Ridley 2018 road and cyclo-cross bikes: which bike should you buy?
Built in cycling's Flandrien heartlands, Ridley has a comprehensive range of road and cyclo-cross machines
Do you want to own a bike with its DNA ingrained in one of cycling’s heartlands? That’ll be Ridley, then. With its operations base in Flanders’ so-called ‘Bike Valley’, as well as being founded and led by Flandrian Joachim Aerts, it’s difficult to find a more quintessentially Belgian bike brand anywhere else.
You’ll also have spotted Ridley bikes under Andre Greipel at Lotto-Soudal for a number of years now, so the brand has been front and centre in the WorldTour, while it can claim a total of 15 world cyclo-cross champions since 2002. That’s not a bad hit rate in anyone’s book.
On the road, the Noah family of bikes is the aero offering, and is the bike of choice of Greipel and his lead-out train. Perhaps most impressive of the range is the new Aero Plus disc brake bikes, with a completely cable-free integrated bar-stem setup contributing to the creation of the most aerodynamically efficient bike Ridley has ever produced.
The Helium is the brand’s climbing bike. It can claim a frame weight of 700g in its top-line ‘SLX’ guise, while engineers have ensured it’s stiff enough to handle pro-level power with a claimed 15 per cent improvement over its predecessor, the SL.
The Fenix is Ridley’s endurance bike, focussed on pounding the cobbles – it is designed in Classics heartland, after all. The Fenix SLX Disc is new for 2018 and hits an impressive claimed frame weight of 850g while retaining features that should result in good levels of compliance, according to Ridley.
Of course, Ridley is also famous for its cyclo-cross bikes, with the top-end X-Night race bike supported by the slightly more relaxed alloy X-Ride, as well as the cyclo-cross-ready all-roader, the X-Bow. If you want a gravel-specific bike, then you need look no further than the X-Trail – available in both carbon and alloy framesets.
That’s the basic run-through of the range, so what are you waiting for? Let’s delve deeper into each category to see exactly what’s on offer…
The Noah family of bikes has four distinct lines. The flagship frame you’ll see most often on flat stages of WorldTour will be the Noah SL, a rim-brake bike that tops out for the public with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 build and boasts a blend of 60T, 40T and 30T high-modulus carbon fibre.
You also get Ridley’s ‘F-Surface Plus’ innovation, which applies a texture to strategic areas of the frame to apparently reduce drag (like dimples on a gold ball), as well as a split leg fork to help slice through the wind. That’s the aim anyway, according to Ridley.
In a nod to Lotto-Soudal’s relationship with Campagnolo, you can also have this bike built with Campagnolo Potenza groupset for the same price as the Shimano Ultegra machine at £3,699.99. If you want complete control over your build, a frameset will set you back £2,499.99, while the top Ultegra Di2 bike comes in at £4,999.99.
The standard rim-brake Noah is laid up with 30T and 24T carbon fibre, which ensures it hits a lower price point. A frameset here will cost £1,699.99, with Shimano Ultegra and 105 ‘mix’ builds for £3,199.99 and £2,399.99 respectively.
The disc-brake version is headlined by the SL Disc Aero Plus, which features a fully-integrated cable and hydraulic hose layout, helping to make, as we discovered at Eurobike last year, the most aero-efficient Noah available. You can have this in a complete Ultegra Di2 build for £6,499.99, or have a frameset for £3,999.99.
Underneath the Aero Plus sits the SL Disc, which mirrors the rim brake SL bike in its standing in the range, offering a Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Ultegra build for £6,399.99 and £3,999.99 apiece, along with a frameset option for £2,999.99.
If you’re a climber or simply value low weight above all else in your bike frames, the Helium is the bike to go for. Like the Noah there are four frame permutations.
The top-of-the-line frame is the revised Helium SLX, which interestingly led with its claims of a 15 per cent improvement in stiffness, while there were only marginal improvements in weight over the previous SL.
Still, it results in a frameset that tips the scales at a claimed 700g, which is very light indeed. This is available in an Ultegra Di2 spec for £4,999.99, as well as mechanical Ultegra at £3,899.99, with a frameset costing £2,699.99.
The Helium X is the entry-level carbon Helium and, as with the Noah range, it uses a simpler blend of carbon fibre while retaining the same race geometry and handling characteristics. An Ultegra Race (including Forza R45_C19 carbon hoops) bike will set you back £3,899.99, with prices falling with Ultegra (and more affordable wheels) and 105-equipped builds, and a frameset for £1,799.99.
The Helium is also available as an alloy frameset, in both rim and disc brake guises. The ‘SLA’ is built using triple-butted hydroformed 6005-6061 aluminium tubing, and can be had in Ultegra and 105 mix builds for £1,749.99 and £1,399.99 respectively, as well as a £799.99 frameset.
The SLA Disc features a frame tweaked to run disc brakes, complete with 12mm thru-axles, and can be bought for £2,099.99 in a Shimano Ultegra build, £1,749.99 with a 105 mix, and a £799.99 frameset (mirroring the price point of the rim brake frame).
For the cobble-bashers and endurance riders out there, the Fenix is your port of call. Despite the move of some brands to opt for a disc-only range of endurance bikes, Ridley has kept the options open with both disc and rim-brake bikes.
If you want a top-spec SLX frame, complete with a premium blend of 60T and 50T high-modulus carbon fibre, you will need to go with discs, though. It’s purported to save up to 250g over the old SL frameset while retaining compliance-boosting features such as dropped skinny seatstays and a more forgiving geometry, coming in at a claimed 850g for the frame. You can have that in an Ultegra Di2 or Ultegra build for £6,099.99 or £3,899.99 respectively.
