BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Pinarello Dogma F8: A Jaguar prowls the Tour de France

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.

HIDE CAPTION

There are few quicker ways up the Col du Soulor than on a Pinarello – unless your support vehicle happens to be a Jaguar.

From such truths are partnerships born. Though its bicycles have been used by the past two Tour de France champions, Pinarello enlisted Jaguar to render its range-topping ride even more dominant for the 2014 Tour, which takes place 5-27 July.

The result is the Dogma F8, which has been subjected to an aerodynamics regimen befitting an F-type Coupe.

Jaguar worked with the Italian bicycle maker to enhance the wind-cheating properties of the F8. Completely built, the bike is 26% more aerodynamic than its predecessor, the Dogma 65.1 – which Team Sky rider Chris Froome piloted to victory in 2013, as did teammate Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012. The F8’s frameset alone is 40% more aerodynamic than that of the 65.1, Pinarello claims.

Such calculations are not made on the back of a napkin. The F8 received the full Jaguar wind-tunnel treatment, sending back reams of data that were used by Pinarello to inform critical – however infinitesimal – design tweaks to maximise aerodynamic efficiency.

Jon Darlington, Jaguar Land Rover head of aerodynamics, said the bike project was not such a stretch. “The skills needed are fundamentally the same as for a car,” he said in a statement. “Applying this level of engineering capability and analysis to the development of a bike probably has not been done before.”

That said, it wasn’t the first time in recent years that a sports equipment manufacturer enlisted a carmaker’s expertise. Prior to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the US men’s and women’s bobsled teams collaborated with the BMW Designworks consultancy to optimise the shape of their sleds. Both teams finished in the medals.

Weekend warriors keen to give the Dogma F8 a roll will have to wait for availability and pricing, but if the 65.1 is anything to go by (framesets alone cost over $5,000, with complete bikes routinely topping $16,000), the cost of entry could precipitate Mont Blanc-calibre nosebleeds. Not unlike an F-type R Coupe, though, buyers should be able to see – and feel – where the money goes.

Watch for the Dogma F8 during the Tour, as well as its official support vehicle, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake.