Built around the same Race-winning geometry and fit of the Helium Carbon, the Helium SLA is intended to be a more affordable alternative. Built for racing and comfort, the SLA is the perfect bike for an entry level race-oriented rider who wants top of the line performance without premium carbon prices.
In an age of carbon fibre, why would you choose an aluminium frame? Ridley argues that because alloy frames are much less expensive you can build a higher spec bike for the comparable amount of money. The Belgian brand also suggests that a quality aluminium frame is ideal for those who race and don’t want to risk cracking a carbon frame.
According to Ridley the new frameset weighs just 1200g and is made from 6000 series aluminium. When designing alloy frames, builders often have a choice between 6000 and 7000 aluminium. Ridley opted for 6000 citing “the 6000 series is heat treated after completion and cold water dipped after heating, as opposed to the 7000 series, which is heated and then air cooled to make it rigid.”
According to Ridely, “the 6000 series frame metallurgical structure stays more constant than 7000 series tubing after the heat treatment is completed. 7000 series alloy continues to harden for the balance of its life and, as it does so, can become brittle.”
The frame is triple butted and a combination of 6066 and 6061 tubing. The thinnest tube is 8mm in wall thickness. The new bike bears a striking resemblance to the carbon Helium and Ridley says this is because “the tubing shape optimizes the balance between weight and stiffness. This goes for both carbon and aluminum, so it’s just the right shape.”
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Other features include, internal cable routing, Double Pass Welding and hydroformed tubes. The new Ridley Helium will be available in a wide range of sizes from XXXS to XL. Prices for frame and fork will start at 800 Euros with complete bikes around 1600 Euros. UK pricing is yet to be announced.