The mark-one Prince was packed with innovation. Could the radical look of the new model disguise a restyling exercise? Quite the contrary ? this dapper steed is literally cut from a different cloth.

Peering through the lacquer on the frameset, you can see that it?s a finer weave than normal. This means less material is needed to achieve the required strength and rigidity. It?s code-named 50 HM 1K. The muscular joints around the head tube, seat tube cluster, and bottom bracket prove the old adage that form follows function.

Once on board, the frame advances are apparent ? it?s lithe and quick. The breakthroughs in materials are combined with classic Italian geometry. The reassuring handling characteristic once out on the open road is a joy.

Finishing kit is no less than you?d expect for the price tag; weight advantages and impeccable performance come from the Campagnolo Record gruppo but the chainset is not Record. Made by FSA but labelled with the in-house Pinarello brand Most, it?s obvious why they have added it, but surely Campag should be allowed to do what they do best. Carbon Most seatpost, stem, and handlebar complete the bike. The wheels are also Most, but made by Corima they?d be perfect for criteriums.

The jagged shaped Onda fork is beefed up too, with a perceptive difference to handling. It has a precise feel, which becomes obvious in off-camber corners or hairpin switch-backs for example.

So Pinarello are back to the fore of the market, but can it beat the opposition?s best? Only a grouptest will tell.

Prince carbon
Manufacturer Pinarello
Distributor Yellow Ltd, 01785 810811, www.pinarello.com
Price £2,699 (frameset)
Frame 50HM 1K carbon
Fork Onda 50HM 1K
Size range 44-59cm
Weight 16lb (7.3kg)
Groupset Campagnolo Record
Deviations Pinarello chainset
Alterations none
Gear ratios 50/34 with 11-25
Wheels Pinarello Charisma carbon
Tyres ?Pinarello Prince? (by Continental)
Bars Pinarello Most
Stem Pinarello Most
Seatpost Pinarello Most
Saddle Pinarello Most
Size tested 57cm
CW FIRST IMPRESSION: 10/10