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Pinarello ROKH SRAM Force Complete Road Bike - 2013

Pinarello bills the frameset at the heart of the ROKH SRAM Force Complete Bike as an "endurance" bike. Having piloted one in various circumstances on the road, we feel that this is an unfair characterization. The differences between this frame and it's mo
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Pinarello bills the frameset at the heart of the ROKH SRAM Force Complete Bike as an "endurance" bike. Having piloted one in various circumstances on the road, we feel that this is an unfair characterization. The differences between this frame and it's more expensive, lighter cousin, the KOBH, come down to a couple of tiny measurements. More on this later, but for now it's worth considering that the ROKH's frameset is the civilian version of a machine built for the heroes of the North, the Boonens and van Dijks of the peloton who make their names where even grand tour champions fear to tread. Ride confidently knowing that the "endurance" classification is simply code for a frame with a characteristically responsive Pinarello feel that tames unforgiving road surfaces with an eye toward longer days in the saddle. It's got the pedigree of a thoroughbred racing bike with the ferocity of a cobblestone classics machine.

The ROKH's success as a hard cyclist's machine is equal parts material and construction, beginning with the 30HM12K carbon from which it's made. The KOBH uses stiffer 60HM12K carbon, which means that more of the 30HM is needed to give the ROKH a comparably responsive ride. This in turn accounts for the slightly higher weight. But many of us actually prefer the lower modulus carbon used in the ROKH. Lower modulus carbon may be less stiff (read: efficient at transferring power), but it's better at absorbing road chatter and has a higher impact resistance (read: less likely to break). Think Aesop's fable about the tree and the reed. For pros, losing a frameset because it fails in a crash is no big deal, but for those of us who are self-sponsored, adding a few grams to our (still comically light) frameset in exchange for similar power-transfer characteristics and a longer lifespan is a no-brainer. It's like a compromise between the lightweight and efficiency of carbon and the comfort and durability of steel, but with no downside.

The ROKH's geometry also contributes to its amazing ride. The Century Ride System bows the seatstays across their length in order to eat more bumps without making any sacrifices to lateral stiffness, and the longer, more angled fork makes for a sloping geometry with a higher stack height (the vertical distance between the head tube's plane and the bottom bracket's plane). You won't be doubled-up over the handlebars while you're in the saddle unless you want to hit the drops for a descent or a turn pulling into the wind, and anytime you do find yourself in windy or otherwise inclement conditions, the longer wheel base will give you more stability.

With all this talk of comfort, we're compelled to point out that the ROKH sprints and climbs as well as the KOBH. This owes partly to its asymmetrical design, which buttresses the parts of the frameset that bear the effort of pedaling under load. This is an apparently logical construction that has only come into vogue during the last decade because of carbon's inherent malleability. The drivetrain is on one side, so it makes sense that the frame itself should accommodate the offset nature of the bike's engine — namely, you turning the cranks and rotating the chain.

The ROKH is kitted with a build that reflects its role as an all-day machine. It gives you the precision of SRAM Force where you really need it, the shifters and the rear derailleur, with SRAM's workhorse Rival groupset where you want no-frills reliability, specifically the crankset. The Fulcrum Racing 5 wheelset is a delightful surprise, as many manufacturers tend to skimp on this category, hoping that the flash of the other, less important components will overshadow a shoddy pair of proprietary hoops. Pinarello instead built the ROKH's frame and let the pros at Fulcrum take care of building the wheels.

Pinarello does use its own MOst line for the brakes, stem, handlebars, seatpost, and saddle, but these components were developed for the breadth of Pinarello's range, including the famed Dogma, so you know you're getting quality that rivals or surpasses any third party manufacturer's offerings. Plus, their graphics and paint complement the frame. We'll be the first to admit that, next to the inimitable ride quality, a secondary joy of owning a Pinarello is simply admiring its beauty as an aesthetic object. This is yet one more category where this beauty of a beast doesn't disappoint.

The Pinarello ROKH Sram Force Complete Bike - 2013 is available in three sizes (49, 52, and 53cm) in two colors (Red/white and White/red).

Average rating: 5.0
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