Ribble has been very clever when it comes to the design of its Endurance Ti Disc Enthusiast. By using tube profiles that exploit the natural smooth ride feel of titanium, and geometry designed to offer the compact, aero position of a race bike but without the associated fast and sometimes twitchy handling, Ribble delivers a bike you can ride quickly and comfortably regardless of the distance.
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Bike designers and testers often wax lyrical about the ride feel you get from a titanium frame, but it's true – it's one of the best out there. Just like any frame material, though, the tube profiles, wall thicknesses and the way each tube interacts with the others all play their part; get it right and your titanium frame will deliver a smooth ride that removes plenty of high-frequency road buzz feel while still delivering on stiffness.
Ribble has got it right. Long distances on the Enthusiast are a joy – you can really cover a lot of miles very quickly, and it'd make a great audax or sportive machine – but it's not just because of the comfort levels coming from the frame and fork, it's also to do with the geometry.
From the moment I got on board the Ribble, my position just felt right. If you look at the tube lengths the geometry is actually much more aggressive than you would normally find on an endurance style bike.
On this medium you are getting a 555mm top tube and a head tube of just 150mm, or to look at it another way, a stack of 541mm and a reach of 390mm. That gives a ratio of just 1.39, which is definitely at the racier end of the scale – an endurance bike is typically around 1.5 to 1.55.
> What are stack and reach and why are they important?
What this means is that not only could I get a good saddle to bar drop, like I have on my B'Twin Ultra CF and Kinesis T2, I also felt that my position gave a great distribution of body weight, which in turn meant that the Endurance Ti felt very confident and stable beneath me.
For long, flat efforts where I wanted to get a shift on, I was very comfortable, remaining reasonably aero without being in too extreme a position to bring on any lower back niggles or fatigue in my shoulders or wrists.
While the riding position might be quite sporty, Ribble has backed off the head angle to just 72.5 degrees for this size. On a race bike you'd be looking at something at least a degree steeper. This tames the handling a bit, just taking the edge off the sharpness and bringing in some neutrality so that the Endurance Ti never feels a handful.
On really fast, technical descents the trade-off is noticeable if you really like to let the bike go and push the tyres to the limit, but by keeping the wheelbase under a metre, Ribble has ensured the Enthusiast still feels nimble and agile.
The frame and fork also offer loads of feedback through the contact points too, so you really know what is going on beneath the tyres.
The whole balance is just near as damn it spot on.
Bearing in mind that this bike can take mudguards and rack, so it's ripe for being ridden loaded up and/or in bad weather conditions, this neutrality at the front end is ideal.
At 9.08kg (19lb) it isn't a super-lightweight bike, but it never really feels held back because of its weight either. The frame and fork offer good levels of stiffness, which means it is efficient even when you are climbing.
Frame and fork
Ribble, like most manufacturers, has chosen a 3AL/2.5V (3% aluminium/2,5% vanadium) titanium alloy tubing for the frame's construction, and it come with two different wall thicknesses (double-butted) – thicker at the ends for strength and stiffness, thinner in the middle for small amounts of flex to aid comfort.
With no paint over the top there is no hiding the weld quality and, to be fair, there is no need to. I have seen slightly neater welds on the likes of Mason's Aspect, but you're paying for it – an Aspect frameset will cost you more than this entire bike.
Ribble has delivered a very tidy frame here; it really does look and feel of a high standard.
Starting at the front, the Endurance Ti uses a 44mm diameter head tube for increased stiffness under steering and braking loads.
Although the steerer of the full carbon fibre fork fitted into it is tapered, externally the diameter remains constant. It's something not often seen on frames made from other materials, where the external dimensions reflect the internal tapering.
From there you have a slightly oversized down tube, round at the head end and becoming more ovalised as it reaches the bottom bracket shell for increased rigidity where it needs to deal with pedalling forces.
The top tube is also ovalised, for its full length, with the idea of promoting lateral stiffness while improving comfort in the other plane.
Bottom bracket-wise Ribble has gone down the threaded route, which makes a lot of sense on a bike designed for use in all weathers. Press-fit bottom brackets, where the bearing cups are pressed into the frame before, can creak if water and grit get in between the mating faces.
It's worth pointing out that over the last couple of years I've seen this happen less and less as the tolerances between the two have undoubtedly improved.
Compared with modern carbon frames, the chainstays are quite slender – in fact the whole bottom bracket junction is – but for the type of riding the Ribble is designed for, stiffness really isn't an issue unless you are a powerful sprinter.
The Endurance Ti has a very small rear triangle thanks to the dropped seatstays, something we are seeing a fair bit on the latest frames. The theory behind it is that it increases the lateral stiffness of the rear triangle for getting the power down, while promoting a bit of flex towards the top of the seat tube for comfort.
