The Pinnacle Dolomite Singlespeed is one of a very small number of disc brake-equipped singlespeed road bikes out there on the market, and it puts in a very good performance, proving amply capable of eating up winter training miles with the minimum of things to go wrong. It has predictable handling and decent brakes, and the unexceptional wheels and finishing kit keep the bike very affordable.
The singlespeed or fixed wheel bike has historically been the choice of the road man for the hard winter miles. With one gear there's not much to go wrong and the lack of ratios teaches you to pedal smoothly and effectively over a wider range of cadences. This being a disc-braked bike you don't get the option of flipping the hub over from singlespeed to fixed, so it's supplied as a singlespeed, with an 18-tooth freewheel. You could swap the freewheel for a fixed cog if you wanted, it's just not as simple as flipping the wheel over.
The bike comes with a 46T Samox chainset and an 18T freewheel, giving a 67.5in gear on the 26mm tyres. That's a decent compromise gear that's low enough to get up some steep climbs without spinning out too quickly on the flat. If you live somewhere where hills aren't a big thing it'll probably be a bit low, but it's an easy swap.
Singlespeed bikes need a mechanism to tension the chain, and in this case the Pinnacle's 6061-T6 double butted frame has an eccentric bottom bracket: the bottom bracket shell is located off-centre in an alloy cylinder that's then tightened into the frame. By loosening the bolts and rotating the cylinder, you can move the bottom bracket closer or further away from the rear sprocket to loosen or tighten the chain.
Well executed, it's probably my favourite method of tensioning a chain. There's no need for a slot dropout of any kind and the wheel always stays in exactly the same place. In this case that's vital for the disc brakes to function properly, and realistically the only option. But it also means you don't have to worry about adjusting the position of mudguards if you change the gear ratio, and you don't have any problem removing the wheel when mudguards are fitted, which is an issue with rear-facing track dropouts.
And is it well executed? Yes, pretty well. The Pinnacle uses a split shell and two hefty bolts to keep everything in the right place. Some eccentric bottom brackets use grub screws through the shell and I find that's less effective if you're a powerful (read: heavy) rider. I haven't had the bottom bracket slip once and I've fired the Pinnacle up some hills that required every watt I had to make it to the top. There's very little flex in the frame, although it was a bit prone to creaking before I cleaned it out and tightened it up with a bit of extra gusto. Stomp on the pedals, though – you'll have to to get up the steep stuff – and there's no worrying flex. The square taper chainset and bottom bracket aren't top dollar units but I didn't have any issues with them and sealed bottom brackets tend to run and run.
The rest of the frame and fork is neatly made, with the alloy fork colour-matched to the frame. It would have been nice to see a carbon-bladed fork, but since the bike has space for 32mm tyres (or 28s with mudguards) to take the sting out of the ride, it's not a deal-breaker.
It comes with 26mm Kenda Kontender tyres. Kenda tyres are rarely the highlight of a bike, and this is no exception: they're okay but feel a little bit dead, and the grip levels aren't stellar, leading to some scrabbling around on steeper, bumpier roads. Switching to better quality 28mm tyres is an easy and relatively cheap upgrade: you can run them a bit softer for extra comfort and grip.
The ride itself is firm, and the tyres and saddle don't help especially. That being said, I've been out on some fairly long (70-80km) rides on the Dolomite and it's generally been the legs rather than the contact points that have complained most: such is the nature of riding a singlespeed.
Given time I'd swap the tyres, the bar tape (which is decent but could be improved) for something like Cannondale's Synapse tape, and the saddle for something I know works for me. But out of the box it doesn't present any real issues for longish training rides.
The position is reasonably high – the stack-to-reach ratio of the XL bike I tested is 1.52 (619mm stack, 405mm reach – stack and reach being the vertical and horizontal measurements from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube), putting it at the comfort-sportive end of the road bike spectrum. It also came with the stem in the rise orientation at the top of 30mm of spacers, which made it unnecessarily high. Some tinkering at the front has improved matters, and with one 10mm spacer underneath the flipped stem it now feels very comfortable in terms of position.
It's not a strung-out, head-down racer but it's aggressive enough to keep up with the group ride without too much bother. So long as the group ride doesn't go too fast... 100rpm on the pedals is about the top of my sustainable range, and that equates to about 20mph on this bike with this gear. So I won't be trying the chain gang on it unless I swap out the freewheel for something less spinny.
