Techs-Mechs-Gear: Pinarello Dogma w/Campy EPS Test Report.


My apologies for not getting this up earlier, but the week has been a bit hectic with work on last minute details of the 2012 development projects, as well as initial roll out of 2013 projects.

On a chilly Friday morning, I picked up the Pinarello from Marco, the Product Manager, and set out with a couple guys from Canyon Bicycle to put the bike through some testing.
As we rolled out sipping on coffee and enjoying the morning we all got used to the shifting style of this drivetrain with lots of basic up & down shifts to get the feel of things before we hit the foothills outside of Taichung.

The ergonomics of the brake lever and shifter is essentially matching the mechanical versions currently out there.
I was a bit disappointed by this as there is no adjustment options for the reach of the brake lever of the corresponding lever.
Which is not to say that the ergonomics actually was bad for me, but that there wasn't any way that it could be adjusted for someone with smaller hands to make it more comfortable.

While we were futzing along and going through the basic introductions of each other, I asked my riding partners the style of loop they would prefer to which they replied with a very typical German response of wanting to ride up some hard climb.
Knowing full well neither of them had ever rode a bike in Taiwan, I thought I'd show then some nice local flavor which included 20%+ pitches on roads that are about as wide as a door as I really wanted to toss this bike into some hard corners just to see how it would handle them.

The layout of Taichung is very convenient for riding.
Despite the reality that there is over 2.5 million people living here, you can get out of town and into the foothills in about 20 minutes.
As the road changed into a rolling country road where you needed to shift more often, it became very clear just how amazing the shifting really was.
It was super fast and super sharp.

What makes the EPS different, and in my opinion better, then Di2 was the tactile feel of the shift.
While the Di2 is just as shift perfect in how it operates, the two button approach to me affirms the reality that you are operating something that is a bit farther removed then it once was.
The EPS, on the other hand, creates the illusion that things are not electronic and the shift command is not actually going through some simple processor which is actually controlling your drivetrain.
I know it is not very rational, but to me is just 'feels' better.

The Dogma rolled up the hill like a stiff board.
In some ways this is nice as it delivered power to the rear wheel very effectively, but without any real feeling of a personality.

The first high speed decent was where it became clear this frame is 'all hat & no cattle'.
Every corner it seemed like I was over cooking them as I tried to fight with the frame to simply turn.
This usually happens when the Fork Offset is too small for the Head Angle of the frame; which companies tend to do when they target an older demographic as the a smaller offset creates a bike that is more nimble at slower speeds and at the same time more stable at higher speeds.
This is super great on paper and on the bike up until you are doing 60+ Km/h and you want to actually turn.
Turning, after all, is an action that overcomes stability in order to change direction.
Needless to say, I was unimpressed.

The one current gigantic oversight with the EPS drivetrain is it is 'only' compatible with frames with internal cable routing that is also designed for Di2.
Currently, any frame that has external shifter cables cannot work with this drivetrain.
It has now been four days since I was told this, and I am still in total shock.
After talking to both Marco and a senior engineer, I think they are working on this and some option may come soon.
Which, in Italian time means about August under ideal circumstance.

Overall, the drive train kicked ass, and the frame was a bit meh for what it is competing against.

Photo by Christopher See, who retains all rights, yo!

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