Urban Cyclist - - Bike Test -

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.

Words: Jonny Ashelford Pho­tog­ra­phy: Jesse Wild

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