Ribble CGR 725 SRAM Apex 1x 650b 2020
The Ribble CGR SRAM Apex 1x 650b is a superb do-it-all drop bar machine that offers a traditional looking frame with modern detail, plus comfort, versatility and great value. The combination of steel frame and plump but fast-rolling 47mm tyres delivers a comfortable ride on dirt while still being plenty quick on road, with sorted handling that's a happy medium between stability and steering agility; it's quite possibly all the drop bar bike you need for gravel, road or commuting.
The CGR range offers you the low weight of carbon, the affordability of aluminium, or the more premium pleasures of titanium. The skinny Reynolds 725 steel tubing makes this model about 600g heavier than the aluminium CGR but you get traditional good looks, a neat tapered head tube with internal bearings, a full carbon fork, plus 12mm through axles at either end. There's a full complement of rack, mudguard and bottle mounts, including a bento box mount on the top tube, so you're well catered for.
CGR stands for 'Cross, Gravel, Road’ and the geometry is a blend of selected cuts from each discipline, with a fairly tall head tube for a good off-road position, low bottom bracket for 'cross stability and figures that split the difference with a road bike elsewhere.
Part of the beauty of this bike is that Ribble allows you to tweak pretty much every element of the build once you've chosen your base groupset – SRAM’s Apex 1x 11-speed group in this case. We upgraded to a carbon seatpost, for example, and sprung an extra tenner on the semi-slick WTB Byway tyres over the totally slick WTB Horizon rubber.
There's little not to like about the CGR 725. It's equally adept on tarmac or fire road, with the combination of steel frame and fat tyres giving comfortable cruising ability, no matter what surface you're on. It's stable on dirt without feeling lethargic on tarmac, while it feels just as happy weaving in and out of traffic as it does at the end of the long, full laden day of bikepacking. The real ace card is that all this is backed up by extremely impressive value.