Whether you like the Team Sky paintwork option on our test bike or prefer one of the other palettes available for the FP Quattro, there’s no doubt that having Wiggins and co aboard Pinarellos has spread the recognition of this prestigious brand beyond the tifosi, the Italian fans. Its outstandingly surefooted and inspiring ride proves that it’s well worth the attention of more aggressive riders too.
The FP Quattro shares some design elements – such as asymmetric offside/ driveside tube profiling – with the top end team issue Dogma. Within a few metres of clipping in, it’s obvious the ride is a rock solid, maximum confidence platform to base your riding or even racing ambitions on too.
While the relatively weighty Pinarello sub-brand ‘Most’ componentry – particularly the wheels – make it the heaviest bike here, actual chassis weight is reasonable, and lighter wheels and tyres are a simple upgrade.
The real value of the Pinarello comes from its passionate ride feel, not from weight and wallet-related comparisons. Press on the pedals and the seriously oversized, muscularly shaped down-tube teams up with the big, press-fit bottom bracket block and super thick chainstays to quickly negate the weight. There’s enough give in the frame to keep the rear tyre glued down under hard kicks, and when it came to mid-ride sprints we were always glad to be on the FP Quattro.
The tapered front end with reinforcing bulge around the 1¼in lower bearing and the distinctive wavy-legged Onda fork, proven on Pinarello’s high-end Paris bike, creates an equally surefooted feel up front. As the weather worsened and the descents steepened, the FPQ never flinched, with an inexorably planted, focused feel wherever we took it.
Through tight cornering the handling is outstanding too, dropping into decreasing radius turns without a trace of nerves. Its thuggish attitude to conceding sprints or getting knocked off line does have some impact on ride quality. It’s not enough to make you think about getting better padded shorts as soon as you set off, but you’ll be a lot more aware of the road surface and accumulated miles than on milder mannered bikes.
Highs: Superbly surefooted and confident handling, muscular power delivery and fine-fit sizing options
Lows: Heavy own-brand wheels hold back its full potential on climbs and sprints, and it’s a racer’s machine so long ride comfort suffers
Buy if: You’re a combative and competitive rider who doesn’t mind paying a slight premium in order to get a true Italian thoroughbred
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.