Any Dogma, let alone the ones Team Ineos riders race, comes at a high price. Step forward the Prince, Pinarello’s Dogma-like understudy, which shares the same profile, and many of the same exotic tube shapes as its big brother, but uses more affordable Torayca T900 carbon fibre instead of the Dogma F12’s T1100.
Even so, your £5,000 outlay still buys you a mechanical Ultegra drivetrain with rim brakes, and relatively inexpensive wheels.
Pinarello doesn’t exactly give its frames away. The frame looks impressively purposeful though, with truncated aerofoil profiles defining every tube that faces the airflow, something Pinarello calls FlatBack. The down tube takes things to the extreme with a wide, recessed flat channel that the bottle cage partially tucks into to reduce drag.
The Onda fork leg design has become less wavy over the years, but it persists, along with the similarly wavy stays. The wishbone-topped seatstays join the seat tube low down, allowing the seatpost junction to flex more freely, but the virtually horizontal top-tube reduces the amount of exposed seatpost that can carry out the same function.
The Prince comes in a staggering 11 frame sizes, and its geometry means that in future I’d probably substitute my usual 56cm size for a 55cm frame instead, gaining exposed seatpost, reducing the head tube and still having plenty of length to work with.
The down tube features a unique cut-out design. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Other frameset features include its asymmetric design, high and low options for the seatpost bottle cage and clearance for tyres that measure 28mm.
The upper part of the down tube is lowered, with a cutout minimising the gap between it and the front wheel; the head tube’s hourglass shape completes the aero elements.
Ultegra rim brakes gives it “purist charm”. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Pinarello Prince FX ride impressions
Alongside a group of thru-axle, disc-brake bikes, the rim-braked Prince FX has purist charm, and still goes and stops perfectly well, but it did remind me of a largely forgotten woe.
Bearing play in the rear hub led to brake rub, which could only be cured by opening the rear caliper. My test wheels weren’t new, and it’s no reflection on the Prince FX, it’s just one of those things that highlights the changes in modern road bikes.
The Fulcrums are quite keen to accelerate, and with the 25mm Vittoria Zaffiros measuring 26mm, there’s decent air volume and grip.
Despite having under 80psi in the tyres, and Fizik’s Antares saddle, the Prince FX has a very chattery ride. Felt through the own-brand MOST carbon bar and carbon-wrapped stem, there was incessant surface feedback that felt just on the harsh side of firm. While bigger bumps felt quite well damped, constant vibrations were well able to reach me.
The Prince FX suffers from a chattery ride”. Russell Burton
Shimano’s Ultegra groupset is a mechanical joy, as always, and its rim brakes, at least with aluminium rims, were never found wanting for power.
The 50/34 and 11-28 gearing seems neither hill or race-friendly – without a low bail-out gear or fast descent ratio – but it’s easy to swap.
When out of the saddle, the Prince FX feels extremely torsionally stiff, which comes with a reactivity and acceleration expectation, but my speed never seemed to match the perceived effort. Although I could cruise along above 20mph with ease on the flat, changing pace or accelerating from slow speeds always felt a little laboured.
My bike came with a 130mm long stem, but far from slowing the steering as I’d expect, at cruising speeds the front end felt unusually lively.
At speed, the Prince FX is very stable, with no concerns on a 40mph descent and confident corner carving when required. The grip level and technical control aren’t a match for the cheaper Tarmac SL6, which was also on test, and the ride comfort falls well short.
The Prince FX seems to be crying out for a wheel and tyre upgrade to unlock the speed I think it’s capable of, but in this spec, its all-round performance and comfort are good, but not exceptional.
The Prince comes in a staggering 11 frame sizes. Courtesy
Pinarello Prince FX geometry
Seat angle: 72 degrees
Head angle: 71 degrees
Seat tube: 55cm
Top tube: 54.5cm