The Ridgeback is billed as a fast, ﬂat-barred city machine, with rear rack mounts to lend it extra versatility. Fast and light it certainly is, but this direct feel needs constant management.
Frame & fork: Very light and well finished; we love the big clearances too (8/10)
Handling: Tack sharp; great fun but not the most relaxing way to spend a weekend (8/10)
Equipment: Top notch Shimano XT and Ultegra do their job as we’d expect (8/10)
Wheels: Light and fast, with plenty of potential for wider volume tyres (8/10)
Round town, the Ridgeback’s point-and-shoot steering gives it an incredibly lively ride; it nips and tucks through trafﬁc deftly, kicking up to speed quickly. Experienced cyclists will savour its agility but we expect novices will ﬁnd it less relaxing than they’d like.
Sporting skinny, low volume tyres it zipped along effortlessly, its carbon fork taming road buzz, until we hit a stretch of unpaved Sustrans route, where it lagged behind. If you’re anticipating anything but the best quality tarmac, we’d recommend a set of Ergon grips, and a carbon seatpost would help comfort too.
Likewise, the Flight 05’s low slung, relatively narrow ﬂat bar is more suited to a speedy commute than a mellow day ride, where a setup with more sweep would help take pressure off your wrists.
The feathery triple-butted aluminium tubeset is draped in quality Shimano XT parts. A compact 50/34 Ultegra chainset and tight 11-25 cassette ensure crisp shifting at the expense of bail-out lower gears. That’s not necessarily a problem though, as the bike’s light enough to handle bigger ratios than you’d normally tour on, and its calling is deﬁnitely more in the direction of lighter, B&B style rides.
Even with all-powerful XT hydraulic brakes, which anchor it to a standstill quicker even than it kicks up to speed, the Flight still weighs an impressive 9.47kg, a shade under 21lb. We really noticed this on hills – whoever was on the Ridgeback was soon a dot on the horizon, thanks to a light wheelset and its stiff, efﬁcient frame.
But if you think the Flight is limited to blacktop, think again. We were pleasantly surprised to see that Ridgeback have drawn the geometry with generous tyre clearances. This penchant for dirt is underlined by a neat, mountain bike-style open gusset at the throat of the head tube, which helps to dissipate stress, and the Alex rims that are certainly wide enough to handle cyclo-cross knobblies. Shod with wider tyres you have a deft setup for darting through the woods.
Elsewhere, the frame is well ﬁnished, with neat welds and the practical inclusion of mudguard eyelets. Bear in mind though that you’ll need a disc speciﬁc rack – we’d recommend Tubus’s minimal Disco to complement the Flight’s delicate lines.
We didn’t experience any toe overlap with the well proven Continental Duraskin tyres ﬁtted, but there would most likely be a little with mudguards or wider, more touring-friendly rubber. Which underlines where the Flight excels. Beyond the city, it’s deﬁnitely most at home on a fast and light weekend tour.
Ridgeback flight 05: ridgeback flight 05 www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk