digit gradient, the frame's efficiency eliminates dead spots between pedal strokes. At times, the F10's tapered head tube and oversized tubing make it feel like a sentient animal that's driving itself forward, an eager urgency that means it also responds best to a firm hand and a vigilante captain at its helm, especially while forcing the issue on a high-speed descent. And while our abilities only let us test a bike's mettle so far, the F10's carry-over geometry—almost an exact replica of the F8—means that we've essentially already seen it smash the most talented fields to pieces on cycling's biggest stages .
During its tenure, the Dogma F8 piloted Sky's talented cast of riders to 90 wins and many more podium appearances. Froome's two consecutive Tour wins are the low-hanging fruit here, but it's impossible to understand the breadth of the F8's abilities without recalling Stannard's surgical dismantling of Etixx-QuickStep at 2015's Omloop. That's a race for the hardmen, not the pencil neck climbers, and the F8 proved equal to the race's cobblestones, the finishing sprint, and the dangerous twitchiness that typically defines one-day classics. It's safe to say that most grand tour climbing bikes would wilt under those conditions; the F8 just shines brighter. The F8 also won a quiver-full of BOTY awards, which is nice, but we're admittedly much more impressed by its ability to deliver in conditions ranging from Stannard's gutsy win to Froome's high-mountain escapades.
Those are big shoes to fill, and we'd normally be wary of tweaking such an effective formula. But we're reassured by the fact that Pinarello is still using the Froomes and Kwiatkowskis of Sky as its field testers . In fact, Froome himself was the frame's first in-depth tester. His immediate, unfiltered feedback was typical of the Briton's amicable reticence: "great work, guys!" He went on to provide the kind of detailed notes you'd expect from a rider of his caliber, but—frankly—the frame's eagerness while snapping up to speed or diving into corners leaves no room for initial considerations other than how much damned fun it is to ride.
Through rider feedback like that, the partnership with Sky informed the F10's extensive list of updates. The partnership has been extended to 2020, which means there are likely already new projects in the works (in fact, Pinarello assures us that's the case); however, given the enormity of the above claims and this latest Dogma's indescribably animated ride quality, we're looking forward to spending the next several years wallowing in the F10's details.
Though the frame angles remain unchanged between model generations , the classic Dogma asymmetry returns on the F10 with a few subtle alterations that produce disproportionate changes. It's been a staple in the Pinarello stable since 2009, and it's a surprisingly simple solution to one of cycling's most essential conundrums. Since the drivetrain is located on one side of the bike, the load created by pedaling isn't uniform across the frameset's left and right hemispheres. The drive side sees the majority of power transfer duties. By building it up, Pinarello is able to maintain drive stiffness while cutting material on the non-drive side. This ensures that the lost grams don't translate to lost watts.
Compared to the F8 , the F10's asymmetry is technically more pronounced on the top tube, which cheats a bit more to the right, and the seat junction, which sees a slight tweak. Pinarello's tests indicate that these minor adjustments make the frame stiffer and lighter. If they're not solely responsible for the 7% and 6.3% improvements listed above, they're certainly key contributors. Despite those remarkable claims, the changes are hard to detect with the naked eye (hence "technically" above), and the frame's asymmetry is much more apparent in places like the seat stay/seat tube junction.
The asymmetry is a function-first design feature, but it's also partially responsible for the fact that, in addition to its BOTY accolades, the F10's predecessor netted a few design awards. We've referred to the F8 as "damn sharp," noting that "we like the way it rides, but we love the way it looks. Given that Pinarello itself identifies performance and aesthetics as coleaders of its primary bike-building criteria, we're not surprised that the F10's lines are even more striking. The F10 borrows many of the design elements that Pinarello used to update the Bolide TT frameset.
