Ribble’s Gravel range has just got a little bigger, and a lot more affordable, with the addition of a 725 Reynolds-framed model.
The new 725 comes in three versions, ranging from £2,099 to this Pro-level model at £2,899.
British steel manufacturer Reynolds is known best for its high-grade lightweight steels such as 531 and 853, and rarefied stainless tube sets including 953.
So, 725 may not be very familiar to most. In my opinion, though, it’s a great choice for a gravel, adventure or bikepacking frame.
It’s much stronger than those higher-grade steels and although it’s heavier, the thicker walls of the tubes make it far less prone to dents and much more resilient than lightweight thin-walled tubes.
Ribble Gravel 725 Pro frameset
Ribble has still chosen to specify a triple-butted iteration of 725. Tube butting is where the tubes have a constant outside diameter but the wall thickness varies within.
On a butted tube, the ends of the tube are thicker (usually 0.8mm compared to 0.5mm in the middle of the tube).
This is done to provide more material for the weld strength, while reducing weight in the centre of the tube where it’s less important.
With a triple-butted tube, the wall thickness is not only there to improve weld strength but also to add strength in critical areas of the frame rather than just to save weight.
The frame is very well appointed with three bottle cage mounts, full mudguard and rack mounts, along with internal routing, top tube bento box mounts, and even a large gusset between the down tube, seat tube and bottom-bracket shell to increase the strength and stiffness in this critical area.
If you think the thicker, tougher steel is going to make the Ribble a bit of a lump, then I wouldn’t worry. Ribble claims a medium-sized 725 will tip the scales at 10.8kg.
My large test Pro model came in lower than that at 10.5kg, with a carbon seatpost upgrade the only deviation from the standard specification.
It seems Ribble has been quite conservative in its claimed weights.
Ribble Gravel 725 Pro geometry and ride impressions
The Gravel 725’s geometry is based on the Ribble Gravel Ti, which impressed me albeit at a much more affordable price.
That’s down to a combination of a long front centre (639mm on my large test bike) and a short (for the size) 90mm stem. It makes the steering stable, yet it doesn’t feel sluggish.
The 50mm fork offset, combined with the 650b wheels and huge 47mm tyres, creates a 59mm trail figure, which is the sort of number you’d expect from a sporty sportive bike on the road.
This mash-up of long front centre and endurance bike geometry makes the 725 a quite brilliant off-road companion. It feels quick to turn and well balanced, and the smaller wheels make short, sharp accelerations easy.
The 725 feels superbly capable when riding forest singletrack and on short, sharp climbs its quick pick-up keeps you pedalling. The long chainstays help the tyre bite on seated climbs and the extended wheelbase (1,035mm) gives it bags of stability when chopping through corners on off-road descents.
The huge 47mm tyres combine with the natural compliance of the skinny steel frame to take plenty of the sting out of rutted and rocky surfaces.
The downside is the smaller-diameter wheel and larger tyre can make the 725 feel a little ponderous on long stretches of flat or rolling tarmac roads when riding with larger-wheeled companions.
Longer climbs are efficient rather than rapid, and the stiffness through the bottom bracket means your power is transferred well, but the big tyres, smaller wheels and relaxed position mean it’s a sit-in-and-spin climber rather than an out-of-the-saddle sprinter.
The wheel size trade-off is how good it is for those short bursts of acceleration to get up steep off-road ramps.
You could also use Ribble’s ‘bike builder’ service to create a 700c 725, especially as you’ll only lose 2mm of tyre clearance stepping up to a larger diameter.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75.5||75.5||74||73.5||73.3||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||70||70.5||71.5||71.5||72||72|
|Front centre (mm)||594||606||611||626||639||650|
|Seat tube (mm)||440||460||480||500||520||540|
|Top tube (mm)||508||522||550||570||587||603|
|Head tube (mm)||90||110||130||150||170||190|
|Fork offset (mm)||50||50||50||50||50||50|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||70||70||67||66.5||65||65|
Ribble Gravel 725 Pro specifications
The build is all good stuff. I really like the Level Gravel riser bar, with a wide flare that spreads the bar from 42cm at the hoods to 51cm at the drop.
