Pinarello FP Quattro Carbon Fibre Monocoque Gravel Bike Small 51.5cm equipped with Campagnolo Centaur 10-Speed Groupset.
The Italian bike-house of Pinarello is yet another example of a bicycle company born from the deep heart of a man with a passion for the simple art of bicycles. Born in 1922, Nani (Giovanni) Pinarello won his first esteemed road bicycle race at age 20, and four years later in 1946 turned professional, wearing the black jersey in the 34th edition of the Giro D’Italia in 1953.
What’s this black jersey you may ask? The Maglia Nera has particular symbolism, akin to the lanterne rouge in the Tour de France…
Nani was the last racer ever to be awarded the black jersey during its 6-year presence from 1946-1951, so it could be said its carriage is left upon his shoulders, the last man to finish the 34th Giro race and the last man to ever don the jersey.
The jersey’s story itself gives light to a whole other sense of character and playfulness, and you’ll soon learn why the Pinarello FP Quattro Gravel Bike is so fittingly displayed in the Mornington Peninsula’s Rye-based gin and vodka distillery, Penni Ave Distillery.
You might think oh the shame of being the last man in the race, who would want to be tarnished with the black brush of the peloton’s wooden spoon? Have you ever tried, like really tried to come last in a competition? It’s almost as difficult as the win.
In the 6-years the maglia nera was awarded and worn, hard-fought battles to waste the maximum time available each stage, but just sneaking in before the time limit to avoid disqualification, was epitomised by hiding in bars, ducking into barns, having a snooze behind a hedge, or even sagging your tyres to the rim. This was real competition in the spirit of wacky races, The Red Max taking stage, or Peter Perfect in the Turbo Terrific, who knows, but surely there were enough fans to encourage Dick Dastardly and Muttley endless sniggering. This was a special ability laced in the black jersey, the art of remaining undiscovered.
Undiscovered was not how Pinarello bicycles became however. Following the demise of his race team, in 1953 Nani opens his first workshop in Catena di Villorba around 50kms north of Venice. Cicli Pinarello opens the doors to the world, and art, of bicycle production and sales.
Wiling and toiling away, it’s not until 1961 that the artisanal production ramps up in a warehouse near his home, and the stress, hard work and ideas keep mounting. The Pinarello at last sees its first win in a title race that year, but it’s a long time coming before 1975 ticks over and then Fausto Bertoglio takes out the Maglia Rosa winner’s jersey of the Giro D’Italia to give Pinarello bikes the first glimmer of Grand Tour halos.
The 1980s sees Pinarello bikes strengthening its presence in the Pro Peloton, even though it remains a small workshop production house. With the slow handing over to Nani’s son, Fausto, a new era is heralded, funnily enough with legendary road racing icon Big Mig, Miguel Indurain, leading the charge in the Reynolds team, which later became Banesto as the 1990s began.
From this time, Pinarello leaps and bounds ahead in the World Tour stage, bouncing over the cobbles in the big ring under Jan Ullrich and then sprinting relentlessly with Alessandro Petacchi (yes, *cough* doping bans aside…) . Younger readers will start to understand the presence of Pinarello now, with names echoing about the sky, the likes of Wiggins and Froome dominating the decade of the 2010s.
The success that Fausto has forged for the Pinarello brand really is quite amazing when you consider that Nani commenced operations in a small workshop some 68 years ago, and now, with massive private equity investment and international ownership interests, it produces over 30,000 bikes and frames a year, with reported turnover (2015/16) in the range of 50-million Euro (AUD$82-million+).
If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, ponder that for a brief moment. It took Nani around 30-years to develop Pinarello as a leader in the Pro cycling ranks, still producing artisanal style from the workshop. Then add another 30 years to present day and under the leadership of son Fausto, still retaining the headquarters in Treviso, Italy, the company is a world leader in bikes, and has just launched its foray into gravel bikes with the year 2020 offering up the Grevil.
Is that like road bike turned evil for gravel? Hmmm, grevil, said like “weavel”, or more like “Breville”? You decide!
In any case, there really is something about these magnificent soulful Italian bike houses that modern big bike brands just can’t compete with, isn’t there? Read about Casati here, a family company that has retained its artisan roots, whilst also beginning in a small workshop.
