and the winner is….
The Pinarello FT1.
What can I say about this bike other than, quite simply, IT MOVES. I went into Nytro this morning expecting to test out several bikes. I was a little disheartened to learn that they didn’t have the Felt B2 in my size, but they had the perfect size for me in the Pinarello.
A quick aside, the sizing for the Pinarello is a case-in-point example why you should ALWAYS go into a store to get fitted. If you just order a bike over the internet, you’re likely to end up with a bike that doesn’t fit properly. I rode a 56 cm Road bike. Normally, this translates to a 54 or 55 in a Triathlon bike (I didn’t know this before today). The Pinarello was listed as a 53, but due to a long head tube, it was actually closer to a 54 or 55. The height of the bike was perfect, but I did end up getting a new stem and bar setup.
Back to the bikes. My first test ride was on the Pinarello. From the moment you tell this bike to go: it flies. Compared to my alloy bike there was an immediate response. Amazing. Until you actually feel the difference it’s really hard to explain. The ride was smooth and the handling was great (although the first time in aero bars was a little awkward). Braking was superb and the shifting was flawless.
The FT1 came stock with Dura Ace derailers & bar end shifters, Ultegra brakes, compact crankset and house-brand bar and clip ons. I swapped out the bars and clip ons for Profile Design’s Carbon Cobra Wing bar set and T2 Cobra clip on aero bars. I also switched out the saddle for comfort reasons to the Fizik Arione Tri 2 saddle (this was a HUGE upgrade from the stock saddle).
Compared to the P3C, I found the ride quality to be very similar. Both bikes had similar get up and go, but I personally felt the FT1 was a little snappier and the shifting was smoother. I also liked the idea of having a compact crankset. I’m currently riding a compact on my road bike and, in my opinion, a compact crankset will allow a typical triathlete to obtain at least equal speed, but the compact crankset makes climbing easier and, more importantly, it makes it easier to keep your cadence at around 90 rpms, which will help your run. Unless you’re rolling at over 30 mph (highly unlikely), you’re not going to notice a difference between a standard 53-39/12-25 setup vs. a compact 50-34/11-23 setup. Slowtwich.com did a great write up detailing the differences in actual speed based on gear ratios while also noting the climbing and weight benefits of a compact crankset.
In the end, though, the decision to go with the Pinarello over the Cervelo came down to one thing: fit and comfort. The Pinarello simply felt better and I was comfortable on it from the second I dropped into the aero position. This is far and away the most important factor. Remember, when buying a bike, go somewhere that has quality staff that knows how to fit a bike and buy a bike based on fit, not name/looks (although I must admit I was pretty stoked on the Pinarello and how it looked…and btw….the Felt B2’s paint job was disgusting in person).
[Update: For a more in-depth review of the Pinarello FT1, please see my review after my first ride.]