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Pinarello Dogma X, rated: First ride report on Pinarello’s new endurance bike with jazzy X-STAYS

You’ve seen it and speculated about that funky seat stay design, but how does it ride? We took the Dogma X for a spin in Pinarello’s neck of the woods to gather some initial impressions

If you haven’t heard, Pinarello has just announced the Dogma X and X-series range, which is essentially 95% of the performance of Dogma F in a more forgiving and comfortable, endurance-focussed package for those who want to spend longer days in the saddle. I was lucky enough to throw my leg over a top-end Dogma X in Pinarello’s home province of Treviso, which was not a terrible experience.

> Read the launch story here: Pinarello unveils Dogma X endurance bike with funky new seat stay technology

To confess my priors, I thought the Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think2 was about the prettiest bike I had ever seen when I laid eyes on it a decade or so ago. Since then, the Dogma has evolved, but it’s always remained the very pinnacle of my aesthetic estimation.

Pinarello X first ride Bike 1

The Dogma F did nothing to change that. It’s a very, very beautiful bike, especially in the flesh. The undulating tubes, and particularly how svelte it is at the seat cluster, is drool-worthy. However, in the last decade, I haven’t aged as well as the Dogma. Its thoroughbred race-winning stiffness and aggressive geometry mean it’s not top of my wish list for rides that don’t end with a finish line and a podium. Furthermore, the seismic shift in generational wealth in the last decade or two means that from my observations, those with the wallets to afford Dogmas are not those with the limber backs. Apparently, Pinarello has taken note and is following the money with the launch of the Dogma X endurance bike.

First things first, though it introduced the expanded X-series simultaneously, I haven’t ridden that, so this is just a first ride of the Dogma X. And that’s a good place to start, because this version does get the Dogma moniker, highlighting it as the pinnacle of Pinarello’s engineering, and something rather special. It’s supposed to sit parallel to the Dogma F, delineating the ‘F’ line as that which you reach for if you’re racing.

I think the Dogma X (Dogmax?) is a tremendous looking bike, particularly in the Xolar Green, which is reminiscent of a British racing green. It’s definitely a Dogma, and you’d mistake it for an ‘F’ were it not for the X-STAYS and four points of attachment at the seat tube. It still looks really racy, though.

Pinarello X first ride Fausto Pinarello leading ride 2

The course that was planned out was a gorgeous loop that incorporated 300m of ascent on roads of varying quality, including a section of Italian Strade Bianche (white roads) which were light gravel/fire roads. What goes up must also come down of course, so there was a bracing descent and a passing of the glorious Castello San Salvatore.

The ride

The roads were in great condition to start with, and the ‘X’ felt very much like an ‘F’. It was stiff at the bottom bracket when I put power through the cranks while seated, and the steering was direct and definite. Of all the Dogma traits, the steering is the most similar.

From the seat tube forward, “the X is basically an F”, said Chief of Operations Muaritzio Bellin, but with its rake very slightly increased to 47mm. ‘Decisive’, and ‘nimble’ are the adjectives that leap to the front of my mind. I certainly wasn’t pushing the bike to its capacity or limit on that first ride, and know that it had lots more steering performance to give than I was initially extracting. Given more time, trust and familiarity would be repaid in grip and confident line tracking. A Dogma, after all, likes being thrown into corners.

Pinarello X first ride  X-Stays

The other sensation, or rather lack of it, that was immediately prescient was the road buzz. On hospitably-surfaced tarmac, the X cracked along happily. It was initially hard to parse whether it was the frame removing the buzz, the lovely Princeton Carbon Works wheels, the smoothest rolling hubs I’ve perhaps ever ridden courtesy of Tune, or the 32mm Continental GP5000 tubeless tyres, or a lovely little mix of all of them (most likely); but, there was a smile-inducing smoothness to the ride character.

Dyed-in-the-wool race bikes can be both exhausting, and a handful over anything less than nice surfaces. They’re so stiff that you can feel every bit of grit under your front wheel in your wrists. Not so with the X. It appeared to maintain the twitchy, lively and direct steering, but absorbed the judder and the buzz.

