You might think a brand new, thoroughbred, raceable, Italian bike with an evocative name and an enviable competition pedigree is way beyond your means.
If the words "Would you like fries with that?" feature heavily in your daily working routine then it probably is. However, if you can scrape together £1,500 then you most certainly can equip yourself with a machine that offers all of the above - and possibly a little bit more.
Ride & handling: fun, if you stay focused
The Pinarello FP2 has a genuine racer feel. You know exactly what’s going on underneath those wheels as the stiff aluminium frame lets you read the road conditions like braille. The carbon seatstay provides a small reprieve from road buzz but that’s all. It’s not a harsh frame, but it certainly doesn’t carry the cruiser comfort that you get with some competitor bikes.
It’s incredibly quick to respond to rider input and changes direction in an instant. The FP2’s race orientated angles and geometry force the bike to come alive: you only have to think about a turn and the bike is there. You’ve got to keep your wits about you when really going for it though, or you will come unstuck. It’s this feel that makes bikes like the Pinarello such a fun ride, the FP2 will make you sprint against mates, lean hard into corners and have you thinking you’re the new Pantani.
At 8.6kg/19lb for the 60cm tested, the FP2 is not the lightest bike in its class, but it doesn’t feel heavy either – testament to the frame, fork and geometry. Everything feels right – none of our tester thought they were missing out on the all-carbon ride of other bikes available for this kind of money.
If anything, this bike reminded us what it used to be like to ride ‘proper’ bikes. Bikes of three years ago, non-carbon bikes, bikes that were all about super stiffness and super fast handling. The FP2 feels alive, and though not as smooth as a carbon frame, the payback is an involving ride. It’s not for everyone, but if you like reminiscing then you’ll like the FP2.
Frame: the kind of heritage money can't buy
The Italian-bred, Far East-made Pinarello FP2 has the romance and Tour winning history that many of its bigger competitors would love. It oozes style and racing flair.
The FP2 is actually a rebirth, not a re-labelling of the old Galileo – a bike that near-topped Pinarello’s range three years ago. It does not have an all-carbon frame but there is a smattering of the black stuff.
A carbon seatstay offsets the triple butted 7005 aluminium frame, and this is paired with Pinarello’s signature and rather curvy Onda carbon fork pairs. The FP2 makes an interesting choice because at this price it’s pitted against market-leading carbon bikes.
Equipment: pre-upgraded, so you don't have to
We were a bit taken aback to find a Shimano drivetrain on the Pinarello. A helping of Campagnolo for the FP2 seemed obvious given its Italian roots – if the frame were a spicy meatball sauce, it would’ve been the parmesan topping.
However, style points are the only thing to suffer here and we notice that the European website offers a choice of Shimano Ultegra or Campagnolo Mirage, but not in the UK. Pinarello also fits its own Italian threaded, MOst Linux Aluminium-X compact chainset (Pinarello specs MOst chainsets on all its bikes) that runs on external bearings.
Given the racy nature of the bike it was also surprising to see a compact 34/50T chainset married to a 12-25T cassette. Not the experienced racer’s choice but more user-friendly for the sportive rider.
The rest is taken care of by Pinarello’s branded componentry. The MOst kit does a good job. It’s well made, looks the part and is carefully thought out stuff, not just re-branded, run-of-the-mill stuff ordered from the factory catalogue.
The Duel wheels are the best example: the front 20-spoked radial and rear 24-spoked radial/two cross mix look and perform like a wheelset you’d happily upgrade to.
Even the tyres are in-house rubber and after initial reservations we were pleased that they didn’t throw up any surprises; the Open Corsa-inspired tread held the corners and felt pretty fast.
Stem, bars, saddle and seatpost are all MOst componentry and we didn’t feel a need for upgrades – it all does a good job. It’s obviously designed to balance with the looks of the frame and the Pinarello does have a fully co-ordinated appearance.
Summary: kudos a-plenty, but not to all tastes
There is a broad range of bikes available at the competitive £1,500 price point. The Pinarello, with its Italian style and pedigree, is likely to be a favourite among racers.
There is a lot of fun to be had with this bike, fast race handling isn't for everyone but it can give a great adrenaline rush.
The FP2 responds well to rider input and if you're up for it, rewards you with an involving ride. We also loved the fact that you can buy a racing Pinarello for £1500.