Ribble R872 Matt Silver
A CLASSIC, AWARD WINNING, PERFECTLY BALANCED, RACE-BRED BIKE
The Ribble R872 is an award winning lightweight and race-bred road bike. It’s our signature carbon road race bike refined and updated to give riders an optimal performance machine.
At the heart of the R872 is an advanced, high modulus carbon frameset with integrated aerodynamic features. It is a fast bike whichever level of components you choose.
If you want race-orientated geometry in a carbon road bike the R872 is perfectly designed and engineered for racing and road riding. Firmly established as a popular Ribble classic the R872 ticks all the boxes for fast road riding and delivers a perfectly balanced ride and highly competitive performance.
The R872 is available in Matt Black and Matt Silver colourways, and is available in our CustomColour program allowing you to choose your exclusive hand painted finish. To explore this option you can select from a wide range of colours within our BikeBuilder.
“The R872 is a very impressive bike indeed. The geometry is spot on.” - Cycling Weekly – Best on Test
REFINED TO STAY AHEAD
The Ribble design team have refined the R872 to ensure it hits that perfect balance between stiffness, weight and comfort. The focus of their attention is on key design objectives for a classic carbon race bike: low weight; stiffness and strength in optimal areas; aerodynamic features; and a quick handling ride quality.
This cutting edge, full carbon frameset featuring internal cable routing, a tapered head tube, a stiffened-up bottom bracket area and deep chain stays for improved power transfer. It’s also Di2/electronic ready.
“Stiffness in a road bike is essential, but it must also be balanced against comfort, weight and cost.”- Cyclist Magazine
The R872 has been technically engineered to give the best lateral stiffness so optimising the transfer of rider pedalling power to the road and meaning minimal energy is lost through frame flex. A carefully researched and tested combination of class-leading Toray T1000/T800 carbon is laid by hand by highly experienced carbon frame builders.
The award winning characteristics of the R872 are the result of meticulous research to find the best tube shapes and dimensions, the right choice of carbon grades and layup design. Adding more carbon laminate to one area of a frame affects the entire bike so the R872 is the result of a thorough test process.
The R872 continues to be one of our most decorated and best-selling bikes collecting awards across the cycling media for its ride characteristics, performance and value.
PRECISE HANDLING AND AERODYNAMICS
The R872 is balanced just like a race bike should be around a short wheel base that keeps the bike agile and ride handling quick and precise.
The R872 design incorporates aerodynamic features – integration between the fork and down tube improves the bikes aero efficiency. The R872 head tube is tapered and also shaped to cut through the air with ease as well as being oversized for front end stiffness.
With clearance for 25mm tyres and a 27.2mm seatpost the R872 will offer comfort when riding or racing longer distances. The frame also boasts weight saving carbon drop outs.
To ensure that we are continually designing and delivering the most advanced carbon frames possible our design team and partners adopt a scientific approach to frame design and via a series of rigorous flex tests we are able to ascertain stiffness values.
Stiffness comparisons between this R872 (mk III) and the design it supersedes:
Fork in-line (front/back) stiffness - Increased 16.4%.
Fork lateral stiffness - Increased 26.5%.
Frame head tube stiffness - Increased 8%.
Frame BB stiffness - Increased 15.4%.
Frame chain stay stiffness - Increased 14%.
READY TO RIDE. READY TO RACE.
The R872 is a well-balanced racing bike, designed to be fast and stiff in the right places. It’s ready to take on everything including road and circuit races, the big mountains or your local climbs. What are you waiting for?