> Which superbike is best? Pinarello vs vs Specialized vs Colnago vs Cervelo

It picked up speed quickly and held on to it on the flats, as you’d expect. Pinarello claim the X is 95% as aero as an F, with the majority of that 5% difference being down to the fat 35mm tyres the X was designed around. I felt immediately at home, or rather it felt immediately familiar.

Pinarello X first ride Close up riding Princeton and Conti

I was very happy with my position. I could sit up comfortably to grind out the uphills, and get low enough on descents, but certainly nothing that pretzelled my spine. With more time to tinker and finesse, I think it would prove a comfy place to be for hours.

> What are dropped seat stays good for?

As the road wound its way up, the X behaved well. The chain stays are longer than the F, and you can feel it. The rear wheel isn’t quite as much under you, and the longer stays are designed for extra compliance which means there’s some flex when climbing hard out of the saddle. There’s no sag or wallow, it’s just not as direct as something with box girder rigid stays like a Specialized SL7 or SL8. That being said, I wasn’t able to coax any pad rub out of the discs, which means the X-STAYS were controlling lateral flex nicely, and swinging the bike from side to side was whisper silent at the rotors.

The X vs titanium

Now the X’s party trick. At the top of the hill was a winding Italian fire road. Authentically white for Italy, with a few shallow potholes. The ride over this surface was terrific. The bike I use most in the UK is a titanium all-road/gravel hybrid, currently shod with 37mm Gravel Kings, and I have to say I preferred the ride on the Dogma. I was surprised, sacrificing 5mm in rubber and titanium for carbon, I thought it wouldn’t be as good, but it was super. People who like titanium sometimes say how carbon feels ‘dead’ comparatively, and much as I don’t really think that, I know what they mean. I like carbon frames a lot though, but I know that they can feel a bit lifeless. This wasn’t that. There was a playfulness to the frame. It was very happy on this surface, and I was very happy on it.

Pinarello X first ride Descending 1

Maybe the Pinarello mechanic who set this up out the box had absolutely nailed it. Maybe he got the tyre pressure just perfect, or maybe the Continental tyres punch above their weight vs Gravel Kings. Maybe this was Toray’s premiere T1100 1K weave carbon, moulded into shapes that had gone through hundreds of simulations, CFD and prototyping by some of the world’s best designers. Whatever it is, if I liked the X on the road, I loved it off the road too.

Finally, the descent. Oddly enough, this was the least interesting part of the ride. It behaved well, but I knew I was being cautious. It gathered speed so very fast, and I hadn’t quite got the measure of the bike, particularly of the grip threshold on the Contis, and the brand-new Dura-Ace pads and discs. It turned in nicely, but I knew there was more there, and more time would have yielded more confidence.

My overweening thought about the descent was that the X was so fast between corners. Maybe I was brimming with adrenaline and caffeine, but it felt when I arrived at the corner that I was going faster than I thought I was. The speed sort of crept up on you.

Having slept on it for a while, my main memories are the comfort, and floating over the white roads. Floating, that’s it. Oh, and the speed. The unnerving and addictive ready accumulation of speed.

Pinarello X first ride Climbing 1

Considering those two things, I’d say Pinarello hit what they shot at. Again, in the intervening days a few other things have occurred to me. The bike is growing on me. Really. I think it’s more than enough Dogma F to sate my go-faster lust, and more than enough Dogma X to allow me to tap into that performance without having a chiropractor on retainer. The dangerous thing is that I’m talking myself into it.

Compared to the Dogma F...

I know that if two identical versions of me set out together, one on a Dogma F and one on the new Dogma X, I think me on the Dogma F would be faster over the first mile or two than me on the Dogma X. Perhaps faster over five miles, even. But at some point thereafter, the version of me on the Dogma X would start to gain, and eat into the F’s lead, perhaps eventually overtaking me on the F. Unless you’re a pro with limitless reserves of stamina, the relentless bumps, buzz and judder sap your strength, leaving less in the tank to turn the pedals. The X preserves your reserves, meaning at some distance, to someone like me, the X is just going to be faster. That advantage is compounded too as the surface becomes less perfect. And as it’s more comfortable, so you’re probably going to enjoy the ride more too.