Pinarello claims that those sculpted, Bolide-inspired tubes reduce drag, but they also give the F10 one of the most immediately recognizable silhouettes in the industry. Most bikes rely on branding painted onto the frame in order to identify themselves. This is especially true of the minimalist climbing breed, whose necessarily reduced tubes and compact triangles tend to produce generic frames. By insisting on maintaining aerodynamics and eliminating extra grams, Pinarello bucks that trend through some act of alchemy that lets the F10 keep the F8's distinction as one of the peloton's lightest and most aesthetically distinguished models.
Those lines aren't just avant garde artistry, though—the Dogma F10's Bolide TT DNA surfaces both in the sinuous lines and in myriad, cumulative gains in aerodynamics. These gains start where drag starts: at the front dropout. While designing the Bolide TT, Pinarello's wind tunnel tests indicated that the introduction of a quick-release lever causes a disproportionate gain in drag. This is addressed through the addition of a "fork flap," which is an ungraceful term for the extra fin of material Pinarello tucks under where the quick-release lever rests when closed.
Pinarello's numbers indicate that the fork flap reduces drag on the leading edge (the front drop out) by an astounding 10% compared to the original Bolide fork. Given that this 10% gain is an increase on the aero-minded Bolide platform, adding Pinarello reasons that adding it to the Dogma makes an even greater drag reduction. That's not to say that the original fork design is slow—after all, Wiggins put up a commanding hour record while riding the flap-free Onda fork—but it is indicative of Pinarello's R&D ethos. It's an obsessively minute detail to focus on, but the Italian brand's reputation is built on obsessing over minute details in order to exploit every possible marginal gain.
With the obvious exception of the cyclist themselves, nothing ruins the aerodynamic profile of a frameset more quickly than the addition of a pair of bottles, so these represent an obvious pair of low-hanging fruit in the drag-reduction game. In the absence of a very accommodating friend or significant other, bottle drag is a sacrifice virtually all of us have to make because we lack the luxury of a support car. Pinarello considers even the presence of water bottles, though, so those solo mission training sessions and 100-mile, unsupported rides no longer mean choosing between added drag or dehydration.
The down tube was designed to not only reduce drag on its own, but to serve as a shield for the trailing bottles and seat tube, reducing the net drag of the frame's entire main triangle by 12.6% when compared with the already impressive gains made by the F8. Securing these gains involved a complete reimagining of the down tube, but the key contributor is a newly introduced concavity in the back of the down tube under below the bottle cage bosses. By scooping this section out, Pinarello found that the frame better controls airflow, reducing the turbulent wake that results in drag. Like the F8, the F10 also boosts bidon aerodynamics by lowering the rear cage, which the brand credits with part of the F8's overall 47% reduction in drag when compared with the Dogma 65.1.
These reductions come in addition to the aerodynamic gains already enjoyed by the Dogma F8 , which is itself more aerodynamic than the 65.1 that Wiggins and Froome both rode to Tour victories. The key to these gains lies in the tubes' FlatBack profile. As we've laboriously detailed elsewhere, the FlatBack shape is the brainchild of another Italian/British collaboration: Pinarello and Jaguar. Using 70 frame configurations and 300 CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis cycles as its marriage bed, the partnership combined the DNA of the Dogma 65.1 with the design expertise of one of Britain's leading automotive design firms to conceive the FlatBack shape. FlatBack is an apt description, as a cross-section reveals an ovalized face paired with an abruptly truncated back half. This shape manages the detachment of turbulent lamina at multiple yaw angles, reducing the drag effect of dead air in the tubes' wake.
As recently as a decade ago, we wouldn't have been able to conceive of referring to NACA tube shapes as "traditional." But times have changed, and the FlatBack profile represents a marked departure from the traditional NACA shapes of the '90s and '00s. The abbreviated trailing edge avoids the instability and drag that true NACA shapes produce in yaw angles in the high teens and twenties, so a race on a windy day doesn't devolve into a four hour wrestling match with your bike . Less correction makes for less fatigue, so the improved handling can actually contribute to your chances of savoring the final km of a successful solo move or netting the top step from a reduced bunch sprint.
