We've been getting all excited at the prospect of the Ridgeback Ti Flight for quite some time now… since IceBike 2009 in fact when we saw the first prototype. Now the wait is nearly over cos at this year's IceBike Ridgeback were showing off the second prototype and no, that doesn't mean the final version will be here for the back end of 2011. Production bike with a couple of slight tweaks are "on the water" now and will available in April.
If you've always hankered over the ultimate commuter bike this could be the one a bike that if it lives up to the promise should combine performance with comfort, long term durability and versatility too. Made from 3v2 5AL seamless titanium we're billing this as an ultimate commuter bike, but it should be capable of plenty more than carrying you to work in style… and at speed.
The Flight Ti frame should be capable of quite a lot - essentially it's the top end Flight Four made of titanium a material that brings both extra, strength, durability and comfort into the equation each of which also adds to the potential versatility of the overall package. In one of two final production tweaks the rear brake bridge has been moved to allow the bike to take an even greater range of tyres plus mudguards so further further enhancing the overall versatility of the package - ditch mudguards and you could fit a tyre as fat as the 37C Continental Twister. The result is a bike that with a change of rubber would be capable of everything from riding off road through commuting right up to tackling a sportive or audax- albeit on a flat bar'd bike, but personally I wouldn't have a problem with that.
Aside from the relocated brake bridge the really big change over the bike we saw last year is in the spec and it's a change for the better. Last year's Flight Ti prototype featured a large dollop of Shimano 105 componentry - the production bikes (like the bike pictured) will be using the latest version of Shimano Ultegra - one of our favourite groupsets while the price actualy drops on £2500 we were being quoted last year.
The complete bike will sell for £2299 and it will also be available as a frameset package for £1399 which includes the carbon fork, headset, ti seatpost, seat clam, stem and handlebars. A Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with a 50-34T compact double chainset matched up with Shimano M486 disc brakes with Alex R475 semi-deep rims laced up to Shimano hubs make up the rest of the spec highlights on the complete bike. We can't imagine Madison are making much money on these bikes, so no surprise to hear that they are a limited edition, for the moment at least. There are 40 bikes in the initial batch with 20 of them already sold. We reckon they will have no trouble shifting the others we certainly hope not because we'd like to see them make some more.
We did mention that there were a couple of differences between the prototype and thbe Flight Ti shown at iceBike. Aside from the brak bridge the other change is cosmetic, the production bike will be sporting Ridgeback's new 2011 graphics - the entire Rideback range will be getting a major makeover in terms of models and look in 2011 as Madison look to take Ridgeback to the next level as a bike brand. From what we understand expect to see some sort of urban crosser a slimmed down World touring range and some new audax-style distance bikes that will share some of their DNA with the Genesis Aether. Oh, and if the Flight Ti proves a success we might well see more of them next year too.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.