We put Ribble's entry-level sportive machine through its paces.
If you’re looking for your first road bike then there are plenty of options on the market. In fact there are probably a few too many options meaning that it can tricky to know where to start. Well, let me help you out, there as one the best places to start would be the Ribble 7005 Sportive.
In its cheapest guise, the Ribble 7005 Sportive bike is available for as little as £529.95 (a price that gets you a Shimano Sora groupset and budget wheels). However don’t let the low price put you off, the build quality of this bike can certainly be relied upon.
This is because its is part of Ribble’s excellent 7005 range (the 7005 referring the grade of aluminium used in the frame’s tubing). Head out on any club run during the winter months and I can guarantee that there will be at least one person riding the 7005 Winter bike, a bike that I can personally attest as having one of the most well-built frames around having put my own bike through seven consecutive winters without so much of a grumble.
The thing that sets the Ribble 7005 Sportive apart from its alloy cousins is its geometry, with this bike coming with a slightly slacker seat tube and taller head tube to give a more upright riding position that should hopefully prove more comfortable when riding over long distances.
Out on the road and I’m not going to pretend that the Ribble 7005 Sportive is able to challenge bikes costing three or four times its price, but it’s certainly not bad, especially if you’re coming to it as a new rider.
For a bike designed with sportives in mind, it’s good to see that Ribble has prioritised comfort. Particularly at the front end there is a decent amount of give from the carbon-bladed fork that helps to deal with roughish road surfaces, while it’s a similar story at the back, meaning that your back end isn’t sore even after three or four hours on the road (although I’m sure spending an extra £18.99 on a carbon-fibre seatpost would improve things even more).
The only way that this could have really been improved without increasing the price of the bike by too much was with different tyres and wheels.
The Vredestein Fortezza Senso All Weather tyres are only 23mm wide (as opposed to 25mm or 28mm) and there is no option to put on wider tyres when selecting your components on Ribble’s bike building website.
Similarly the Shimano RS11 wheels are also very narrow (meaning less air in the tyres and therefore less comfort) and if you want to upgrade to wider wheels then it will cost you a bit of money.
Your guide to buying a £750 bike
As well as offering decent comfort, the Ribble 7005 Sportive is surprisingly agile too. OK, it’s not going to rival featherweight climbing bikes on double-digit gradients, but it’s still fairly lively on the steeper stuff and certainly doesn’t feel like a bike that hits the scales at the wrong side of 9kg.
On the flat and power transfer is not too bad either. Again, if you’re thinking of entering a few races in the future then there are better bikes out there for triumphing in sprint finishes, but it’s certainly stiff enough so as not to feel like you’re wasting too much energy as you hang in the group on your weekend rides.
Our test bike came equipped with a full Shimano 105 groupset, which is exceptional to see on a bike costing only a little over £750. This is the entry-point to Shimano’s “real” road groupsets, and to be honest there are only incremental steps upwards in performance and downwards in weight from here to the upper echelons of Ultegra and Dura-Ace. Shifting and braking are really very hard to fault.
In fact I only have two other criticisms of the Ribble 7005 Sportive (other than the narrow wheels and tyres) and neither of them concern the ride. Firstly there are no eyelets for mudguards and pannier racks, limiting its use as a training or commuter bike if you choose to upgrade in future, and secondly it is only available in white, meaning that you’re going to be hard-pressed to keep it look its best when using through a winter of riding on mud-strewn roads.
For more details visit the Ribble website.
At only a little over £750 for the build you see here, the Ribble 7005 Sportive represents exceptional value for money, especially with comfy but still lively ride and the full Shimano 105 groupset. The choice of wider wheels, wider tyres, and different colours could make it perfect.