Riders who are pining after Ridley's top-end Noah or Dean carbon fibre flagships but can't afford their premium prices have two new models to consider with many of the same benefits but at a much more attainable cost.
Like the Noah, the new Noah RS uses a deep-section seat tube and down tube to help reduce aerodynamic drag, a similar split-blade R-Flow Jetfoil fork that supposedly pulls air away from the front wheel's churning spokes, the same internal cable routing setup, and even the textured R-Surface paint treatment on the sides of the seat tube to help air 'stick' to the frame.
However, it omits the Jetfoil shaping on the seatstays in favour of more traditional single-element tubes, there's a standard telescoping seatpost in lieu of the Noah's integrated design, the chainstays aren't quite as massive and the front end makes do with a straight 1-1/8in steerer. In addition, the Noah RS is built with lesser carbon fibres than the standard Noah's 50-, 40- and 30-ton blend.
That being said, the Noah RS is certainly more affordable at US$2,150 for a bare frameset, compared to $3,150 for the standard Noah. A complete Noah RS with SRAM Force will retail for $3,495. While the Noah RS moves downscale, the regular Noah looks to move even further up – though not until the 2012 model year, according to global marketing manager Eric Wallace – judging by the prototype split-blade Noah carbon fork we've been shown.
Over on the time trial and triathlon side, the new Dean RS likewise shares a few design cues with the standard Dean but with a straight seat tube and easier-travelling standard telescoping seatpost instead of the wildly curvaceous integrated one on the flagship plus straight stays in place of the R-Flow Jetfoil ones.
Chainstays are also downsized, the rear brake is moved to a standard position up on the seatstays, and the internal derailleur cable routing runs more conventionally through the down tube before popping out below the bottom bracket shell. Ridley do give the Dean RS the same 4ZA R-Flow full-carbon fork as the regular Dean but front-end geometry is altered with a taller head tube better suited to triathlon.
Like the Noah RS, the Dean RS is built with less advanced carbon fibre than the regular Dean but the pricing differential between the two models is even bigger. Retail price on a Dean RS frame is $2,150, compared to $3,400 for its big brother. A complete Dean RS with SRAM Force will go for $2,995.