The wheels on the Dolomite are fine. There aren't masses of budget singlespeed disc hubsets out there. The Pinnacle Dolomite uses Novatec hubs with sealed bearings and they're basic but gave me no issues at all. They're laced to Alex ATD490 rims and the resulting wheelset should see off plenty of smashing through winter potholes. They're heavy, and that's reflected in the bike's 10.1kg overall weight. But this is a simple winter trainer or flatland commuter: you want it to be reliable before you think about it being light.
The brakes are TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes. If you're going to have mechanical discs then these are the ones I'd pick; they don't maybe have the top-end power of some of the other options, but because they have two moving pads instead of one moving and one static, they're a whole lot simpler to set up and adjust. They don't have the power of hydraulics; they're more akin to using a decent calliper brake needing a firm tug for slowing down in a hurry, but they're more predictable in the wet and they don't wear your rims out. Because you don't need to worry about shifting gears it's an easy upgrade to TRP Hylex hydraulic discs if you want to throw a couple of hundred quid at better stopping.
I've mostly used the Pinnacle as a winter training bike because I've no great desire to ride a singlespeed down and then up a 3km climb every day: that's my commute in a nutshell. If you live in flatter parts then the Dolomite Singlespeed would make an excellent no-fuss, low-maintenance workaday bike if you added some mudguards and a rack, and the frame is ready for both. The position isn't so aggressive that it's too head-down for riding in traffic, and indeed it can be fairly upright with the spacer stack and the stem configured in the highest position.
Overall, the Dolomite Singlespeed is a solid choice for a no-fuss winter trainer or a low-maintenance work bike. You get a well-made frame and well-chosen components, and the ride, if a bit firm, is good with the position just about right. The £525 RRP isn't a huge amount to spend on a bike and at the moment it's only £470 on the Evans website, which makes it a good buy.
Good quality singlespeed for winter training or fuss-free commuting on the flat
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pinnacle Dolomite Singlespeed
Size tested: XL
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame 6061-T6 heat treated aluminium, double butted
Fork Aluminium blade, Cr-Mo steerer
Number of Gears 1
Chain set Samox singlespeed, square taper
Chain rings 46t
Cassette 18t sprocket (spares + other sizes available online)
Chain KMC Z510, black
Brakeset Tektro Spyre, mechanical dual piston disc
Brake Levers Tektro RL340
Handlebars Pinnacle 6061 aluminium short drop bar. drop; 125mm, reach; 70mm, width; s/m 420mm, l/xl 440mm
Stem Pinnacle road ahead stem. length; s-80mm, m-90mm, l-100mm, xl-110mm
Headset Prestine Integrated 1 1/8"
Grips Soft microfiber tape with Vex Gel padding
Rims Alex ATD490
Front Hub Novatec sealed bearing
Rear Hub Novatec sealed bearing, with cassette type sprocket
Tyres Kenda Kontender 60tpi, 700 x 26c
Saddle Pinnacle race men's
Seatpost Pinnacle aluminium 350mm x 27.2mm
Extra Features Full length mudguard and pannier rack compatible. Clearance for 28c tyres with mudguards
Weight Approx. 10.1kg In Medium
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Pinnacle says: "The Pinnacle Dolomite is our award winning road bike that's designed for UK road conditions, and for 2016 we have added in a single speed model to the family. All the things that make the Pinnacle Dolomite a test winner with the simplicity of one gear, so all you have to concentrate on is the ride. With space for 28c tyres with guards, or 32c without, it's a bike that can be adapted for all out speed or a little more comfort.
"The sealed bearing hubs and cassette type freehub offer great weather resistance, alongside an easy change of sprocket dependant on your gearing choice (spares available online). The Tektro RL340 levers are paired with TRP Spyre brakes for all-round stopping power in any weather, thanks to their dual piston design and simple pad adjustment. Chain tensioning is handled by a proven clamp-shell eccentric BB, which allows easy wheel removal if you have mudguards fitted. This bike has been designed with simplicity and durability in mind, so it's a great winter bike, city thrasher or a perfect +1."
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Neat welds and finish.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Frame: 6061-T6 heat treated aluminium, double butted
Fork: Aluminium blade, Cr-Mo steerer
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
XL bike: 619mm stack, 405mm reach, 73.5° seat tube, 72° head tube, 590mm effective top tube.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Good after a bit of mucking about with the stem and spacers.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Ride is firm but well within what's acceptable for an alloy frame/fork.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Yes, no issues with stiffness.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Yes, it felt efficient.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It's a very stable bike, steering feels reasonably precise.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Tyres are the first swap.
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Good value, no-frills singlespeed. You get a well-considered bike for the money, and it's fun to ride.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.