high up Ridgeback’s line-up of bikes, with only specialist e-bikes and space-age-looking commuters edging it in the price stakes. It also stands out for its rather cool looks, the gravel Ramble visually a contemporary beast compared to Ridgeback’s electric bikes, tandems and tourers. The skinny chromoly tubeset and styling reminds us of the outstanding Genesis Croix-de-Fer, albeit with a tapered headtube and carbon fork compete with mudguard eyelets.
The spec on a sub-£1,000 bike is pretty good, too. TRP Spyre calipers are matched to Shimano Sora shifters and levers, which are crisp and accurate; in fact, we were pleasantly surprised at the lack of squealing on wet days. The 50/34t chainrings are designed for comfort over speed. That accessibility’s heightened by the friendly 11-34t Shimano cassette, meaning hills aren’t an issue but the more powerful might run out of gears when motoring on the cycle path. It’s also worth noting the slick band on the front mech, so if you wanted to upgrade to a 1x11 system at a later date, you won’t be left with a nasty mech mount messing up the clean look.
One minor point is down to the wheels featuring quick-releases. While this doesn’t really detract from the ride, it’ll make upgrades tricky in the future as an increasing number of road brands adopt the thru-axle system for disc-equipped frames. The Challenge Strada tyre is a favourite of ours and is a well-suited tyre to the Ramble, gripping with confidence in the rain.
Our 6ft tester rode the medium frame with 110mm stem, which is ideal for the 11-15-mile commute; the position is fairly upright and very comfortable. The Ramble’s a little heavy, tipping the scales at 11kg, but once rolling it’s not a noticeable weight penalty and keeps the momentum going nicely.