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Verdict: 
A beautiful bike to ride with great race-inspired handling, if you can get your head around the price
Weight: 
8,040g

Heavily influenced by the top-end Dogma F10, this new version of the Pinarello Prince FX is a much more affordable option (relatively speaking). It may be classed as more of an all-round bike than the peloton-ready F10 but don't go thinking it's the soft option. This bike is stiff and very, very fast.

  • Pros: Very responsive and stiff frame, shares clever design cues of the Dogma F10
  • Cons: Standard wheels are disappointing for the money, ride can be a little firm on rough roads

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Ride

I'd read through the blurb on Pinarello's website before I went out for my first ride on the Prince FX and was expecting something a little less race orientated than what I actually got. The frame and fork are ruthlessly stiff, which means that the first stamp on the pedals delivers a lot – assisted by the not-so-shabby 8.04kg (17.7lb) weight for this size.

Pinarello Prince FX - riding 2.jpg

Acceleration is impressive, whether from a standing start or when already rolling, and I loved finding some twisty sections on my rides where you can go into the bends hard after scrubbing off a bit of speed and then blast it out the other side, out of the saddle and flicking the bike from side to side.

Hitting short, sharp climbs promotes the same kind of buzz as you can just power into them without the feeling that any of your effort is being wasted in frame flex.

Swap out the cheap (relative to the bike) Fulcrum wheels for something exotic and the Prince FX becomes even more fun to ride across the board.

Compared with the Dogma, the geometry is a little more relaxed, sitting somewhere between an aggressive race machine and that of a slightly more tame endurance bike.

Pinarello Prince FX - riding 5.jpg

This still means that you have fast, direct handling which delivers excellent precision when descending at high speed without much in the way of twitchiness, provided that you control the bike with a calm hand. Like a lot of bikes of this kind, the Prince FX responds well to smooth inputs of steering and body weight.

Our test model came with a fairly lengthy stem which certainly let me stretch right out into an aero position, affording a low centre of gravity perfect for carving a line through technical corners.

Pinarello Prince FX - stem.jpg

The fork legs offer plenty of force-resisting stiffness, too; when tackling those bends you can really exploit the excellent braking power of the Shimano Ultegra dual callipers to set you up for the apex.

Pinarello Prince FX - fork.jpg

If comfort is one of the main concerns in your bike purchases then you may find the Prince FX a little on the harsh side. It's not uncomfortable in my eyes, but there is a certain amount of road buzz and vibration that travels up through the frame to your contact points. It's an acceptable compromise between stiffness and comfort from my point of view, but it won't be for everyone.

Frame and fork

As mentioned, the latest Prince design is near-identical to the Dogma F10, with the key difference being that the three Prince models are made from a lower grade of carbon fibre than the Toray T1100 option used on the F10.

Pinarello Prince FX - top tube.jpg

The standard Prince and the disc brake model are made from Toray T700, while this lighter Prince FX uses Toray T900 which produces a frame weight of around 960g – which is pretty good considering the stiffness.

Using the lower grade carbon keeps the overall cost down but also it tends to be a little more robust, so should stand up to crashes a little bit better.

Pinarello Prince FX - seat tube junction.jpg

Pinarello has focused on aerodynamics when it comes to the new frame and fork. First up, you'll notice the concave down tube which is a design taken from the Bolide time trial bike, the theory being the sunken shape places the water bottle and cage out of the airflow.

Pinarello Prince FX - down tube.jpg

While we are on the subject of bottle mounts, you'll see that the Prince has three on the seat tube, allowing you to position your second bottle higher up for ease of use or lower towards the bottom bracket to, again, benefit aerodynamics.

Pinarello Prince FX - bosses.jpg

Pinarello has designed the Prince to be compatible with both mechanical and electronic groupsets, with everything run internally for clean lines and good looks.

Pinarello Prince FX - head tube.jpg

Behind the little door on the top of the down tube you'll find the space to hide the junction box and gubbins for the likes of Shimano's Di2.

