I've had a lot of people asking me about my new Ribble CGR since I received it in December so I figured it's about time I wrote down my first thoughts on the bike and answered a couple of the questions that have been put to me so far. I've done 750 miles on the bike so far including the Festive 500 and all my training since starting the new year covering a mix of on and off-road miles in the process. What have I got?
The bike is the new Ribble CGR, or "Cross, gravel, road", which as the title suggests is supposed to be a bit of a do it all bike that you can use for adventuring around on. The build on Ribble starts at £799 at last look with 10 speed Tiagra and a Deda finishing kit. The model I am currently riding is the upgraded version which has the 105 groupset with hydraulic brakes, Shimano RX10 wheels and the standard Deda finishing kit thats found on the basic model.
What does it weigh?
This is pretty much the first question anyone is guaranteed to ask you these days so let's cover that off straight away. The specification I have weighs in at 10.2kg according to the weighing devices I have at home and includes a pair of Shimano 105 pedals. I'm reliably informed that this is a "real winter bike' weight and come summer will make riding my other Ribble a dream.
What about the disc brakes?
Almost guaranteed to be the second question before anyone bothers looking at the performance of the bike. The brakes are Shimano's RS785 hydraulic discs with 160mm rotors. Once these brakes bedded in they have some pretty powerful stopping power which might have some people worried but to date I've found them much easier to feather and control that a pair of rim brakes, particularly in the wet. The hoods are bigger than the standard 105 shifter in order to house the reservoir but I quite like this - possibly personal preference more than anything. I've ridden in a number of high speed groups and found they are absolutely fine when following or in front of a rim brake bike. Put simply, the modulation of the brakes is spot on. My only niggle is that when they are wet they make a horrible squeal as any disc brake would until the moisture dries off.
How bright is it?
Very. Quite simply the brightest bike I've ever owned but at least i'll be seen wherever I go. It's certainly caught a lot of peoples eyes and had some good feedback on the colour scheme on the rides so far.
Forks and Frame?
The frame is made of 7005 aluminium and the fork is made of carbon. Certainly not the lightest frame but definitely a robust and comfortable setup. The roads around Yorkshire are far from smooth and despite my love of high tyre pressures the frame nicely soaks up most of the buzz from the road and with a slightly more relaxed geometry makes a nice comfortable setup for a long day in the saddle; my longest ride so far being 6 hours. It's not the most responsive to sudden changes in power but given it's an all round training bike it just means you can try a bit harder if you really want to. Off-road the frame is flexible enough to soak up the bridleways but solid enough that you can throw the bike around as required.
The complete bike?
The bike as a whole is pretty versatile. As mentioned further up I've done my training on it since Christmas and not noticed any disadvantages but then during the week on a number of days have stuck my pannier rack on the frame using the specific mounts and used it to commute to the office. Equally, I've taken the bike along some pretty ripped up bits of bridleway and felt happy enough. The one thing I haven't mentioned so far is that the bike comes with pre-installed mudguards which are a real blessing in disguise. So many bikes don't have specific mudguard mounts so it's great to have a bike where they have been thought out during the design process.
After 700 miles I'm happy with the bike and really enjoying riding it. It's heavier than I'm used to but that makes for great training benefit and given I don't own a specific cross bike it's refreshing to be able to do a little dabbling when I feel like leaving the tarmac.
The one very important thing I feel I have to mention is that Ribble have provided the bike to me for long term use as an ambassador so I do have a conflict of interest. However, as I always say in my reviews I simply won't use something when cycling just for the sake of it. When you're riding 16,000 miles a year you have to have kit that works for you or you risk injury.
What are your thoughts on the bike?