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by Dave Everett
April 5, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos, Shane Stokes
Unless you haven’t had internet access over the past couple days you’ll have seen Pinarello’s new bike that they hope will deliver a Sky rider to the top of the podium for the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. The new frameset is called the Dogma K8-S. Much has already been written about the development of the bike and Pinarello’s partnership with Jaguar in this development process.
One man who has had a helping hand in its development is Bradley Wiggins. He spoke with the press on the lead up to Flanders about the new bike and waxed lyrical about the claimed benefits.
“I did testing on it through the winter, the prototype, doing the recons for Roubaix on it,” he said, insisting that it was more than just hype. “The different is unbelievable. It is really hard to describe until you are actually on those cobbles at 50, 60 kilometres per hour, hitting Arenberg at full tilt…[feeling] the vibration that goes through the bike.
Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe will be among the first of Team Sky race the new Pinarello Dogma K8-S at the Tour of Flanders. The mechanical rear suspension system (named the DSS 1.0) features a elastomer rear shock and flexible flat carbon chainstays to take the edge off the cobbles.
“This thing, it changes the whole feel of it so much. It is the first bike that is specifically made for the demands of this event, in terms of aerodynamics and comfort of the bike. In previous years people have added Rockshocks and this that and the other, modified the current bikes, but they were never done to this degree, with this investment and this time.”
Wiggins said that it was still necessary to have the legs for the race and to work hard in the buildup. However he believes if that has been done, the bike could then give an edge. “When you get to 240 kilometres, when you hit Carrefour de l’Arbre, everyone is dead. At that point in the race it is just an effort to get to the end of the cobbles and that is where something like this bike will just make the difference.
“We saw in Gent-Wevelgem last week that in the last ten kilometres, Geraint was dropping Vanmarcke on slight downhills just through having the legs. If that was on cobbles, they wouldn’t still be there [on his wheel]…it would be worse than dropping them.
“Adding something like that bike on to it just takes you to another level. So I think it is a game changer.”
The Dogma-K8-S has an integrated suspension system, named the DSS 1.0, Dogma Suspension System. It works in conjunction with the flexible flat carbon chain stays or, as Pinarello have called them, Flexstays. The frame comes in at a surprisingly whispy 990g.
The company has claimed that they feel the DOGMA K8-S could reshape the world of road racing. They say the bike absorbs only the necessary shock of the road, thus allowing you to keep pedallng regularly with optimum power and precision.
Big claims, but if they work then it is something which will likely be emulated by others. Wiggins was asked if he felt that in a year’s time all the teams might be on the same kind of systems.
“It is funny,” he answered. “If you go back to last June and when they launched the [Pinarello] F8… As beautiful as a bike as it is, there was a lot of hurrah about that as being a game changer, but I think it has one win in four months. It just shows you that the bike is just one part of it, you still have to have the legs.
“It is not all about the bike, as Lance once said. You still have to have it physically, to have put the work in. But if you add that on the end as we have done this week, it could make the difference.”
So is this going to make a splash in the road cycling world, or will it go the same way as US Postal’s suspension Trek frame that they used back in 2005?
The ‘Pilot’ model had a similar idea and technology dubbed the SPA or Suspension Performance Advantage. It was a simple elastomer spring in the chain stays that allowed up to 13mm of travel.
Trek’s SPA technology introduced in 2005 was said to reduce road shock and provided increased traction for a more efficient transfer of power. The lightweight suspension unit built into the seatstays is a simple elastomer spring that provides 13mm of travel and doesn’t rely on articulating pivots for suspension action. As seen here, George Hincapie and others in team Discovery were on these bikes for Paris Roubaix in 2006 where Hincapie was a favourite. Unfortunately his headtube snapped and cut his chances short.
In that year’s Roubaix it carried George Hincapie to second place behind ex-team mate Tom Boonen, but the idea was not retained in future editions of the race. Time, or the outcome of this year’s Flanders and Roubaix, will determine if Pinarello’s new development is a once off or if it will persist.
Editor’s note: The “Cushion Frame” design was patented in 1899 and was introduced in 1900 by Barnes Cycle Co. See here for more information on the history of this “evolutionary” design.” Hat-tip to Keith Dougal of velo-porte.com.