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For Some Reason the Pinarello Dogma F Lives in My Mind Rent Free

Is the Pinarello Dogma F pretty? Is it a top performer? The answer to both is probably no. But for some weird reason I can't stop thinking about this frame and I think I want it. I dive into the reason(s) why.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Features

One of my formative cycling memories happened way back in 2013. I was doing a local Boulder climb called Olde Stage Road, and the foothills were covered in a dense fog, so it felt like I was climbing into a cloud. I was pushing a harder gear than normal and feeling exceptionally strong. Then, on the final and steepest section of the climb, I heard heavy breathing behind me. I looked back and saw a lean and powerful looking rider in an all-black kit accelerating toward me. He gave me a nod as he passed and blasted over the summit like I was standing still. 

I have a theory that this rider was Ian Boswell, who had recently signed for Team Sky. I have no clue who it actually was, but I do know what he was riding — a 2013 Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think2.  

I was in my second year of grad school back then and I had foolishly spent my entire teaching stipend on my Cannondale CAAD10. I liked my aluminum bike a lot, but seeing that Dogma fly by stirred something within me. Compared to the classic round tubes of my CAAD10, the curvy carbon tubes of the Dogma looked like alien technology. I remember thinking, if I ever strike it rich, THAT is the bike I’m getting. 

Pinarello Dogma F[newsletter]

Ever since, the Dogma has been one of those bikes that just seems to live in my head rent free. I never ended up owning a Dogma, but I always take a moment to admire them when one comes through TPC. Since 2013, the Dogma has undergone several updates and revisions, and recently I came across one of the latest versions — a 2021 Dogma F — as it was passing through inspection. Holding this frameset in my hands, I felt that familiar old feeling of desire. 

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A History of Victory

Egan Bernal Tour de FRance Oakley SutroEgan Bernal won the 2019 Tour de France on the previous generation Dogma F12. Photo: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

A big reason the Pinarello Dogma has stuck in my mind is because of its success in racing. It was the most dominant bike at the Tour de France during the previous decade thanks to Team Sky/Ineos. The Dogma has won 7 Tours de France under Bradley Wiggens, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, and Egan Bernal. While it hasn’t won since 2019, it’s hard to forget such a long string of success.     

It isn’t just Team Sky/Ineos though. Pinarello is the most successful bike manufacturer to ever compete in the Tour de France with a total of 16 wins. Other brands at the top of the list — Peugeot (10 wins), L’Auto (10 wins), and Gitane (9 win) — are now either dead or irrelevant, and Trek... well, despite “winning” 9 Tours, they can only officially claim 2.   

Indurain and Ullrich Pinarello time trial bikesMiguel “Big Mig” Indurain (left) and Jan Ullrigh on Pinarello time trial bikes. 10-year-old Bruce thought these were the coolest bikes ever. 

Pinarello took its maiden Tour de France win in 1988 under Pedro Delgado. But it was an unbroken win streak from 1992 to 1997 that really cemented Pinarello’s greatness in my childhood mind. They were ridden by powerhouses like Miguel Indurain, Bjarne Riis, and one of my favorites, Jan Ullrich. Were they all doped to the gills? Yeah, sure. But as a young kid, they all looked like superheroes, and their bikes were all-conquering Batmobiles. 

I was reminded of that feeling when Team Sky was dominating the Tour its all-black kit and bike. To be clear, I wasn’t a Team Sky/Ineos fan. In fact, I found their dominance a bit annoying at the time. But even while I was praying for the infamous “Sky Train” to crumble on key stages, I couldn’t help but admire their distinctive Dogmas. 

Pinarello FerrariDream bike and dream car. Egan Bernal's 2023 Dogma F (Photo: Simon von Bromley ) and the Ferrari SF90. 

As I brand, I like to compare Pinarello to Ferrari. It’s an expensive Italian brand with a reputation built on its racing heritage. Their products may or may not be the best in class, but that’s not always the point. You don’t buy a Ferrari because it’s the fastest car on the track or because it’s the most recent F1 champion. You buy it because it's a Ferrari. 