With a 20mm rise from the stem eye, a compact drop and a short reach combine to make for a very comfortable bar, be it on the tops, hoods or down in the drops.
Fizik’s Taiga saddle is mid-length and narrow, and comes from the Italian saddle brand’s mountain bike stable.
The slim dimensions make it an easy saddle to move around on when shifting your weight over more technical terrain. I found it comfortable enough, but it wouldn’t be my first choice for this bike. From the FiZik stable, I much prefer the short gravel-specific Terra Argo.
The low-slung frame leaves plenty of exposed seatpost and the Level carbon post is a tidy upgrade to add a bit of vibration-damping flex.
The alloy AllRoads are tubeless-ready and come with a 25mm internal-width rim that’s ideal for larger-volume tyres.
At 1,840g a pair, they aren’t the lightest you’ll find, but experience tells me alloy rims and wheel builds from Mavic are built to last.
Halo’s GXD tyres are also tubeless-compatible and, as ever, I would have liked the 725 to come set up tubeless.
I was impressed by the GXDs back in the summer, riding them on the Ribble Gravel Ti Hero, with their studded tread pattern, rounded shape and pronounced shoulder grip working superbly in the dusty, dry summer months.
Now the conditions are somewhat damper, the GXDs are just okay. They work well on harder-packed surfaces, but the close-studded tread pattern can fill rather quickly in sticky, sloppy mud.
Ribble Gravel 725 Pro drivetrain
The Rival AXS XPLR groupset works brilliantly. Like its road-going counterpart, it shares the shift technology, motors and chipset with SRAM’s premium Red offering, so shifting speed, accuracy and smoothness are all equal.
The long-cage rear derailleur comes with a stiffly sprung clutch mechanism that keeps chain bounce to a minimum. When combined with the shaped teeth on the single chainring, it means the chain stays in place no matter how rough the going gets.
The wide rear cassette of 10-44, combined with a 40-tooth chainring, gives a lighter than 1:1 gear, so providing you’ve got traction the 725 should keep you pedalling more than hiking, no matter how steep the trail ahead.
The Rival brakes have all the power I need and plenty of feel with it. They’ve stayed noise-free even when riding in some truly atrocious conditions, with only the slightest hint of disc rub on one ride, where the flood water I was riding through came up to the front rotor.
Ribble Gravel 725 Pro bottom line
Overall, I’ve come away from the 725 Gravel impressed. The frame is very neatly finished and it’s a good value package.
The tweaked geometry means it’s a bike that can take in everything from standard forest fire roads and wide byways right through to proper mountain bike singletrack and not let you down.
Its handling chops are as versatile as the frame and fork, so no matter if you’re looking for a rough-stuff ready commuter bike, adventurous companion or just a tough bike to go and play in the woods, the 725 is a brilliant option that won’t break the bank.
|Weight||10.5kg (L) – Claimed weight by Ribble is 10.8kg for a medium sized bike|
|Available sizes||XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Headset||LEVEL 44, 44mm External Cups, Black|
|Tyres||Halo GXC FD60, 650bx47, Tan Wall|
|Stem||LEVEL 2 3D-Forged Alloy, Black, 31.8mm, 90mm|
|Shifter||SRAM Rival eTap AXS D1 12-Speed Hydraulic|
|Seatpost||LEVEL HM Carbon 27.2mm, 350mm|
|Saddle||Fizik Taiga, S-Alloy, Black|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM Rival XPLR eTap AXS D1 Max 44T|
|Handlebar||LEVEL Gravel Riser Flared|
|Bottom bracket||SRAM DUB Wide Threaded BSA|
|Grips/Tape||LEVEL Embossed, Black|
|Frame||Reynolds 725 Steel, Triple-Butted, Heat-Treated|
|Fork||Gravel 725, Full Carbon, Tapered, Carryall Mounts|
|Cranks||SRAM Rival D1 DUB Wide, 1x12, 40T|
|Chain||SRAM Rival D1 12-Speed with Powerlock|
|Cassette||SRAM XG-1251 12-Speed 10-44T|
|Brakes||SRAM Rival HRD Hydraulic Disc with SRAM Centreline XR Centre Lock 160mm rotors|
|Wheels||Mavic Allroad 650b Disc, 12x100F/12x142R|