There are some aerodynamic benefits too, but they are marginal – especially on a bike like this.
Some don't like the aesthetics of it, but I rather like it.
Fully internal cable and hose routing gives the Ribble a clean look, and like many other frames it uses a selection of guides and blanking ports so that it can be used with both mechanical and electronic groupsets.
Mounting points are included for full mudguards (adding Ribble's 33mm guards at checkout will add £25)…
…and with them fitted, tyre clearance is reduced to 28mm. Without them you can go up to a 32mm tyre – less than some competitors but still plenty if your aspirations are aimed more at the performance end of the scale.
You are also getting 12mm thru-axles front and rear, and flat mounts for the callipers.
Overall, I really like the finished look of the bike. The polished frame gives it a classy appearance, especially with the contrasting bands on the down tube and seat tube.
Ribble offers the frame in five sizes, XS to XL, which is a decent spread; according to its rough sizing guide that should cater for everyone between 5ft 3in and 6ft 3in.
If titanium isn't your thing then the Endurance range is available in carbon fibre, aluminium alloy and steel options.
The Endurance Ti Disc is available as a frameset (£1,799) or in three main builds: the Sport which is based around a Shimano 105 groupset (£2,299); the Pro, with Ultegra Di2 and carbon wheels (£4,299) and this Enthusiast model for £3,299.
Thanks to Ribble's Bikebuilder, these builds can be customised by either changing gear choices or upgrading components.
The Enthusiast comes with a full Ultegra R8000 groupset including R8020 STI levers and R8070 hydraulic brake calipers, which offer excellent performance when it comes to gear changes and stopping power.
Ribble has specced a 50/34T compact chainset which, when paired to an 11-28T cassette, gives a good spread of high and low gears for the type of riding the Endurance is designed for.
With 160mm diameter rotors front and rear, there's no issue with bringing the Enthusiast to a standstill from high speed. The Ultegra brake setup offers loads of feedback at the lever which means it is very easy to modulate whatever the road conditions.
The handlebar, stem and seatpost are all from Ribble's in-house brand, Level. The first two are aluminium alloy, pretty basic, but look good and offer plenty of stiffness.
The shallow drop of the handlebar also makes a whole range of hand positions accessible for pretty much everyone too.
The seatpost is carbon fibre to provide a little bit of extra flex, and once set up it's a fit and forget item.
The spec list says you get a Fizik Antares R5 Kium saddle, but it was an Aliante on our test bike. I get on well will the shape of Fizik seats, and found it perfect for long rides.
Wheels and tyres
The wheels are also Ribble's own. The Level 35 wheelset has a 35mm-deep alloy rim and 24 spokes front and rear.
It's a bit of an all-rounder wheelset but that suits the riding intentions of the Endurance Ti Disc. They'll take plenty of abuse so you can leave the tarmac for a bit of canal path or byway action without too much worry.
I especially like the silver finish of the machined hub bodies – it makes a welcome change from all the black offerings on the market.
Tyre-wise Ribble has plumped for Continental's Grand Prix GT in a 28mm width. Continental says that it gives you the reliability of the Gator Hardshell (50% thicker sidewall than the standard GT) but with the performance of the GP4000S thanks to the use of the BlackChili compound.
BlackChili is a rubber compound that has massively improved Conti's tyres over the years. It provides loads of grip in the bends, and even with quite a firm casing here the tyres still feel supple when pumped up to the harder pressures that I enjoy.
I had no issues with punctures throughout testing, and overall wear looks to be fine.
Value and competition
Probably one of the most obvious competitors to the Ribble is Kinesis' GTD. Their geometries are very similar, both delivering a riding position that is more race orientated than many bikes in their class.
I've not ridden the GTD, but road.cc editor Tony actually has one, and ever since I dropped the Ribble back to the office he's been bombing around on it for a comparison.
His conclusion is that the Ribble is a very comfortable bike that feels a bit tighter at the rear end than the Kinesis because of the shorter seatsays. Overall, he felt he'd be hard pressed to choose between them.
The Kinesis comes with a couple of millimetres more tyre clearance, and gets a five-year warranty while the Ribble has three.
The prices differ a bit too: the GTD is only available as a frameset for £2,100, the Ribble frameset is just £1,799.
> Buyer’s Guide: 13 of the best titanium road bikes
Other options come from the likes of J.Guillem. The Orient is its take on the do-a-bit-of-everything road bike, taking full mudguards, for instance, and offering plenty of tyre clearance. It also comes with a 100-year warranty.
An Orient with a similar build is £3,618 at the current exchange rate. It doesn't quite offer the same aggressive position as the Ribble or the Kinesis, though.
If that's what you are after but could cope without the guards, there is the J.Guillem Major. An Ultegra build and alloy wheels comes in at £3,020.