Likewise, while the latest Dogma has lost some of its all-dominating sheen, it’s still a Pinarello. 

I Like ‘Em Curvy 

Pinarello Onda ForkThose aero fork flaps on the Onda fork are pretty hot.

Due to UCI regulations, road racing bikes tend to converge toward similar-looking designs. This has made modern bikes a bit boring. The Dogma, however, has always managed to stand out, largely thanks to its sometime weird and eye-catching curves. 

Look at the fork legs and you’ll see that they’re wavy rather than straight. Pinarello calls this its “Onda” fork and it’s been a key feature of the Dogma design since its inception in 2000. The curvy design language even extends beyond the fork to the seat stays and top tube. Not only that, but the frame is also asymmetric, with the left and right sides using slightly different shapes. 

Pinarello Dogma F curvesSo what’s the point of the curves? In its marketing language, Pinarello says it “delivers precise turning abilities, stability, and reduction of longitudinal and lateral shocks.” In plain English, the curvy shapes and asymmetric frame add comfort without sacrificing the stiffness needed for precise handling. 

Can this be achieved without the Onda’s curves? Of course. Carbon fiber is extremely tuneable and plenty of competitors build forks and frames that balance stiffness and comfort with straight fork legs and straight frame tubes. But c’mon, that’s just boring.   

I’ve said before that modern bikes need some sort of gimmick to differentiate them from the crowd. Extra curves and kinks in the frame are Pinarello’s. To some, Pinarello’s frame designs can look like abominations designed by David Cronenberg. But to me, they’re striking. 

Pinarello Dogma F curvesLike a good Hollywood character actor, the Dogma isn’t classically beautiful, but it still manages to captivate me. The weird looks are why that old Dogma I saw blowing by me 10 years ago left such a lasting impression. 

Is a Dogma F Worth Buying in 2024?

Pinarello Dogma F logoWhen you fall deep enough into bike addiction, many purchases get made by the heart rather than by the brain. I didn’t buy my current Specialized Aethos because it was the best value or because it excelled in a particular performance category. I bought it because I liked it. 

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For me, the Dogma has always been a “heart bike.” It’s aero, but not the most aero. It’s light, but not the lightest. It’s a bit of an all-rounder, but many would argue that there are much better all-rounders (Tarmac SL8 maybe?). Plus, it’s definitely not cheap. 

Pinarello Dogma F staysThough the latest Dogma F hasn’t won a Tour de France, it’s still likely the best Dogma yet. Compared to the previous Dogma F12 Disc, Pinarello claims that the Dogma F Disc is 11% lighter, 12% stiffer, and nearly 5% more aerodynamic. 

I still contend that weight isn’t everything, but weight was the biggest criticism many had with the previous generation Dogma F12. Team Ineos was one of the last teams still using rim brakes when Egan Bernal won the Tour in 2019 because they were trying to keep the weight competitive. 

With the Dogma F, Pinrello managed to shave 265g (.58 lbs) from the frame. With this, top-end 53cm builds were able to get down the UCI weight limit (6.8kg/14.99 lbs), removing perhaps the biggest barrier stopping bike geeks with big wallets from choosing a Dogma. 

Pinarello Dogma F headbadgeBeyond the heritage, the looks, and the performance, one of the biggest reasons riders choose Pinarello is for the huge amount of sizes they provide. The Dogma F comes in 11 sizes. Most brands offer 5-7 sizes. Doubling the number of sizes means doubling the number of frame molds which greatly increases costs, but for riders who are particular about their bike fit, having so many tweener sizes to choose from can be a godsend. 

So is the Dogma F a good bike? Yeah, definitely. Could you get a better bike for the money? Well, that depends on your definition of “better.” 

Black and silver bikesI guess I have a thing for black and silver...

I’ll say this. I am very, very tempted. This is something I’m only realizing now after drooling over the dark and moody studio shots we took of this frame, but I seem to have a thing for black and silver bikes. This Dogma might literally be made for me. I just wish it were cheaper!

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