The SL frame remains in the range, and can be had for £3,699.99 in a Shimano Ultegra specification, down to £1,899.99 with a Shimano 105 mix of components. A frameset will cost £1,499.99.
Meanwhile, the pick of the disc-brake versions of the SL bike can be had with Ultegra Di2 (£4,099.99), Campagnolo Potenza (£3,899.99), and a more cost-effective 105 mix build (£2,499.99). A frameset here costs £1,599.99.
There’s also an entry-level carbon offering, the Fenix C, which offers an enticing entry-level road bike with a more compliant ride and conservative geometry, laid up with more affordable (and heavier) 24T carbon fibre. The bike tops out with a Shimano Ultegra build for £1,849.99, and can also be had in mid-range 105 or ten-speed Tiagra builds for £1,649.99 and £1,549.99 respectively.
Alloy versions can be bought for as little as £1,199.99 (a Shimano Sora-equipped model) with mechanical disc brakes, or £1,099.99 if you opt for a rim-brake frame.
Ridley Fenix C Ultegra Mix – £1,849.99
Ridley Fenix C 105 Mix – £1,649.99
Ridley Fenix C Tiagra – £1,549.99
Ridley Fenix A Disc Tiagra MDB – £1,499.99
Ridley Fenix A Disc Sora – £1,199.99
Ridley Fenix A Disc Frameset – £749.99
Ridley Fenix A Ultegra Mix – £1,299.99
Ridley Fenix A 105 Mix – £1,199.99
Ridley Fenix A Tiagra – £1,099.99
Ridley Fenix A Frameset – £699.99
Switching tack to cyclo-cross, the X-Night is the flagship bike you’ll spot under pro riders. The public can have these frames with disc brakes, along with a few throwback cantilever brake options too.
The X-Night SL is the top frame, complete with an aggressive geometry to allow riders to get the maximum out of themselves on the course. It has full internal cable routing in a 30T and 24T blend of carbon fibre, and is designed to provide ample room for comfortable shouldering.
The SL Disc can be had with a SRAM Force 1x drivetrain for £4,499.99, as well as a Shimano Ultegra Di2 version for £4,399.99. The cantilever option features an Ultegra-spec drivetrain for the same price as the equivalent disc-brake bike at £3,499.99. Both framesets are available for £2,099.99.
The standard X-Night sticks with the lower-spec 24T carbon fibre, but otherwise remains a well-detailed machine, mirroring its SL sibling. These start from £1,399.99 for the Ultegra cantilever bike, and £2,199.99 for a 105-equipped bike with mechanical disc brakes. If you want a 1x groupset, the SRAM Rival 1 bike will cost £2,899.99, with an Ultegra machine coming in at £3,999.99.
The Ridley X-Ride is an alloy cyclo-cross bike and hits a more competitive price point while also featuring a slightly more relaxed geometry than the X-Night – well-suited to it’s more affordable position. It features internal cable routing and is made of triple-butted 7005-T6 aluminium.
A 1x version is available for £1,899.99 (SRAM Rival 1), while there are hydraulic and mechanical disc options with a Shimano 105 drivetrain at £1,699.99 and £1,499.99 apiece. A frameset will cost £699.99
If the X-Ride is the entry-level cyclo-cross-specific bike, then the X-Bow is the bike that can traverse both the CX race scene and gravel trails with equal ability. Also made using 7005-T6 aluminium, it has 36c tyre clearance, external cable routing and a relaxed geometry for all-day excursions.
This bike can be specced with a Shimano Tiagra or Sora groupset with disc brakes for £1,099.99 or £999.99 each, or a cantilever-brake Tiagra version, also for £999.99.
Dedicated gravel riders look no further, the X-Trail is the all-roader for you. It comes in two frame constructions – carbon and alloy, with disc brakes all over – and is built with a relaxed geometry, clearance for 36c tyres (even if that’s pretty conservative by today’s gravel standards) and mounts for mudguards.
The carbon bikes top out at £3,699.99 for a SRAM Force 1-equipped model, with a cheaper SRAM Rival 1 bike in the mix (£2,899.99), interspersed with Shimano Ultegra and 105 bikes (£3,299.99 and £2,199.99 respectively), and a frameset for £1,499.99.
The alloy bikes top out at £1,599.99 with a Shimano 105 drivetrain. A SRAM Apex 1 bike is available for £1,399.99, with a Shimano Sora bike propping up the range for £1,099.99.
The Dean is Ridley’s dedicated time trial bike, and there are two options if you want the pro-level ‘FAST’ frame. £8,499.99 will buy you an all-singing, all-dancing Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 bike complete with Zipp 808 Firecrest wheels, while £5,699.99 will buy you a Shimano Ultegra Di2 build with Forza hoops. A frameset costs £2,899.99
The standard (and more affordable) frameset costs £2,099.99 on its own, with Shimano Ultegra Di2 (£4,999.99), Ultegra (£3,299.99) and 105 mix (£2,599.99) builds on offer as complete bikes.
Ridley Dean 2018 bikes
Ridley Dean FAST Dura-Ace Di2 – £8,499.99
Ridley Dean FAST Ultegra Di2 – £5,699.99
Ridley Dean FAST Frameset – £2,899.99
Ridley Dean Ultegra Di2 – £4,999.99
Ridley Dean Ultegra – £3,299.99
Ridley Dean 105 Mix – £2,599.99
Ridley Dean Frameset – £2,099.99
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