Ribble’s range covers all bases, including, of course, cyclocross. The CX5 is the Lancashire brand’s all-carbon fibre ’cross platform which, with its online BikeBuilder, you can configure to suit your needs and budget. Groupsets range from Shimano Tiagra to SRAM Force 1, as tested, with prices starting at £1,349 / $1,489 / AU$2,313.
The frame looks conventional, with a near horizontal top tube which, while attractive, does mean that to maintain standover height, the 140mm head tube is relatively short, much like Ridley’s ’cross bikes.
On a 56cm Trek Boone, for example, I wouldn’t need any spacers beneath the stem, but on a large CX5 I had 30mm. It will suit some ’cross riders better than others, but does help the CX5 in its other role, as a multipurpose road bike.
As is the modern way, there’s universal routing for all gear systems, and any unused ports are well sealed. The front mech mount is removable if not needed, and there are mudguard mounts to facilitate all-round road duties.
The down tube has a rhomboid shape with its widest side facing forwards, and it flares to cover the wide PF86 bottom bracket shell from side to side. Cyclocross shouldering is eased by the flattened rectangular top tube, and while the triangular profile seatstays merge in to a wishbone, the flattened internal face of the straight, chunky chainstays helps tyre clearance.
Ribble says there’s room for 35mm tyres, but the very generous clearances look good for more. Even after an hour in heavy mud, the collected muck was nowhere near to clogging the Challenge Grifo Plus-shod Mavic Aksium Disc wheelset.
Grifos are fine all-round tyres but thick mud means a lot of sliding, which the CX5 was easily a match for, exhibiting confident control and predictable handling.
Frame weight for a medium is 1,150g, and with SRAM’s Force 1 groupset, Deda finishing kit and Fizik saddle, my large CX5 came in at a decent 8.39kg. With a 42 ring and 11-32 cassette, I think the lowest gear is a little high for most ’cross riders, although fine for road use.
Acceleration is keen and positive, with good response to urgent inputs, and the 72-degree head angle balances slow speed stability with assured high-speed rut-hopping line changes. Bump absorption is good too, riding rough surfaces with a dexterity that could be improved further with a carbon seatpost.
In ’cross guise, the CX5 is capable and great value, and its road versatility is a bonus.
Ribble CX5 specification
- Sizes (*tested): S, M, L*, XL, XXL
- Weight: 8.39kg (L)
- Frame: Ribble CX5 carbon
- Fork: Ribble CX5 carbon
- Shifters: SRAM Force 1
- Derailleurs: SRAM Force 1
- Cassette: 11-32
- Brakes: SRAM Force hydraulic disc, 160mm/140mm Centreline rotors
- Wheels: Mavic Aksium Disc
- Tyres: Challenge Grifo Plus 33mm
- Bar: Deda RHM02 alloy
- Stem: Deda Zero 2 alloy
- Seatpost: Deda Zero alloy
- Saddle: Fizik Arione R7