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Review: Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2

By:
James Huang
Published:
October 22, 2012, 10:00 BST,
Updated:
April 10, 2013, 23:04 BST
Pinarello outfits the Dogma 65.1 Think 2 with a tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" front end.

Pinarello outfits the Dogma 65.1 Think 2 with a tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" front end.

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Cyclingnews Verdict:

Rating:
100 out of 100

Incredibly refined with otherworldly ride quality

This article was originally published on BikeRadar

Pinarello's new Dogma 65.1 Think 2 flagship may have an awkwardly long name but you forget all about it once you're out on the open road. Despite what has always felt like overwrought hyperbole and hype, it seems the generous praise that has surrounded Sky's curiously curvaceous team-issue rig is all true. Few – if any – superbikes we've ridden in the past can match the Dogma 65.1 Think 2's freakishly improbable combination of ride quality, stiffness, and handling.

Ride and handling: magic in two-wheeled form

It's difficult to describe in words the rolling contradiction that is the Dogma 65.1 Think 2.

On the one hand, it's remarkably smooth on rough pavement and even flattens out nastier bumps like frost heave while still maintaining a firm and racy personality. However, while bikes this comfortable are also often lacking in road feel, the Dogma 65.1 Think 2 somehow manages to still send a steady stream of information through the handlebars and saddle as to what's going on down at the tire contact patches.

For example, one of our typical test routes involves a long stretch of irritating chip seal that can typically buzz your hands into lifeless stumps on an ultra-stiff machine. However the rough texture was barely noticeable on the Dogma 65.1 Think 2, gliding across the pavement as if it were fresh blacktop but yet still letting us know the ground below was less than ideal – almost as if you were watching the whole thing from afar on HD.

Likewise, the bike is at the same time inordinately comfortable but yet exceedingly efficient, not so much getting the job done with brutally obvious rigidity but more with a stealthy and highly refined quickness that's somewhat muted by the eerily capable vibration damping. The Dogma 65.1 Think 2's impressive stiffness doesn't so much slap you in the face as it does brush your cheek with a feather and despite the subtler approach, we still found ourselves absolutely flying on familiar short-but-steep pitches that require a quick burst of power. Moreover, that smoothness also left us feeling fresher – and faster – at the end of longer rides, particularly ones involving lots of dirt roads.

That rigidity isn't just isolated to the back end, either, as the ultra-stout front end also helps define the Dogma 65.1 Think 2's otherwise standout quality: the precise and predictable handling. At moderate speeds, the bike feels unusually agile with a turn-in that requires the utmost in attention – the bike doesn't so much want to lean into turns as it wants to dive bomb them with an aggressive turn-in. However, higher velocities thankfully mellow the Dogma 65.1 Think 2 out a bit with better – but not amazing – stability to help keep things calm when in a full tuck or swooping through corners.

That all being said, Pinarello's latest Dogma iteration may be lighter than its predecessor but it's still a bit heavier than some other modern superbikes. Our accelerated test period unfortunately didn't allow time for our usual teardown procedures but Pinarello claims 920g for a "raw" 54cm sample. Add in the bike's typically generous coats of flashy paint plus the requisite derailleur hangers and seatpost collar and you're easily over the 1kg mark.

In addition, the requisite fork comes in around 370g and the proprietary carbon fiber seatpost isn't particularly svelte at nearly 200g.

Unless weight is your primary concern, though, it's easy to forget that there's any additional mass beneath you. If that's the price to be paid for such awesome refinement, that seems like a worthwhile trade-off.

Frame: asymmetry taken to the extreme

Asymmetrical chain stays and seat tubes are the norm these days but Pinarello has taken the concept to extreme measures on this latest Dogma. Even the top tube is shifted slightly towards the driveside in order to offset inherent differences in how forces are applied to the frame – or at least that's what Pinarello says. If that's the secret to the Dogma 65.1 Think 2's uncanny ride quality then so be it, but it's certainly a tough pill to swallow.

We were similarly skeptical initially about the frame's characteristically wavy fork blades and seat stays but in this case, there actually seems to be some substance afoot. In theory, such abrupt changes in cross-sectional area and shape helps to attenuate certain vibrational frequencies and it sure seems to work – exceptionally well, we might add – despite how hokey the concept sounds on paper. In fact, Orbea has adopted a similar concept on its latest Orca stays.

The wavy legs on Pinarello's Onda carbon fork aren't just for show

The wavy legs on Pinarello's Onda carbon fork aren't just for show

Aside from the even more asymmetrical tube shaping relative to the previous Dogma 2, the new model's biggest changes are a move to Torayca's more advanced 65-ton carbon fiber material (hence the bike's awkward name) and a newly convertible internal routing setup that accommodates either conventional mechanical cables or electronic wires with a series of interchangeable, bolt-on ports scattered throughout the frame's surface.

Other tech tidbits include the use of polystyrene internal molds for better fiber compaction and a more consistent internal tube finish, nanotube-enhanced resins that supposedly boost impact strength, and a tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" head tube. Surprisingly, Pinarello outfits the Dogma 65.1 Think 2 with a conventional Italian-threaded bottom bracket.

Equipment: Awesome Campagnolo electronic shifting and rock-solid alloy clinchers

US importer Gita Sporting Goods spared little expense on our loaner, dressing the Dogma 65.1 Think 2 with a Campagnolo Super Record EPS electronic group, Campagnolo Shamal Ultra medium-section aluminum wheels wrapped in Continental Force and Attack clincher tires, and a host of carbon fiber finishing kit from Pinarello house brand Most. Total weight without pedals or bottle cages was 6.85kg (15.1lb) but swapping in a set of low-profile carbon tubulars could easily bring the figure closer to 6.5kg (14.3lb).

Our initial impressions of Campagnolo's Super Record EPS electronic group hasn't changed since we first rode the stuff back in November. In short, it's still flat-out amazing with impeccable shift accuracy, smoothness, and consistency but with the tactile feedback at the short-throw levers that heretofore is lacking in Shimano's Di2 system. Moreover, the drivetrain was whisper-quiet with nary a noticeable hum on those rare occasions when our forward progress was perfectly matched by an encouraging tailwind.

As expected, braking performance was outstanding with the mixed dual-pivot/single-pivot calipers and generous machined aluminum brake track on the Shamal Ultra rims. Initial bite was aggressive without being overly grabby, modulation was smooth and predictable, and lever feel was communicative and firm, just as it should be.

Some readers might be disappointed to see aluminum clinchers included here but any real-world disadvantage would be mostly imagined, aside from aerodynamic performance. Overall stiffness with the meaty rims and fat bladed aluminum spokes was superb both laterally and in torsion, lending to the chassis's excellent handling and drivetrain efficiency. Moreover, the front and rear-specific Attack and Force clinchers are impressively supple and offer excellent grip and ride quality.

Unfortunately, we weren't quite as enamored with the Most bits on our tester. While the integrated cockpit looks sleek, the overly shallow compact bend doesn't provide much difference in body position between the hoods and the drops – not exactly ideal for a full-blown race rig. Moreover, Most has conveniently provided bolt-on covers on the underside of the bar that conceal the cables and allow for fashionably bare tops but the surface is too slippery in that state for our liking, plus the covers themselves have annoyingly sharp edges that occasionally nicked our fingertips. We'd strongly advise wrapping the bars as usual here.

In following with current fashion, Pinarello left the oversized tops untaped on our Dogma 65.1 Think 2

In following with current fashion, Pinarello left the oversized tops untaped on our Dogma 65.1 Think 2

The Catopuma saddle was agreeable enough – it's similar in feel to Selle Italia SLR Flow profile – but the proprietary carbon fiber seatpost's twin-bolt head leaves much to be desired as the forward bolt can only be access with an open-ended box wrench. Annoyingly, there is no Allen-head fitting (or hole in the top of the mast) for access from below, nor can you reach a tool through a cutout saddle from above.

Finally, there's the issue of the Dogma 65.1 Think 2's price tag. There's simply no other way to put it – it's astronomical. Suggested retail price for the frame, fork, and headset is US$5,300 while the complete build we tested costs a jaw-dropping US$12,500. If you can afford it, what you get in return is an utterly extraterrestrial ride quality, enviable efficiency, and an undeniably distinctive look but no one will ever accuse the Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2 of being a good value.

Value be damned, though – mortgage the house, liquidate the 401k, put your kids in community college, and go buy one.

Price: US$5,300 (frame, fork, headset, and seatpost); US$12,500 (complete bike, without pedals, as tested)
Weight: 6.85kg (15.1lb), without pedals; 920g (claimed, "raw" 54cm frame)
Cyclingnews verdict: 5 stars
More information: www.pinarello.com

Complete bicycle specifications

Frame: Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think2
Available sizes: 43.5, 45.5, 48, 51.5 (tested), 53, 54.5, 55, 56.5, 57.5, 59, 61, 63.5cm
Fork: Pinarello Onda Carbon 65HM1K
Headset: Pinarello, 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" tapered
Stem: Pinarello Most Talon 1K Compact integrated
Handlebars: Pinarello Most Talon 1K Compact integrated
Tape/grips: Pinarello
Front brake: Campagnolo Super Record Skeleton dual pivot
Rear brake: Campagnolo Super Record Skeleton single pivot
Brake levers: Campagnolo Ultra-Shift Super Record EPS
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
Shift levers: Campagnolo Ultra-Shift Super Record EPS
Cassette: Campagnolo Super Record, 12-25T
Chain: Campagnolo Record 11s
Crankset: Campagnolo Super Record Ultra-Torque CT, 34/50T
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Ultra-Torque OS-Fit
Pedals: n/a
Wheelset: Campagnolo Shamal Ultra
Front tire: Continental GP Attack, 700x22mm
Rear tire: Continental GP Force, 700x24mm
Saddle: Pinarello Most Catopuma
Seat post: Pinarello carbon