A 105 drivetrain and hydraulic discs mean that the Dolomite 5 really stands out as great value. With the fitting of mudguards and a set of lights, the Dolomite 5 is the ideal winter bike... but it's more than that, too. With a frameset that is perfectly equipped and appoints itself well for use on long rides, commuting and touring means that this could be the only bike you ever need.
'Do anything' frameset
Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
11-speed Shimano 105 drivetrain
Plenty of clearance for mudguards
Continental Grand Sport tyres
Trade-off with hydro discs is slight weight penalty
By Nigel Wynn
The Dolomite’s aluminium frame has a traditional appearance, reinforced by its classy one-colour paint-job. However, this is a bike equipped with hydraulic discs, meaning that it is at the cutting-edge of road bikes.
Disc mounts and hydraulic hose routing have been neatly and thoughtfully incorporated into the frame, and although the cables and hoses stick out slightly as they enter the frame, this didn't cause any problems.
The front disc hose is very neatly routed into and through the left leg of the carbon-bladed fork, it's a very smart design and keeps the hose out of harm's way. The front wheel drop-outs are slightly forward-facing, which provides a bit of extra security under braking.
The head tube welds are smoothed off and the finish is very good throughout. The full complement of rack mounts – including on the fork legs – will please commuters and tourers, as will the ample clearance for mudguards and wider tyres.
Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are the obvious talking point of the Dolomite 5’s spec. There are still few bikes using hydraulic, rather than cable, disc brakes, and certainly very few that cost £1,000.
The oversized hoods on the shifters give away the braking mechanism inside, but otherwise the performance of the 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset is the same, reliable drivetrain, with the 50/34t chainset and 11-28t cassette giving the best spread of gear ratios for the vast majority of riding and terrain.
Pinnacle has fitted an FSA Gossamer chainset rather than 105. It's not quite as rapid-shifting as a 105 unit, but this is a sensible move to hit the pricepoint with little in the way of disadvantage.
The Dolomite 5 has an air of solidity and reliability about it, no doubt aided by the assured performance of both the hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano 105 drivetrain.
The discs worked extremely well on wet and mucky rides, with a performance above that for standard calipers - and, of course, you don't have to worry about rim wear.
If there’s a trade-off with using hydraulic disc brakes, then it’s weight. The bike is 9.5kg, which gave a slightly sluggish climbing performance but elsewhere the bike provided a nimble ride – quite surprisingly so, in fact. In particular, we found the bike felt assured on twisting descents, perhaps aided by the knowledge that you have reliable and powerful stopping power at your disposal.
Some still consider that aluminium-framed bikes provide a 'harsh ride', but that is simply not the case – and certainly not with the Dolomite 5. Over rough road surfaces, the Dolomite 5 appointed itself well.
All of the bike's contact points are comfy too, with the own-brand saddle and bars not letting the side down. The black Alex wheels and well-respected Continental Grand Sport tyres, in 25mm width, provided a solid combination that coped with several winter rides during our test period without problems – including punctures.
One nice touch we appreciated was the provision of a spare rear derailleur hanger, in the rare event of the one fitted to the frame snapping or bending.
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