Review: Pinnacle Dolomite LTD

After a week of use in British weather
Front Wheel on Dolomite after a week of use.

I bought the Pinnacle Dolomite LTD back in August and I am very much in-love with this bike. The Dolomite comes equipped with a nearly-full Shimano 105 5800 group set, the only deviation are the non-series RS685 STI units and the RS805 brake calipers.

The bike came with a front dynamo hub built upon Alex Rims Dra 1.9s 700c rims, with a front and rear dynamo light supplied by SON. I won’t be reviewing those units here as the first thing I did when I got the bike was to rip them out and replace the wheels with a set of Hunt 4Season Gravel Disc’s. I’ll be making use of the dynamo set up when I do some touring next year.

The frame is a 6061 butted deal with a full carbon fork with complete internal routing for gear and brake cables, as well as the dynamo lights. I was very impressed with the welds, which while not Boardman smooth are really quite sleek for an alloy unit. The “paint job” on the frame is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen, a simple brushed aluminium covered in a custom lacquer sets this apart from all other bikes. I’ve had many comments on it during group rides and the like.

As I said, before my first ride I stripped out the dynamo and changed the wheels, I also changed the seatpost and saddle, so my impressions are not based on a stock bike and will need to be taken in that context.

My first ride on this bike was a lot of fun, although I felt a little stretched out compared to my usual riding position. After getting back home I realised they’d shipped my L size frame with a 110mm stem (100mm is listed on the website), so I swapped it out for a 100mm Deda stem and it made a huge difference. The bike felt balanced, responsive to the lightest of touches without being twitchy and was an utter joy to ride.

1500KM in, I still feel the same about the bike, however I have made some changes to the components.

First to go was the awful bar tape, I have never come across anything that bad, it made my skin crawl touching it. The handlebar was the next to go, it comes equipped with an FSA Omega Compact, which had a nice shape, especially the drops, but was incredibly stiff and left me with numb hands on rides over 1 hour in length. This was replaced by a Ritchey WCS Evo Curve compact bar, which is one of my all-time favourite handlebars.

The rear 140mm brake rotor was far too easy to lock up and so was replaced with a 160mm rotor which has given me a lot more modulation in the rear to help control my speed without locking up. However, the rear rotor does now howl for England when it’s wet, so it’s not all rosy.

The Schwalbe Pro One tyres are the best road tyres I’ve used, supple, light and fast rolling. Set up tubeless they’re a delight. However, tubeless enthusiasts need to keep an eye on sealant levels, after 3 months I got a slow puncture that didn’t seal due to too little sealant in the tyre. After nursing the bike home and putting more sealant in, the hole sealed up nicely.

I have 2 criticisms of this bike, and they come down to maintenance:

  1. Horrible front derailleur cable routing
  2. Polymer Coated gear cables

The polymer coated cables can be fixed with a new set of cables once they wear out, but they gum up the works, and require a complete outer change every time you replace the inners (I tend to go 2 inners per outer). I’ll be replacing them with either basic stainless steel cables, or the new OPTISLICK cables from Shimano.

The front derailleur routing on the other hand is very difficult to fix. Here’s the problem: install the cable, take up the slack and tighten down the bolt, shift front derailleur, nothing happens, add tension, shift, nothing happens, keep going until barrel adjuster is at MAX, derailleur shifts perfectly.

Now, this works, but it gives no room for adjustment as cables stretch/seat etc. if the derailleur doesn’t perform properly then you have to start the whole process again.

The solution appears to be Shimano’s new parallelogram front derailleurs. One of these is fitted to my new Arkose frame (article to come soon), which has similar issues with routing, and I have a load of adjustment left in case of cable stretch. I’ll be fitting one to the Dolomite soon once I pick up a new cable set.

The Pinnacle Dolomite is a well-rounded good value bike, my reason for picking up the LTD over the 6 was due to the included dynamo set, however I’d recommend anybody looking for a bike around the £1000 mark to pick up a Dolomite.

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