What the press said about the R872
“The R872 offers all-day comfort with excitement and verve” - Cyclist Magazine
“Delivers gold for the price of silver (or bronze)” - Cycling Tips
“Excellent. Featuring full Ultegra and lightweight Mavic Ksyrium hoops – a great foil for the racy geometry. Reprofiled tubes and chainstays with a claimed ten per cent improvement in stiffness.” - RoadCyclingUK
“A super-efficient ride which responded instantly. Attack when the road rises and the R872 leaps forward.” - RCUK
- 1. Super stiff frame and forks
- True racing pedigree in a smart looking package
- 2. Frame to fork integrated design
- Reduces drag and increases aerodynamics
- 3. Carbon dropouts
- Helps to reduce weight
- 4. 27.2mm seat pin
- Slender seatpost increases comfort
- 5. Di2 and EPS ready
- Can be fitted with all mechanical and electronic groupsets
- 6. Oversize bottom bracket
- To aid power transfer and pedalling efficiency
- 7. Tapered headtube
- Increases front end stiffness & steering positivity
- 8. Oversize chainstays
- Further enhances the power transfer to the wheels
Sizing & Geometry
|Rider Height||152 - 165cm5'0" - 5'5"||165 - 172cm5'6" - 5'8"||172 - 178cm5'8" - 5'10"||175 - 183cm5'9" - 6'0"||183 - 190cm6'1" - 6'3"|
|A - Seat Tube (mm)||470||490||510||535||555|
|B - Top Tube (mm)||515||531.5||548.4||565.5||583|
|C - Reach (mm)||375||382||389||396||403|
|D - Headtube (mm)||102.3||122.6||145||165.3||182.7|
|E- Stack (mm)||505||525||545||565||585|
|F - Fork Angle||72º||72.2º||72.4º||72.6º||73.3º|
|G - Wheelbase (mm)||960.9||972.6||985.2||996.6||999.7|
|H - Chainstay (mm)||406||406||406||406||406|
|I - Seat Tube Angle||74.5º||74.1º||73.7º||73.3º||72.9º|
Ribble R872 Matt Silver Customer Reviews
Ribble R872 Matt Silver Press Reviews
Ribble’s carbon fibre R872 ticked all the boxes as a value-packed, rim brake race bike, becoming one of the Lancashire-based brand’s best-selling bikes in the process. Now, having been updated for 2017, Ribble have built on that success even further.
To say Ribble Cycles have been busy over the past 18 months would be an understatement; their road bike range has been totally overhauled and grown exponentially this year, and all this while the previously online-only brand’s first pop-up stores have been cropping up across the UK.
New disc-equipped models have hit the road, while the super-light Ultimate SL went straight in at the top of the range as the Ribble’s lightest frame yet – and then there’s the R872. It’s always something of a gamble whenever a brand takes a popular model and revamps it, but it’s a move which has paid off here.
If you’re not familiar with the bike, the original R872 was first launched in 2012 with stiffness as its calling card, and proved immediately popular thanks also to the competitively light frame. The latest version of the bike retains the same race-ready geometry of its predecessor, but a number of changes beneath the surface have beefed up the stiffness-to-weight ratio, while Ribble have also sought to improve comfort.
The 2017 frame is made from a combination of T1000 and T800 high-modulus carbon fibre, where previously it was just T800, and that has increased stiffness across the board, without adding any weight. When we took the R872 to Majorca, we found it to be remarkably stiff – a super-efficient ride which responded instantly to inputs on the pedals. Attack when the road rises and the R872 leaps forward, leaving the rider to catch up.
The R872 isn’t an aero bike by any means but Ribble have borrowed the subtly integrated fork/headtube/downtube junction from their Aero 883 to smooth airflow a little through this area. It’s a marginal gain but worth noting.
The new model is also sleeker and less angular around the seattube and toptube junction, while the downtube tapers as it meets the bottom bracket – which itself houses a chunkier PressFit shell, contributing to that stiffness we talked about.
Elsewhere, Ribble have switched to a 27.2mm seatpost, with the common thinking being that a slimmer post allows for more flex, helped by the fact that the R872 now has a sloping toptube, thus leaving more post exposed. The R872 isn’t a plush endurance bike by any means, but it takes the edge of rough roads and ensures the frame is comfortable enough for long rides, while retaining a direct and engaging ride quality.
On that note, the R872’s proven geometry provides the fast, accurate handling you’d expect from a race bike. Throw the R872 into a tight bend and it will track consistently, helped by the excellent headtube stiffness at the front end.
Ribble offer a near unparalleled level of customisation through their online bike builder, which allows you to spec the R872 as you wish. Builds start from £999 with Shimano Tiagra, which is astonishing value considering the carbon frame, but we think the chassis is deserving of more and so specced our R872 for the RCUK 100 with Shimano Ultegra and lightweight Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels for a shade over £2,000.
Whatever build you go for, the R872 frame remains at the bike’s heart and it’s a cracker. With the explosion of disc brake bikes on the market, along with the rise of increasingly specialised and niche machines, it’s sometimes easy to forget just how fun it can be to ride a fast, lively machine with rim brakes. The R872 is just that – a race thoroughbred.
With a history that can be traced all the way back to 1897, Ribble Cycles has been in the bike business for a long time. The company owes its name to a nearby river, and despite the business changing hands a number of times, it has remained in and around Preston in Lancashire, England.