Pinarello FP Quattro Gravel Gold Bike Project
When the word Quattro passes my lips, the only picture that comes to mind is the very first AUDI Sport Quattro Group B rally car that launched precociously onto the scenes in the early 1980s. The rare road-going ones now command prices beyond five-hundred-thousand euros. They were literally ground-breakers when released, stunning the world with their gravel-going prowess driven by all four wheels.
So, when the word Quattro livened up across the thick carbon weave of this Pinarello, it had zero chance, make that four-zeros chance of being built as anything other than a gravel-oriented steed.
Which gets us thinking, have we perhaps unearthed a secret ambition of Fausto, with his appropriately named FP Quattro? Maybe underneath all that carbon weave is an urge created way back in 1984 as the A2 Quattro flung around the Italian San Remo World Rally Championship event, the Quattro desire was lit?
Then also, maybe not.
What is true is that when the FP Quattro launched, it sat firmly in the premium range of Pinarello frames, sitting in linear fashion behind the Paris frame, and the ultimate race machine, the Dogma.
Asymmetry and Rebellion
The really cool thing about this bike is the asymmetry, on one side you view the black matte carbon and are taken by the slabs of cross-weaved carbon that look as if they can’t wait to be unleashed. It gives little away on the drive side about this finely tuned Italian frame. Flip it over and adorning the non-drive left side is the bold red diablo sash of “Pinarello” emblazoned on the down tube, with a second feverishly placed red name on the downside of the down tube to match.
This design scheme is symbolic, for the entire frame is engineered on a platform of asymmetry. These features trickling down from the halo Dogma and Paris frames into this robust number. The difference between this frame and the siblings is that it utilises a heavier set 30HM12K weave in the monocoque frame design. Of course it will be a tad heavier than its more fettered racing siblings, however the extra weight provides a stronger balance and more durable ambition on the commute and gravel, without sacrificing the responsiveness, agility and poise.
Beyond the paintwork, the asymmetry is recognisable in the design of the rear seat stays and in the actual lay-up of the carbon on the down-tube, which is pulled from the same mold as the Paris sibling. The Pinarello asymmetric livery is not just for devilish looks, it actually defines the build of the down-tube as the drivetrain side is built to provide greater stiffness within the realms of the robust bold tubing.
Coupled with the well-proven Onda fork, the intention of balancing stiffness, agility and ironing out the harshness is well delivered. The oversized steerer tube and head tube keep you tracking properly when the pointy end is angled down hill and reduces the feel of torsional flex as you maul the pedals on the altitude gains.
But really, when you take in the whole of this bike, it’s like the Tao, the yin and the yang. A little bit of red devil contrasted against the subtle svelte understated matte finish of the other. Maybe that’s why the new Pinarello gravel bike is called the Grevil, road bike turned a bit evil, a splash of bad in the good and good in the bad?
The maglia nera is all about rewarding the rebel in you, the one who pushes curfew to the absolute limits, always sneaking in before the last moment, eking out the ultimate satisfaction ungoverned by the sentiments of the boundaries and rules, that is until, the very last second. Painstakingly appearing to follow the rules, whilst doing everything possible to not be discovered exploring all the grey areas.
This is what the gravel gold Pinarello FP Quattro represents, the asymmetry of the symmetry, the contrast of dastardly, cunning and darkness, pitted against the clean lines, sharpness and valour of precise intent.
Gravel Grind Gold Prospects
Gravel bikes have taken on a whole character of their own as a bike genre, the idea that your swift race machine can suddenly take you anywhere you decide to go. Built around a fast, light and responsive 700c wheel, the road-oriented frame can take you from the black tar to the backroads of the Black Spur without even a murmur.
Departing the Melway grid references and familiar labels of streets, roads and boulevards, suddenly lane, way, track and path have taken over in all the common references. Slap on a slightly wider, grooved or treaded tyre and right away no way is the only way.
Some of my favourite early morning commutes, that happened way before gravel bikes were a thing, meant avoiding the heavy traffic of the most direct route, instead jumping gutters, sliding around gravel paths in the dawn subdued light, peering back at plumes of dust, darting across flumes instead of inhaling the fumes choking the main thoroughfares.
