Ribble’s naming conventions are pretty self explanatory, so you know what you’re getting with the Gravel AL. This £1,999 build is kitted out with a 1X SRAM Rival groupset (Shimano 105 equivalent), Mavic Allroad 650b wheels and chunky WTB Sendero tyres.
There are a range of other groupset configurations available with the Gravel AL, including SRAM Apex 1X (£1,699), Shimano GRX RX400 (£1,699), Shimano GRX RX600 (£1,999) and Shimano GRX RX800 (£2,399), with electronic groupsets on offer too when you step up to the carbon fibre Gravel SL models.
For more sizable budgets, there are also Gravel Ti titanium builds on offer, as well as added assistance with the Gravel AL e electric gravel bike.
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x frame details
At first glance, you could be forgiven for mistaking the Gravel AL for a carbon bike, thanks to the fantastically smooth welds between its frame tubes and beautiful shaping around the head tube.
It’s only when you cast your eye down towards the chainstay that a characteristic alloy weld is visible, unlike some other bikes in the budget alloy category.
Up front, a super-chunky carbon fork boasts tons of space around the supplied 47mm-wide tyres, which bodes really well for mud clearance in the winter months. Each fork blade is adorned with three mounts, so you can load up with cages for carrying kit or water if you fancy a few days (or months) on the trails.
A single colourway is offered, with the British Racing Green finish, with areas of matt and gloss, proving to be a real head-turner.
However, if you fancy something unique, Ribble also offers a custom colour programme. For the price of £299, you can commission the paintjob of your dreams.
This is easily configured through the brand’s online design platform, where you can choose frame and decal colouring, as well as gloss, matt or glitter finishes. Having had a few bikes repainted privately over the years, this seems like pretty decent value.
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x geometry
Geometry is fairly typical of a modern gravel bike, with this size XS measuring up with a 1,036mm wheelbase and 70.5-degree head tube angle.
The Gravel AL is offered in a fantastic range of sizes, from XXS (for riders from 152cm/5ft tall) up to XL (for riders up to 194cm/6ft4in).
|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|
|Seat tube (mm)||440||460||480||500||520||540|
|Top tube (mm)||508||522||550||570||585||602|
|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||65||65||65|
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x specifications
The SRAM Rival 1x build kit offers a fairly generous range of gears in a simple, easy-to-use format with the 42-tooth chainring and 11-42 tooth cassette. Hydraulic disc brakes are also a must when taking on the rougher stuff.
Unsurprisingly, the mid-range Gravel AL is specced with finishing kit from Ribble’s in-house component brand, LEVEL, with an alloy layback seatpost, stem and Gravel Riser handlebars, which offer 20mm rise, as well as a generous 16-degree flare on the drops.
Mavic Allroad 650b wheels are specced, and shod with chunky 47mm WTB Sendero tyres. With a tread more akin to cross-country mountain bike tyres, these unlock an exciting level of capability with the Ribble Gravel AL over gnarlier terrain.
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x ride impressions
Sprightly, capable and a blast to ride: the Gravel AL has certainly impressed on test. While the chunky Senderos aren’t the fastest gravel bike tyres on the road, they really come into their own as soon as you hit more technical gravel and singletrack.
Equally, if you find you spend more time on tarmac and smoother tracks, it wouldn’t be an ordeal to switch these out for less aggressively treaded 650b tyres.
The fit was the only area where I felt the Gravel AL could be improved. At 165cm, I fell slap-bang in the middle of the XS size, and although the frame size was a good fit, the reach felt long. I slammed the saddle forwards to offset the layback seatpost a little, but from the centre of the handlebar top to the hood position is really quite a long way.
Women tend to have proportionally longer legs and a shorter torso in comparison to men.
Women’s gravel and road bikes tend to address this, either with a specific geometry to reduce reach or a slightly different choice of components, but in this case you may need to take matters into your own hands with this unisex model.
The option of short-reach handlebars and an in-line alloy seatpost at no extra cost through Ribble’s bike customiser would make this offering much more appealing to many female riders.
I did find the saddle very comfortable, however, despite being a unisex model rather than one of the best women’s bike saddles. You get a choice of five different saddles in the customiser at no extra cost, including some women’s models.
The SRAM Rival shifting was smooth and consistent (bar one cable tension adjustment, which is to be expected from a new bike), and the powerful hydraulic brakes put me in control on the descents and rougher ground.
While the gearing was adequate for most of the tarmac inclines of Dartmoor, a smaller 40- or 38-tooth chainring would come in handy for spinning up looser dirt climbs, especially when loaded up for bikepacking.
The component choices largely make sense. Though the bars were a touch too wide for me at 42cm, the 20mm rise was a delight. For shorter riders, this gives extra tyre clearance up front for a bar bag.
If you prefer a zero-rise bar, you can opt for this at no extra cost in Ribble’s customisation options, although unfortunately 42cm is the only available width across all frame sizes.
At just 10.3kg, the Ribble Gravel AL is fairly light, even with the chunky WTB Sendero tyres.
The Ribble Gravel AL was heaps of fun to ride, and a bike I’d be truly proud to own.
The value you get at this price point is really impressive. Although I would need to spend a little extra to optimise the fit, key elements of the build, such as the quality SRAM Rival drivetrain and Mavic Allroad wheelset, can’t be overlooked.
The 650b, chunky-tyre setup is refreshingly more aggressive than you see on most gravel bikes, though I’m sure the build would be equally fun on the tarmac and lighter gravel with a 700c, 40mm tyre configuration.
I love the British Racing Green matt and gloss paint, but if it’s not your cup of tea, for £299 you can choose your own dream paintjob.
How we tested
Gravel bikes are designed to be just as capable on the road as they are off it. They should be reliable companions for the daily commute, as well as weekend adventuring and even in some cases longer bikepacking trips.
At the £2,000 mark, you’re likely to find bikes in the middle of the spectrum between aero gravel-racing machines and hardtail mountain bike-style steeds.
These versatile all-rounders should feature 10- or 11-speed drivetrains from Shimano or SRAM, hydraulic disc brakes, quality gravel tyres and often mounts for bikepacking bags.
We put their versatility to the test by riding the bikes on a mixture of terrain in and around Dartmoor National Park in the South West of England. We evaluated how they rolled on country lanes, their capability on challenging singletrack, their handling on flowing fire roads and their speed on fine gravel cycleways.
- Cannondale Topstone Alloy 2
- Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x
- Vitus Substance VRS-1 HT Apex
|Price||AUD $2853.00EUR €1964.00GBP £1999.00USD $1967.00|
|Weight||10.3kg (XS) – without bottle cage/pedals|
|Available sizes||XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Handlebar||LEVEL Gravel Riser alloy, 16 degree flare, 42cm|
|Tyres||WTB Sendero TCS Road Plus 650bx47mm|
|Stem||LEVEL 1 6061 Alloy 70mm|
|Seatpost||LEVEL 1 alloy layback|
|Saddle||Selle Italia X3 Boost|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM Rival|
|Grips/Tape||LEVEL embossed bar tape|
|Bottom bracket||SRAM GXP, BSA threaded|
|Frame||6061 T6 heat-treated aluminium|
|Fork||Full carbon with Carryall mounts|
|Cranks||SRAM Rival 1 X-Sync 42|
|Cassette||SRAM PG1130 11-speed 11-42|
|Brakes||SRAM Rival hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors|
|Wheels||Mavic Allroad 650b wheelset HG, 24h, 25mm inner width|