The business has just changed hands again with the retirement of Terry Dove after more than 35 years at the helm. Dove embraced mail order during the late-‘80s to help his business grow and then the Internet in 2001 for even more growth after that.
By 2009, Ribble Cycles was ready to abandon its original shop space in favour of a large warehouse to cope with the dramatic rise in web sales. The company was pleased to report a profit of over £2million for 2011 as the number of customers rose to 75,000 a year, making it a very attractive acquisition. And while True Capital owns the business now, Terry Dove’s son James will continue the family’s involvement with the business, working as the Managing Director after joining the business in the early-‘90s.
Ribble attributes a large part of its success to the demand for its own brand of bikes. The company’s experience in manufacturing pre-dates Terry Dove’s tenure, which was making use of a nearby factory and paint shop to create Ribble-branded bikes. That strategy has evolved in recent years as Ribble switched to Asian manufacturing to stock its online catalogue with a wide range of bikes.
At face value, Ribble’s sales strategy is far from unique but they go one step further by recognising the individual needs of its customers. Thus, customers can select a new bike from a range of stock options, or, they can use the BikeBuilder to create their own bike from Ribble’s inventory.
At present, Ribble’s BikeBuilder comprises 28 models, the majority of which are road bikes. Prices start at AUD$1,149 (~US$882) for a complete road bike with a range of options for the groupset, wheels, cockpit, seating and tyres. In many instances, buyers are also able to specify gearing, crank length, stem length, handlebar width, along with the colour of the tyres, saddle and bar tape (options vary according to the products selected).
For this review, I spent a few weeks riding Ribble’s R872, a full carbon race-oriented bike built with Shimano’s Ultegra 11-speed mechanical groupset that retails for AUD$2,250 (~US$1,720).
BEFORE THE RIDE
The R872 frameset is constructed from Toray’s T800 high modulus carbon fibre with a tapered head tube (1.125-inch upper bearing; 1.5-inch lower bearing). According to Ribble’s specifications, the R872 has a BB30 bottom bracket however the bike sent for review had a BSA threaded bottom bracket instead. The R872 keeps pace with modern trends by providing internally routing for rear brake and gear cables with the option to accommodate electronic groupsets.
According to Ribble, the R872 has been designed with stiffness as a priority. I’ve already mentioned the tapered head tube — which is well known for increasing the stiffness of the front end — and the bottom bracket is fortified with extra material and mated with large chainstays for extra stiffness as well. Nevertheless, Ribble claims that the R872 “is still perfectly suited for longer day rides.”
There are five frame sizes on offer for the R872, as shown in the table below. The bike has sloping geometry and the size refers to the length of the seat tube (measured from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top).
The geometry of the R872 is race-oriented with relatively small head tube lengths at each size. Bottom bracket drop ranges 69-71mm (decreasing with the frame size) while the fork rake is 43mm for every frame size except the largest, which has 40mm of rake instead. See Ribble Cycles for a detailed geometry chart.
The R872 frameset is supplied with a minimum of decoration and the stealthy finish will appeal to any rider that likes a black bike. Whether by accident or design, it is difficult to identify Ribble’s branding for the bike, leaving most observers to guess at its identity. Interestingly, a few online forums have noted close similarities between the R872 and De Rosa’s R838 in the past, where the geometry is identical for the two frames (as well as De Rosa’s newest entry-level carbon road bike called Nick).
The profile of the R872 juxtaposes angles with curves for a curious (and perhaps disquieting) effect. The down tube is consistent with an aerodynamic design, yet the seat tube is quite large and perfectly round. The seatstays are slim, like an endurance-oriented bike, while the fork legs and chainstays have sharp kinks that reminded me of a wheel-truing jig. All told, there’s no mistaking this bike for anything other than a modern composite design.
The R872 is available in just one colour, but as mentioned above, buyers are able to customise the build with a selection of groupsets from Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM. Other choices extend to the wheels (Shimano, Mavic, Fulcrum and Campagnolo), cockpit (Deda, ITM), and seating (Selle Italia, Charge, Fabric, Fizik, Ritchey). Ribble’s Bike Builder dutifully displays the effect the each option will have on the final price of the bike, which can be as low as AUD$1,850 (~US$1,416) and as high as AUD$8,851 (~US$6,775).
