The Pinnacle Dolomite One is Evans Cycles' entry level sportive bike. It's a good looking bike with a lovely curved and sculpted fork. Unfortunately the ride quality doesn't deliver on the promise of "the ideal introductory bike to the world of sportives" though, if you're not going a long way, it could make a cheap fast-ish all weather commuter.
For the now discounted price of £449.99 (was £599.99), you get an aluminium double-butted frame with carbon bladed forks. The white paint job with understated graphics looks beautiful. The welds look pretty sturdy and tidy. On closer inspection, there's a bit of paint build-up around the braze-ons, causing the paint to come off when you bolt anything to them. I also noticed that the bottom rear mudguard lug behind the bottom bracket seems to be pointing slightly upwards rather than the more horizontal angle I'd expect..
The braze-ons are plentiful - making it a decent option as a commuter bike. You get two sets of bottle bosses, mudguards front and rear and rack eyes; though there's only one bolt hole for both mudguards and rack at the bottom of the seat stays. I didn't find this a problem when mounting both. The position of the rack eyes at the top of the seat stays was; mounting a Blackburn EX1, the rack stays fouled the top of the brake arm. I had to take the Blackburn stays to the vice and bend them quite a lot so they were more inboard and clear of the brake assembly. Once the rack was on, the bike would happily take a couple of small panniers as long as you don't load them up too much. Choose your rack wisely...
Having never ridden a bike with sportive geometry before, I was interested to see what it would be like. My expectation of the ride quality was a less extreme and therefore more comfortable position while maintaining most of the performance characteristics of a proper racing bike. What I found was something quite different; the Dolomite One feels much more akin to a touring bike than a racer. Obviously, the aluminium frame and carbon bladed forks are a lot lighter, and you do get a performance gain because of it over a tourer.
Unfortunately that notional performance gain doesn't really translate in to actual performance. The Dolomite One doesn't accelerate that well, it feels harder than it should to ride fast and cornering is sluggish. You don't get much excitement from riding it. Not a massive problem for a commuting bike, but not that suitable for riding a sportive, especially because the front-end isn't that comfortable. While there is a bit of flex in the frame, there isn't all that much compliance. The bar tape is pretty thin; some gel padded tape would be a worthwhile upgrade. The shifters are a bit Spartan in terms of padding. I didn't get on with the saddle either, but they are such a personal choice and easy to swap out that I can't really fault the Pinnacle on that, especially not at that price.
In terms of components, you get a Shimano 2300 drivetrain, Shimano 2300 shifters and Promax brakes. Shimano 2300 is an 8 speed version of Sora (which is 9 speed), so you get the same shifting action as Sora: a sweep lever behind the brake for up, a thumb shifter on the hood for shifting down. This works just fine apart from not being able to get to the thumbshifter from the drops. The drivetrain's shifting performance is really very good, it works much better than I expected. The 34/50 compact chainset coupled with a 12-25 cassette gives you plenty of gears to get up the hills and down.
The braking, was not so impressive. I found I needed to apply quite a lot of force to get any braking power at all. In the wet, they are horribly noisy and braking performance is even worse. Because of this, it's quite hard to judge how much distance you'll need to come to a stop. Not good.
When I first got my hands on the bike, there was a bit of an issue with the headset: it felt really stiff to rotate the steerer. I thought it had been overtightened, but no amount of adjustment could get it to move completely freely. This might well be a one-off problem with the test bike.
So does it give you value for money? At £449.99, you definitely get a lot of bike for your money with a carbon fork and a Sora level drivetrain, but you have to balance that with the points I made about handling and comfort.
As a cheap, every-day, short distance, fast-ish commuter, this might work for you; it takes mudguards and a rack, so you can carry stuff to work without getting spray marks up your back. If you're after performance or an exhilarating ride, I'd look elsewhere.
A good looking bike, let down by cockpit comfort, handling and braking performance.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pinnacle Dolomite One
Size tested: 56cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
The frame is made from 7005 double-butted aluminium, the fork is made from Kinesis carbon blades with a steel steerer.
