Bike of the Week | Ribble Hybrid AL e

Ribble's take on a motorised hybrid is impressively light

Ribble Hybrid AL e electric hybrid bike

This electrified hybrid from Ribble, with its neatly integrated battery and impressively low weight figure, is a shining example of just how far ebikes have come over the last few years. Add the impressive spec that Ribble’s buying power affords and it’s clear this bike of the week stands as an interesting alternative to what’s on offer from big name brands.

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It wasn’t long ago that electric hybrids were mostly cumbersome and heavy adaptations of regular bikes. Big external battery packs let everyone know you weren’t doing all the pedalling and 25kg plus weight figures meant moving them about was no fun, even for those with a gym membership. Then there was the prospect of riding one without a charged battery, which was a truly masochistic affair.

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Every week, we bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes (or framesets) to arrive at BikeRadar HQ – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between.

This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails.

Head to our Bike of the Week hub for previous editions.

Enter the Hybrid AL e from Ribble, a bike that even trained eyes would have to study to confirm as an ebike and – at a claimed 14.5kg /32lbs for a size medium – the Hybrid AL e is almost as light as many unmotorised hybrids too.

Take Ribble’s own Hybrid Al commuter, which totals close to a claimed 13kg and that’s without a motor.

Ribble Hybrid AL e electric hybrid bike
The Hybrid AL e won’t look like an ebike to most untrained eyes.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

The aluminium frame of the Ribble casts a distinctive shadow thanks to its kinked seat tube, dropped seatstays and asymmetric chainstays.

The front triangle of the frame is more conventional and hides a 250Wh battery in its down tube. To keep weight down, Ribble has specced a carbon thru-axle fork too.

But is keeping the weight low really that important for a bike that has a motor? Well, it depends what’s important to you.

Ribble Hybrid AL e electric hybrid bike top tube
The Mahle X35 motor system uses a simple control unit that’s integrated into the top tube of the frame.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

A light bike will always be easier to move around; to load into and out of cars, up staircases and through areas with restricted space. Then there’s the ride quality.

Lighter ebikes are also capable of delivering a ride feel that’s a lot more natural than the almost motorcycle-like ride quality of their heavier counterparts.

Ribble Hybrid AL e electric hybrid bike
The charge port for the concealed 250Wh Panasonic battery.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

The idea of using an electric bike such as this one for fitness purposes is one that’s been exploited by the likes of Canyon with its Roadlite:ON series and Specialized’s excellent Turbo Vado SL.

Compared to equivalent models from the ranges named above, the Ribble is more affordable and lighter, though its hub-based Mahle Ebikemotion X35 motor is a major difference from the mid-drive motors used by Canyon and Specialized.

Ribble Hybrid AL e hub motor
Unlike most of its competitors, which use mid-drive motor systems, the Hybrid AL e uses a Mahle X35 hub motor.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

The X35 from Mahle is a proven system though, and one we’ve enjoyed on some of our favourite electric bikes.

In this application, with the motor set on its lowest (20%) power setting, Ribble claims a range of 60 miles is achievable from the 250Wh Panasonic battery concealed within the Hybrid AL e frame. Although that’s not a class-leading range, it’s one that is certainly ample for most commuters.

The specification of this bike looks particularly well thought out as it is, but prospective buyers also get the choice of using Ribble’s bike builder to upgrade individual components, from tyres and saddles right the way through to custom headset caps.

If you aren’t taken by this brave copper shade, there’s a much more subtle blue option or custom colours are available from £299, too.

SRAM’s NX transmission brings secure 11-speed shifting with the spread of an 11-42t cassette, while the SRAM S350 chainset includes a guard to stop clothing from contacting the chain.

SRAM NX drivetrain
SRAM’s NX transmission is a solid performer with plenty of range.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Mavic Aksium Elite Evo wheels are paired to Schwalbe’s somewhat legendary Marathon tyres in a generous 35mm width. The wheels are also tubeless-ready for an easy upgrade when you eventually wear out those original Marathons.

Shimano flat-mount hydraulic disc brakes (not pictured on this pre-production sample) are paired to 160mm Tektro disc rotors.

Ribble Hybrid AL e pannier rack
Ribble’s pannier rack is colour coded to match the colour of the frame.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

This particular model is Ribble’s ‘Fully Loaded Edition’, which holds a £100 premium over the regular Hybrid AL e but gains a colour-coded pannier rack, SKS mudguards, a Ribble USB light set and a Knog Oi Classic bell.

That’s a lot of useful equipment for the cash and thus it seems a no-brainer for anyone who is looking to use this bike all year round.

If those extras aren’t for you then you’ll not only save money but also save an impressive amount of weight too – a size medium Hybrid AL e standard edition comes in at a claimed 13.1kg / 29lb (compared to this 14.5kg /32lb model).

Ribble Hybrid AL e integrated handlebar and stem
The integrated cockpit is an unusual addition that is reserved for the ‘Fully Loaded Edition’ model.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
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One other unlikely upgrade that comes with the higher spec build is Ribble’s own integrated cockpit. It’s something a little different and helps to tie up the clean colour-coded look that this bike carries from front to back.

Ribble Hyrid AL e Fully Loaded Edition spec

  • Frame: 6061 T6 Heat Treated Aluminium
  • Fork: Full Carbon Fibre Monocoque
  • Wheels: Mavic Aksium Elite Evo UST EBM
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Rigid 700 x 35c
  • Gears: SRAM NX Urban 1×11-speed with PG-1130 11-42t cassette, SRAM S350 GXP 42t chainset
  • Motor: Mahle Ebikemotion X35 M1 250W
  • Battery: Panasonic 36V/250Wh
  • Brakes: Shimano UR300 flat-mount hydraulic disc (differs from bike photographed)
  • Cockpit: Ribble Integrated Alloy, 620mm
  • Seatpost: Ribble Level 1 Alloy 27.2mm, 350mm
  • Saddle: Ribble Classic
  • Accessories: SKS 45mm mudguards, Ribble pannier rack, Ribble FL300/RL150 lights, Knog Oi Classic bell
  • Weight: 14.5kg (claimed, medium)
  • Price: £2,099