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Pinnacle's Dolomite didn't receive a whole lot of love when we reviewed it back at the end of 2011 - thanks to an uncomfortable and uninspiring ride. Since then it's been tweaked by James Olsen (designer of Genesis' Equilibrium) for 2013 and it's clear this guy knows his onions as the new one is a belter.
At the heart is a double butted compact alloy frame made from 6061-T6, a material liked by many builders for its workability, high strength and good corrosion resistance. The frame itself is quite simple, no tapered headtube or oversize bottom bracket shells, just relying on decent geometry and the material to determine the ride characteristics. The down tube is oversized and with the small triangles created by the compact design you can tell the Dolomite is going to be stiff just by looking at it.
The top tube is ovalised but that's the only detraction from traditional round tubing. For that all year round convenience there are mudguard eyes and rack mounts plus the rear mech hanger is replaceable, meaning you won't have to bin the entire frame if you drop it.
Following the same model as Giant created for their TCR's back in the day there are only four sizes, S – XL, but tweaking seatposts and stem should see the majority of the population catered for. Our test model is a medium which comes with a 560mm effective top tube. We'll stick the geometry table down at the bottom so you can see which one fits you.
Painted to match are the carbon fibre legged forks with a 1 1/8' alloy steerer drilled for deep drop brakes and complete with mudguard eyes too. A rake of 45mm coupled with a 72° head angle provides toe clearance with guards.
Overall the finish is tidy, the welds are more functional than eye candy but that fits in well with the intended use of the Pinnacle – a get the job done kind of attitude. That bright orange paint gives a feel good factor though even when it's another crappy dark, wet, windy miserable day outside and you know you've got to get the miles in.
For your £900 you're getting some pretty decent kit. Shimano take care of the gears with the majority of a 105 groupset and the wheels are their RS10 models. These are shod with Kenda Kriterium 700x25c tyres and previous tests show while they aren't the fastest rolling out there they strike a good balance between performance and longevity.
As usual FSA are tasked with the chainset and the Dolomite is adorned with their Gossamer in compact guise, 50-34T rings. It looks a smart bit of kit and the matching in well with the other black components.
The brakes are Tektro's R539 with a deep drop of 57mm allowing for mudguard clearance. These performed well on the recent test of the Kinesis TK3 so hopefully we should be in for more of the same here.
Finishing things off are Pinnacle own branded bars, stem and seatpost are - all basic alloy jobbies but look the part.
The Dolomite 5 doesn't actually come equipped with mudguards but for the test period we fitted some SKS Chromoplastics which went on a doddle plus clearance was fine with the 25mm tyres. If you buy the bike at the moment Evans are actually throwing in £100 to spend on accessories so you can deck it out for wet weather there and then.
Tyres to tarmac then and the instant feedback is one of stiffness as there isn't much give in the frame at all. The Dolomite feels like a proper old school alloy race bike, buzzing and bouncing across road imperfections but with such a sense of speed and responsiveness that you'll be grinning like a nutter. It's not as refined as the alloy frame of the Kinesis TK3 but boy is it fun.
Looking at the geometry table a 160mm headtube should normally give an inclination to a more sedate riding position but once in the saddle it doesn't feel anything like that. It's more of a race machine than a long distance mile muncher and could easily be used as an early season racer if the need arose.
As you'd expect, a frame this tight responds well to climbing efforts and it certainly belies the bike's all-up weight of 20.2lb (9.15kg). You'll be actively looking out for hills rather than planning routes around them. The eagerness of the frame responds well to out of the saddle efforts and it certainly felt the most efficient way to reach the summit. A 12-25 Tiagra cassette gives a good spread of gears along with the compact chainset and the KMC chain changed across the block even under high loads. 105 is where you really notice the performance difference in Shimano's line up; in fact the top three mechanical groupsets have very little difference in terms of feel and performance. The shifting is spot on every time and the movement at the lever is very smooth.
Once you are ready to come back down, the Dolomite changes direction and holds lines well. The Kenda tyres have a decent level of grip and you can get a fair amount of lean angle going before they start scrabbling about. Descending is the one place though that an unforgiving frame can become a bit of a burden. The slightest pothole or rough surface can see the Pinnacle bouncing about and being tramlined into a different direction to the one you require, which can get a bit bum twitchy if you're already on the limit.
The Tektro R539 brakes work well again, scrubbing off speed pretty sharpish. They lack the bite of standard Shimano 105 brakes but there is a degree of modulation there.
