This is very noticeably the brand ridden by Messrs Wiggins and Froome – we’d spot those fancy curves anywhere. But by using a lower grade of carbon fibre Pinarello has managed to bring that distinctive shape to a wider audience.
Highs: Handles like a dream
Lows: The brakes feel numb and they lack power
Buy If: You want a bike that bristles with handling prowess, and don’t mind making a couple of upgrades to get the best from it
Like the company’s Rokh model, the Razha K uses Pinarello’s ‘comfort’ geometry. In practice this means it is a little longer – and with longer chainstays – than its Dogma, and it’s noticeably higher at the front too, with a 215mm tall head tube.
This makes the riding position pretty commanding, though the Razha never feels pedestrian, in spite of its weight. You don’t exactly fly up steeper climbs, where you notice the mass of Shimano’s entry-level wheels, but the compact chainset and 11-28t cassette mean walking’s never necessary, even if you’re not going to spin like Froome.
A huge tapered head tube flows smoothly into the onda fork: Robert Smith
A huge tapered head tube flows smoothly into the Onda fork
But on descents and the flat the Razha comes into its own, and we were impressed with how it responded to our input. Getting down onto the drops of the mid-compact Most bar allowed us to hustle through fast corners and battle on at speed even into some hostile winter headwinds.
On downhills it’s even better, the absolute solidity common to all Pinarello’s asymmetric frames here in abundance. We couldn’t get it to shift off its line on damp, greasy roads and sharp corners despite our best efforts.
There are downsides, though. To hit this price Pinarello has specced Shimano’s budget wheels and RS500 chainset rather than the new 105. It’s cheaper looking, based on the last generation Shimano design, and adds weight.
The in-house Most brakes look similar to the outgoing FSA design, but their hard, waxy cartridges result in a firm feel at the lever but a vague response at the rim, requiring fistfuls of effort to bring the speed down.
Pinarello pioneered asymmetric frame design, as featured on the razha k: Robert Smith
Pinarello pioneered asymmetric frame design, as featured on the Razha K
The riding position and the 25mm tyres keep things reasonably comfortable even if the ride isn’t the smoothest around, but after four or five hours in the saddle you are very aware of the bike’s firmness. That solidity does translate to great handling, though it still wouldn’t be our first choice for a marathon day out.
If you like the Pinarello’s appearance, though, and you favour performance over plushness, take the Razha for a spin. Just make sure you sort out those brake pads.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.