A special groupset deserves a special bike.
The limited edition Ridley Helium SL and Campagnolo’s 80th Anniversary Collection groupset – a special edition of their range-topping Super Record group – seem well matched.
The production run will be limited to, you guessed, it 80 bikes. Ridley are advising suitors to place their orders quickly.
We dream of spec sheets this uniform. The groupset? Campagnolo Super Record throughout. In its entirety. All of it. No corners cut.
Wheels? Campag again: the matching, 80th Anniversary Collection edition of the Bullet, a 50mm deep carbon-alloy clincher, wrapped in Continental Grand Prix 4000S rubber.
The finishing kit is from Ridley: a full deployment (bars, handlebar stem, seatpost, saddle) of their 4ZA Cirrus finishing kit, carbon in all but stem.
Even after adding 310 grams for the fork, a further 1,862 grams for the groupset, and 1,859 grams for the carbon-alloy clinchers, you’re still likely to be left with a machine struggling to reach the UCI’s minimum weight designation of 6.8kg.
The superlight climbing bike, with a frame weight of 750 grams in small, and just 850 grams even in the large size ridden by Jurgen van den Broeck, is among the best we’ve ridden.
We became acquainted with the Helium SL at Lotto Belisol’s pre-season training camp in Benicàssim and after eight hours of riding declared it “stunning”.
“The Helium SL’s best feature, however, is its handling, which is razor sharp and incredibly accurate, but never twitchy and doesn’t require baby sitting a like some race machinery,” we concluded. “It’s a confidence-inspiring ride and the Helium SL carves through corners quickly and accurately, helped by a super-stiff front end.”
Our machine, of course, was not equipped with the Campagnolo 80th Anniversary Collection, but more modestly equipped with Chorus and Cirrus aluminium clinchers from Ridley’s 4ZA component brand.
We’ve also had a close look at the Campagnolo 80th Anniversary Collection after attending the esteemed manufacturer’s birthday celebrations. No party is complete without RCUK, of course, even one with Merckx, LeMond an Indurain on the guest list. Check out this gallery of the guests and gear on show.
Expect to see much of the Helium SL this summer. Lotto Belisol’s van den Broeck, fifth in last year’s Tour de France, will mount his challenge for the centenary edition aboard one. For a close up look at his steed, click here.
You can check VDB’s progress in the Criterium du Dauphine, and that of team-mate, Jelle Vanendert, stage 14 winner at the 2011 Tour, here.
And the price of one of Ridley’s 80 limited edition machines? If you have to ask…We were vulgar enough to do so. A cool 8,999 euros. Shall I wrap it sir, or will you ride it home?