With world-class technology and looks to match, it’s no wonder 2013 Absa Cape Epic winner Yolande Speedy chooses to race on a Pinarello Dogma XC.
The brand, which boasts nine Tour de France winners, has extended its road range to mountain biking and is already attracting some of the most prolific champions in South Africa.
However, the rest of us will have to be slightly more patient as the Dogma XC is only expected to start retailing in South Africa from November.
Speedy, who started mountain biking in 1997, recalls that it took almost a decade before she began racing competitively.
“My first race was one of the Sweat and Gears MTB series cross-country races in Benoni right down the road from where I grew up.
Her first bike was a Nishiki Flite without suspension, but times have changed for Speedy since her first taste of competitive racing.
She has gone on to represent her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has notched up three Cape Epic titles – two in the mixed section alongside fiancé Paul Cordes and one in the women’s category with Brit Catherine Williamson.
Her most recent high-profile victory came earlier this year when she claimed the elite women’s title at the African Continental XC Champs in Pietermaritzburg.
These days Speedy also runs a mountain biking academy with Cordes and has the backing of a major cycling accessory distributor.
“ASG has generously come on board with the sponsorship and we were happy to choose their Pinarello Dogma XC hardtail as our new team bike.”
The brand’s debut mountain bike doesn’t sacrifice aesthetics for function, says Speedy. “Its incredibly beautiful Italian style and design is hard to look past.”
However, having raced on the bike for the past eight months, she’s really impressed by its handling. Standing a mere 1.66m in her cycling shoes, she believes the greatest advantage of the XC lies in its front-end design.
“It allows you to lower the front-end and steepen the rake of the fork, which makes it incredibly responsive and easy to handle, especially if you’re a bit shorter. It’s basically a 29er that handles like a 26er.”
She is also impressed with the lightweight carbon frame, which uses nano-alloy technology to ensure a stable ride without sacrificing weight.
“The geometry of the frame makes it climb like a dream on the long, gradual to steep climbs found in marathons as well as the short, punchy power climbs that are typical of cross-country racing.”
Speedy says the front-end features stoppers under the frame to prevent the fork from hitting it which “makes the bike incredibly responsive”.
The Dogma XC also employs a unique dual stay seat design. The stays grip the seat tube like a clamp, ensuring decreased vibration when negotiating rocky areas.
“It definitely reduces the amount of shock felt from the rear wheel, and improves bike handling and stability,” says Speedy.
“The increasingly technical cross-country courses we’ve faced this year have really put the bike through its paces and, touch wood, without one technical!”
Being a cross-country and marathon champion, she has no qualms about recommending the Dogma XC as a crossover machine at the highest level.
“As a race bike, it works for both types of races. If a rider likes a more comfortable ride and weight isn’t an issue, the soon to be launched softtail version might be a better option.”
The Pinarello Dogma was released internationally in June and is distributed in South Africa by ASG.
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