Ridley Orion C20 £1325

Strong and smooth-riding road bike

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

The sticker on the Ridley Orion C20’s seat tube says, ‘Tested on pavé’, and serves as a gentle reminder of Ridley’s Flemish origins. The Orion C20 sits in Ridley’s Endurance range, although the fact that it shares that tag with half the bikes that Ridley makes tells you something about the company.

  • HIGHS: Forgiving ride, standard components easy to work on, looks great
  • LOWS: Not especially, parts is spec merely okay
  • BUY IF…  You’re looking for a race-style position and geometry combined with comfort

It’s a distinctive-looking frame, although white wouldn’t be our first choice for a Spring Classic. With a boxy, octagonal-section down tube and top tube and a short, tapered head tube, the Orion C20 promises a fast ride.

Ridley has stuck with a threaded bottom bracket, and at the back you’ll find wishbone-style seatstays. With graceful curves, the fork looks the part and is supple on poor surfaces, although the carbon only goes as far as the legs – there’s an aluminium steerer rather than the lighter, stiffer full carbon offerings elsewhere.

The Ridley packs a full set of Shimano Tiagra kit, including the brakes that are a cut above the off-brand callipers often found at this price. It would have been nice to see a hint of 105, but Tiagra is par for the course.

The compact chainset and 12-28 cassette offer a sensible range of gears, and there’s the option of a triple chainset if you need more. It’s good to see a straightforward wheel setup, with conventional Shimano hubs laced to 30mm deep rims. You’ll have no trouble finding spokes to fit these.

At just over 9kg, the Ridley is fairly average in terms of weight. It has a racy riding position, with a low front end and steep angles, making it easy to put the power down. It’s properly agile too, but without being scary. The big main tubes help keep everything in line and accurate.

The real strength of the Ridley is comfort. That pavé stuff is more than an idle boast – the Orion really is very smooth on rough roads despite its 23mm tyres and oversized seatpost, and it makes you want to just keep going.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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