Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way ﬁrst. Yes, the ﬂat-barred Ridgeback Flight Ti commuter costs £2,299.99. For the same money you can take your pick of some of the very best carbon racing bikes on the market.
On the other hand, £2,300 isn’t that expensive for a titanium framed, Shimano Ultegra-equipped, 9.4kg (20.7lb) road bike. And if you live and work in London’s Zone One it’s just a couple of years of Travelcards.
But there’s little point trying to justify the limited edition Flight Ti from an economic point of view. It’s a statement bike and if you’re into making statements on your ride to work there’s little to beat it.
The 3V/2.5AL frame is neatly welded and uses the same geometry as the lively, fun and versatile aluminium Flights lower down the range. It scores over its alloy siblings for the ride quality the titanium frame provides – it really is smoother and more forgiving. The ‘lesser’ Flights are no slouches and lots of fun to ride, but the Ti is on another level.
With its narrow titanium bar and straight carbon fork providing quick steering, it's right at home jinking through trafﬁc. The 10-speed Shimano Ultegra group is operated through Rapidﬁre SL-R770 shifters and, as you’d expect, it’s smooth and quick to change.
Riding the Flight Ti quickly is incredibly easy. Some of that will be down to the semi-deep Alex R475D rims, which are easy to get spinning and roll smoothly. They aren’t the most compliant wheels we’ve come across, though, and go a little against the plush feel of the frame. For longer riding, or badly potholed streets, we’d prefer more forgiving hoops.
The Flight SLX saddle on top of a titanium seatpost wasn’t the most comfortable perch we’ve used either. Brakes are Shimano’s Deore M595 hydraulic discs and they’re excellent, delivering plenty of stopping power progressively and smoothly.
Like the Flight 05 we tested last year, the Flight Ti also offers versatility – add a wider bar with bar-ends and it would easily take on a 50-mile sportive or day ride. And if you do use it simply for commuting, the longevity of titanium means you should still be able to ride it to work until you eventually retire at 90.