Ribble is aiming high with its new Endurance SL R road bike, pictured here with the brand new SRAM eTap AXS 12-speed groupset and Zipp 302 wheels and costing £5,999 - a lot of money but cheaper than most similarly specced bikes.
As it’s just landed in the office for review we wanted to share it with you by way of a quick first look. It’s a bike that Ribble reckons is ideal for road racing and endurance riding. As the name suggests, it’s designed for endurance riding but Ribble has also ensured it’s suited to road racing cyclists and cyclists who generally like to ride everywhere as fast as they can.
“With a carefully considered geometry resulting in a frameset that offers precise handling, excellent responsiveness, stability and long distance comfort with enough adjustability to suit both endurance riders and those looking for a more performance optimised riding position,” explains the company.
The frame has clear aerodynamic influences, from the truncated profiled down tube, the bowed fork blades, the seat tube and post and the dropped seat stays, to the one-piece aero handlebar and stem, all features that mark it out as a bike designed for speed as well as the comfort the name suggests. Ribble claims the aero features have reduced drag by 28.5% compared to the old bike.
As well as the effort to coax more speed out of the new bike, Ribble has also paid close attention to comfort requirements of a bike with endurance in its name. Naturally, there’s is plenty of tyre clearance, it’ll take a 30mm tyre and the test bike is specced with 28mm wide tyres. Key parts of the frame have been designed to provide some compliance, so there are the skinny seat stays, seat post and handlebar which Ribble hopes will deliver enough comfort for the long rides.
Underneath the stealth black paint is a claimed sub-800g frame made with Toray T1000 carbon fibre. Other common details expected on a high-end race bike and present on this Ribble are the full internal cable routing, tapered head tube and a press-fit bottom bracket. Might have expected a British company to shun a press-fit in favour of an external bottom bracket but there you go.
All that and the most important detail (as it’s pouring with rain as I write this) is that you can fit mudguards with hidden eyelets on the fork and rear stays. Nice one Ribble.
As you can see, we’ve got a disc brake model, with 12mm thru-axles and flat mount callipers. If you don’t like/want/need disc brakes you’ll be pleased to know Ribble offers a rim brake variant.
The Endurance SL R Series starts life with a Shimano Ultegra groupset costing £2,499 but you can spec it right up to a frankly ridiculous £8,999 with a SRAM Red mechanical groupset and smattering of exotic German carbon components, including a THM crankset and Lightweight Gipfelsturm.
Which makes the £5,999 for the brand new SRAM Red eTap AXS spec with Zipp 302 wheels seem like a bit of bargain. And it is; this Ribble is one of the cheapest ways to get a brand new carbon road bike with SRAM’s latest wireless groupset. It's also specced with Zipp 302 wheels, a more affordable carbon model that forgoes the iconic dimples, and they are shod with excellent Vittoria Corsa 28mm tyres. The bike also has the aero one-piece handlebar and stem and a Fizik saddle.
We slung it on the scales and this size medium weighs 7.8kg (17.19lb) on the nose.
The Endurance SL R is available in five sizes from XS to XL. We’ve got a medium for test and it has a 541mm stack and 390mm reach with a 991mm wheelbase, 150mm head tube and 72.5-degree head angle. That compares quite closely to a Cannondale SuperSix Evo though the Ribble has a longer wheelbase to provide that level of stability you want from such a bike.
Now to see how the numbers work on the road, so stay tuned for a full review soon. More info at www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribble-endurance-sl-r-series/
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.