First Ride: Pinarello F10 – Bike Magazine Australia

When Chris Froome’s Team Sky team-mates take the line at the Tour Down Under next week, they’ll be piloting Pinarello’s newest premium race bike: the F10. 

The new frame picks up where the previous (and still available) F8 leaves off: It has the same geometry as the F8, and retains the aero shaping and subtle asymmetric frame design. Of course, there are also some updates: The bike has a bit more aerodynamic refinement and a nod toward a lighter and stiffer chassis—Pinarello claims a 12.6 per cent improvement in aerodynamics at the downtube bottle, and a seven per cent increase in stiffness-to-weight, compared to the F8. Designers cut weight through the carbon layup, reduced wall thicknesses, and larger tube diameters.  It will be available in rim brake versions only.

Pinarello believes that the F8 is the best race bike in the world, and to improve on it, it was competing with itself. As such, it was determined to keep all the good aspects of the F8 and build on that bike’s strengths. The F10 is aimed at being a great all-rounder: It’s good for road racing and general purpose riding, and it’s not a super-light, weight-weenie machine. The handling of the F10 has the same crisp and targeted precision as the F8. It also retains the same slightly rumbly ride qualities of its stiff-but-not-too-stiff predecessor. It receives a new downtube shape designed to stiffen the bike up under load, but not take away the ability to mute the ride. A kink above the downtube water bottle sinks the bottle lower, shielding it from the air a bit for modest benefits in the wind tunnel. It also houses a removable cover that’s convenient for fitting electronics from Shimano or Campagnolo in a concealed but accessible place. The battery for those systems is still hidden in the seatpost. 

New to the F10 are aero details borrowed from the Bolide and F8, including the bulbous shaping of the area around the fork tips and refinements to the seat tube and stays. An Italian-threaded bottom bracket means almost any crank on the market will fit and remain creak-free. The fork nestles into the front of the bike on a tapered 1-1/2—1-1/8th headset.  Carbon dropouts hold a replaceable hanger for quick fixes. And in an interesting twist, the front derailleur tab is removable for a clean look with 1x drivetrains. The frame will fit up to a 25mm tyre—an interesting choice as we see other manufacturers move wider rubber on their all-rounder models. When asked about the lack of disc brakes in an era when most major manufacturers are going all-in on disc models, Pinarello pointed to the F8 Disk introduced this past summer, and the ongoing K8-S Disk models as offerings for those who want the better stoppers. 

A bare frame (no paint or hardware, size 53) weighs in at 820 grams; one can expect to add about 200+ grams back onto a rideable model with hardware and paint choice. Bottle cages can be positioned in one of two locations (higher or lower) on the seat tube for either a more ergo or aero positioning. It’s available in 13 sizes, 42—62cm, and will be available as a bare frameset or full bikes in various builds, multiple colors, plus Team Sky and Team Wiggins replica models. 

After about 45 miles on the F10 in and around Catania on the east coast of Sicily (and countless hours on the F8 last summer nearer to home), it was easy to see how the company retained the ride of such a popular bike like the F8 and at the same time give it more zing. To the casual rider, the ride varies little from the F8—and that’s a good thing. The F8 was, and still is, one of the most excellent pure ProTour bikes available to the masses. Like the F8, the F10 has crisp (but not particular) steering, and an uncanny ability to slightly smooth the road.The roads in Cantania aren’t in the best of shape; they change quickly from smooth tarmac to gravelly, broken pavement and back. In these challenging conditions, the F10 shone. It kept its line easily through the tightest apexes, and needed little more than an easy nudge to swap positions on the road. It held its own while being lashed on the longest steady climb of the day, and felt steady under power. It soaked up vibration as well as its predecessor and handled marvelously—all in all, a worthy successor to the best-selling Pinarello of all time.

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