Tour Tech 2014: Chris Froome's Team Sky Pinarello Dogma F8

We poke around Chris Froome's new Team Sky Pinarello F8 - a bike to win the Tour de France on?

by David Arthur   July 8, 2014  

Could this Pinarello Dogma F8 be the bike that crosses the line first in Paris? Well it probably won’t be this one if Chris Froome does win, it’ll be a yellow version. This bike though is one of three identical machines that may earn him that yellow bike - rivals, form, and crashes permitting. This is his number two bike - he was out riding his number one bike at the time we swung by the Sky team hotel last week.

So why's the new F8 better than the old 65.1 Think - apart from having a less daft name? Well according to Pinarello it's their lightest bike ever and their first aero road bike (something widely predicted - including by us. The key stats are it's:
• 12% stiffer
• 16% more balanced
• 47% less aerodynamic impact
• 120g lighter for frame and fork (size 54)

than the model it replaces. For a full run down you can read our first look article  on the new bike from earlier in the year. that the Italian company claims is their lightest ever offering. It’s also their first aero road bike, fulfilling our prediction earlier this year that Pinarello would launch an aero road bike.

So let's have a look at the set up in more detail. The first thing to catch our eye was an example of mechanical creativity from the team mechanics. Here they’ve stripped out the internals of an optional Di2 R600 Climbing Shifter and stuck, using double-sided tape, to the handlebars, obviously in an effort to save a few grams. Very much in keeping with Team Sky's marginal gains and all that philosophy… These days mechanics rarely get the chance to get creative, not like they did back in the day drilling holes, sticking bits of velcro everwhere (velcro was only two years ago - ed).

Like the rest of Team Sky, Froome's bike is equipped with the latest Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 11-speed groupset. Froome however uses non-round chainrings, they look like Osymetric chainrings, which must slightly annoy Shimano because it’s not quite on message. Osymetric chainrings do seem to be favoured by a number of Team Sky riders, at previous Tours we've spotted them on the bikes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Richie Porte - Bobby Julich was the first pro rider to use them in 2004 he later went on to briefly become race coach at Team Sky which may help explain their popularity with some of their riders. 

Froome uses a 52/38 pairing. The idea is that the 52 gives you the equivalent of a 56 at the top of the stroke when you're putting the power in, and a 48 at the bottom making it easier to spin back up to the high point. The accepted formula for working out the gear ratio is to subtract four from the chainring size - which makes Froome's set up equivalent to a 48/34 - so he's a spinner then, but of course it's not qutie that simple. 

Those chainrings are matched up to 175mm Dura Ace crank arms, he’s 1.86m (6’ 1”) - so pretty standard for a rider of his height.

At the back end of the drivetrain is an 11-28 cassette with a standard Dura-Ace rear mech, as it has the capacity for up to 28t cassettes. The slightly surprising thing here is that at first sight such a wide gear range is rather more standard than you might expect to find on a top end race bike. 

The Team Sky mechanic told us the whole team have been riding 11-28 cassettes for most of the season, since they got the F8s - they rode them right the way through the Dauphine and they'll be riding them for the entire Tour. In the past riders would have ridden 11-23 or 11-25 cassettes and swapped to a wider range cassette only for the mountain stages, but Team Sky have moved away from this approach - the riders are comfortable with the combination of the bike and gearing combination in all situations so they're sticking with it. Thinking it through of course this is a real benefit of running an 11-spd groupset. It certainly makes life easier for the mechanics.

Team Sky are sponsored by Stages so it would have been a real surpise if Froome's bike came fitted with anything other than the Stages power meter - fitted to the non-driveside crank arm, as do all the other team bikes. Sitting in the K-Edge handlebar mount is a Garmin Edge 510 with a unique yellow finish and Union Jack flag decoration. Nice.

Saddle of choice for Chris Froome is the latest versin of the Fizik Antares - which makes him a chameleon - in Fizik's zoomorphic fitting guide. So he's not as flexible as a snake - Bradley Wiggins, but he's more flexible than a bull - Philippe Gilbert. Peter Sagan and David Millar are Arione riders too. (Worth noting that roadcc ed, Tony is about as flexible as a piece of 2 inch ply and he's been riding a snakey Arione for years.) As you'd expct Froome has the top model Arione with carbon braided rails. He has it mounted quite far back on the rails to get his desired position.

The aluminum PRO stem is 124mm finished with the trademark Team Sky blue stripe. There's a matching blue stripe on the aluminium PRO Vibe handlebar, with a compact shape, as well. He has one spacer between the stem and headset top cap, and one above the stem. You might expect that he'd go for an all carbon set up or alu stem and carbon bars. Sprinters (and any other rider looking for a super-stiff get the power down setup) often go for a  carbon stem and alu bar combo - that was Mark Cavendish's desidred set up - in fact he designed a bar stem combo with Shimano when he was riding for HTC Highroad.

In Froome's case we're guessing he wants something durable and reasonably stiff, with a comfortable bend and that the Vibe fits the bill. For added comfort there was a good thick etra layer of tape on the drops for those long hours he likes to spend looking at his stem. 

All of the team are riding the 50mm deep section Shimano C50 carbon fibre wheels with Veloflex Carbon 23.5mm tyres glued to them. A pair of Elite Custom Race plastic cages complete his build.