RS10 wheels are reasonable performers and the seals seem to be doing a decent job of keeping water and road muck out. They have stayed true over roughly fifty hours of riding round Wiltshire's back lanes which is testament to any set of wheels, but especially a minimal spoke set (16/20) like this on a stiff aluminium bike. While we're on the subject of wear and tear, the Kenda tyres have been hugely impressive in that department without a single puncture or cut - bearing in mind it's hedge cutting season.
Knocking the tyres back to say 100 -110psi provides a bit more comfort for a long run and the position on the Dolomite is very comfortable. About three hours was the max for me before road buzz started to affect my wrists and posterior on the solid feeling FWE saddle. Things like this can be overcome by say padded bar tape, a saddle change or swapping to a carbon seatpost - minimal tweaks that won't break the bank.
Handling is very predictable and as a whole the Dolomite is a very easy bike to ride. Whether you are in heavy traffic commuting or out in the lanes, direction changes are easily controlled by just a shift of body weight and it's all very relaxing.
Overall the Dolomite 5 is a good bike, really easy to ride, great value for money and above all - fun. The frame might not be as refined as others on the market but it does the job and to be fair that's reflected in the price once you take the kit level into account. As far as competition goes, it basically rides just like an Equilibrium but more aggressive and a bit edgier, a 'hot hatch' version if you like. Kinesis' TK3 shares the performance but has a suppler frame and is better for longer days in the saddle. You do pay for it though as the kit level is lower and it'll cost you another £170 for the privilege.
So in a nutshell, if all year performance on a budget is what you're after the Pinnacle Dolomite 5 needs to be near if not the top of your list. I for one don't really want to give it back.
Rapid all weather performance machine that'll bring a grin to your face and a rattle to your fillings.
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Make and model: Pinnacle Dolomite Five
Size tested: 54
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame: Pinnacle 6061-T6 heat-treated aluminium alloy
Fork: Carbon blades / 1 1/8 inch aluminium steerer, guard eyelets
Front Derailleur: Shimano 105 FD-5700
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105 RD-5700
Shifters: Shimano 105 ST-5700
Chainset: FSA Gossamer 34-50T
Bottom Bracket: FSA External
Cassette: Shimano CS-4600 12-25T
Chain: KMC nickel finish
Brakes: Tektro R539 57mm deep-drop
Handlebars: Pinnacle DB Aluminium shallow-drop bar, 125mm drop, 70mm reach, 440mm width
Stem: Pinnacle SL Road Ahead stem, 120mm
Headset: Prestine integrated for 41.2mm ID
Grips: Shock-proof dual-density microfibre tape
Wheels: Shimano RS-10 wheel set
Tyre: Kenda Kriterium K1029 25c
Saddle: FWE Race men's, black
Seatpost: Pinnacle micro-adjust Aluminium
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?
The Pinnacle is an all rounder which is ideal for winter training, commuting and general riding duties which is pretty much Evans' intention if you read their blurb.
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The overall quality of the frame is good with a decent paint job and looks impressive. This level of kit gets the most out of it but its not worth upgrading as its pretty much at its limit at this price point.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
6061-T6 aluminium alloy which has high strength, good workability and corrosion resistance.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Its setup to be quick but with enough slack to take mudguards and give neutral handling in all conditions.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Pretty much perfect for me, a 56cm is the upper limit of what I can ride comfortably but the Dolomite fit like a glove.
Stack height and reach are included on the pdf link above.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes and no, on a decent surface yes everything was fine. The finishing kit gave a decent level of comfort and the position was good. Once the surface deteriorates so does the comfort.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Borderline too stiff.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Very well indeed and yes very efficient.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
A bit with guards on.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral, very composed.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The handling was well balanced regardless of speed although rough surfaces could throw the bike off line.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The tyres soaked up some of the road buzz as did the saddle but the minimal bar tape did little to help out at the front.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The underlying stiffness comes from the frame and the components matched it. There is very little flex from the Gossamer chainset or handlebars.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Everything works well together to be fair, you could change things like tyres for lighter faster alternatives but then you're negating the durability for all weather riding.
.......providing its smooth.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
Shimano 105 is a great groupset in terms of quality and value. The FSA Gossamer also works well and looks more expensive than it actually is.
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 have stood up to the conditions well, weather wise and terrain. In the long term though I'd consider a decent set of 32H handbuilts especially for the winter.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The bars, stem and seatpost are all Pinnacle branded items and while not flash are all good performers. The bars have a decent amount of drop to be able to get low enough for a bit of flat sprint work.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Very much, I don't really want to give it back.
Would you consider buying the bike? Yep.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Without hesitation.
Age: 34 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting, Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Sarto Rovigo
I've been riding for: 10-20 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,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!