Pinarello X first ride  Pirelli P-Zero 1.JPG

Lastly, it’s probably worth drawing attention to Pirelli. The tyre brand partnered with Pinarello to design the X, and with the bike designed around 35mm rubber, it also coincided with the launch of the Pirelli P-Zeros in that 35mm tubeless guise. In the wake of some recalls by Pirelli though, they’re exercising caution, and holding back the release of the 35mm tyres. What this means is that currently, the Dogma X is being supplied with 32mm Continental GP 5000s. In some of the shots, you can see the display bikes shod in the new Pirellis, and they felt really sticky to the touch. Hats off to Pinarello and Pirelli for erring on the side of caution, but I for one can’t wait to spend some proper time on the X, and dig deeper into its performance, and I hope to get the full experience on the wider Pirellis it was designed for soon.

> Best road bike tyres

Pinarello X first ride $450,000 worth of Dogmas
About £370,000-worth of Dogmas

Oh, and much as I loved it, I really should have loved it for the money it costs. In a world of nose-bleed bike costs, this is still comfortably atop the pile. Dogma by name, Dogma by sticker price. £13,300/$15,500 for a Dura-Ace Di2 build, and £5,500/$6,950 for the frame. It’s certainly not for free. Oh, and regrettably Pinarello isn’t bringing the SRAM Red build to the UK.

Bonus Fausto quotes

Pinarello X first ride Fausto Pinarello

A few other titbits from the table of Pinarello, that are not really to do with the ride of the X, but are to do with the company: it was lovely to see Fausto Pinarello leading us out to ride on this the X’s debut, and I asked him what the future held for him and Pinarello.

His answer was that for him, “nothing would change”. He’d still do what he’d done for the last 40 years of his life, which is to “…come in to the office every day, and try and make a better bike.”

Legend.

Tom is features and tech writer who's been writing and riding for over 20 years, and has had misadventures on almost every conceivable bike. From single-speeds, to aero race-bikes, gravel bikes, ebikes and mountain bikes, he's a big fan of almost everything that rolls on two wheels. 

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17 comments

Avatar
chrisonabike | 9 months ago
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Can we just have a little love for the road.cc article title writers? This one and a tabloid-worthy alliterative one the other day.

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peted76 | 9 months ago
1 like

It certainly looks like a lovely bike.. I can think of a couple of people I know who'll be looking at this with buying eyes..   

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IanEdward | 9 months ago
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Am heartened by what appears to be bars almost level with the saddle, I thought that was only me!

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IanEdward | 9 months ago
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Am heartened by what appears to be bars almost level with the saddle, I thought that was only me!

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Cugel | 9 months ago
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"I rode this pretty bike frock on a nice free holiday and it was lovely. Fausto P smiled at me and I was so pleased".

Seriously - this is a review for potential customers?

Cuh!

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Rendel Harris replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
4 likes

Cugel wrote:

"I rode this pretty bike frock on a nice free holiday and it was lovely. Fausto P smiled at me and I was so pleased".

Seriously - this is a review for potential customers?

No it's not, it's a "first ride report" in which the writer makes it perfectly plain that he has a "thing" for Pinarellos and comments on his experience of riding this new model at a Pinarello-organised event. Doubtless a full critical review will be forthcoming in due course when this writer, or another, has had a chance to have the bike on real-world test for a while. You do come across as rather grumpy and bitter at times, chap.

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Cugel replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
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Rendel Harris wrote:

Cugel wrote:

"I rode this pretty bike frock on a nice free holiday and it was lovely. Fausto P smiled at me and I was so pleased".

Seriously - this is a review for potential customers?

No it's not, it's a "first ride report" in which the writer makes it perfectly plain that he has a "thing" for Pinarellos and comments on his experience of riding this new model at a Pinarello-organised event. Doubtless a full critical review will be forthcoming in due course when this writer, or another, has had a chance to have the bike on real-world test for a while. You do come across as rather grumpy and bitter at times, chap.

Ha ha - yes - I have the Mr Grumpy T-shirt, which I wear more & more.

But how about your naive acceptance of adverts masquerading as reviews!? Not the teeniest sense of annoyance at such transparent attempts by manufacturers to create faux "independent" reports?

I suppose that their utter transparency means that, for many, the opposite effect to that intended will occur. For me, and perhaps others, such gushes are a red flag. The manufacturer can't rely on truly objective reviews so they create pretend ones via a nice holiday bung.

