If you’re shopping for a carbon fibre road bike with disc brakes built for providing comfort and speed on long sportives and rides, then we might just have the bike for you. This is the new Ribble Gran Fondo Disc and at £1,503 for the Shimano 105-equipped bike featured here, it appears to be a very good buy.
We’re going to be testing the new Gran Fondo Disc over the coming weeks, but before we publish our in-depth review, here’s a first look at the key details. So what do you need to know? Well, the adoption of disc brakes is the big news of course. Ribble has used the latest flat mount standard for fitting the Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake calipers to the frame and fork, coupled to Shimano 105 brake levers.
The use of disc brakes drastically opens up the available tyre clearance. It’ll take a 30mm tyre though Ribble has specced this bike with 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres. However, if you wanted to change the tyres, Ribble’s online bike configurator lets you easily choose a wider tyre. Or, you can upgrade the tyre with loads of options including the Conti GP4000, Schwalbe and Vittoria options.
That online configurator doesn’t just let you choose the tyres, you can change every part of the build and customise the bike to suit your taste or budget. We’ve got the recommended build which as well as the aforementioned Shimano 105 brakes, features a 105 50/34 compact chainset with an 11-28t cassette, but you can choose an 11-32t for an extra £3 if you live somewhere hilly.
Wheels are Mavic Aksium Disc is a good solid and dependable choice, with thru-axles at both the fork and rear dropouts. Finishing kit comprises a Deda RHM 02 aluminium handlebar and matching Zero stem (you can customise the bar width and stem length in the bike builder), and a CSN Superleggera seatpost and Selle Italia X1 Flow saddle completes the build. On our scales it comes in at 8.92kg (19.6lb).
The £1,500 price point is a highly competitive one so it’s no surprise we find a lot of comparable rivals. Our guide to endurance and sportive bikes is a good read if you want to know more about this type of road bike, and some of the options available at a range of prices.
Another bike that sits squarely in the same space as the Ribble is the Giant Defy Advanced 3 we featured earlier this week. It also offers a full carbon fibre frame with the latest disc brake technology, and a frame designed to provide a smooth ride, but the value for money Ribble offers is highlighted by the Giant being specced with a Shimano Tiagra groupset compared to the 105 on the Gran Fondo Disc. On paper then the Ribble wins the spec battle, but which one will provide the better ride performance? It’ll be an interesting battle. Stay tuned for the outcome…
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.