To the question of “how low can you go?”, Ribble’s got its answer: the new range-topping Ultimate SL model, which weighs 840g for the frame only (medium).
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The Ultimate SL is designed for racing and “epic challenge rides” in the hills and mountains. To reduce weight as far as possible, the bike’s designers have chosen a minimalist colour scheme with subtle, understated graphics on a matt carbon finish. Disc brakes are not an option.
It comes with racing geometry and a short wheelbase to put the rider in a low, aggressive riding position, and gets thin seat stays and a 27.2mm seat post to build comfort into the design — important when you consider how bad British roads can be.
An oversized press-fit bottom bracket shell and tapered head tube are said to boost the bike’s stiffness and efficiency, and new carbon tube profiles are aerodynamically shaped to reduce wind resistance. We’ll reserve judgement on just how well it cheats the wind until we’ve actually ridden one though.
Ribble Ultimate SL spec options
In terms of spec, the bikes start at £1,599 for the base model, which comes with Shimano Sora 9-speed drivetrain, Rodi Airline 5 clinchers, Selle Italia X1 Flow saddle and Deda finishing kit.
Not hugely exciting kit, but if you’re willing to spend a little bit more then visit the Ribble Bike Builder, where there’s a wide range of options to dress the frame with higher-end components from Shimano or Campagnolo.
For instance, you can spec mechanical Shimano Ultegra and Mavic Aksium wheels for £2,156, Ultegra Di2 for £2,934 or full Campagnolo Super Record and Shamal Ultra C17 wheels for £4,379.
For the full range of options, head on over to the Ribble Bike Builder.
“We’ve entered superlight territory with this frame and are really proud of what we’ve achieved,” said James Dove, product and brand director at Ribble. “Our customers can now spec an incredibly light and quality build for immense value. Through over a year of designing, refining and testing, the Ultimate SL now sits proudly at the top of our range.”
A couple of alternatives
For comparison, Trek’s superlight Emonda frameset weighs 1.63kg (including forks), and the complete Emonda SL6 costs £2,100 / $2,799 / AU$3,599 for the mechanical Ultegra version with Bontrager Race wheels.
Or take a look at Canyon’s Ultimate CF SL, whose frame weighs 940g. The complete Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 with mechanical Ultegra and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels costs £1,849 / $TBC / AU$3,199.