Pro Bike: Andy Fenn's Dolan Ares

A bombproof race machine for An Post’s young flyer

21 year-old Brit Andy Fenn won a bronze medal in the under 23 men's road race at the 2011 world championships, capping off an impressive first year as a professional cyclist.  A former member of the British Cycling Academy, Fenn excels on track and road with many junior and under 23 titles to his name, including the 2008 junior Paris-Roubaix and 2010 U23 National Championship.

His first year with An Post-Sean Kelly has seen him start to find his feet in the pro peloton, and although so much has changed around him, one factor has remained constant. Since joining Liverpool Mercury at 16, Andy Fenn has ridden Dolan bikes, culminating in his current team issue An Post-Sean Kelly Dolan Ares.

Perhaps Terry Dolan subscribes to the belief that if something looks right, it often is, because the Ares looks pleasantly simple, but in a restrained and purposeful way. There are no superfluous lines or shapes in evidence, just unfussy tubes.

Front view of head tube and fork profile: front view of head tube and fork profile
Front view of head tube and fork profile: front view of head tube and fork profile

The conical head tube outlines the Dolan fork’s tapered steerer with 1 1/8” to 1 1/2” bearings and the increased steering precision it provides. That in turn flows in to the triangular aero down tube, and the round top tube, which is adorned with a Union Flag to celebrate Fenn’s last British championship win. The seat post and seat stays are also round in profile, but lead to the most obviously engineered part of the frame, the chain stays. These are oversized and boxy near the bottom bracket, becoming round towards the dropouts, and are intended to maximise power transmission to the rear wheel.

Don’t let the frame’s simple looks deceive you. It may not be the lightest frame on the market, weighing in at around 1.2kg for a 48cm frame, or the most glamorous, but listen to the recommendations from those who consider the Ares as their office.

In Andy Fenn’s five years on Dolan bikes, this is by far the best he’s had. It is also the only race frame he has used this year. It has survived crashes, the U23 Paris-Roubaix (where he was fifth following an untimely puncture), a full race programme, and all the power Fenn can produce. An Post have several very strong riders, and have had no complaints, even on the Belgian cobbles.

3T provide the aluminium bar, stem, seat post and bar tape. The drive train is SRAM Red with a BB30 bottom bracket, a Force cassette and Gore Ride On cables, which are used for the internally cabled frame. Fenn’s track beginnings mean he prefers a 6 degree negative rise 140mm stem to help him stay as low as possible, and 175mm cranks help to maximise the tall youngster’s leverage.

Hope hoops rs-sp 5.0c carbon tubular rim: hope hoops rs-sp 5.0c carbon tubular rim
Hope hoops rs-sp 5.0c carbon tubular rim: hope hoops rs-sp 5.0c carbon tubular rim

An Post use British made Hope Hoops RS-SP 5.0c carbon tubulars, which are not often seen, but shouldn’t be underestimated. 50mm deep carbon tubular rims are laced to Hope’s Pro 3 SP hubs by hand, and the riders use them for most races, finding them strong, fast and reliable with consistent braking over most courses. Continental tubulars provide the grip, San Marco a Regal saddle, and Speedplay the pedals.

The Ares offers An Post’s riders a tough, fast and classy bike, which has been proven competitive over every race in the team’s mixed programme. But unlike too many Pro Team machines, this one won’t break the bank.

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Dolan Ares
  • Fork: Dolan carbon
  • Headset: FSA integrated 1 1/8" - 1 1/2"
  • Stem: 3T ARX-PRO 140mm -6 degrees
  • Handlebars: 3T Rotundo Pro 42cm
  • Tape/grips: 3T
  • Front brake: SRAM Red with carbon specific pads
  • Rear brake: SRAM Red with carbon specific pads
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red Double Tap
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Red
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red Double Tap
  • Cassette: SRAM Force 11-25
  • Chain: SRAM PC 1090
  • Crankset: SRAM Red 53/39 175mm
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM BB30
  • Pedals: Speedplay
  • Wheelset: Hope Hoops RS-SP 5.0c
  • Front tyre: Continental Competition 22mm tubular
  • Rear tyre: Continental Competition 22mm tubular
  • Saddle: San Marco Regal
  • Seat post: 3T Dorico Pro
  • Bottle cages: Dolan aluminium

Critical measurements

  • Rider's height: 1.86m (6ft 1in)
  • Rider's weight: 78kg (172lb)
  • Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 775mm
  • Saddle setback: 10cm
  • Seat tube length, c-t: 525mm to top of seat mast
  • Seat tube length, c-c: 462mm
  • Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 621mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 118mm
  • Head tube length: 165mm
  • Top tube length: 540mm actual
  • Total bicycle weight: 7.45kg (16.42lb)
Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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