Dolan Dual Carbon Ultegra R8000 SE review

Is it rim brakes for the win with Dolan?

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £1,500.00 RRP

Our review

Traditional mudguard-ready all-rounder, but wheels limit liveliness
Buy if, You want a new Ultegra-equipped, mudguard-ready bike for less taxing, but high mileage riding
Pros: Full Shimano Ultegra groupset with custom options, soaks up small chatter relatively well
Cons: Heavy wheels dull responsiveness, thumps over big stuff, soft handling when pushing hard
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While the distance-bike market seems to have gone disc-brake mad, Dolan’s Dual proves there are still lots of advantages to sticking with conventional caliper brakes. There are some imbalances with the ride character though and the wheels on the default kit don’t do justice to its performance potential.

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The most obvious advantage of using rim brakes rather than discs is they’re lighter. You can also use a lighter frame and fork because braking stress is located away from the tips where leverage has most effect.

That reverse engineering is clear in the relatively skinny fork legs. There are no braking forces at the hub trying to tear the wheel out of its mounts so the quick-release skewers in open dropout slots are perfectly safe, and Dolan uses them at both ends of the Dual. 

The potential lightweight fork advantage is reduced by the fact it gets an alloy steerer rather than full carbon construction, and it’s got a straight steerer rather than a tapered tube with larger base bearings.

The heavy Shimano wheels take some effort to get spinning
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Riveted-on external cable mounts don’t look as classy as internal routing, although the lack of extra curves and outer cable housing mean actuation is slicker for a super-light shift feel through the low-profile Ultegra levers. 

While on the subject of lever feel, in the dry the Ultegra brakes aren’t far off discs in terms of powerful and predictable stopping. They do start to slide in terms of control and modulation during initial stopping in wet conditions, but once the rims are cleaned off they’re not massively far off disc performance again.

While the top ends of the seatstays are very thick above the brake for a positive stopping action, they taper away quickly below that point. The chainstays are relatively skinny too, so while power still gets to where it needs to be, it’s not the sharpest accelerating bike available. 

And if you’re looking for a rim-braked sportive bike that’s going to give you an advantage over disc-braked bikes on climbs it’s not the Dolan either.

The Shimano wheels have extra momentum and quality adjustable bearings to keep them spinning
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Once you get their weight bowling along on flat, smooth roads the Shimano wheels have extra momentum and quality adjustable bearings to keep them spinning. Dolan has fitted a full suite of new Ultegra, including chain and cassette, so the transmission is as smooth and slick as it can be.

The Continental tyres roll well and the short head-tube gives it a racier fit than most sportive bikes. 

Considering the rims are only 15mm wide internally, and you’re rolling on 25mm tyres, the frame and skinny fork skim over rough surfaces and gravel well. 

Hit something bigger when you’re in the saddle, though, and the large diameter 31.6mm seatpost leaves you with nowhere to hide, so rough-road survival depends on you standing up and letting your feet and the forgiving fork ride it out. 

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As it’s relatively steep for a sportive bike it can be sketchy when you’re pushing the pace on twisty descents too.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Dual Carbon Ultegra R8000 SE
Brand Dolan

Available Sizes 49cm 52cm 54cm 56cm 58cm
Rear Wheel Weight 1990
Frame size tested 54cm
Wheelbase (cm) 100
Top Tube (cm) 54.5
Seat Tube (cm) 51
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Wheelset Shimano RS10
Weight (kg) 8.43
Trail 5.7
Stem Deda Zero 1
Shifters Shimano Ultegra 8020
Seatpost Alpina, alloy
Seat Angle 74
Saddle Selle Italia X1 Flow
Rear Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II, 25mm
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB60
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra 8000
Headset Type Alpina 45/45
Head Angle 73
Handlebar Deda RHM01
Front Wheel Weight 1340
Front Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II, 25mm
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra 8000
Frame Material Unidirectional carbon fibre, quick-release
Fork Offset 4.5
Fork Carbon legs alloy steerer, QR
Cranks Shimano Ultegra 8000 50/34
Chain Shimano HG600
Cassette Shimano Ultegra 8000 11-28
Brakes Shimano Ultegra 8000 rim
All measurements for frame size tested 54cm