Ribble Cycles has been in business a very long time (since 1897 in fact) and these days the Preston-based company is best known for its large range of road bikes which offer a lot of value for money.
The range covers everything from road racing to sportives, winter training aluminium bikes to carbon disc-equipped endurance bikes. Each model can be built up however you like it. The online Bikebuilder lets you choose a frame and then specify the groupset, wheels, handlebars, tyres and other equipment you want. It’s easy to use and is a smart way to let you buy the exact bike at the price you want it.
We’ll start with the Sportive Racing Special Edition which has just arrived into the office for review. Ribble produces several Special Edition models across the range and this one comes in at £850, for which you get a carbon fibre frame and fork with a geometry aimed at sportive cyclists (that means a slightly more upright riding position) with most of a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset. The Bikebuilder allows you to specify the handlebar width and stem length and tyre width, with a choice of 23 or 25mm rubber.
If racing is more your thing, then the Ribble R872 is the bike for you. It gets a high modulus T800 carbon fibre frame and fork with maximum stiffness a key design priority. Details like the oversized (40mm deep) and reinforced chainstays, a tapered head tube and enlarged bottom bracket area, housing a BB30, all point towards a bike built to be responsive and fast.
The entry level bike comes in at £899.99 with Shimano Sora, but spec the frame with a Shimano UItegra groupset and wheels and you’re looking at £1,849.93, a decent price for a carbon frame with Ultegra parts. Alternatively, the Ribble R872 Special Edition Shimano 105 packs, yes you guessed it, a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset with Fulcrum Racing Sport wheels for just £949.
Ribble does disc brakes. The Ribble Endurance is a full carbon sportive bike with disc brakes, and it’s a really smart looking bike. To help the frame deal with the extra forces generated by disc brakes, Ribble has designed an asymmetric rear triangle to stop the back twisting during heavy braking. The carbon fork has also been reinforced for similar reasons.
The entry level bike costs £1,099 with the new Shimano Tiagra 4700 groupset and mechanical disc brakes but upgrade to a Shimano Ultegra and Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes for an extra £239. There’s also a choice of wheels, from Pro-LIte Revo to Mavic and Shimano options.
Ribble’s Gran Fondo, as the name suggests, is designed for going the distance with a relaxed position that won’t put your back out like a low-slung race bike. The frame is made in Italy by renowned frame maker Dedacciai and features a taller head tube, to place the handlebars in a higher, and more comfortable, position. There is an English threaded bottom bracket, internal cable routing and clearance for up to 25mm tyres.
The frame is offered with a huge choice of groupsets, everything from SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo is available, even up to a Campagnolo Super Record EPS model costing a cool £5,026, which is actually darn impressive when you consider the groupset costs £2,500 on its own. Back in the realm of affordability, the frame with a Shimano Ultegra 11-speed groupset will set you back £1,409, and there’s a huge choice of wheels which would be a good place to put some of your budget.
Designed with aerodynamics in mind, the Ribble Aero 883 is the company’s sleekest carbon offering. Ribble has designed the frame in collaboration with Performance Engineered Solutions, an engineering group in Sheffield. They’ve helped Ribble, through multiple computer simulations, to optimise the aerodynamics of the frame and fork for the typical range of yaw angle (wind direction) a cyclist has to contend with. Ribble stops short of offering any claims for the performance of the frame.
The frame is manufactured from Toray T800 and T1000 carbon fibre to provide the right balance of stiffness and weight. It uses Shimano’s Direct Mount brake standard, with the rear brake located under the chainstays. There’s a BB86.5 bottom bracket, tapered head tube, internal cable routing and it is compatible with Di2. Starting prices for the frame with a Shimano 105 groupset and Rodi wheels is £1,299. We specced up the frame with Ultegra Di2, Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon wheels and Deda 35 handlebars and stem for £3,828. A lot of money, but then it is a lot of bike for the money.
A carbon road bike with mudguard mounts? That’s a pretty rare combination, but the Ribble Sportive 365 has been on sale for quite a few years now and offers year-round practicality from the ability to fit full-length mudguards and the performance and weight benefits of a carbon frame and fork. It uses long-drop brakes and there’s space for 25mm tyres and an English threaded bottom bracket. Prices start at £879 with Shimano Sora.
The Ribble 7005 Winter bike is a recognisable bike on many club runs across the country. It’s a 7005 aluminium frame with mudguard mounts and rather than being aimed at touring cyclists, it is intended to be suitable for racing cyclists that want a dedicated bike for winter training that doesn’t cost a fortune, is reliable and offers the protection from road spray that mudguards provide.
The Ribble 7005 Sportive Women’s bike is a smaller version of the regular 7005 Sportive road bike. It’s available in three sizes from 44 to 52cm, and according to Ribble, features “female-specific geometry” which translates to a lower standover height and shorter top tube. Prices for this one start at £579 with Shimano Sora but options go all the way up to Ultegra (but no Dura-Ace).
If steel floats your bike, Ribble offers the Reynolds 525 Steel road bike. It’s a traditional looking bike and plays on the fact that Ribble used to build and paint steel frames in the UK back in the day, as many British bike shops used to. This is a modern take on a steel frame, with the same sportive-friendly geometry as used for the carbon Gran Fondo road bike.
Tube profiles are straight and round and there are eyelets for fitting mudguards and racks, making it an ideal touring and commuting choice. The least expensive build is Shimano Sora for £659 while Shimano 105 will cost £799. Mudguards are included, and there’s a huge choice of tyres, up to 25mm in width.
Titanium is a notoriously expensive frame material for a bicycle, but Ribble manages to offer this Ti Sportive Racing Frame, with a Shimano Sora groupset, for just £1,299. That’s cheaper than some titanium frames! The frame shares the same geometry as the Sportive bike and is made from 3AL/2.5V titanium with a full carbon fibre fork a CNC-machined head badge and 27.2mm seatpost.
Finally, this is the CR3, a cyclocross/adventure bike with a carbon fibre frameset, designed specifically for disc brakes, and with generous tyre clearance. The carbon frame has all the mounts you need for fitting mudguards, making it an ideal winter bike or commuter. All cables are internally routed, and a PF30 bottom bracket and tapered head tube complete the details. Price wise, £1,399 gets you this frame with a Shimano 105 groupset with RS685 hydraulic disc brakes, RX31 disc wheels and Continental CycloX-King 35mm tyres - you could easily fit a fat slick or gravel tyre for summer multi terrain cycling. The cheapest build is Shimano Tiagra and mechanical disc brakes for £1,099.
See the full range at www.ribblecycles.co.uk
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.