RIBBLE ENDURANCE AL DISC
£1099 › Shimano hydraulic disc brakes on Ribble’s endurance machine
Ah, good ol’ Ribble, eh? Purveyor of bikes since the late 19th century and still going strong well into the 21st, having successfully moved from mail order to the online world. This new iteration of its Endurance model showcases what you’ll get for around a thousand quid if you want disc brakes. You’ll get yourself a very neatly finished alloy frame and tapered full-carbon fork, both of which have aero features, thru axles, internal cable routing, mudguard fittings, clearance for wide tyres and hydraulic disc brakes. It also features “seatstay profiles designed for vertical compliance and vibration absorption in order to enhance your ride comfort”.
The frameset is all that we’ve come to expect today. Semi-compact geometry with dropped seatstays and a truncated aerofoil down-tube, while the fork has aero-profiling. The 10-speed Tiagra groupset is one down from Shimano 105, but the Ribble has another string to its bow: hydraulic disc brakes.
Ribble’s standard £899 Endurance Disc Al comes with cable actuated brakes, but we bust the budget to go for hydraulics and didn’t regret it. Ribble’s direct-sales model also allows it to spec some of the best wheels you’ll find at this price, Mavic’s tough-but-not-light Aksiums with 28mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres.
Disc brakes are still a no-no for some roadies, but it’s hard to know why. Okay, the rotors don’t add to a road bike’s aesthetics but, ahh… the braking! Smooth, powerful and easy to modulate come sun or – more crucially – rain. Braking is virtually instant even in a driving downpour. No contest. And while the Pinnacle’s mechanical discs offer some of these advantages, the Ribble’s hydraulic brakes are without equal here, the frame and fork’s thru-axles helping the bike make the most of them.
The main negative is a slight but noticeable bulge under the lever hoods where the hydraulic hoses exit. By moving the angle of our hands fractionally outwards we could avoid it, and depending on the size of your hands and riding position it may be no issue at all. That said, we also found that the large hood bodies made reaching around the front of them a bit of a stretch, even with the slightly swept-back bar. Swapping to a stem that’s a centimetre or two shorter would fix that, though.
The ride is precise, smooth and controlled. The Endurance climbs well in spite of its 10kg-plus weight and the 34x32 bottom gear is very welcome. Downhill it’s a blast, the hydraulic brakes helping you brake that fraction of a second later, safe in the knowledge that you’re always in control. The sweep of the bar makes it a very comfortable ride on the tops, ideal for long-distance riding, and when you get down in the drops for some more aggressive sprinting action, the compact frame balances stiffness and comfort nicely. It might call itself a distance machine, but the geometry is at the racier end of the endurance spectrum, with a slightly shorter head-tube and wheelbase than most of the bikes here.
Ribble’s Endurance may not major on versatility, but it lends itself superbly to fast or long-distance commuting, fitness, endurance riding and year-round training with mudguards. It looks the part and, if you’re happy to buy a bike online, it’s highly recommended.
Below The big, bulbous hoods can be a struggle to hold if you’ve got small hands Bottom Braking is powerful, smooth and controlled
The Ribble’s frame geometry is at the racier end of endurance spectrum