My feeling is that this practice should make the participants ashamed - but I'm just an olde fud-dud with foolish olde fashioned notions of journalistic integrity. Such a notion is now very old hat, of course, so should be thoroughly ignored by all thrusting young Pinarello fans; but also the older ones with enough dosh to waste on one.  1

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essexian replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
4 likes

......but also the older ones with enough dosh to waste on one.

I've done the maths and with a little bit of selling off stuff I no longer need, one of these lovelies will be mine.

Now, where is the section on Ebay advertising second hand wives/children. 

 

Frankly, I don't care if this was an advert, I want one (although I wonder, will it fit mudguards for winter club runs?)

 

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Cugel replied to essexian | 9 months ago
2 likes

essexian wrote:

......but also the older ones with enough dosh to waste on one.

I've done the maths and with a little bit of selling off stuff I no longer need, one of these lovelies will be mine.

Now, where is the section on Ebay advertising second hand wives/children. 

 

Frankly, I don't care if this was an advert, I want one (although I wonder, will it fit mudguards for winter club runs?)

 

I believe that there's a Special Rule for Pinarello purchasers stating that they must not get the bike muddy or otherwise reduce the bling; or obscure the Very Important Label. This would reduce the fashionablefrock-appeal of the bike to others or even obscure the advert it carries.

Have you factored in the polishing-time, polish and extra posing time at the cafe when estimating the costs of having a-one? Being allowed to posses such a glittering prize comes with many responsibilities! 

You may also be required to post 10 gushes a month on various bicycle websites, describing how wonderful the bicycle is and how damp your undergarment goes whenever you look at it, hanging on the bedroom wall.  1

PS Don't forget either the cost of the INEOSitic lookalike uniform you should probably wear.

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essexian replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
0 likes

Perhaps the best reply I've read in weeks.

laugh

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TheBillder replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
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Cugel wrote:

For me, and perhaps others, such gushes are a red flag. The manufacturer can't rely on truly objective reviews so they create pretend ones via a nice holiday bung.

I may need a body upgrade as clearly I'm not sensitive enough to detect "the smoothest rolling hubs I’ve perhaps ever ridden". Or perhaps that's just utter nonsense. Even a dirt cheap hub's lack of smoothness would be undetectable once the fraction of a millimetre of movement caused by vibration has passed through bar tape, insoles and saddle. At that point, the reviewer has lost my confidence.

I'm also hoping that my body upgrade will give me the power to provoke disc brake rub due to flex under load. Calipers are mounted so close to the axle that any bending would have to be very severe. Could I ask the reviewer to confirm that he has managed to do this on another bike, perhaps with an audio recording?

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peted76 replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
2 likes

You're acting like you sit on a higher plane of existance than the rest of us. Your self confessed grumpyness isn't an excuse. 

Manufacturers courting journalists with test rides in perfect locations and nda's until a set date is defacto. I don't have a problem with it, if some dentist is prepared to spend 13k on a bike based off one article they've read online then that's up to them, as you say the article is 'transparent' enough for people to make their own minds up.I don't feel like anyone should be ashamed and if anyone is feeling annoyed by this then maybe they have a problem. Are you thinking about getting a new bike, is the DogmaX on your testing list? 

FWIW a lot of independent 'reviews' unless conducted strictly scientifically have underlying bias regardless of how unbaised they appear. I know, many years ago I used to review stuff and write about it and most reviewers acknowledge this in some form. I find DC Rainmaker to be one of the better reviewers, that's probably due to the fact he pays for most of the gear he reviews.

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Cugel replied to peted76 | 9 months ago
0 likes

peted76 wrote:

You're acting like you sit on a higher plane of existance than the rest of us. Your self confessed grumpyness isn't an excuse. 

Manufacturers courting journalists with test rides in perfect locations and nda's until a set date is defacto.

Higher plane?  Rather a lower plane, where things are rather more real and muddy than in the rarified atmosphere of a pretend-world in which everything, even a bike review, is a scripted bit of theatrical excitement at the latest pretty thing.

You're right that "Manufacturers courting journalists with test rides in perfect locations .... is defacto". You see no problem in this?  That those less familiar with the nature of such "journalism" will take the review remarks as some sort of statement of fact rather than a constructed puff piece of marketing?

