Ribble TT review

Ideal first time trial ride

BikeRadar score3/5

When you buy a Ribble, you can spec it with anything you want via the company’s online bike builder. While it was fun to ride, our TT was let down by its wheels, which were responsible for pushing it over the £1,000 mark but compromised its handling compared to other aero options.

  • Frame: A no-frills aluminium frame that will serve you well and take a bit of punishment (7/10)
  • Handling: Fun, confident and lively, but a bit of a handful in the wind (6/10)
  • Aerodynamics: Not particularly aero but it can still hold its own against more expensive competition (5/10)
  • Wheels: Nice and deep for extra speed, again requiring a firm grip in crosswinds (5/10)
  • Equipment: A rare Campagnolo time trial spec with a sensible gear selection (7/10)

The TT frame is made of 7005 triple butted aluminium with an aero profiled down tube and reverse-facing dropouts. It’s similar to Ribble’s alloy road frame, with a 76-degree seat angle and 72-degree head angle.

There’s nothing fancy about it – no internally routed cables, for example – and it doesn’t look that flashy, but it still holds its own in a quiet ‘I’ll take you all on’ kind of way. At just under 1.6kg for a 55cm model, it’s not a bad weight for a time trial frame.

The frame is paired with a Dedacciai Black Stream 70 carbon fibre fork, with 5cm-deep blades for improved speed through the air. It’s not light, though, weighing 592g.

The Ribble surprised us when we first jumped on board. It felt confident, lively and fun, which are words we rarely associate with time trial bikes. It handled corners well, even when perched on the extensions, so long as it wasn’t too windy.

We liked the power transfer. It felt like you were getting out what you were putting in without excessive stiffness or harshness. That meant it accelerated quickly and climbed positively.

It was quick on descents too, but at high speeds its turning felt a bit laboured – most likely because of the deep wheels. This was reflected in the wind tunnel results: the Ribble was the only bike on test that didn’t want to ‘correct’ itself in a crosswind. Quite the reverse, in fact.

It had high drag figures too: at 0° of yaw, its CdA (coefficient of drag x frontal area) was 0.109. This trend was maintained at both -5° (0.114) and -10° (0.118) of yaw. When we put a rider on board, it had a bike+rider CdA reading of 0.243.

Ribble tt: ribble tt
Ribble tt: ribble tt

Most time trial bikes are specced with Shimano or SRAM components, so it was a nice change to see Campagnolo Veloce on the Ribble TT. The curved thumbshifters are comfortable and wide enough that you won’t miss a shift.

Gearing-wise, everything behaved perfectly with the 53/39T chainring and 12-23T cassette setup. For big, draggy downhills, we’d go for an 11T on the back, but we did appreciate the extra gear in the middle of the range.

The Deda Crononero base bar and Parabolica straight extensions will do the job to get you into a decent aero position. We'd have liked a separate width adjustment on the arm rests, as we ended up with a narrower forearm and wider bar extension position than we'd have liked, which just wasn’t comfortable.

Braking was courtesy of ITM’s Low Pro/TT Alloy brake levers. Like the shifters, these give you plenty to hold onto, albeit at the expense of better airflow around the brake lever.

From what we could see on Ribble’s bike builder, the Pro-Lite RS-end saddle was a non-standard item. It’s a lightweight racing saddle with a cut out centre, though we hardly noticed this because we mostly rode on the tip. We found it moderately uncomfortable.

It’s down to personal choice, but from our point of view, there are more suitable time-trialling saddles available. We’d recommend finding one with a soft, downward sloping nose or – if you’ve got the cash to spend – an ISM Adamo Racing (£133.53).

The Superleggera XL50 wheels represent a substantial portion of the overall cost of this bike. They’re 50mm-deep carbon clinchers with an alloy braking surface, with 20/24 spokes, front and rear. At 1.8kg a pair, they’re not exactly light, but they felt stiff without being harsh, and we didn’t encounter any brake rub.

The Continental Ultra Sport tyres are a good choice for racing too, especially on rougher roads. There are few deep section wheels that are immune to handling issues in crosswinds, though, and the XL50s were no exception.

It’s something that you get used to, although the first gust can catch you out. At high speeds it feels like you’re on rails – fine if you’re going in a straight line, not so good if you’re flying towards a hairpin bend.

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