Now, we didn't have our scales to hand, but the team mechanic did tell us that with the C50 wheels fitted here the bike is right on the 6.8kg UCI weight limit. With a pair of the lighter C24 wheels in place he reckons the bike is under the weight limit. We're presuming then that the team aren't resorting to lead weights in the bottom bracket like some teams are.

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

''he’s 1.86m (6’ 11”) - so pretty standard for a rider of his height''

Six foot eleven! Jeezuz Big Grin

Bike is horrid in my eye's, I will take the Veloflex tubs, you can keep the rest, it would be too big for me anyway, I'm nowhere near 6' 11''...

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [555 posts]
8th July 2014 - 16:23

47 Likes

Well I like it Cool

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
8th July 2014 - 20:21

34 Likes

He's 6ft 1! Not 6'11.
He'd have some problems if he was 6'11 and 69kg. Being 6'1 and 69kg is depressing enough.
It's not as ugly as some of these aero bikes.
Let's see if he can stay on the thing tomorrow on the cobbles!

DanTe's picture

posted by DanTe [54 posts]
8th July 2014 - 21:05

33 Likes

Good article! And good to see what tyres they use - I'm a Conti Competition man myself (22mm)! And good to see such things as Stem length, as in my bike fit I was advised to go to 120mm - from my standard 100! (Just a shame that it's an imported Extralite... Yet more expense! At Wits End )

Glad Froomey rides a fi'zi:k Antares, as I have a brand new unused one for sale - that came with my bike. Being endorsed by Chris & Sky should mean I get more on eBay!!!

Now that I look at the bike properly... I agree, it's pretty ugly! Guess I'll stick with my Evo Black! Wink

posted by darth [8 posts]
9th July 2014 - 1:27

32 Likes

lol. The frame is "47% less aerodynamic impact".

lol.

In terms of design and engineering, the only significant aero difference on that frame is a bit of flaring on the head tube and a tiny bit of a difference on the seat tube (which is largely blocked by not-very aero bottle cages and water bottles).

The fact is that the frame itself is not a hugely significant player in aerodynamics of a forward traveling bicycle. The worst part about it is the downtube (which lies in the turbulent trail off the front wheel, so not very significant) and the seat stays (which increase the area of turbulence around the rear wheel).

The best ways of dealing with that would be to bring the down tube into a curved shape to match the front wheel's trailing turbulence and to *completely* redesign the seat *and* chain stays (probably to something that looks more like a DH single pivot rear end or maybe with a bit of a shield to encourage more air to move *around* the highly turbulent area of the rear wheel - probably prohibited by the UCI).

Outside of that, you could probably switch the frame to a fat-tubed All Mountain MTB frame and not see a 47% difference in aerodynamic impact from the frame.

Talk about your Marketing BS.

posted by eschelar [38 posts]
9th July 2014 - 2:43

43 Likes

" These days sadly mechanics often get the chance to get creative like, not like they did back in the day drilling holes, sticking bits of velcro everwhere (velcro was only two years ago - ed) sigh."
Having trouble believing an editor did actually read that sentence..... Nerd

posted by macrophotofly [35 posts]
9th July 2014 - 4:23

26 Likes

One side of my brain is trying to explain "osymetric chainrings" to the other side, and all it's getting back is a single bemused raised eyebrow!

I'm sure in the near future someone will work out a way to climb more efficiently by making the wheels egg shaped. Laughing

posted by bikebot [554 posts]
9th July 2014 - 9:14

20 Likes

Macrophotofly,

Where does it say that; i.e. the exact syntax you've put? The words I'm reading, and see little wrong with, (which I'll copy & paste here) are:

These days mechanics rarely get the chance to get creative, not like they did back in the day drilling holes, sticking bits of velcro everwhere...

Did you type it from memory - getting it slightly wrong - or has it been corrected overnight?

posted by darth [8 posts]
9th July 2014 - 10:17

16 Likes

darth wrote:
Macrophotofly,

Where does it say th(t; i.e. the exact syntax you've put? The words I'm reading, and see little wrong with, (which I'll copy & paste here) are:

These days mechanics rarely get the chance to get creative, not like they did back in the day drilling holes, sticking bits of velcro everwhere...

Did you type it from memory - getting it slightly wrong - or has it been corrected overnight?

I would imagine, like is happening more and more, when an error is pointed out there is a correction made without any acknowledgement / thanks.

posted by Super Domestique [1600 posts]
9th July 2014 - 11:25

14 Likes

Looks like my Dad knocked up the Osy - wotsit chainring up in his shed. Big Grin

My Avanti Corsa is much prettier, probably more aero and cost less than the stickers on this thing. If I slap a Ford sticker on mine, would it go faster or slower? Thinking

Richie Bikelane

Richie Bikelane's picture

posted by Richie Bikelane [8 posts]
9th July 2014 - 15:07

9 Likes

That big ring is certainly out of shape...
Had exactly the same thought, looks like but not quite my Avanti Corsa DR3
Maybe a trip to Halfords for some Triumph or Austin Healey decals ?

posted by Frogstar [2 posts]
10th July 2014 - 23:04

4 Likes

bikebot wrote:
One side of my brain is trying to explain "osymetric chainrings" to the other side, and all it's getting back is a single bemused raised eyebrow!

Haha, brilliant. Can you manage a half-confused face as well?

No, not half confused. Fully confused, but only on one half. Fully-half-confused.

Am I confused? Not half!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3198 posts]
11th July 2014 - 10:05

4 Likes