I think these, albeit few, comparisons show that the Ribble is quite competitively priced.
Ribble has delivered a very complete bike with the Endurance Ti Disc Enthusiast. The racy geometry might not be to everyone's taste when they are looking at bikes with an endurance edge, but if you like to ride fast and have a bit of fun, you really can't go wrong.
It's not just the ride quality or handling that is great, either: the frame is very well made, as is the fork, and you are getting a good specification too for the money.
An excellent balance of performance versus comfort thanks to a quality frameset with well thought out geometry
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Make and model: Ribble Endurance Ti Disc Enthusiast
List the components used to build up the bike.
Shimano Ultegra R8000 2x11-Speed.
Shifters - Shimano Ultegra R8020 Hydraulic.
Brakes - Shimano Ultegra R8070 Hydraulic Disc.
Chainset - Shimano Ultegra R8000 34-50T.
Bottom Bracket - Shimano BB-R60 68mm BSA.
Cassette - Shimano R8000 11-28T.
Chain - Shimano HG701 11-Speed.
Rotors - Shimano RT800 160mm Centrelock.
Front Derailleur - Shimano Ultegra R8000 Braze On.
Rear Derailleur - Shimano Ultegra R8000 Short Cage.
Wheels - Level 35mm Alloy, 24/24H, 12mm Thru-Axles.
Tyres - Continental Grand Prix GT 700x28c, Black.
Bars - LEVEL 2 6061 Alloy, Black.
Stem - LEVEL 2 3D Forged, 6061 Alloy, Black.
Bar Tape - LEVEL Embossed, Black
Seatpost - LEVEL 2 UD Carbon, 27.2mm, 350mm.
Saddle - Fizik Antares R5, Kium Rail, Black.
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Ribble says, "Designed for endurance riding and racing the wonderfully fast and compliant Endurance Ti is matched with Shimano's Ultegra groupset. Ultegra has long been the choice of amateur racers and cycle enthusiasts alike who value its weight-saving features, advanced materials, and precision shifting performance. A set of incredibly strong and lightweight Level 35mm alloy wheels matched with a great all-rounder in Continental's Grand Prix GT tyres provide a highly capable wheelset for year-round road riding. Discreet mudguard mounts integrated into the frameset enables the fitting of full coverage mudguards to provide additional protection for when the weather conditions are less than ideal."
The Endurance Ti Disc is a bike that takes everything in its stride, regardless of how far or fast you want to ride.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
There are three models in the Endurance Ti Disc line-up. Sitting below the Enthusiast is the Sport which comes with a Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic Aksium wheels for £2,299. The top build is the Pro using an Ultegra Di2 group and carbon wheels, priced at £4,299.
A frameset only is available for £1,799.
Overall rating for frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
A beautifully welded titanium frame paired to a quality carbon fork.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Frame - 3AL/2.5V Titanium, Double-Butted, Seamless Weld.
Fork - Endurance Carbon Disc Monocoque, Tapered.
Headset - LEVEL 44
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
For the type of bike it is, the geometry is surprisingly race orientated as you can see from the figures mentioned in the review above. This gives it a fun ride, though, regardless of how far you are travelling.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
This medium model has a stack of 541mm which is lower than most bikes of this ilk by around 10mm or so, and the reach is a touch longer at 390mm. This gives a ratio of 1.39 which is race bike territory.
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Plenty of comfort from the titanium tubing and well chosen components.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness is absolutely spot on. No flex when pushing hard on the climbs, for example.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Power transfer was very good. It's not a superlight machine but that doesn't seem to hold it back.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
A little, but no real issue.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The steering gives very positive feedback which allows you to always know what the tyres are up to. This allows you to carry plenty of speed into the bends.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The Fizik Antares saddle is a firm favourite of mine.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Level wheels match the stiffness of the frameset very well.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The compact chainset and 11-28 cassette give plenty of upper and lower gears for the style of riding this bike is designed for.
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Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
Ultegra is an excellent quality groupset that offers direct gearshifts and plenty of braking power.
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Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
A quality all-round set of wheels that proved to be reliable and durable throughout testing.
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Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
The Continental Grand Prix GT tyres offer a good balance of grip, rolling resistance and durability.
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Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The own brand bar, stem and seatpost combo is decent kit and I wouldn't be in a hurry to change it. The compact drop of the handlebar gives plenty of accessible hand positions.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
When comparing frameset prices it's cheaper than the Kinesis GTD Ti; the Ribble sits in the middle of the two J.Guillems I mention in the review.
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Use this box to explain your overall score
It's very good: the geometry balance, between a race and endurance bike, is excellent and works really well, giving you a fast bike that isn't a handful to ride, and the overall quality of the frameset is very good as well.
Age: 41 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
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