Customising the build will require that buyers have some understanding of their bike fit. Ribble provides a chart that recommends frame sizes according to the buyer’s height, however no guidance is provided for crank length, stem length, and handlebar width. In the absence of a reasonably detailed bike fit, these are the sort of details that can only be guessed at until the buyer spends some time on the bike.
The R872 sent for review was built with Shimano’s 11-speed Ultegra mechanical groupset (with compact cranks and 11-28 cassette) and RS21 wheelset, Deda alloy bars and stem, CSN saddle, and Continental Ultra Sport tyres (25mm). Total weight for the size 50cm bike was 8.26kg without pedals or bidon cages.
The current asking price for this build (dubbed R872 Special Edition Shimano Ultegra 6800) is AUD$2,250 (~US$1,720). I’m told that this price includes delivery for buyers in Australia, however GST and duty is not, which will add ~15% to the final price (in this instance, an extra ~AUD$400 will be payable, bringing the final cost of the R872 Special Edition Shimano Ultegra 6800 to ~AUD$2,650).
According to Ribble, a lead-time of 5-10 days is required to prepare a custom-built bike for dispatch. All bikes are delivered in a semi-assembled state, requiring only installation of the bars, seatpost and front wheel, with after sales service in the form of email and chat. In time, Ribble expects to have a network of mobile mechanics in Australia along with one or two showrooms.
I had little trouble assembling the R872 sent for this review. In fact, I spent more time cutting away zip ties and removing packing materials than was needed to get the bike ready for the road. In the end, a few minor adjustments to the brakes and gears were all that were needed once the bike was assembled.
All Ribble-branded frames and forks are supplied with a six-year warranty however the30-day test ride that is offered to UK-residents does not extend to international customers. For more information, visit Ribble Cycles.
AFTER THE RIDE
From the outset, I did not have big expectations for the R872. After all, as a bargain-priced carbon fibre bike, it seemed unfair to expect the bike that could offer the same kind of performance as some of the more expensive brands that I’ve been riding this year, such as Scott, Festka and Parlee. And while the R872 never truly rivalled any of those bikes, I found that it was more than a bargain-priced bike.
The first thing that really stood out for me was the aggressive poise of the bike. All of the extra material and engineering designed to increase the stiffness of the chassis provided a sturdy platform for giving the bike a decent kick in the guts. The result is all business as the bike picks up speed quickly and barrels along with the aggressive intent of some of the best race bikes I’ve ever ridden.
With a total weight of around 8.5kg with the pedals installed, the R872 couldn’t offer the same kind of nimble responsiveness as a lighter bike (or build). I suspect bigger, stronger riders won’t notice the lag, but it was always there for me when kicking off from a standstill or trying to give the bike a solid kick. That’s not to say that the bike was an immovable oaf, just that there is a gap between it and the pricier competition (that is typically lighter).
That lag had some effect on the climbing abilities of the R872 as well, tempering the bike a little. A lighter bike will always feel more agile and responsive when trying to accelerate up a slope, especially steeper inclines (where the gradient is 10% or more) yet the R872 was still quite capable. Buyers hoping for a bike that shines in the hills probably won’t find much satisfaction with the R872, unless they are upgrading from a heavier alloy entry-level bike.
There is more to a great race bike than just stiffness and poise because it must handle well. And this is where the R872 trumps its similarly priced rivals. In short, the steering and handling of the bike is exceptional. Precise, certain, and confidence inspiring, the R872 moves through corners with ease and grace. I never felt like I had to wrestle with the bike regardless of whether I was trying to chop the apex of a bend or maintain my composure at very high speeds.
When combined with the rest of the bike’s attributes, the steering and handling does a lot to translate the rider’s efforts in an immediate and decisive fashion. The bike is ready to go where it is pointed, which means the rider can get on with concentrating on their effort, even when the bike gathers speed.
I found the R872 was easy to rocket around on for a couple of hours, but when the rides stretched to four or five hours, I started to suffer some discomfort. I found I ended up feeling saddle sore by the fourth hour along with some discomfort in the neck and shoulders that I never experience on my own bike. Thus, as an all-day bike, the R872 really doesn’t shine, so it’s better to think of it as a race bike.
Shimano’s 11-speed Ultegra mechanical groupset continues to perform at a very high level, offering precise shifting and braking with a light touch. It adds value to a bike at this price, not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of durability. Ultegra is robust enough to withstand daily riding as well as the demands of racing.