When we introduced the F8 for the 2014 season, we lavished praise on the frame's material composition because it essentially defines the current zenith of carbon fiber technology in the cycling industry. Given that, it's no surprise that Pinarello sticks with the same materials for the F10. The carbon itself is provided by another proven industry partner, the venerable carbon geniuses at Toray, whose Japanese factory produces arguably the most consistent, highest quality, and most reliable carbon composite in the world. By taking advantage of Toray's composite expertise, Pinarello is able to use a minimal amount of material throughout the whole bike without compromising drive stiffness or the frameset's structural integrity.
Compared to a Dogma 65.1—which was built with (and named for) Toray's 65HM1K—the F10's inclusion of T1100K carbon drops frame weight by around 75g while retaining the same structural characteristics. The asymmetric frame shaping helps ensure that this weight loss doesn't effect a corresponding loss in stiffness, so the Dogma F10 remains as reactive as the heavier 65.1 and F8 models. Since it's both the regular target of abuse in marketing copy and the first question we typically ask about a race bike, it's worth lingering on the concept of frame stiffness .
Stiffness, as we typically use it, is a measurement of tensile modulus, which determines the efficiency with which a given medium can transmit force—in this case, watts from the drive spine to the cassette. Of course, with the application of enough force, "stiff" becomes "brittle," which is where tensile strength comes into play. Tensile strength is the measurement of a material's ability to deform—rather than simply snap—under pressure. Pinarello phrases it in layman's terms by comparing a matchstick with a rubber band. A matchstick has high tensile modulus and low tensile strength, so it's (relatively) stiff but quite brittle under pressure. A rubber band, conversely, has low tensile modulus but high tensile strength. It's not stiff, but its ability to deform lets it absorb more load without breaking.
In cycling terms, the tensile strength/tensile modulus dialectic translates into balancing stiffness with survivability and weight, and—frankly—producing an unyieldingly stiff drive spine on a bicycle is actually pretty easy considering that the main forces acting on it are produced by sinew and bone, materials whose scope of force is limited compared to the industrial media of hydraulic pistons and steel. The trick is to make a stiff frame with minimal material to keep weight down. Though it runs contrary to everything we've been taught to believe about frame construction, this makes a frame's tensile strength the real tricky criterion. For the F10, Pinarello starts with a base material with a high tensile modulus, so the bike is every bit as stiff as the resolve Kwiatkowski demonstrated with a surprising turn as super domestique in the high mountains of 2017's Tour.
As described above, stiff also means brittle, so the base material is reinforced at key joints with Toray's T1100G composite material which—according to the Pinarello—"has the highest tensile strength in the world." This quality is further stressed through the incorporation of Toray's NanoAlloy technology, which infuses the composite matrix with nano-metric (that's one-billionth of a meter) polymers. The NanoAlloy polymers are introduced to the composite matrix as part of the resin, so they effectively occupy the spaces between the carbon fiber, where they introduce an element of plastic deformation to the material. Collectively, they act as a network of shock absorbers in order to dissipate the force from violent, high-speed impacts. If you read "violent, high-speed impacts" as "crashes," then you're on the right track.
Suffice it to say that the Dogma F10 builds on its predecessor's reputation as one of the stiffest and lightest all-purpose race bikes we've ever ridden, and it owes its superlative quality to a combination of a super-stiff base carbon, T1100G reinforcement, and NanoFlex impact-diffusion technology. Lower weight and higher stiffness often mean an unfortunate amount of road noise and bumps travel straight up the seat stays and into the saddle. In addition to the NanoFlex technology discussed above, the F10, like the F8 before it, addresses this tendency by rerouting the seatstays to connect below the seat junction, which feeds impacts forward into the frame's main triangle rather than vertically into the cyclist.
