Ribble Crono TT Gavia Carbon review

Bargain aero ride

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,782.45 RRP

Our review

Value-for-money kit plus great power transfer makes this a speedy, aggressive bargain bike
Skip to view product specifications

Lancashire-based Ribble Cycles have been a legendary source of high-value, high-performance bikes since we were bairns. The blisteringly fast Crono TT aero bike they put together for us proves that missing out the local bike shop is sometimes worth it.

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Ride & handling: Aggressive aerodynamic profiling, positioning and power delivery

Once you’ve unboxed your fully built bike and set up the cockpit, you won’t find much to complain about. The deep section carbon wheels not only have the potential to carve minutes off your race times, they also spin up to speed as quickly as most conventional wheels.

Ceramic braking tracks keep them predictable on descents, and the Crono’s handling is assured enough to keep you rubber-side down until you learn to handle them in sidewinds. Continental tyres and a bit of lateral wheel flex are welcome to take some of the sting out of rough sections and potholes too.

There’s no doubting this is a seriously stiff frame with a real rigidity underfoot that transfers all the way through the hollow chainring, down the oversized tubes, along the straight pull spokes and into the road.

Once you’re locked into the dead-straight extensions and on top of the gear, the Crono just flies. Cruising speed is high, whatever the wind conditions, and it’s certainly not afraid of climbs either.

The sharpness of the frame becomes more evident in comfort levels the further you go, but the forks and wheels do a good job of managing the worst of asphalt-related abuse.

It doesn’t suffer from the same speed-sapping shake and staccato stutter as some other stiff race bikes when smooth tarmac runs out, and we never lost our enthusiasm for its direct efficiency, wherever we rode it.

It’s not the most cultured chassis, but there’s no doubting the Crono TT’s ability to make an aero shape while transferring your power with as little dilution as possible. Add a kit list that would shame many £2,500 bikes and you’re looking at a clock-beating bargain.

Four different-size frame options tick most fit boxes, so it’s worth a look as an upgrade from a conventional frame
Four different-size frame options tick most fit boxes, so it’s worth a look as an upgrade from a conventional frame: four different-size frame options tick most fit boxes, so it’s worth a look as an upgrade from a conventional frame
Seb Rogers

Chassis: Not the most subtle and smooth riding frameset

Ribble’s range evolves regularly, but the Crono TT is one of three current alloy aero frames, with carbon options on the menu too. Decades of designing time trial bikes show in the short convex head tube that makes it easy to get a very low front end if you swap the spacers out.

Both top and down tubes use a deep teardrop profile with a shared seam behind the head tube to create a drag-reducing headbox. Deep aero seatstays smooth airflow between legs and wheel before tapering towards the tips, while tapered chainstays join them at short horizontally slotted dropouts.

These help you to adjust clearance against the curved wheel-hugger cutout in the seat tube, although they do complicate wheel removal for puncture fixing or packing, and detailing throughout is neat and tidy.

Four different size options tick most fit boxes and at £255.75 on its own, it’s well worth a look as an upgrade from a conventional frame. Full-carbon forks with aero blade legs (£103.25 separately) are an impressive feature for the price, even if they’re not very light.

Equipment: Outstanding, custom-tuned component value

Where the Ribble really stands out is in the kit it’s wearing. A slight mix-up during the bike prep meant we got full-carbon Pro Lite Gavia clincher wheels rather than the alloy-rimmed version, which pushed price up from the original £1,599 target. With an RRP of £1,300 on their own, there’s no doubt you’re still getting a bargain and a performance boost.

Full Shimano Ultegra stop-and-go kit, including the extra-stiff hollow outer ring chainset and powerful brakes, is another performance bonus, and the Continental tri tyres are some of our favourites. The dead-straight Deda bars are an acquired taste, and the small oversized centre section means the tucked position is narrow, even at maximum span.

The stem is also longer than we’d prefer, but like everything else ordered through Ribble’s online ‘bikebuilder’ you can choose from a broad range of variables (14 of each component in this case). There’s even a choice of 39 saddles, and Ribble are happy to help over the phone.

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We have to say that the ability to spec the Crono anywhere from sub-£1,000 to £2,000-plus and reap big discounts along the way is a massive attraction to you as a buyer.

Deep aero seatstays smooth airflow between legs and wheels to help make a more speed-friendly ride
Deep aero seatstays smooth airflow between legs and wheels to help make a more speed-friendly ride: deep aero seatstays smooth airflow between legs and wheels to help make a more speed-friendly ride
Seb Rogers

Product Specifications

Product

Name Crono TT Ultegra Gavia (10)
Brand Ribble

Available Sizes L L L L L L L L L L M M M M M M M M M M M S S S S S S S S S S M L S M L XL XL XL XL XL XL XL
Rear Wheel Weight 1640
Top Tube (cm) 52.6
Standover Height (cm) 76.5
Seat Tube (cm) 53
Chainstays (cm) 40
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 26.5
Weight (lb) 19.11
Weight (kg) 8.67
Stem Deda Quattro 31
Shifters Shimano SL-BS 79 TT 10 Spd
Seatpost Unbranded carbon fibre
Seat Angle 75.7
Saddle Pro
Rims Pro Lite Gavia carbon clincher
Rear Derailleur Shimano Ultegra 6700
Bottom Bracket Shimano Hollowtech II
Headset Type Ribble internal
Head Angle 72.5
Handlebar Deda Crononero base bars
Front Wheel Weight 1190
Front Hub Pro Lite Gavia carbon clincher
Front Derailleur Shimano Ultegra 6700
Frame Weight 1605
Frame Material Aero profile double butted 7005 alloy
Fork Weight 520
Fork Ribble aero with carbon blade and steerer
Cranks Shimano Ultegra 6700 TT 10 Spd 53/39
Cassette Shimano Ultegra 6700 TT 11-25
Brakes Shimano Ultegra 6700 with ITM Low Pro levers
Wheelbase (cm) 98.1