Well, I suppose this sort of pretense is defacto everywhere. Its an intrinsic part of the consumer-producer hegemony that everything be divorced from actuality to make instead a life in which we move from one infotainment spectacle to another, with even politics reduced to a series of infantile farces, the audience inured to a permanent suspension of disbelief.

To be frank, it makes me sad not angry. How did we become so shallow and easily manipulated?

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Rendel Harris replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
1 like

I'm not sure how you think a bike review site is going to operate if they don't collaborate with manufacturers to a certain extent, are they supposed to buy all the bikes they review anonymously out of their own pockets? That's the only way you can guarantee total independence, but I don't think it would be terribly economically viable.

Respectfully, whilst one doesn't class you as one of the trolls who habitually infest this neck of the woods, the same question does apply: why, when you don't appear to like anything about this website or its raison d'etre and it appears constantly to annoy you, do you come back every single day and leave very lengthy comments about why you think it's rubbish? It's a free country of course, but I would've thought you'd have better things to do with your time.

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Cugel replied to Rendel Harris | 9 months ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

I'm not sure how you think a bike review site is going to operate if they don't collaborate with manufacturers to a certain extent, are they supposed to buy all the bikes they review anonymously out of their own pockets? That's the only way you can guarantee total independence, but I don't think it would be terribly economically viable.

Respectfully, whilst one doesn't class you as one of the trolls who habitually infest this neck of the woods, the same question does apply: why, when you don't appear to like anything about this website or its raison d'etre and it appears constantly to annoy you, do you come back every single day and leave very lengthy comments about why you think it's rubbish? It's a free country of course, but I would've thought you'd have better things to do with your time.

Well .... I do have rather a lot of hobbies and pastimes*, one of which is rehearsing thoughts via posting to this website. Personally I find that the stimulus of opposing views and behaviours (to mine) is a good method to consider various matters in the public space. I do get my mind changed by the posts of others, from time to time.  At the very least, I clarify and "test" my own thoughts.

Isn't that what a forum is for?

In truth, the nature of cycling websites and magazines that operate hand-in-glove with manufacturers is a relatively small matter. But it is emblematic of larger and much more serious suborning of minds by commercial interests, some of which are utterly corrupting. The whole privatisation scheme of Thatcher and her followers, for example, which has told vast lies as a means to rob the public purse with the sale of "services" described in glowing terms by the right wing press but which all turn out to be not just dross but dangerous dross.

So, apologies to RoadCC for making them my whipping boy for much larger sins committed elsewhere, but the point remains that many of the "review" articles (not all) that appear here are really rather dishonest. They're adverts, to all intents and purposes, not independent reviews.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I would gladly pay a monthly fee for a truly independent review and test service. There are organisations that do this, buying goods for test/review anonymously from the market and doing as objective a review as they can manage. There are even some individuals who do this at their own expense.

In short, a greater scepticism on the part of RoadCC reviewers and testers seems appropriate, as does more openess about the true nature of the review process when its being funded (and stroked) by the manufacturer of what's being reviewed.

* Hobbies and pastimes include: cycling for fitness and pleasure (100 - 150 km/week); cabinetmaking; swimming & gyming so as to use it not lose it; forest walking with next door's dog (5 days out of every 7, for 2 hours a day); gardening projects of a somewhat extensive kind; eating chocolate; teaching woodworking to the odd would-be woodspoiler. (Archery, surfing and fellwalking have been give-up for a year or three now).

My forum activity is always restricted to just one forum in any 3 - 12 month period. RoadCC are lucky enough to have me just now. How glad they must be!  1

 

Avatar
peted76 replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
0 likes

Cugel wrote:

To be frank, it makes me sad not angry. How did we become so shallow and easily manipulated?

I don't disagree with your semtiment, but I'd question whether the way reviews in the media are conducted have changed, or, whether you have come to some realisation about it. e.g. Show me a time when we (the great unwashed) weren't being manipulated by media and shallow enough to either not care or believe what we're being told. 

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quiff replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
0 likes

I don't disagree. But you must have a very low opinion of the critical faculties of other readers of this site, if you feel the need to remind us BTL on most reviews of the consumer-producer hegemony and the nature of marketing, as if nobody else is aware of how these things work.       

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