I rode the Pinarello Dogma F12 a little more than a year after its debut at the Giro d’Italia. In fact, stages of the 2019 Giro were being rebroadcast as I took the bike out for test rides. The pro racing might have been reheated, but the bike was still fresh. My test model was painted in one of the new colours for this year: blue steel.
What strikes me about this elite aero road bike, one that has climbed to the top of mountains in the Tour de France and its podium, is some of its democratic tendencies. It comes in 13 sizes. You can also choose a frame that runs disc brakes or classic rim brakes, such as the Shimano Dura-Ace direct mount stoppers on my test rig. If you’re prepared to invest in a high-end bike, you’ll be able to find just the setup that suits you.
I usually ride a size 54 frame, but with Pinarello’s geometry, a 515 bike fits well. It came outfitted with the Italian company’s Talon Ultra integrated bar/stem. The Talon first appeared in 2015; its one-piece construction greatly improved aerodynamics up front. The Talon Ultra manages to cut five per cent more drag when compared with the previous Talon Aero. The new component gets those performance gains, in part, with better routing of cables and hoses via a new channel. The Talon I tested was 42-cm wide and had a stem 110-mm long. Those numbers usually work for me, and can be a touch too big on some bikes. With the Talon Ultra, however, I felt I could have used a slightly wider bar and longer stem. There are 10 Talon Ultra configurations available to Canadians.
Bolts and gripes
With the Dogma F8 I tested a few years ago, I remember disliking the two 2.5-mm Allen bolts you’d have to twist to secure the seatpost. I felt they were always a turn away from getting stripped: something that could ruin your cycling trip soon after you got your machine out of its bike bag. The Dogma F12 uses two small Torx T15 bolts. If you’ll forgive another “too many standards” gripe, I rolled my eyes when I saw this fastener head. Why Pinarello? (In a world where I dictate standards, I’d get patriotic and spec all bikes with Robertson heads.) I must admit, though, that for such a small fastener, the T15 twists well, provided you have the right bit and torque wrench.
The handling of the F12 is familiar. Like the F8, the F12 has a lively feel. It can flick into a corner quite quickly, and then hold steady throughout the turn. On a tempo ride, the bike cut through the air as I turned the Dura-Ace cranks. The F12 felt lively going up the climbs, too. Really, I wasn’t surprised, but the type of speed and performance that the Dogma F12 has is always fresh.
Pinarello Dogma F12
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with 52/36-tooth crankset and 11–28 tooth cassette, direct-mount Dura-Ace rim brakes, integrated Talon Ultra bar/stem
Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon UST
420, 440, 465, 470, 500, 515, 530, 540, 550, 560, 575, 595, 620
$8,500 (rim-brake frameset)