The RS21 wheelset is a modest product, yet Shimano pays attention to the small details to lift overall impressions. For example, the quality of the brake track is outstanding, making for smooth and predictable braking. These wheels are heavy for a low-profile clincher though, so buyers pondering where they can spend a little more to lift the performance of the bike should have a look at lighter wheels.
I didn’t suffer any of the kinds of problems that can plague a new bike during the review period. The seatpost never slipped in the frame and the headset wasn’t prone to coming loose. The internal gear cables made a little noise in the frame on rough roads; otherwise, the bike was quiet.
SUMMARY AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Ribble has been putting together bargain-priced bikes for a long time, so it really shouldn’t be surprising that the R872 comes together in a way that defies its pricing. That buyers have the option to customise the build only adds to the value of the bike, so they are less likely to end up feeling like they were forced to make a compromise to get the bike they wanted at a price that they were happy to pay.
I expect the R872 will appeal to riders on a tight budget, however the fact that tax and duty are not included in the sale price will shock unsuspecting buyers in Australia. Regardless, the R872 remains competitively priced when compared to other online retailers, and more significantly, local bike shops. Of course, buyers must be prepared to forego a test ride and decide on a frame size according to Ribble’s general guidelines.
Nevertheless, I see the R872 as a canny choice for junior racers looking for an affordable and robust race bike. Likewise, experienced riders looking for a bargain-priced training bike. Yes, the R872 is subject to some of the limitations associated with its pricing, so the bike carries a weight penalty, but the quality of steering and handling really means this is one of those rare bikes that delivers gold for the price of silver (or bronze).
'Ribble have smashed it out of the park with this road racer equipped with Shimano Ultegra mechanics. The lightweight set-up uses T800 Toray carbon fibre for the ultimate in stiffness and weight reduction, while the design and internal cable routing mean it positively slices through the air.'
A real roadie’s bike, combining comfort and tenacity
About the bike
The R872 replaces the Stealth in the Ribble line-up, keeping the same black-on-black aesthetic but with a few tweaks that prioritise stiffness and move the R872 into the path of the speed-hungry racers. The entry level model comes in at £829.95 (at time of writing) – not bad for a carbon road bike – but Ribble sent us a higher specced iteration, which provides serious bang for your buck. However, while Ribble does offer a collection service, it is an online-only brand, which means buying a bike could be hazardous. Is it worth taking a punt? Let’s find out…
Straight out of the blocks, it felt immediately apparent that the R872 is a real road rider’s bike, with it’s snappy accelerating capabilities and general will to be ridden quickly. The compact, sloped top tube geometry is an easy way of making lots of body shapes compatible with the bike, but we don’t think it can do the bike’s racy, punchy feel any harm either, with the small triangles doing their bit to enhance stiffness.
On the road
At the back end, that small triangle provides a solid base when making harder pedal efforts, but doesn’t feel too harsh over rough ground either, which is actually a little surprising given how chunky the seatstays and chainstays are, but perhaps this is in part thanks to the wheel and tyre choice on this particular test machine. We were happy to let the bike get up to some fairly eye-watering speeds on some of our test rides in the hills, which is a testament to the confidence that the bike was able to inspire, even only after a fairly brief acquaintance.
The front end feels reassuringly stable, and as confident gliding through sweeping downhill corners as it does nipping in and out of traffic through town. In the race environment that the bike was designed for, we reckon it would have no trouble navigating the delicate ebb and flow of a fast moving bunch. The R872 is, in short, a fantastically enjoyable thing to ride; it behaves like the raceable road bike you buy it for, but retains more than enough comfort to make it worthy of long days in the saddle and sportives, too.
Ribble has employed the T800 fibres of widely used carbon fibre heavyweight Toray in the R872 layup, but it’s the design of the frame that matters, and here it’s been made with stiffness as top priority. To do this, extra layers of carbon have been applied to flex-prone areas like the bottom bracket, which uses the BB30 standard and the head tube, which is tapered.
Being wider at the bottom than at the top gives the headtube more robustness and strength, while allowing for a standard-sized stem. The BB30 bottom bracket, meanwhile, optimises weight bearing through the spindle and shell diameter, rather than placement of the bearings, which means a narrow and yet stiff system. The downside is that to use a regular crankset such as the Shimano Ultegra that comes with the R872, you need adaptors, and these metal-on-metal marriages are known to creak.
The streamlined fork certainly helps from an aero perspective at the front end, while internal cable routing keeps the bike looking tidy, and at the rear we see super deep chainstays, which should help reduce energy loss throughout the pedal-to-drive motion.
