Lancashire’s Ribble eschews the usual aluminium you often find at this price for a classy-looking frame crafted from Reynolds 725 steel.
But it’s not a case of Ribble’s designers reminiscing about Victorian technology while squinting through rose-tinted Oakleys.
The Endurance’s triple-butted chromoly frame is accompanied by a tapered carbon fork, disc brakes, thru-axles and wheels from one of cycling’s biggest names. and, in spite of the name, the geometry is pretty racy, not that far from the classic 73-degree parallel. It looks great, too.
As for price, high-quality steel can’t compete with aluminium, which is why you’re paying £200 more than for a Tiagra-equipped aluminium bike.
Steel is also going to find it hard to compete with aluminium on weight, but while this Ribble is perceptibly heavier when you pick it up (10.88kg in a size medium), you rarely feel this on the road.
On my former flat, 16-mile commute it was comfortable and its speed on a par with aluminium or carbon.
Ribble Endurance 725 Disc – Base geometry
While this Ribble carries the ‘Endurance’ name, the geometry is pretty aggressive.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because it’s steel, it’s laid-back. The frame angles aren’t far removed from the classic 73-degree parallel – 73.6-degree seat, 72.5-degree head on my medium – and the 150mm head tube and 995mm wheelbase are modest.
The 551mm stack and 383mm reach aren’t that dissimilar to those of Cannondale’s racy Optimo for a frame with the same length top tube, so it’s no sit-up-and-beg-roadster.
This is reflected in the Ribble’s lively ride, sharp handling and good acceleration. Steel may be supple but there’s stiffness where you need it.
The Endurance romps along beautifully on the flat and over gently rolling terrain, only slowing on climbs when its weight holds it back, though it never stops being comfortable.
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74||73.6||73.3||73|
|Head angle (degrees)||71||72||72.5||73||73.3|
|Seat tube (cm)||47||51||53||55.5||58|
|Top tube (cm)||52||53.5||55||57||58|
|Head tube (cm)||11||13||15||17||19|
|Fork offset (cm)||5.3||4.5||4.5||4.5||4.5|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||6.8||6.8||6.8||6.8||6.8|
Ribble Endurance 725 Disc – Base ride impressions
The 10-speed Shimano Tiagra gearing pairs a 50/34 compact chainset – with a threaded bottom bracket – and an 11-32 cassette.
Mavic’s Aksium Disc wheels are tough and come with 28mm Continental Ultra Sport III tyres, which combine good traction from their ‘Pure Grip’ compound with decent suppleness, thanks to their 180 TPI (threads per inch) casing.
Handlebar, stem and seatpost are all Ribble’s Level 1 alloy and I got on with the Prologo saddle, so no complaints there.
On long and steep descents they’ll stop you but even after wearing the brakes in – which took longer than usual – you’ll be squeezing the levers harder and for longer than on other brake systems.
In fact, I’d say that the Van Rysel’s 105 rim brakes – or the Tiagra rim brakes on Ribble’s non-disc Endurance – have more power.
Unfortunately, Ribble’s Bike Builder customisation programme, while letting you change most things, doesn’t let you choose alternative brakes. This wouldn’t be an issue on the next model up, the Endurance 725 Disc Sport, which has Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brakes.
There are a few other quibbles. I’d have liked pannier mounts on this bike – it would make such a classy commuter! And the tyre clearances are tight, especially at the front where fitting anything wider than 28mm would prove nigh-on impossible.
Ribble Endurance 725 Disc – Base bottom line
There’s a lot to like about the Ribble, which looks great and has a lively ride, but a couple of factors stop it from getting a more wholehearted recommendation.
It’s a thumbs-up for the frame that has steel’s usual qualities: fine handling and a suppleness that damps road bumps and delivers great comfort, but I was less enthusiastic about those brakes. To get around this you could go to the next model up or for Ribble’s rim-braked Tiagra Endurance, which would be lighter, £200 less expensive and have better braking.
That’s a shame because Ribble’s Endurance makes a great bike for cruising on comfortably all day, or for cutting a pleasing swathe through your Sunday chain gang, where it’ll keep pace with its aluminium and carbon brethren.
How we tested
The £1k price bracket is a competitive one for road bikes and you can buy a lot of bike these days for that.
So I put nine of the most competitive to the test to see which perform best for your hard-earned dosh – hopefully proving you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a grand day out.
Testing took place on my local roads and tracks, with the bikes covering a range of intentions for the road and beyond, and prices range from £800 to £1,300.
Also on test
- Boardman ADV 8.9
- Vitus Zenium Tiagra
- Boardman SLR 8.9
- Giant Contend AR 3
- Orbea Avant H60-D
- Planet X London Road
- Genesis CDA 30
- Van Rysel EDR AF
|Price||AUD $2149.00EUR €1252.00GBP £1299.00USD $1487.00|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M, L, XL|
|Handlebar||Level 1 6061 alloy|
|Tyres||700x28mm Continental Ultra Sport III Rigid|
|Stem||Level 1 6061 alloy|
|Shifter||Shimano Tiagra 4700 10-speed|
|Seatpost||Level 1 6061 alloy|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Tiagra 4700|
|Headset||Level 52, 42-52mm|
|Grips/Tape||Level cork ribbon|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano BB RS500 threaded|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Tiagra 4700|
|Frame||Reynolds 725 triple-butted seamless welds|
|Fork||Endurance 725 carbon monocoque, tapered steerer|
|Cranks||Shimano Tiagra 4700 50/34|
|Chain||Shimano HG54 10-speed|
|Cassette||Shimano HG50 10-speed 11-32|
|Brakes||Tektro MD510 mechanical disc|
|Wheels||Mavic Aksium Disc Clincher, thru-axles|