Bicycling (South Africa) - - Fetish - – Joe Lindsey FROM R222 000 ASGSPORT.CO.ZA

THIS IS NOT A GRAVEL BIKE, let’s get that straight. (Start­ing at a stag­ger­ing R222 000 with Dura-Ace Di2 and Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc wheels, tak­ing this bike on gravel would be like ral­ly­ing a Fer­rari in the Paris-Dakar.)

This is the suc­ces­sor to Pinarello’s K8-S Clas­sics race bike, and a likely choice for Team Sky in this year’s events. An in­te­gral part of its race-fo­cused speed and ef­fi­ciency is its elec­tronic sus­pen­sion.

Wait, what? That’s right: The DSS rear sus­pen­sion that Pinarello first put on the K8-S in 2015 now has au­to­matic elec­tronic con­trol. Called eDSS, the guts of the sys­tem are sim­i­lar: an elas­tomer spring that, along with flex­ing chain­stays, pro­vides 11mm of travel. A small pig­gy­back reser­voir con­tains an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled hy­draulic damper, which is con­nected to gy­ro­scopes and ac­celerom­e­ters lo­cated in the seat tube that sense vi­bra­tions from rough pave­ment. In ei­ther of its two pre­set au­to­matic modes (Race or Tourist), the shock ‘opens’ within 100 mil­lisec­onds of hit­ting a bump that meets the thresh­old force, and stays open un­til the sys­tem senses the road is smooth again. There’s also a cus­tom mode that lets you select the amount of force re­quired to open the sys­tem, and a man­ual mode, when the sus­pen­sion is al­ways open or closed. You can switch modes via an iOS or Garmin app (An­droid ver­sions are not yet avail­able) or a but­ton on the E-Link con­trol on the down tube. In to­tal, in­clud­ing the shock, bat­tery, sen­sors, and wiring, eDSS weighs 320g.

The sus­pen­sion might soften bro­ken pave­ment and ease medium-size jolts, but this is not a com­fort bike. From ride qual­ity to in­tended use to frame de­sign, the K10-S Disk is still very much a race bike. It uses a lot of the same cut­off-air­foil tube shap­ing as the F10 raced by Team Sky, and the one-piece, wing-shaped bar/stem. Han­dling is deft and sure, and if it’s less stiff un­der power than the F10, it’s only by mar­ginal amounts.

Rea­son­able peo­ple can ar­gue that eDSS isn’t worth the price. But that’s not re­ally what this bike is about. Like a lot of things about rac­ing, the ques­tion isn’t how to do it, but whether you can.

What this bike says about you: You wear car­bon shoes. And you have a Lam­borgh­ini parked in the garage.

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