Dolan’s updated Ares road bike came out last year and was approved for competition use by the UCI in November and, unusually in these times of supply chain struggles, it can be built up with Shimano’s new Ultegra or Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets – or various other component options – and quickly despatched to you. You can also personalise it both in terms of component spec and finish.
The Ares, which is said to be aimed at everyone from the competitive club rider to the internationally competing athlete, is a long-standing model in the Dolan range although the design has evolved hugely over the years.
The latest version, ridden by Ireland's EvoPro Racing is made with aero-profiled tubing and features that we’ve come to expect from bikes designed to reduce drag, such as an integrated fork crown, dropped seatstays, and a down tube that’s cutaway around the leading edge of the rear wheel.
The seatpost, held in place by a wedge-type clamp hidden inside the top tube/seat tube junction, is aero-profiled too.
The head tube takes a 1-1/8in bearing up top and 1-1/2in bearing at the bottom and the fork that slots in there has carbon blades and a carbon steerer.
The Ares is a disc brake-only platform (Dolan's Rebus is rim brake) with fully internal cable routing and 12mm thru-axles front and rear.
The bike pictured here is built up with Shimano Ultegra Di2 components but you can opt for mechanical shifting if you prefer (more on spec options in a mo). You get clearance for tyres up to 32mm – which is generous on a bike of this kind. Most people are going to spec 28s but you might be glad of a little more width for winter riding or just a bit of extra comfort.
The geometry is that of a performance-minded bike. The medium-sized frame, for instance, comes with a 520mm seat tube (centre of BB to top of seat tube), a 540mm effective top tube, and a 135mm head tube. The head tube angle is 73° and the seat tube angle is 74°. This all results in a stack of 552mm and a reach of 382mm, and a stack/reach of 1.45. That suggests a low and efficient ride position, but it’s not at all extreme.
The Dolan Ares is available as a frameset for £1,600 and in four standard Shimano specs, starting at £2,550 for a 105 build and going up to £6,250 for Dura-Ace R9250 Di2. Shimano Ultegra R8020 builds (with mechanical shifting) start at £2,950 with Shimano Ultegra R8150 Di2 builds from £4,250.
There’s also a Campagnolo Ekar build priced at £3,700 if you want to go 1x.
Whichever build you go for, you can choose things like chainset and cassette sizes, the model of saddle, and the wheels fitted from the likes of Mavic, Vision and Dolan’s own Alpina brand. You can even choose things like the wheel decal colour.
The bike shown here is fitted with a Shimano Ultegra R8150 Di2 groupset and an upgrade from Vision Team 35 Disc wheels to Alpina’s deep-section wheels (various depths are available). That takes the price up by £775.
You can also choose between a Deda handlebar/stem and the sleek and stealthy Alpina integrated carbon front end which adds £250 to the price.
Dolan says that you're looking at a delivery time of within 45 working days if you go for a Shimano 105 or mechanical Ultegra groupset, and just four weeks if you choose Ultegra Di2.
Dolan takes its finishes seriously, having its own paint shop on site. You can go for a standard colour – in this case pearl white/black (there's a lot of depth to that white) – or you can go for a custom colour: sky blue, hot pink, army green, and loads more.
You can also go for a multicolour finish – orange and black, for example – or even speak to Dolan and have a unique paint job. They’ll do their best to help out. Even if you go for a custom colour, Dolan says that your bike will ship within 45 working days.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.