With an adventurous spirit, more and more short long cuts appeared, darting around trees along the gravel path of St Kilda’s Canterbury Road lightrail tracks, hidden from view by the trees, or descending wildly down Anderson Street to cross the river and crunch the gravel and gears flying towards Birrarung Marr.
This particular local knowledge even led to a very satisfying win for pedal power in The Sunday Age Bayside commuting challenge dreamt up and reported by journalist Reid Sexton. Read all about the controversial outcome here. And no, there weren’t any red lights run!
More and more adventurous long-hauls for the home commute became the norm, heading completely the wrong way, just because you could, sneaking by the old teardrop crit course and railing 45-minutes of extras on the Studley Park Yarra Trails. You did it because, well, why not?
Roads didn’t matter anymore as the full rigid forks of the commuter bucked and bronco’d over the roots, ruts, wash-outs and rocks, the tail slipping and sliding this way and that, unleashing 8 hours of desk-bound keyboard mania into the late afternoon and early evening air.
Gravel bikes have come a long way from then though.
The Quattro is all about harnessing that bit of post-keyboard devil in you. Hang up the Armani, slip on the baggies, and get the hell out of there. Fast.
It’s hard to know what Nani or even Fausto would think of the build, but I reckon with Nani’s skilful claim to the Maglia Nera, he’d be the first one racing you out the office door, hitting the “G” button in the lift all the way down the 40 floors to the bottom, just so in an hour’s time you can be saddled up at the Trattoria or Pizzeria throwing down an Aperol or two; first place, last shout. It’s what we all need on the Thursday night commute, no?
The Pinarello FP Quattro was always going to be a spirited build, beginning from that deep dark devilish frameset, charging out with the same screaming outrageousness that WRC robust and ridiculously powerful rally cars do. And so it became. Quattro Gravel Gold.
The 51.5cm carbon fibre monocoque frame is what most would label a small size. It has the same geometry of its more superior siblings of Paris and Dogma, so its in very good company. The attention to detail in the frame is next level, with internal cable routing and impeccable paint scheme. This is not a new frame, so whilst it overall is in lovely gleaming condition, there are a few signs of wear and tear, not from the BMX track, but certainly a few commuter scuffs and the occasional chip of character left from some unknown rogue.
The racing heritage stays with the Quattro, equipped with Campagnolo carbon fibre groupset and of course, Campagnolo wheels to match. The Campagnolo Centaur 10-Speed mechanical groupset has been, in keeping with gravel mindedness, slimmed down to one-by (1x) status, with a sole J&L 40-tooth narrow-wide chainring mated to the Campag 5-arm spline. All other Centaur elements remain stock.
The cockpit is where it begins to get interesting, forgoing the traditional drop-bars for a more user friendly and hang-on-whilst-laughing-maniacally feel. The noodly anatomic Ritchey Comp Venturemax gravel-specific handlebar is a winner in the commuter-cup stakes. Featuring multiple hand positions, plus the appropriately named totally “Bio-bend” in the drops, it has a nice 6-degree backsweep and 6-degree flare out that takes the 42cm width all the way out to 54.5cm so comfort and control are premium set as you cane the Yarra trails. Wrapped in Selle Italia’s answer to soft compound WRC-style race rubber, the flashy red Smootape Gran Fondo very cushily takes out the vibrations and harshness of the front-end pogoing for long-distance high comfort.
Now what would a super-special rally stage be without the right tyres? Quite possibly the heaviest tyres known to mankind, these Session 700 black and white beasts send the Quattro on an intergalactic quest, if you can get them off the ground. But don’t get all judgey just yet, because whilst they may be as heavy as sin, at 452 grams each, yes that’s right, almost half a kilo spinning around the axis for the 28c width, they are as grippy as hell and with their Kevlar anti-puncture reinforcement might just save you from the misguided intentions of the Kew Boulevard Tacker.
The diamond pattern offers excellent traction and unlike a rally tyre that will struggle to make it through one stage, these will last forever in the toughest of tough commutes that know no roads. Fyxation, the company behind the tyres, is so confident in these beasts, they offer a full refund if they don’t live up to expectations. And so, as you’re swilling a few “sports-drinks” at the local Trattoria or even better, local Penni Ave Distillery, the tyre talk will be the least of your concerns.
