Ribble CX SL Pro
The CX SL is available in three builds: Sport, Enthusiast and Pro. This Pro build focuses on life between the course marker tapes.
Every model shares the £1,299 monocoque CX SL frameset, which 5800 is built from Toray T1000 and T800 carbon fibre, using an EPS inner core system for consistent wall thickness, plus increased torsional stiffness.
Those clean lines start at the integrated bar with its flat, wide top, flush steerer clamp bolts and matching spacers, and continue with completely internal control lines.
The CX SL Pro’s clean lines start with the integrated bar. Robert Smith
Ribble’s dropped, kinked seatstay design is matched to a large angular down tube and massive, 50mm deep, boxy asymmetric chainstays with room for 40mm tyres.
The frame ports are well sealed against water and muck ingress and it includes mudguard mounts.
Ribble’s house brand Level provides the carbon fibre bar, seatpost and wheelset. The latter has 40mm tall, 26.5mm wide tubular rims, weighing a claimed 1,528g.
They’re fitted with Challenge Grifo tubular tyres, an all-rounder that excels in most conditions short of wet mud. Allowing tyre pressures below 20psi, tubulars seriously maximise grip and control.
Ribble’s dropped, kinked seatstay design. Robert Smith
I took the CX SL racing and was immediately struck by its speed; the stiff handlebar and frameset channelling power efficiently to the rear wheel.
Very squashy tyres are an acquired feel, but the quick, wide-rimmed wheelset does its job well, helping the Grifos seek out grip.
Comfort isn’t a huge ’cross consideration, but being able to remain seated and pedal harder for longer with better control is. With its long carbon seatpost and tubulars, the Ribble maintains decent composure and steering accuracy on rough ground.
Ultegra Di2 groupset is well geared for cyclocross. Robert Smith
Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 groupset with 36/46 rings and an 11-32 cassette is well geared for ’cross racing, or the road, with a wheel swap.
Rear shifting speed counts in a race, but as a long-time single ring convert, I didn’t find the extra front ring beneficial. More than once, I accidentally shifted the front derailleur when lifting the bike over an obstacle; and unjamming a chain isn’t easy with Di2.
The CX SL Pro is a ready-to-race ’cross package (although mud does sit on the small shelf behind the bottom bracket shell and the flat-topped chainstays) and a relatively inexpensive way to maximise your cyclocross potential.
Mudguard mounts increase the Pro’s versatliity. Robert Smith
Ribble CX SL Pro geometry
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 72 degrees
Seat tube: 52cm
Top tube: 54.5cm
Head tube: 14cm
Fork offset: 5cm
Bottom bracket drop: 6.4cm