£1099 › Shi­mano hy­draulic disc brakes on Rib­ble’s en­durance ma­chine

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

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

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