Ribble has really made a bike out of the R872 with the standard of the groupset fitted to our test model. Everything from the chainset and STI shifters to the brake calipers and cassette are Shimano Ultegra, which is very much the same as 105 on a technology level, but lighter and with a slightly more solid feel behind the shifts, thanks to differences in materials. It’s an impressive addition at this price point.
The complete Deda finishing kit is a complement of well chosen parts – nothing to get overly excited about, but then again there’s nothing here that will cause any harm or distrust in the bike. The Selle Italia Flite saddle is fairly unpadded, and has a lot of give when you exert force on it, so if it’s not for you then you’ll know about it, but Ribble offers the buyer he chance to swap out anything that won’t suit in its bike builder app. But still, it’s nice to see Ribble employing established expertise of brands like Deda and Selle Italia, which again is an impressive feat considering the total price.
The R872 we were testing came kitted out with Shimano’s RS21 wheelset, which as far as entry-to-mid-level wheelsets go, you’d do well to find comparable options. The hoops use straight-pull spokes front and rear – a growing trend to address the ‘weak-point’ of elbowed spokes – with a radial pattern on the front wheel, which limits the amount of spokes, and therefore reduces the weight.
The foldable Schwalbe One tyres are a nice finishing touch, and provides a supple, confident contact point with the ground below. We were unlucky enough to ride the R872 a few times in soaking wet conditions, but the Ones held their ground well throughout.
A fantastically enjoyable bike that begs to be ridden quickly while also very comfortable.
Thanks to an incredible spec including a carbon frame and Shimano Di2, the Ribble R872 offers a powerful ride at a bargain price.
Frame & equipment: Truly impressive at this price
The new R872 frame from Ribble replaces the highly respected and high-scoring Stealth. The new frame looks outwardly similar, especially with its stealth black-on-black graphics.
Under the skin it’s a different story, though. The R872 is constructed with Toray T800 carbon fibre and features a tapered head tube and BB30 bottom bracket shell (though in this spec it’s running an adaptor for the Shimano chainset) with full internal cable routing.
Ribble tell us the frame was designed with out-and-out stiffness in mind and that, along with the geometry, the standard gearing choice of 53/39, 12-25T firmly marks the R872 out as race material.
As with any bike from Ribble, it’s the spec that truly impresses, and the R872 doesn’t disappoint. Using a combination of Ultegra Di2 with a 105 chainset and brakes has meant that, along with a lightweight carbon frame and great wheels, you can get consistent shifting for an impressively low price. It’s a demonstration in clever speccing from the guys at Ribble, and one we’d encourage from a few more manufacturers.
The wheel package comes courtesy of Mavic, with the combination of Aksium wheels and Aksion tyres providing decent quality with performance that backs up the classy looks.
Ribble’s choice of a Deda cockpit matches a fair few other Cycling Plus Bike of The Year contenders. The combination of Zero 2 stem and RHM02 bar is a great choice of good quality mid-range kit that won’t let you down.
What we’re most impressed with, though, is the seatpost and saddle combo. Ribble have chosen to use Selle Italia’s SLS saddle but in the unique-to-Selle Italia monolink configuration.
The perch uses a single composite rail anchored further forward and back of the saddle’s hull, making for a seat with plenty of flex plus masses of fore and aft adjustability. This design allows it to be much slimmer through the nose, and the super slim shape means no friction at all between you and the sides – the free-feeling movement is a revelation.
Ride & handling: Solid and powerful
Out on the road the Ribble is an absolute blast. The frame is rock solid under powerful pedal strokes and the back end copes well over broken surfaces; there’s an almost spring-like buoyancy to it over bigger bumps and it actively kicks back against you as it crests an impact.
Up front, things are slightly less composed; the deep but thin-bladed and kinked fork tracks well and doesn’t have any unwanted side-to-side flex, but it does catch crosswinds, making it prone to becoming a little unstable. It can also get quite chattery over coarse, gravelled road surfaces.
The combination of 105 and Ultegra Di2 works faultlessly, though the tall 53/39, 12-25T gearing won’t suit everyone. The overall light weight goes some way to compensate for the gears and we didn’t have any major issues with it being under geared, but if you intend to use the bike in Europe or on any serious UK climbs, you’d be best using Ribble’s bike-builder to specify a compact chainset or wider cassette.
This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2013 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 273, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.