The stays themselves maintain the traditional Pinarello wave—albeit with a bit more subtlety than the curvaceous stays we first remember seeing on Pinarello's late-00s Opera bikes beneath the riders of Illes Balears. That slight curve adds engineered flex, but only to loads applied vertically. That keeps the rear triangle stiff without also transmitting every imperfection in the road straight to the seatpost. This is especially welcome on the F10 because the FlatBack tube shape philosophy extends to the seatpost, so it doesn't enjoy the built-in damping of a traditional, round, 27.2mm post. It'll never be as plush as a steel bike with spider-leg stays and a thin, round post, but the F10 isn't built for comfort; it's built for efficiency—less an easy chair and more a rocket.
The frame is so focused on efficiency that it maintains it across frame sizes. This represents another departure from other manufacturers, who typically focus development on smaller frame sizes because that makes it easier to produce impressive stiffness-to-weight ratios. Frames 55cm and below are stiff and light, while frames for the six-foot crowd get soft and noodly. To overcome the curse of the long tubes, the F10's size chart itself entails elements of asymmetry. As the frame size increases, the joints, tubes, and key structural areas are strategically shaped and reinforced in order to account for the additional leverage of longer dimensions and bigger cyclists. That means more weight in larger frames, but—in terms of Sky—it also means that cyclists from the 5'7" Henao brothers to Knees, a towering Teuton at 6'4", enjoy the same stiff responsiveness and on-point handling. Bigger frames no longer punish tall riders with undue floppiness.
Pinarello's meticulous design ethos bears out in a body of finishing details , which combine a blend of traditional and contemporary features. Tech-junkies will be all over the E-Link feature, which houses Shimano's EW-RS910 E-Tube junction at the forward end of the down tube concavity. (It's the little rectangle insert above the front bottle.) This eliminates the highly questionable suggestion that you drill a hole in your handlebar in order to route wires to an E-Tube junction in your bar end, and it pairs with internal battery mounting to make the F10 an electro-friendly bike without compromising its striking frame lines. The traditionalists will appreciate that the F10 does still accommodate mechanical drivetrains, and the internal cable routing preserves the frame's stylish lines.
Regardless of your position on analog vs. digital drivetrains, the F10's series of Think2 adapters lets you route either one easily without resorting to electrical tape to silence vibrating housing. We anticipate universal accord over Pinarello's bottom bracket choice, too, with the Italian brand opting for an Italian threaded bottom bracket shell in favor of the creak and imperfect tolerances of the ubiquitous PressFit standard. Carbon manipulation has improved exponentially in the past several years, but it still can't match the precision and reliability of CNC-machining. Though we're pleased with the threaded bottom bracket shell, Pinarello actually attributes its inclusion to requests from Sky's own mechanics and support personnel—albeit for the reasons we list above.
Despite the bottom bracket's nod to traditional standards, the F10 is finished with a few final additions that are decidedly contemporary. These start at the front end, where the narrow head tube and slightly bowed fork legs make the FlatBack tubing's job easier my minimizing drag at the frame's leading edge and across the front wheel. The fork seamlessly integrates into the head tube, and the combined effort to reduce drag is reinforced at the bike's opposite end, where the integrated Twin Force seatpost clamp and a brake-sheltering wishbone seatstay keep two prime drag culprits out of the wind. Finally, the frame provides clearance for 25mm tires, which have effectively replaced 23s as the new racing standard due to the increased cornering traction and decreased rolling resistance inherent in tires with greater air volume.
- A racing bike that claimed two grand tours in its first year
- Stiffer and lighter than the Tour-winning Dogma F8
- All-purpose race geometry proven in sprints and high mountains
- Asymmetric design sheds grams without compromising efficiency
- Feature's Toray's top Japanese-made carbon composite
- Aerodynamic tubes originally developed in partnership with Jaguar
- Internal routing for mechanical and electronic drivetrains
- E-Link port houses Shimano's EW-RS910 E-Tube junction in down tube