Ribble's best-selling carbon road bike could well be the one to beat in the £1K category
The Ribble R872 is the £1K contender from the Preston brand that rules the roost when it comes to affordable race bikes.
Ribble is a serial winner of group tests thanks to sourcing excellent frames from the same Far East factories – allegedly even from the same moulds – as the big names and selling them at a fraction of the price.
The Ribble R872 is Ribble’s best-selling carbon road bike and has been updated for 2017. It uses Toray T1000 and T800 high-modulus carbon-fibre – once the preserve of the most exclusive Italian marques – in a frame that’s stiffer and lighter than its predecessor (claimed 1,070g in the size small).
All cables are internally routed and the R872 is Di2 compatible. Although it’s not remotely an ‘aero’ frame the fork crown and the rear of the down tube fit together neatly, eliminating a watt-wasting gap.
The R872 bulges where maximum stiffness is required: the tapered head tube, press-fit bottom bracket shell and chainstays are all oversized and rock solid, while the 27.2mm seatpost, skinny by comparison, promotes comfort.
However, at this price point it’s common for the wheels to be slightly below the standard of the other components, since the biggest savings can be made here – so you could justifiably argue entry-level wheels like this are par for the course.
The Selle Italia X1 saddle required a lot of fettling before it felt right but with Ribble’s Bikebuilder it’s easy to choose an alternative.
The R872 is very impressive indeed. It has the stiffness paired with rear-end comfort of a much more expensive bike. The geometry is spot-on – not too steep but perfect for stability on descents and at speed and easy to set up.
Its rigidity makes it slightly clattery on rough roads, but this is a common characteristic of lightweight carbon frames. The direct feel when climbing makes up for this and perhaps most importantly, it feels fun to ride.
There’s absolutely no doubt that the Ribble offers super value for money. A high-modulus carbon frame paired with a complete 105 groupset for £1,000 is exceptional.
It’s difficult to fault the Ribble: yes, the wheels are basic but it’s still half a pound lighter than the Boardman Team Carbon for the same price. If you really wanted to the Ribble to realise its full potential you would spec some lighter wheels at point of sale, obviously nudging it over the £1K threshold. A good option might be to choose the Fulcrum Racing 5 LG, which are almost 350g lighter than the Racing Sports and will add £122 to the overall price.