Front Derailleur: Shimano 2300 FD-2300-B
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 2300 RD-2300 8sp
Number of Gears: 16
Shifters: Shimano ST-2300
Chainset: Shimano FC-2350 Compact 175mm
Chainrings: 50/34 tooth
Bottom Bracket: TH Cartridge bearing, forged Cro-Mo axle, steel cups, double seals, 68mm shell
Cassette: Shimano HG50 8-speed 12-25 tooth
Chain: KMC Z7
Front Brake: 57mm dual-pivot forged alloy caliper
Rear Brake: 57mm dual-pivot forged alloy caliper
Brake Levers: Shimano 2300 ST-2300
Handlebars: Kalloy 6061 alloy 31.8mm x 440mm (c2c)
Stem: Kalloy Ahead, 3D forged 31.8mm x 110mm
Headset: Prestine PT-1851 1 1/8"
Grips: Velo Eva Black/Cork with silicon gel
Rims: Alex R500 32H
Front Hub: Joy alloy
Rear Hub: Joy alloy
Spokes: 14 gauge stainless
Front Tyre: Kenda Kwick Roller Sport 700 x 26c
Rear Tyre: Kenda Kwick Roller Sport 700 x 26c
Tubes: Kenda 700x23c
Saddle: Velo VL-1376 with cr-mo rail
Seatpost: Kalloy 27.2mm x 350mm
Seat Binder: Kalloy 31.8mm
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?
This is what Evans say:
Fast, stable and comfortable, Dolomite One is the ideal introductory bike to the world of sportive rides or those looking for a fast, reliable commuter at an unbeatable price. Shimano's new 8sp 2300 components take care of shifting duties whilst the Shimano 2300 compact 50-34T chainset combined with the 12-25T cassette provide ample gear range for a variety of terrain. Mudguard mounts combined with 57mm long-drop dual pivot brake callipers ensure ample room and hassle-free fitting of full length mudguards. An integrated headset and bladed forks blend seamlessly for ultra clean lines. Carbon legged fork helps drop overall weight but also help reduced road buzz and improve overall ride characteristics.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
At first sight, there's nothing wrong with the frame and forks. The welds looks solid. However, on closer inspection, the paint job on our test model is not that neatly finished, especially around braze-ons. I noticed the mudguard lug behind the bottom bracket seems a bit misaligned too. None of these are massive problems, and it's worth noting that the paint has shown to be durable so far other than around the braze-ons.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame is made from double-butted 7005 aluminium, the forks have carbon blades with a steel steerer.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
On paper, it shares the same geometry as a lot of other sportive and touring bikes: 73 degree seat angle, 72 degree head angle and a 190mm head tube make for a relaxed position. Riding it, it feels more touring than racy.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Height and reach were as you'd expect from a sportive/fast commuter bike. The front-end feels quite high and relaxed for the effective top tube length.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
To be honest, it was never a bike I looked forward to riding. The bar tape is thin, the shifters don't have much padding, the saddle is not for me. It's fine for shorter distances, but it's a harsh ride to spend hours on. I wouldn't personally ride a sportive on it.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
The frame is stiff enough, no particular problems there.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
The bike feels pretty sluggish.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
Without mudguards, my size 43s are about a rizla away from the front tyre. I have the cleats right back though. Although there is toe overlap with mudguards mounted, I didn't find this a problem.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Unresponsive
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The bike doesn't feel lively at all. From the start the steering has been pretty stiff, no amount of headset adjustment has allowed the fork to move completely freely. It is perfectly rideable, but the handling feels really slow. I don't think this is down to just the headset.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Without a doubt, the biggest value for money change would be the bar tape.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
You could probably speed the bike up with faster rolling tyres. Having said that, I didn't get any punctures with these Kenda's and that's worth something too.
It feels sluggish
It's not particularly quick off the mark
Not made for sprinting
Riding slowly is where the stiff headset and slow steering are most apparent
Other than it being slow, no particular problems
It's not a light bike, but with the compact there are no problems getting up anything.
I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of the Sora groupset
You wouldn't buy Sora for weight reasons...
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
The wheels and tyres are perfectly decent. Depending on what you use the bike for, you could change the tyres for something a bit nippier/stickier.
Shifting is fine, braking is not
The shifters could really do with a bit more padding.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The shifters could do with a bit more padding and it's a real pain that you can't shift down from the drops. The brakes are rubbish.
Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)
The worst thing about this bike is without a doubt the brakes. Unpredictable modulation, need a lot of force and very noisy in the wet. I'm sure swapping the brake blocks out would alleviate some of these problems.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? No
Would you consider buying the bike? No
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? No
Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?
As a cheap, every-day, short distance, fast-ish commuter, this might work for you; it takes mudguards and a rack, so you can carry stuff to work without getting spray marks up your back side. If you're after performance or an exhilarating ride, I'd look elsewhere.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cervelo Dual
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, fixed/singlespeed, Audax