Various parts of the frame are designed asymmetrically to withstand the various forces placed on them from braking and pedalling – the chainstays and seatstays, for instance.

Pinarello Prince FX - bottom bracket.jpg

Up front it's no surprise to see a tapered head tube, and fans of a threaded bottom bracket will glad to be see the Prince will accept an Italian threaded version.

Pinarello Prince FX - head tube badge.jpg

The fork hasn't escaped the aero fettling either. Where it and the frame meet, you'll see an integrated section to smooth the airflow over the two components, and the fork legs are bowed outwards, too, to allow the air to pass through around the spokes. Something similar to what we've seen on some of the latest Storck bikes we've tested.

Pinarello Prince FX - front.jpg

There are also little tabs at the rear of the dropouts to work with the quick release levers when travelling at speed.

Pinarello Prince FX - front hub.jpg

On the whole, it's a nicely finished frame and feels like a very solid build. The clear coat lacquer over the top layer of carbon looks the business too.

Pinarello Prince FX.jpg

Build

All of the current line-up of Prince bikes are built using Shimano Ultegra groupsets, with the FX model tested coming with a mechanical setup. The Prince and Prince Disc have both mechanical and electronic options.

Pinarello Prince FX - drive train.jpg

What we have here is the excellent R8000 version of Ultegra, and if you follow the link you'll find out just what a brilliant groupset it is. The shifting is quick, precise and light, and the braking performance is spot on. True, for the price of this bike I'd expect to be seeing Dura-Ace really, but the Ultegra leaves nothing wanting when paired with the performance of the frame.

Pinarello Prince FX - crank.jpg

For such a racy bike I was surprised to see a 50/34 compact chainset paired to an 11-28 tooth cassette, but it does give a sensible spread of gears for the type of rider who would be interested in the Pinarello.

Pinarello Prince FX - cassette.jpg

Like most marques Pinarello has an in-house components brand, which it calls Most, and it's a Most handlebar and stem you'll find making up the cockpit on the FX. It's an all-carbon affair and matches the ride of the frame and fork: stiff, with a little bit of road buzz, but just on the right side of comfortable.

Pinarello Prince FX - bar and shifter.jpg

The flat section on the tops offers a pleasant place to rest your hands and the compact drop will work for most riders.

Pinarello Prince FX - bars 2.jpg

The seatpost is an aero affair and it can be spun to provide two different positions, one more forward, effectively steepening the seat angle for harder, faster riding.

On top is a Fizik Antares saddle, one that I'm a fan of, and its firm padding suits the aggressive riding style of the Prince FX.

Pinarello Prince FX - saddle and post.jpg

To be honest, for the money I think a set of Fulcrum Racing 500 wheels is a bit of a let down, and they do hamper the performance of the frame because of their weight. On the plus side, they are solid, decent performers for everyday riding and training, and will take some abuse from rough roads.

Pinarello Prince FX - rim.jpg

The same can be said for the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tyres. They aren't exactly going to set the world alight but grip is okay, although they don't offer anywhere near as much as the Prince FX deserves.

Pinarello Prince FX - tyre.jpg

I swapped them out for the Panaracer Race Evo 3 Classic tyres fitted to the 1,460g JRA Lark Light wheelset, and it made a massive difference to how the Prince behaved. Having more grip with less weight means you can really push the Pinarello hard everywhere.

Pinarello Prince FX - riding 4.jpg

The Zaffiros have stood up to thorns and stones, though, and just like the Fulcrums they'll be ideal for training purposes.

Value

There is a lot of technology going on here with the Prince FX frameset, and it is very well made, but £5,000 is a lot of money when you look at the overall package.

Now, I never expected to be using a Storck to demonstrate value, but you can't argue with the fact that the Fascenario 3 Comp comes in at £2,224 with the same groupset and similar level finishing kit. It offers a very similar ride to the Prince FX as well, plus it is over a kilo lighter.

