The Ridley Helium SLX is the lightweight race bike of your dreams

Belgian superbike to to debut at this year's Tour Down Under

As we reported back in August, Ridley has re-designed its longstanding Helium road bike for 2017 and the Belgian brand recently sent us through its toppest, top-end Helium SLX for test.

The climb friendly, featherweight that Lotto-Soudal frameset will debut at this year's Tour Down Under is draped in some pretty snazzy bits, so we took some time to ogle the new bike from every angle conceivable.

The Ridley Helium SLX is a purposeful looking race machine
The Ridley Helium SLX is a purposeful looking race machine

In re-designing the Helium, Ridley has aimed to create a bike that is a great all-rounder. Ridley engineer Bruno De Naeur stated in our overview of the brands 2017 range that “our mantra behind the Helium has always been [to create] the best stiffness to weight ratio... so you’ll find that we don’t have the lightest or the stiffest bike, but we believe that we’ve found the best compromise between those two characteristics.”

It looks handsome from every angle
It looks handsome from every angle

He goes on to say that although Ridley “had working bikes built below the magical 700g mark, we decided against putting it into production as the bike needs to be tough enough to last and be ridden in all conditions, including our own Belgian cobbles."

However, the updated frame weighs in at a mere 50g (claimed) over this “magical” number in a size medium, so we certainly can’t complain about the weight of the new Helium. The new fork, which has been updated with narrower and straighter blades, has also been on a diet and now comes in at an equally feathery 300g. Unsurprisingly, such a lightweight frameset has a rider weight limit of 95kg.

All cables on the Helium are now internally routed
All cables on the Helium are now internally routed

The Helium has also seen updates to cable routing, with all cables now cleanly routed internally through the frame. 

However, the eagle-eyed will note that our eTap-specific frame is as smooth as an Action Man's groin, with no ports or stops for gear cables to speak of. So unless you're happy covering your bike with a bag's worth of zip ties, this special edition of the Helium has no provision for running a mechanical or Di2 groupset.

The front-end has seen improvements to the layup, which is said to improve stiffness by 15%
The front-end has seen improvements to the layup, which is said to improve stiffness by 15%

The layup around the headtube has also been modified, resulting in a claimed 15 percent increase in stiffness around the front end, which is said to improve the handling of the Helium while cornering.

The wireless SRAM Red eTap groupset is a perfect match for a bike of this calibre
The wireless SRAM Red eTap groupset is a perfect match for a bike of this calibre

Our rather high zoot test build, which features a full SRAM Red eTap groupset, Forza 4ZA Cirrus C30 wheels and a nicely integrated colour matchy-matched cockpit, weighs in at a paltry and sub UCI-limit of 6.38kg without pedals.

The Forza C30 wheels spin on ultra-dependable DT Swiss 240s hubs
The Forza C30 wheels spin on ultra-dependable DT Swiss 240s hubs

There is of course a not inconsiderable price to pay for such weightless luxury; the top-end Helium SLX comes in at a lofty £6,500 / $7,500 / AU$TBC and will be outfitted with alloy, Forza RC23 rims laced to Shimano hubs.

Our test model is kitted out with the upgraded carbon hoops from Forza, so you should expect to pay an additional £1,000-ish to get your Helium down to a weight comparable to ours.

We’re looking forward to trying out this true super bike. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review in the coming months.

  • The top-end Helium SLX with Forza 4ZA RC23 wheels is priced at £6,500 / $7,500 / AU$TBC
  • The Helium SLX frameset is also available separately for £2,699.99 / $TBC / / AU$TBC
Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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