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Visiting the Bissell team camp in Santa Rosa, California, we had a chance to take a look at the team’s new fleet of race bikes. Pinarello has been with Bissell since 2007 when they rode the Paris and then the Prince. Three years later, the team is riding the Dogma, a bike once known for its magnesium construction, but is now all carbon.
“Every year I say this is the best-handling bike I’ve ever ridden,” says longtime Bissell mechanic Ben Oliver. “They seem to make them better every year.”
Oliver’s opinion is echoed throughout the team. The general consensus is that the frame is super stiff and it corners like nothing they have ridden before. Former Specialized road bike product manager and Bissell team rider Andy Jacques-Maynes can’t say enough good things about the new Dogma. (Click for a full Casey Gibson Gallery of Bissell’s team bikes.)
“The Princes were the best-handling frames I’ve ever ridden and I’ve ridden a lot of bikes, and the Dogma is even better,” he said. “You don’t feel like you’re pushing it around corners.”
The Dogma’s asymmetric design contributes to the frame’s stiffness. The chainstay shapes are asymmetric and even the tubing thickness is overbuilt on the entire driveside to compensate for unbalanced pedal forces.
Former Felt-Holowesko sprint star Daniel Holloway says the Dogma gives him more confidence in the sprint than most of the bikes he’s ridden.
“I really like them. The front end is way stiffer than the last bike I rode,” Holloway said. “I feel really confident going into crits. The power transfer is really good. Especially with how light and stiff the bike is — it’s really key. It went together really well.”
As part of his former job, Jacques-Maynes tested countless frame designs and has developed a critical eye when it comes to road-bike design.
“Some things that I’ve seen that Pinarello is doing right is that they are paying attention to the carbon content,” Jacques-Maynes said. “They have aligned themselves with the Japanese company Toray. They say exactly what the carbon content is. It’s a 60HM1k carbon weave, which is the best in the bike industry today. Everything better is classified for military operations. Obviously it’s a fantastic riding bike but it also looks great too.”
Pinarello says that the Dogma is about 20 percent lighter than the Prince. Oliver, the team mechanic, weighed one of the bigger frames with a pair of Easton EC90 aero carbon wheels and it came out around 7.2 kilograms (or 15.8 pounds). One of the smaller frames will obviously lighten things up and bring the bike closer to the UCI minimum weight limit.
Bissell is running the Campagnolo 11-speed group — one of the few domestic teams in the U.S. not using SRAM or Shimano. The bikes also sport Speedplay pedals, Most bars, stems and seatposts, Selle Italia saddles and Elite bottle cages. Easton is supporting the team with a full quiver of training and racing wheels.