Typically when testing bikes from Ribble we find ourselves marvelling at the sheer value for money they offer. The Sportive Bianco is no different: its package of full SRAM Red, Mavic ksyrium equipes – in matching white! – and full carbon finishing kit from ITM is streets ahead of similarly priced carbon sportive bikes. It’s astonishing value.
At 7.83kg it’s also one of the lightest complete carbon sportive bikes available; with so much pro level kit that’s to be expected, though the smartly finished Bianco frame is no heavyweight itself. Covering a bike with expensive kit, even at a great price, is all well and good, but to make it a true bargain the frame and fork have to perform. Happily, we can report that the Ribble’s do.
The Bianco's geometry is essentially the same as Ribble’s Nero race frame, the only difference being extra height in the head-tube (200mm on our size 58cm). This creates a comfortable position without compromising the handling too much. We enjoyed pushing the Bianco fast into corners and throwing ourselves into descents. The combination of a smooth rear end and a well-shaped and padded saddle damp out plenty of vibration, but the front end is a little unrefined. It’s tight and stable, but over coarse surfaces the fork has a fair amount of chatter, and over our 105-mile test loop we did experience numb hands and tingly fingers.
You could argue that light wheels and super-smooth shifting Red gearing will flatter any frame, but the Ribble’s doesn’t need much. It climbs brilliantly and is stiff through the down-tube, bottom bracket and chainstays, making it unfaltering under power and responsive to changes of tempo on out-of-the-saddle climbs and occasional sprints. The Ribble might not feel as refined or smooth, nor as cosseting as some of its peers, it’s still a great bike, with a well-judged frame, a brilliant riding position and an incredible equipment selection.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.