Ribble Cycles announced the SL back in February, with the 840g frame entering as the lightest in the Lancashire brand’s extensive road line-up. That low weight combines with with an extremely stiff carbon fibre frame to ensure the SL is a race-ready machine eager to attack climbs, providing an exciting, seat-of-your-pants ride in the process, but the aggressive design places less emphasis on comfort.
With brands these days producing more frames that are best described as ‘all-rounders’ (check out the supremely well-balanced BMC Roadmachine, or even the latest Specialized Tarmac and it’s take on the lightweight, aero race bike), and hitting the mark in terms of outstanding performance across the board that genuinely rivals more specialist machines, the Ribble SL has a challenge on its hands to rank alongside them.
The British brand has some aces up its sleeve, however. First up is the level of spec customisation available using Ribble’s online bike builder (subject to stocked parts), meaning you can create the exact machine you’re after rather than relying on a brand managing speccing the frame to hit a price point. The company also keenly prices its bikes to a level that only direct-to-consumer brands can begin to approach. And, of course, it’s a British brand which assembles its bikes in Britain, which will appeal to some, even if they are not made here.