> Buyer's Guide: 14 of the best exotic Italian road bikes

Comparing the Prince FX to other peloton-ready machines, it still looks pricey. The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc 9.0 comes in at £5,099, but that includes Campagnolo's brand new 12-speed Record groupset, including hydraulic disc brakes and 50mm-deep carbon Bora wheels! It, too, manages to be a kilo lighter.

The standard Prince with exactly the same build as our FX comes in at £3,300 which looks like a much better deal. The claimed frame weights between the two is only about 20g too.

Conclusion

I really liked riding the Prince FX; in fact I loved it. That buzzy feel from the frame, plus the nimble and direct steering that comes from the geometry... it really is a good bike. However, it doesn't have enough of an edge over the likes of that Storck, for instance, when it comes to the handling and ride feel, to justify being twice the price.

Pinarello Prince FX - riding 3.jpg

Verdict

A beautiful bike to ride with great race-inspired handling, if you can get your head around the price

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pinarello Prince FX

Size tested: 56cm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

From Pinarello:

Carbon T900 Asymmetric Frame

Fork ONDA with ForkFlap™

Think2 System with E-Link™

ICR™ Internal Cable Routing

Drop in Bearing System 1' 1/8 - 1'1/2

Italian thread BB

Seatclamp TwinForce

3XAir™ two positions available for the second bottle

FlatBack Profile

UCI Approved

Shimano Ultegra R8000 50/34 Chainset

Shimano Ultegra R8000 11-28 11spd Cassette

Shimano Ultegra R8000 STI gear shifters/brake levers

Shimano Ultegra R8000 Front Mech

Shimano Ultegra R8000 Rear Mech

Shimano Ultegra R8000 Italian Threaded Bottom Bracket

Shimano Ultegra R8000 Dual Pivot Calipers

Most Carbon Fibre Handlebar

Most Carbon Fibre Stem

Carbon Seatpost

Fizik Aliante Saddle

Fulcrum Racing 500 Wheelset

Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 25mm Tyres

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?

Pinarello says, "Prince frames are the latest evolution of the allround bike from Pinarello for a wide range of users. Prince comes from experience and technologies developed for top range models but adapted for a less-extreme use, maintaining the unmistakable riding style of the most successful company in Tour de France.

Prince is available in 3 different options:

* Prince FX: very performing, reactive and precise frame. Ready to race.

* Prince: more docile frame, intended for those who want to perform without excess.

* Prince Disk: disk brake version to emphasize safety and riding precision."

The Prince is a very fast, race orientated bike, despite its all round status given by Pinarello.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

There are three Prince models available. The Prince FX is the top flight model made with T900 grade carbon fibre, with both the standard Prince and Prince Disc being made from slightly heavier T700 carbon.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Very good build quality and looks great.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Both the frame and fork are manufactured from Toray T900 carbon fibre.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

It sits somewhere between a race and an endurance bike.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

This size has a reach of 390mm and a stack of 575mm which is about right when you look at the rest of the geometry. The head tube is a little taller than a race bike, at 170mm.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

The ride quality is pretty good but its stiffness does lead to some road buzz on rougher roads.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Yes, very stiff indeed which is great for performance.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Its ability to transfer power is probably its best attribute.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No, none.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Lively without being twitchy.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

It's a race orientated bike so the handling is fast but as long as you are smooth with the controls it shouldn't become twitchy or unsettled.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The carbon fibre bar had a little bit of flex which damped some of the road buzz.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The wheels could do with being a little stiffer to fully exploit the frame and fork.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

A wheel and tyre upgrade would be first on my list if performance is the priority.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

As you can tell from our review of the R8000 Ultegra groupset, there really is nothing to dislike.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for value:
 
5/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

The wheels themselves are pretty good, solid performers but they have no place on a £5,000 bike. An upgrade to something lighter and possibly more aero makes a massive difference to the performance of the FX.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for value:
 
5/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

The same as the wheels really: perfectly adequate in their own right but something grippier and faster rolling is what the Prince FX needs.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
5/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

A full complement of carbon fibre components is exactly what I'd expect at this price point and it's decent stuff. I especially liked the compact shape of the handlebar drops.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, it's a blast.

