Pinarello FP5

Pinarello has won more Tour de France events than many companies have even participated in. Over the years, the Treviso-located bike company has made race-winning frames in every material imaginable; steel, aluminum, carbon/aluminum, magnesium, and now, of course, full carbon. Despite the name and legacy, the Pinarello FP5 is an Asian-made frame, but one with the distinctive curvy style that is the signature of Fausto Pinarello.

THE FRAME

As Asia’s carbon manufacturing prowess has continued to come of age, so to has their ability to churn out once improbable mold shapes. The FP5 is a shape maker’s dream with nary a single tube of the straight variety.

Pinarello offers two models of the same frame, differing only in the type of carbon weave finish. The FP5 uses a wider 12k weave which is not as common as the narrower 3k weave. As ‘over’ as we are with all the cosmetic carbon weave finishes these days, the wider design is a bit less common. Either way, we’d just as soon choose one of the painted versions (red, blue, white or pink).  

Without a doubt the one thing that does set the FP5 apart from the sea of carbon bikes is the wildly styled Onda fork and seatstay. The curvaceous Onda tubes are a Pinarello signature that runs throughout their higher-end line of race bikes as well. Beyond its ornate styling, the Onda design is intended to reduce road shock.

THE NUMBERS
The FP5 is available in eight different sizes (the 42.5 and 46 cm frames use a sloping top tube). Pinarello claims an 1150-gram weight  (for a size 54cm) so our 55 cm test frame would be just a tad heavier. You’ll find parallel 73-degree seat and head angles along with a 40.5-centimeter chainstay, 56-centimeter top tube and 99-centimeter wheelbase.

THE PARTS

The Pinarello FP5 uses a mixed set of components (Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain and Ultegra brakes with a Most carbon crankset. All did their job well.

The FP5 was spec’d with a full range of the little-known MOST brand of hard parts, which are pretty straightforward. Carbon wrapped, sure, but not much to write home about. The carbon arms of the MOST Linx compact crank did seem definitely stiff enough to get the job done.

Pinarello had to make some price concessions somewhere in order to hit the sub $3500 price point. Parts mixing is a common method bike builders use to both drive performance and dealer floor appeal while chipping away at the price wherever they can. The FP5 achieves its mix by using a Shimano Ultegra brake and Dura-Ace drivetrain combo. At the end of the day we’d gladly take the lower-priced Shimano binders and live with the underwhelming MOST stem/seatpost/stem and saddle combo. Good brakes are a good thing and the Ultegra brakes work great.

THE RIDE
Thanks to the compact crank and 12×27 rear gear spread, even the more climbing-challenged among us found the Pinarello a joy to climb. Yeah, we know, like all of you we’re supposed to only ride in the big ring, usually in a cog no bigger than the 14. Keep dreaming. The Compact gearing is so efficient on the climbs that after a few rides it’s hard to go back to regular gearing. So it turns out Compact gearing actually serves a purpose and makes riding more enjoyable-who knew?

Test riders were willing to give credit to the MOST Croxover oversized bottom bracket for helping to provide bottom end stiffness under hard sprint.  

The curved Onda fork is a Pinarello signature.

Italy has a huge tradition of public rides called Gran Fondos where up to 7000 cyclists of all talents show up to ride. In fact, Pinarello sponsors a large one every July. Safe to say, a lot of those riders are on the more ‘mature side,’ and despite being a bit older they still love all the trappings of youth and performance cycling. The Pinarello FP5 is the bike for them.

THE VERDICT
Aged Gran Fondo riders notwithstanding, the FP5 proved to be a pocket rocket for the young set as well. At 18 pounds it’s not considered a carbon lightweight, but all that is soon forgotten by the power pulse the bike puts out under a good effort. Strangely, the FP5 seemed to gain speed when hitting bumps. It just wants to accelerate. Other than the bike’s predictable preference to occasionally veer rightward when we took our hands off the bars, the handling was spot on.

Price: $3,450
Weight: 18.1 pounds
Contact: www.pinarellousa.com