Dolan Preffisio Apex review

Old-fashioned winter trainer with modern touches

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£749.98 RRP

Our review

A lively and responsive bike with a tough and engaging character
Skip to view product specifications

Take off the mudguards and the Dolan looks like a pure-bred race bike from the 1990s. There’s something pleasingly old-school about its level top tube, classically rounded handlebar and unfussy tube shapes.

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  • Highs: Superb handling, strong brakes, comes with mudguards as standard
  • Lows: The ride is stiff, and there are quite large gaps in the gearing
  • Buy if: You want an old-fashioned winter trainer with some modern touches

At heart, the Preffisio is a modern take on the old-fashioned training bike, a machine for grizzled roadmen with chiselled thighs to ride on five-hour epics through the worst weather. With a fairly short head tube, the Dolan offers a racing bike riding position but with the practicality of SKS mudguards and rack mounts.

Order using Dolan’s online bike builder and you can choose the stem size, bar width and crank length. You can make a few upgrades, too: the Preffisio Apex starts from £699.99, but our test bike came with continental Gatorskin tyres bumping the price up to £749.98.

Compared with the hydroformed tubes of other road bikes, the Dolan’s frameset looks rather old hat. There’s not a lot wrong with the way it rides, though. Push hard on the pedals and your effort arrives at the back wheel with no woolly flex getting in the way. 

The long, low position really puts you in the mood for some aggressive pedalling too. Hit some turns at speed and you won’t want to slow down. This is a lively and responsive bike, as happy to carve a tight bend as dearer out-and-out racing bikes, and excellent brakes give you the confidence to tackle descents at speed.

A well-respected name that’s seen on the bikes of world champions
A well-respected name that’s seen on the bikes of world champions:
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When the road heads upward the stiff frame keeps you moving forward efficiently. SRAM Apex shifts crisply, and the 32T sprocket should see you safely up anything short of a cliff-face. 

Having such a big sprocket does make for some big gaps between gears in the middle of the cassette, but since you choose the gearing when ordering, this is a simple fix.

The Dolan’s lively feel is great for the first hour or so. As the third hour ticks by, though, you might wish for more comfort. The 3T bar tape is grippy but thin and does little to quell road buzz, and the level top tube means little seatpost is on show so there’s not much flex to take the sting out of the road. It stops short of being downright harsh, but you’ll know you’ve been for a long ride by the time you wheel the Dolan back to the bike shed.

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This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Preffisio Apex (12)
Brand Dolan

Description 45, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm sizes, continental Gatorskin 700 x 23 tyres
Rear Wheel Weight 1870
Top Tube (cm) 59
Standover Height (cm) 84.5
Seat Tube (cm) 57
Chainstays (cm) 41.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (kg) 9.88
Stem 3T ARX Pro forged alloy, 12cm, 11/8in steerer, oversized bar clamp
Shifters SRAM Apex 10-speed
Seatpost Alpine alloy with twin bolt forged clamp. 27.2mm x 300mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle San Marco Ponzo, padded vinyl with steel rails
Rims Mach 1 Omega aero machined alloy rim
Rear Derailleur SRAM Apex
Bottom Bracket SRAM Apex external alloy sealed cartridges
Headset Type Alpine integrated Aheadset, standard ball and cone, sealed
Head Angle 72.5
Handlebar 3T Rotundo alloy oversized round shallow, 44cm
Front Wheel Weight 1330
Front Derailleur SRAM Apex, braze-on
Frame Weight 1990
Frame Material Tig-welded 7005 double butted alu with replaceable gear hanger
Fork Weight 556
Fork carbon blades, alloy 11/8in steerer and dropouts
Cranks SRAM Apex forged alloy 2-piece, 50/34 alloy rings, 175mm arms
Chain SRAM PC1031
Cassette SRAM Apex 11-32 10-speed steel
Brakes SRAM Apex forged alloy dual-pivot
Wheelbase (cm) 104