The tyres are mounted to Campagnolo’s Zonda wheelset and continue my fixation with Campag wheels as standard on pretty much any road-oriented bike build. The performance, handling and feel are just what any rogue-ish behaviour calls for.
As if the combination of Pinarello’s asymmetry, cushy swoopy bars and tyres that will bounce into the next millennia isn’t sufficient, binding it all together are components that just wreak of speed. Zipp’s Pro Tour level and highly popular amongst the cyclocross brethren Service Course SL stem takes care of things up front, you might even have spied it crossing the finish line first, victorious over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix.
Propping up the Selle Italia red Flite saddle is the extremely potent and pricey Zipp SL Speed carbon fibre seatpost that is all geared for lightweight, aerodynamics and uncompromising ergonomics. Known for its supreme ride quality and secure adjustability, the new buy price is more than double its featherweight build of around 200 grams.
And there it is, this swoopy brazen asymmetric carbon fibre commuting and gravel bike primed to harness the true spirit of the maglia nera, dodging, ducking and weaving its way to spend as much time as possible having fun than stuck in the rat race.
Most often the question remains, where do you want to go? Aboard the Quattro, that question finds itself redundant, replaced by the far more interesting question, when and where will we finish?
Find yourself undiscovered, just like the crafty grand tour racers of old, and take yourself away from the regular trod beaten path.
Geometry and Technical Specifications
Seat-tube: 53.5cm (measured centre-top)
Seat-tube: 51.5cm (measured centre-centre)
Top-tube: 53.5cm (top tube centre-centre)
Seat-tube angle: 73.7 degrees
Head-tube angle: 72.0 degrees
Headset: Tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-1/2 inch
Fork rake: 43
Bottom Bracket height: 265mm
Chainstay length: 406mm
Make it Yours?
FRAME: Pinarello FP Quattro carbon fibre monocoque frame, size Small, 51.5cm with Onda carbon fibre fork
SHIFTERS / BRAKE LEVERS: Campagnolo Centaur Carbon 1o-speed
BRAKE CALIPERS: Campagnolo Centaur Skeleton 10-speed
HANDLEBAR: Ritchey Comp Venturemax Alloy Gravel Specific 42cm
BAR TAPE: Selle Italia Smootape Gran Fondo red bar tape
STEM: Zipp Service Course SL alloy stem
SEATPOST: Zipp SL Speed carbon fibre micro adjust
SADDLE: Selle Italia Flite saddle
CRANKSET: Campagnolo Centaur Carbon 10-spd crankset 172.5mm with J&L 40-tooth narrow-wide chainring
PEDALS: (not included)
FRONT DERAILLEUR: N/A
REAR DERAILLEUR: Campagnolo Centaur Alloy 10-speed
CASSETTE: Campagnolo Centaur 10-spd 11-25t
CHAIN: Campagnolo Centaur 10-spd with KMC quick-link joiner
WHEELSET: Campagnolo Zonda G3 wheelset with Campagnolo skewers
TYRES: Fyxation Session 700 Kevlar reinforced tyres 700 x 28c
BOTTLE CAGE: 2 x Elite carbon fibre Black Bidon Bottle Cages
Photo Shoot Location: Penni Ave Distillery, Rye, Mornington Peninsula
It’s fair to say, the Pinarello FP Quattro belongs right here at Penni Ave, with its pilot rider adorned in the maglia nera sipping from the cup of races yet won and lost.
Penni Ave is a new edition to the Mornington Peninsula, tucked away quietly off the beaten track in Rye, ready to be discovered by all looking for the ideal setting to rub shoulders with similarly adventure-ambition characters.
What cyclist doesn’t have an obsession with coffee? So you won’t have any issues there, eyeing off the Florentine La Marzocco espresso machine feeding you flowing local Dromana-roasted Little Rebel coffee, no coincidence with the naming there hey?!?
Mornings will see you enjoying a few pastry treats, and as the afternoons and evenings transpire, the Penni Ave gin and vodka may take centre stage for all your apres-velo plans.
Many thanks to the Penni Ave folks for their patience and for sharing their space and time to create these images.
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