Review by Grant
I had been intrigued by the Pinarello Dogma K8-S since its release, but had always deemed it a bike most suited to cobbled or rough surfaces. As little of my road cycling involves this, I never thought that the K8-S would be anything more than another interesting frame design to be admired.
Reading a couple of magazine reviews had sustained my interest in the Dogma K8-S, so when the chance arose to ride one, it seemed to be too good an opportunity to miss.
Before heading out on a ride, l was keen to learn a little more about the K8-S. Being able to look at the bike up close, it was possible to pick out some of the subtle design details that Pinarello had included.
The Dogma K8-S is formed from the same 1100k high modulus carbon that is used for the F8. The K8-S frame design incorporates a specific shaping into the carbon fibre stays, to enable a greater degree of directional flexibility than that of a conventional rear triangle. These work in conjunction with an elastomer shock located behind the seat tube. The shock can be made more or less firm by adjusting a dial that forms part of its outer case. I understand that this adjustment can be carried out using a specific tool, supplied by Pinarello.
The seat post of both the Dogma K8-S and F8 are secured in position via 2.5mm Allen bolts at the rear of the seat tube. The K8-S incorporates three of these, the F8 has two. This subtle detail is in keeping with how the K8-S allows the rider to remain seated and pedal through cobbled or rough surfaces.
The front end of the K8-S is very similar to the Dogma F8, incorporating the distinct asymmetric aero shaping in this area of the bike. On checking out the numbers, certain angles and tube lengths do differ from the F8. These adjustments equate to a slight increase in stack height and a longer fork rake. I would interpret that these subtle adjustments serve to complement the bump absorbing qualities of the bike’s rear triangle.
The gloss red-matt carbon colour scheme is striking and the standard of the finish is very high. This level of finish quality is consistent in the Pinarello bikes I have either viewed or owned. There are three other colour options to choose from, or Pinarello’s “Myway” offers the potential to create your own scheme.
I was keen to head out, and a minor tweak to saddle position was all that was needed. This particular Dogma K8-S was fitted out with Shimano Dura Ace Di2 groupset, and it’s gear shift is effortless. Other build options are available based on either Shimano or Campagnolo components.
The wheels on this bike were Fulcrum Racing Zero’s. I had heard nothing other than praise for these wheels in relation to performance and reliability, so I was quite looking forward to trying them out. They felt good, picking up speed quickly, and they complemented the bike’s accurate steering. The Racing Zero’s felt robust, in keeping with the bike’s ability to ride over cobbles and the like. The wheels were clad in 25mm wide tyres, which seemed perfect for the K8-S.
The Dogma F8 is a bike that I really like, and have spent quite a lot of time riding. With this being the case, the K8-S had a lot to live up to, but it was also helpful when searching out the differences in the two bikes, and what these meant when out riding.
The bump absorbing ability of the K8-S is easy to recognise as soon as it is taken through sections of rough or broken Tarmac. When on the flat or ascending, I found that distributing my weight evenly, or slightly more to the back of the bike seemed to optimise the frame and fork. The K8-S enables speed to be sustained more constantly, over that of a more conventional design. This could also be felt when descending, as pace could be sustained through uneven or broken surfaces and the ride felt very precise and smooth.
Although it would be wrong for me to claim any amount of ability when it comes to sprinting, I find that the Dogma F8 feels quick and efficient when a change in pace is needed. This responsiveness can be felt during efforts in and out of the saddle.
The K8-S felt as quick during seated accelerations, and the bike’s bump absorption allows you to be less picky regarding when you do this. The K8-S then allows the speed to be carried as changes in the surface occur.
During a full-on out of the saddle sprint, it was possible to feel the rear of the K8-S compress. This could be felt on flat terrain and climbs. This was quite minimal, and for me, is not an issue, but if your riding has a leaning to lots of changes in pace and quick accelerations, the F8 could be the optimum choice.
I love to head into the hills and mountains for my cycling. This can vary between rolling terrain to the super steep climbs within the UK and Europe. The K8-S is the bike Team Sky use on the short, steep climbs of the Northern Classics, but I had no reference for how it would perform on the climbs more typical of our riding.
This particular Dogma K8-S was fitted out with a compact chainset and a cassette incorporating 28T. Although I generally use a semi-compact, the gearing on the K8-S suited my preference to stay seated when climbing until the gradient or change in pace prompts me to stand on the pedals. The K8-S is perfect for this, as it’s made it possible to sustain greater consistency when pedalling. It’s bump absorption took away much of the need to adjust the pedal stroke when riding over surfaces that normally prompt the rider to do so. As such, the ride felt fast and smooth.
When riding out of the saddle, it was possible to notice a slight compression in the rear of the bike. Again, this was minimal, and for me, was easily outweighed by the other ride qualities of the K8-S.
Would I choose a Dogma K8-S over an F8? Yes. The F8 is a fabulous bike, which I love riding, but for the cycling I do, the Dogma K8-S is the one.
My cycling has shifted towards longer, endurance orientated rides . The K8-S has the precise handling of the F8, but provides a touch more comfort, and is just that bit better in virtually all of the situations that feature in my riding. Due to that, I would readily forego the racier efficiencies of the F8.