Belgian brand Ridley knows a thing or two about riding off-road because it’s been at the forefront of cyclocross for decades. As expected with its heritage in off-road racing, and the growth of gravel, Ridley’s Kanzo Fast GRX Di2 Classified has been built with speed on its side.
In fact, at first glance it looks like an iteration of the brand’s aero road series, the Noah, because it borrows so much tech and design from this slippery machine.
Ridley Kanzo Fast GRX Di2 Classified frame and geometry
The frame’s tube shapes use the same F-tubing profiles as the Noah Fast, but the design is tweaked to offer big tyre (42mm) clearances front and rear, and a head tube that’s a couple of degrees slacker than the Noah at 71.5 degrees for more stable steering off road.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||73.5||73||72.5||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||71||71||71.5||71.5||72|
|Seat tube (cm)||47||49.5||52||54.5||57|
|Top tube (cm)||52.2||54.7||56.5||58.7||60.1|
|Head tube (cm)||11.5||14.4||16.8||19.7||22.1|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||7.4||7.2||7.2||7||7|
Ridley Kanzo Fast GRX Di2 Classified kit
The biggest difference is that the Kanzo Fast is designed around a 1x drivetrain – but cleverly retains an impressive breadth of gearing by teaming up with fellow Belgian brand Classified.
Ridley has incorporated Classified’s unique internal 2-speed rear hub, which is wirelessly controlled by a sender that works with the left-hand GRX Di2 shifter and a receiver built into the rear thru-axle.
It’s impressive because the advantages of 1x are all here: chain retention is great, thanks to the GRX’s built-in clutch, and shifts are quick and positive across the Classified cassette.
The drivetrain, which mixes a Shimano mech and chain with Rotor chainring and the aforementioned cassette, is a little noisier than an all-Shimano affair but no more so than myriad bikes that mix brands.
Ridley claims a 1,190g frame weight and 490g for the fork, and my size large complete bike tips the scales at 8.92kg, which is good for a gravel bike running 40c tyres.
Ridley Kanzo Fast GRX Di2 Classified ride impressions
Even when shifting under pressure, you can switch ratios on the steepest climbs without hesitation.
The hub itself contains no battery, instead relying on the smart wireless thru-axle with a battery inside. Gear changing is actuated by induction coils in the axle magnetically moving the hub internals between the two ratios in just 150 milliseconds, a single micro-USB charge is claimed to offer over 10,000 shifts.
I’ve only had the bike for a couple of weeks and ridden around 275 miles so far, and it hasn’t put a foot wrong, so initial impressions are very positive.
The ride is firm but offset by a compliant seatpost, great saddle and big-volume 40c tyres. Off-road the stable steering’s solid, while the aggressive ride position encourages you to go fast.
The aero-shaped seatpost means you can’t fit a dropper post, which limits its off-the-beaten-track appeal. Still, if your intentions are byways and fire roads, then this is one lively option.
On the road it feels every inch a road bike, albeit one with slightly slower steering than most. It’s not a negative, but just something you need to become accustomed to when cornering on descents.
The frame comes fitted with proper mudguard mounts front and rear, and I like the idea of fitting the Kanzo with full-’guards and big-volume road tyres because it would make an awesome winter ride.
My one niggle is the wheels. The Forzar Vardar DB carbon wheels are well put together; they are very rigid and work with the WTB tyres to provide a leak-free tubeless seal.
However, the rim profile is a road-bike narrow 17mm internally, which shapes the 40c WTB tyres with a bit of an outward bulge in the sidewall. At higher pressures – around 50 to 55psi – the tyres are stable enough, but drop down into lower pressures for when the trail gets really rough and the tyre can wallow somewhat side to side, especially on the front.
Ideally, I’d like to see Ridley build this bike with a more modern, wider rim to make the most of bigger-volume tyres; it’s odd to mix such a forward-thinking aero-chassis and a potentially game-changing rear hub/drivetrain with a slightly dated rim shape.
If I had the Kanzo for longer, I’d look to drop the tyre size from the 40s fitted to a 35 to 38c gravel tyre that’d better cope with its narrow foundation.
Ridley Kanzo Fast GRX Di2 Classified early verdict
Overall, I think that the Kanzo Fast is a superb gravel race machine that’s versatile and light enough to be your one-bike-for-all in this Classified hub build.
The drivetrain has the potential to be revolutionary, although I haven’t tested it yet in tough terrain and rough weather.
It’s a uniquely brilliant mix of aero, gravel and rear 2-speed 1×11 drivetrain.
|Price||EUR €6000.00GBP £5459.00|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Brakes||Shimano GRX BR-RX810 hydraulic disc|
|Cranks||Rotor Aldhu Aero, 48T|
|Frame||30T HM Carbon|
|Front derailleur||Shimano GRX Di2|
|Handlebar||Ridley Aero C1 (one piece) (42cm) with out-front Garmin mount|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano GRX Di2|
|Saddle||Selle Italia XL-R with alloy rails|
|Seatpost||Ridley Kanzo aero carbon|
|Shifter||Shimano GRX Di2|
|Stem||Ridley Aero C1 (one piece) with out-front Garmin mount|
|Tyres||WTB Venture TCS 700x40c|
|Wheels||Forza Vardar DB carbon 622x17c – rear wheel with Classified hub|