Above Category held their first ever demo day last Friday, featuring bikes from Pinarello and Zipp Speed Weaponry wheels, under sunny skies in Sausalito. In completely unrelated news, Bay Area employers have reported that Friday 19th of September saw a record number of employees call in sick…
With the new Pinarello Dogma F8 plus Zipp wheels on hand and the weather turning on a Marin fall day, we had all the elements for a perfect afternoon in the saddle. In all we had over 30 demos go out, in 90 minute timeslots, with most customers choosing to ride our suggested course through the (slightly windy) Marin Headlands. The amazing terrain on our doorstep – featuring a mix of climbs, descents and rolling terrain – combined with the opportunity to ride the all-new 2015 Pinarello Dogma F8 or Zipp wheels (or even both!) proved to be a strong drawcard with participants coming from as far away as the Central Coast.
Above Category customers are for the most part keen consumers of cycling press and reviews. Most came to the day having seen photos of this sleeker Dogma and knowing that the F8 was a collaboration between Pinarello, Jaguar (motor cars) and Team Sky. They knew that it was more aerodynamic, lighter, stiffer and more balanced than its predecessor. But reviews are one thing…a demo ride is another. With that in mind, Ed from Gita Sports (distributors of Pinarello in the United States) was here early to set up. He’d ridden the bike at the launch in Italy and read all the reports from the riders at Sky Pro Cycling, but with a truck full of shiny new bikes to be tested, he was eager to hear what our customers thought.
We were blown away with the overwhelming positive response to the Dogman F8…this bike is a game changer! Not only for professional athletes but for us mere mortals as well. Here is a sample of what some of our customers who were lucky enough to demo the F8 thought:
‘It was so fast…it was insane!’
‘I liked the old fork shape, so it was a bit of a surprise to see them go away from that…but once I rode the F8, I loved every part of it.’
‘It was surprisingly comfortable for a bike that stiff. So responsive!’
‘I am instantly a better climber.’
‘Climbing was tremendous and the front end was definitely more lively.’
‘Every single pedal stroke was effective.’
‘It is just so responsive, especially when standing! It just keeps on climbing.’
‘I was able to keep up climbing…one pedal stroke and I was flying.’
‘So much smoother than what I was expecting of a bike that is this stiff.’
‘The size was perfect. Put it in my car now…so stiff yet stable!’
We weren’t surprised to hear how much everyone loved the Dogma, especially how light and responsive it was both climbing and on the descents. But what is probably surprising is the consensus about how comfortable the bike rides…it just feels friendly. The steering isn’t twitchy, the whole bike is reassuringly solid and it just felt the right fit for most. The one quote that probably sums up the F8 is this: ‘If I could improve every aspect of my bike by 25-50%…the Pinarello F8 is it!’
* * *
Zipp wheels have long been a favourite of all of us here at Above Category. The Indianapolis located company earned their engineering stripes in the race car industry, bringing their expertise to high performance carbon cycling wheels. This rich history combined with cutting edge manufacturing processes makes them industry leaders when it comes to carbon wheels – both tubular and clinchers.
Ernesto, our local Zipp rep, was on hand with a full complement of their 2015 wheels: from the lower profile 202’s all the way up to the Super 9 and everything in between. Some of our demo customers chose to test out the Zipp’s on their own steed while others chose to go the whole hog and test them with the new F8. No matter what they chose, their response was emphatically positive.
Without a doubt, the favourite wheels tested were the 202’s, 303’s and 404’s. Even though the wind was a little strong in the Headlands, we had a great response to the wheels without any negative feedback:
‘I love the 202’s – they are perfect for Marin. Definitely faster than my other wheels (name removed) and I didn’t have to fight the wind too much.’
‘Impressive braking performance…the 202’s are a winner!’
‘The 303’s their speed incredibly well after just a few revolutions to get them going!’
‘When you stop pedaiing the 303’s just keep rolling. They are no comparison to my current (insert other wheel set here).’
‘The braking surface on the 404’s was incredible…so light, quick and precise.’
* * *
All said and done, the Above Category demo day was a roaring success…not only from our perspective but also for our customers. The opportunity to test equipment of the calibre of the Pinarello F8 and Zipp wheels is pretty rare, but the response from those that came out to test was so positive that we hope to do this again soon. Stay tuned for further announcements.
A special thanks to both Pinarello and Zipp for their great products and assistance in putting on the demo day, to our customers who came to test and to you for reading. Keep it rubber side down.