A closer look at the Ridley prototype Caleb Ewan’s been racing at the Tour de France

The aero-lite tubing and less aggressive geometry were an ideal match for the hilly stages in the Basque country

Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike
(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

The distinct profile of the opening stages of this year’s Tour meant that Lotto-Dstny’s Caleb Ewan got to air his new Ridley prototype early in the race.

The unforgiving, and lumpy, terrain of the Basque country ensured ‘full gas’ racing from the off. It also meant that the Aussie sprinter wouldn’t require an out-and-out aero machine  - in his case the Ridley Noah Fast - until Stage 3. Instead, he tackled Stages 1 and 2, which featured a combined ten categorized climbs, on the yet-to-be-released all-rounder that first surfaced at this year’s Dauphiné.

Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

The all-rounder, a bike that can be used across a variety of stages and races, is becoming an increasingly popular choice in the peloton. The trend gained traction when Specialized retired the Venge and instead updated the Tarmac with aero profile tubing to create the SL7. Others have since followed suit, as have Ridley.

Detail of Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

The tube shapes are far slimmer than those used on the Noad Fast, but are still ‘aero optimized’; there’s a kammtail profile down tube and an aero seat tube, alongside a D-shaped post.

Detail of Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

The sculpted head tube has some depth, too. Ewan appears to be running a couple of spacers under his Deda integrated cockpit, which again is a nod to the bike’s all-rounder profile. However, the length of the stem - 140mm - suggests that he'll still be able to adopt a long and low position when required. 

Detail of the cockpit and head tube of Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

From the front you see not only how narrow Ewan’s bars are - 36cm to be precise - but that he’s chosen to accentuate this by positioning the Shimano Dura-Ace shifters inwards, ensuring those elbows will remain tucked in. Shimano sprint shifters have been added to the drops.

Detail of Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike take from the front

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Unlike many bikes in the peloton, Ridley appears to have resisted the urge to use dropped seat stays. Instead they met at the seat cluster, where you’ll also find the rider name sticker. It’s worth noting that the 5’5” Ewan is riding an XS frame size, with larger sizes perhaps showing stays that are more dropped. Note the UCI sticker on the seat tube that designates this frameset as a prototype.

Detail of Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

The prototype looks to offer plenty of tire clearance. Ewan is running a 28mm Vittoria Corsa Pro tire on the rear (and a 26mm on the front) but there appears to be space for 30mm, if not 32mm, here. The Vittoria’s are fitted DT Swiss ARC 1100 wheels, in a 60mm rim depth. The hubs are the Swiss brand’s top-tier 180 model, which use ceramic bearings.

Detail of Caleb Ewan's Ridley prototype race bike

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Given that this year’s Tour is one for the climbers, Ridley’s prototype is well-timed and should get plenty of use from Ewan and the rest of Lotto squad. With likely only a handful of sprint stages remaining, getting through, or rather over, all five of France’s mountain ranges will require the fast men to dig deep and ride the autobus. 

The challenge starts today in the Pyrenees, with stage 5 from Pau to Laruns including an HC climb, the 15km Col du Soudet. Ewan will be hoping that his prototype will at least help soften the blow.

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well as a regular road and gravel rider.