Would you consider buying the bike? No, it doesn't deliver enough of an improvement over cheaper bikes I've ridden.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? If they have deep pockets.

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Its price is high, especially against something similar like the Storck Fascenerio mentioned in the review.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
4/10

Use this box to explain your overall score

Take price out of the equation and the Prince FX is a very good bike with an excellent frameset, but it doesn't deliver a huge amount more than the cheaper competition to justify itself when you do add value into the mix.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

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, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

18 comments

Avatar
clayfit [137 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

over 8kg for £5000?  They must be joking.  Even if it had discs, that weight is no longer up to date.

The badge is not worth that money.  Get a Spec Tarmac Expert Disc for less money, 6.65kg, with better comfort and aerodynamics.  Or a Canyon.

Avatar
StoopidUserName [636 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

I know weight isn't everything but how is it even possible to create a 5 grand 8kg rim brake bike these days?!?!?!

 

And the paint scheme for your 5 grand? Like an £800 Ribble...

Avatar
PRSboy [502 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I would get tired of explaining to people that it was not a Dogma!

It would be better what Trek, Specialised etc do, and use one model name but with different 'grades' and geometries.

Has to be said though, I had a Gan for a week in Majorca and thought it was a great bike.

Avatar
Dabid [1 post] 2 months ago
0 likes
clayfit wrote:

over 8kg for £5000?  They must be joking.  Even if it had discs, that weight is no longer up to date.

The badge is not worth that money.  Get a Spec Tarmac Expert Disc for less money, 6.65kg, with better comfort and aerodynamics.  Or a Canyon.

 

Hey Clayfit,

 

Do you have a link for that particular bike at that weight, as I'm almost sure there is no way it can be that low, especially if it is disc.

Avatar
r.glancy [28 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
Avatar
r.glancy [28 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
Dabid wrote:
clayfit wrote:

over 8kg for £5000?  They must be joking.  Even if it had discs, that weight is no longer up to date.

The badge is not worth that money.  Get a Spec Tarmac Expert Disc for less money, 6.65kg, with better comfort and aerodynamics.  Or a Canyon.

 

Hey Clayfit,

 

Do you have a link for that particular bike at that weight, as I'm almost sure there is no way it can be that low, especially if it is disc.

 

FYI..

https://www.rutlandcycling.com/content/specialized-tarmac-sl6-expert-dis...

has the weight and a link to buy at just over 4k...cheaper from Hargroves. 

Avatar
r.glancy [28 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
PRSboy wrote:

I would get tired of explaining to people that it was not a Dogma!

It would be better what Trek, Specialised etc do, and use one model name but with different 'grades' and geometries.

Has to be said though, I had a Gan for a week in Majorca and thought it was a great bike.

I'd get tired of telling people its not a chinese knockoff lol. 

Avatar
kil0ran [1440 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Dull

Where's the Italian flair?

 

Avatar
Freshmn09 [16 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Pinarello is still prettymuch the worst looking bikes on the market! they may hold the yelow jersey and that but they are just weird looking!

Avatar
peted76 [1415 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
r.glancy wrote:
Dabid wrote:
clayfit wrote:

over 8kg for £5000?  They must be joking.  Even if it had discs, that weight is no longer up to date.

The badge is not worth that money.  Get a Spec Tarmac Expert Disc for less money, 6.65kg, with better comfort and aerodynamics.  Or a Canyon.

 

Hey Clayfit,

 

Do you have a link for that particular bike at that weight, as I'm almost sure there is no way it can be that low, especially if it is disc.

 

FYI..

https://www.rutlandcycling.com/content/specialized-tarmac-sl6-expert-dis...

has the weight and a link to buy at just over 4k...cheaper from Hargroves. 

That's wrong. The £9000 SWORKS model with lighter 'everything' weights 6.6kgs. That's a typo mistake from Rutland Cycling. 

