Unbelievable, unbeatable value for money. A perfect first race bike or fast sportive machine
11-speed Ultegra gears
Very pleasing on the eye
No mudguard eyes on the fork
Wheels could be lighter but would be more expensive
By Cycling Active published
Ribble is an internet bike store with its own brand of bicycles. I find it reliable and good value. I shop frequently with Ribble and as a result was sent an email about its special offer Ribble Evo-Pro Carbon at an amazing price of £999. Coupled with interest-free finance, it seemed like too good an offer to pass up.
The frame has quite racy geometry with a slightly sloping top tube. While clicking on the various options on the website, I chose the maximum headset spacers possible as the steerer can always be cut to attain the desired handlebar height.
The frame and fork are full 3K carbon with the latter having a slight forward rake to give more comfort on uneven surfaces through the hands and shoulders. Being carbon it also soaks up a lot of the bumps and has little flex.
Initially I found that when I got out of the saddle the fork rake made the bike feel a little less responsive than a fork with straight blades, but the added comfort was well worth it and it’s something you quickly get used to. The carbon forks are attached to a steel steerer, which means there is a nice secure star nut used to tighten the stem rather than a carbon bung.
There are threaded eyes for a rear mudguard or rack but the fork does not have them. Twin bottle cage mounts are handy if you want two bottles or one bottle and a container for spare inner tubes/tools or even a light raincoat.
The frame is finished off in a lovely bright red with silver graphics. The inward curve of the seat and chainstays make the bike very attractive looking. The curve of the chainstay is advantageous to anyone who rides with their heels inwards or has particularly wide feet as it gives extra clearance on the frame.
Astonishingly for the price of £999 the bike is specced with the full Shimano Ultegra 6800 special edition double groupset. This is the latest 11-speed version of Shimano’s second-tier groupset and although the chain is thinner and has to be replaced more often than a 10-speed, it is every bit as smooth and precise.
>>> Road bike groupsets: A complete buyer’s guide (video)
The left-hand lever for the front mech also has two trims so that chain rub is kept to an absolute minimum. The bike build gives you a choice of three cassette sizings, as well as three choices of chainset.
The handlebars, stem and bar tape are Deda, which feel and look really good but these are items you can spec individually when you do your build with Ribble. The bars are not too deep to make resting your hands on the hoods not feel like a stretch forward compared with holding the tops of the bars. The Selle Italia saddle is available in three colours as well as men’s or ladies’. The seat pillar can be upgraded to carbon for an extra £19.
The wheels are standard Rodi Airline 5 clinchers. For an extra £170 these can be upgraded to Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels. That’s a very good upgrade. A nice touch on the Fulcrums is the spoke nipples are red to match the frame. They give a nice stiff ride with no flex in the spokes when out of the saddle.
>>> Road bike wheels buyer’s guide (videos)
The Vittoria Rubino 3 Rigid tyres give you a choice of eight colours in the build. I nearly opted for standard black but then went for red, which I am very pleased with as they make the bike stand out.
When I sat on the bike the saddle felt quite hard but its shape lends itself well to support the sit bones and it still felt comfortable on an 80-mile ride. Out of the saddle the bike felt very easy to steer and extra pressure on the pedals was instantly transformed into speed.
The cornering and descending felt very safe and the brakes were strong. I felt instantly confident to go fast and sit within a group of riders. Also I didn’t get numbness in my hands, which I have experienced on other bikes.
I was amazed at how comfortable the Ribble was to ride. I did not expect it to be in the same league as other more expensive bikes, but it’s top class.
The two trims on the front mech saw the chain run smoothly and quietly. Riding a compact chainset of 50/34 was a first for me, having only ridden 53/39 in the past. However, I did find that I had to be more aware of which chainring I was in when approaching hills; and the trim on the front mech has to be right or the chain rattles.
My main concern with an 11-speed chain is the narrowness of it and whether this will compromise its strength, though a number of my colleagues have reassured me that this won’t be a problem, even after a tough winter of use.
As a result of riding with my club on this striking Ribble, three of my clubmates have placed an order. It is great value for money, extremely well-built, with attention to detail such as tyre and outer cable labels lined up to make it extra pleasing on the eye.
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