Ribble R872 road bike

Best-selling race bike beefed up for 2017, offering better stiffness-to-weight and more comfort

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.

RCUK 100 2017 - Ribble R872 road bike
RCUK 100 2017 - Ribble R872 road bike

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.

RCUK 100 2017 - Ribble R872 road bike

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.

RCUK 100 2017 Ribble advert

Ribble R872

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.


Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

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