Pro bike: Dan Bigham’s Ribble SL R

We take a look at the Huub Wattbike rider's 2020 rig

An aerodynamicist by trade and one part of the once World Cup dominating Huub Wattbike Team Pursuit quartet, Dan Bigham is no doubt a stickler for optimisation when it comes to his Ribble Weldtite team bike.

Of course, the team isn’t racing right now – but once they are, Bigham will be well equipped.

The team all ride aboard Ribble’s SL R disc brake roads bikes, which have been optimised via CFD technology and affirmed through windtunnel testing. The goal was to create an aero machine without compromising handling or bulking up the overall weight, and Ribble says the truncated aerofoil shapes – alongside other aero nods – shave off 28.5 per cent of drag vs the outgoing top end model.

The move to racing with disc brakes is new for the Ribble team riders this year. Bigham commented: “The Ribble SL R was a great platform last season and the biggest change​ simply comes from disc brakes. We started to discuss using them last year and I’m very glad we are on them for 2020. The braking quality is nothing short of amazing, and the consistency across all weather conditions is a huge advantage. By having a 12mm thru axle, the stiffness of the bike is noticeably improved too. Having a strong interface between the hub and fork gives such a great improvement.

“We’re lucky with Continental to have a broad choice of tyre options with the GP5000, GP5000TL, GP TT and Supersonic, all in a range of sizes so we can now look in to optimising our race tyre selection to our new Level disc wheelset.”

Bigham runs the Level hoops in a 56mm carbon iteration and Ribble has turned to Level to spec the bike with their oversized pulley wheel system, with ceramic bearings providing further watt savings as well as the Level 5 integrated bar and stem which chops off another 40 per cent saving in drag over a conventional two piece set up. The 28-year-0ld opts for 380mm bars, which are 135mm in length.

Bigham’s machine is specced with the ISM PN3.1 saddle – which offers pressure relief via a noseless design. In this image, taken at the team training camp, he’s running Speedplay Zero dual sided pedals – but to race he’ll swap on the Zero Aero Titanium version, with a Wattshop Low Stack modification for Speedplay cleats which lowers the stack height by 3mm and he says offers biomechanics and aero gains.

On flat courses, Bigham will run a 62 tooth Pyramid Cycle Design 1x chainring, with an 11-32 cassette at the rear, whilst on hilly parcours he chooses a 56/42 chainset with the same spread at the rear.