Avatar
PRSboy [502 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
kil0ran wrote:

Dull

Where's the Italian flair?

 

Very colour sensitive... I saw a bright red and white Dogma F10 with campag super record in a shop and it was luverly.

 

Avatar
philhubbard [188 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
peted76 wrote:
r.glancy wrote:
Dabid wrote:
clayfit wrote:

over 8kg for £5000?  They must be joking.  Even if it had discs, that weight is no longer up to date.

The badge is not worth that money.  Get a Spec Tarmac Expert Disc for less money, 6.65kg, with better comfort and aerodynamics.  Or a Canyon.

 

Hey Clayfit,

 

Do you have a link for that particular bike at that weight, as I'm almost sure there is no way it can be that low, especially if it is disc.

 

FYI..

https://www.rutlandcycling.com/content/specialized-tarmac-sl6-expert-dis...

has the weight and a link to buy at just over 4k...cheaper from Hargroves. 

That's wrong. The £9000 SWORKS model with lighter 'everything' weights 6.6kgs. That's a typo mistake from Rutland Cycling. 

 

Think that one was 7.4kg including deep section wheels and saving you £1k

Avatar
paradyzer [28 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I really don't get what Pinarello are trying to achieve with this bike? It's ugly, dull, heavy and expensive.. I'm pretty sure my Focus purchased in bits over eBay is lighter, and it's nowhere near new...

Avatar
crazy-legs [1080 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Still trying to sell bikes off the name alone.

About £1200 too expensive, at least 500g overweight and compromised by the wheels and the lack of tech - you can get a Canyon Endurace with Ultegra Di2 (with a far more appropriate semi-compact chainset) AND hydro disc brakes, bolt thru axles and far superior carbon wheels / better tyres for under £4000 and it still manages to be 1lb lighter than that Pinarello monstrosity.

Similar story for Trek and Specialized - both have better specced offerings which are lighter and cheaper.

Avatar
Joe Totale [153 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
crazy-legs wrote:

Still trying to sell bikes off the name alone.

About £1200 too expensive, at least 500g overweight and compromised by the wheels and the lack of tech - you can get a Canyon Endurace with Ultegra Di2 (with a far more appropriate semi-compact chainset) AND hydro disc brakes, bolt thru axles and far superior carbon wheels / better tyres for under £4000 and it still manages to be 1lb lighter than that Pinarello monstrosity.

Similar story for Trek and Specialized - both have better specced offerings which are lighter and cheaper.

 

TBH the name alone will be enough for a load of doctors and dentists to order one of these Pinarellos. 

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [3142 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Did they fill the frames tubes with a motor and battery system and forgot to tell everyone?

Works out £3.8-£3.9k for the frameset and seatpost, that's utterly ridiculous, you can buy a Parlee Altum with Ultegra for £3850

Avatar
slowtwitchguy [1 post] 2 months ago
0 likes

I have also ridden the GAN in Majorca and loved the handling so I don't doubt that it's a nice bike. But the price for the FX is just ridiculous and as mentioned in the article the standard Prince (only 20g heavier) or Prince Disk would be a much better option.

You could get a Prince Disk with Ultegra Di2 and mid section carbon wheels for the same price as the FX in the article.

Avatar
ColinCampbell [1 post] 2 months ago
0 likes

The Prince FX is offered in the United States for $6775 (about 5150 GBP).  But it has DI2 Ultegra, and better wheels (Fulcrum Racing 3 vs Fulcrum Racing 5/500) for that price.

I purchased a Prince FX about 4 weeks ago, but my bike shop stripped it the frame and built it up with Campagnolo Record 12-speed.  I'm using my Zipp 202 wheelset on the bike.  I haven't had a chance to weigh the complete bike yet, but I believe it is around 17 lbs (7.8 kg) for my 59.5 cm size frame.

The best thing about the bike is the Amethyst paint - it's spectacular in the sunlight!