21-year-old Brit Andy Fenn won a bronze medal in the under 23 men's road race at the 2011 world championships, capping off an impressive first year as a professional cyclist. A former member of the British Cycling Academy, Fenn excels on track and road with many junior and under 23 titles to his name, including the 2008 junior Paris-Roubaix and 2010 U23 national championship.
His first year with An Post-Sean Kelly has seen him start to find his feet in the pro peloton, and although so much has changed around him, one factor has remained constant. Since joining Liverpool Mercury at 16, Andy Fenn has ridden Dolan bikes, culminating in his current team issue An Post-Sean Kelly Dolan Ares.
Perhaps Terry Dolan subscribes to the belief that if something looks right, it often is, because the Ares looks pleasantly simple, but in a restrained and purposeful way. There are no superfluous lines or shapes in evidence, just unfussy tubes.
The conical head tube outlines the Dolan fork’s tapered steerer with 1 1/8” to 1 1/2” bearings and the increased steering precision it provides. That in turn flows in to the triangular aero down tube, and the round top tube, which is adorned with a Union Flag to celebrate Fenn’s last British championship win. The seat post and seat stays are also round in profile, but lead to the most obviously engineered part of the frame, the chain stays. These are oversized and boxy near the bottom bracket, becoming round towards the dropouts, and are intended to maximise power transmission to the rear wheel.
Don’t let the frame’s simple looks deceive you. It may not be the lightest frame on the market, weighing in at around 1.2kg for a 48cm frame, or the most glamorous, but listen to the recommendations from those who consider the Ares as their office.
In Andy Fenn’s five years on Dolan bikes, this is by far the best he’s had. It is also the only race frame he has used this year. It has survived crashes, the U23 Paris-Roubaix (where he was fifth following an untimely puncture), a full race programme, and all the power Fenn can produce. An Post has several very strong riders, and has had no complaints, even on the Belgian cobbles.
3T provides the aluminum bar, stem, seat post and bar tape. The drive train is SRAM Red with a BB30 bottom bracket, a Force cassette and Gore Ride On cables, which are used for the internally cabled frame. Fenn’s track beginnings mean he prefers a 6 degree negative rise 140mm stem to help him stay as low as possible, and 175mm cranks help to maximise the tall youngster’s leverage.
An Post uses British-made Hope Hoops RS-SP 5.0c carbon tubulars, which are not often seen, but shouldn’t be underestimated. 50mm deep carbon tubular rims are laced to Hope’s Pro 3 SP hubs by hand, and the riders use them for most races, finding them strong, fast and reliable with consistent braking over most courses. Continental tubulars provide the grip, San Marco a Regal saddle, and Speedplay the pedals.
The Ares offers An Post’s riders a tough, fast and classy bike, which has been proven competitive over every race in the team’s mixed programme. But unlike too many ProTeam machines, this one won’t break the bank.
This article originally appeared on BikeRadar