Ribble’s revamped bike range is certainly extensive, with 11 models in its endurance category alone.
The frames come in steel, aluminium and three levels of carbon fibre, each available with disc or rim brakes, and there’s even an ebike option.
But a manufacturer making new road bikes with rim brakes is becoming unusual. Just as we’ve become used to hearing that all new road machines will be disc only, Ribble surprises us.
Using Ribble’s online BikeBuilder, you can choose one of three colours for the Endurance SL: black, grey and teal.
Black and grey offer seven groupset options, including Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo, but for some unknown reason, teal can only be ordered with Shimano 105, Ultegra Di2 or mechanical Ultegra, as specced here.
In its standard spec with Shimano Ultegra, the bike will cost £1,999, but mine came with some upgrades, including the integrated carbon bar and stem, tyres, saddle and bar tape, increasing its cost by £420.
Every tube facing the airflow has an aerofoil profile.
The monocoque Endurance SL frameset uses Toray T800 and T1000 carbon and is built with an internal EPS core that maximises carbon and resin compaction, and ensures consistent structural integrity.
Ribble claims a medium frame weighs 1,150g, plus a further 400g for the carbon fork. Maximum tyre clearance is 28mm, or 25mm if utilising the full mudguard mounts for year-round protection.
Ribble says that aerodynamics were a factor when developing this frameset and that it has 28.5 per cent less drag than its previous iteration.
If that’s a consideration for you, then the Level 5 integrated carbon bar that I’ve specced with its slim, flat tops, low-profile stem and truncated aerofoil profile makes sense because an aero bar has a significant effect on drag.
All cables run internally through the bar, with the front brake cable exiting downwards and the other three continuing through the stem and frame to their respective destinations.
The bar has compact 125mm drops and 75mm reach, but with no angle adjustment you need to like the bend, and position your levers perfectly. It’s also much more challenging to fit lights to a non-round bar.
Every tube facing the airflow has a truncated aerofoil profile, including the giant down tube and the spacers beneath the integrated stem. There’s enough beef in the Endurance SL frameset to satisfy the hungriest watt carnivore, from the stiff carbon bar through the head tube’s massive girth and delivering your efforts through its boxy, girder-like chainstays.
Suffice to say, very little power is wasted.
Dropped seatstays and flat rear-face of the carbon seatpost.
Ribble Endurance SL ride impressions
Fitted with Mavic Aksiums and 25mm Continental Gatorskins inflated to 80psi, the Ribble was instantly puppy-dog keen to spin along at a lively pace.
The Aksiums are perky and easy to accelerate, performing well on short, sharp climbs, as well as longer drags, and they’re also good value.
They exhibit some flex when sprinting, and the non-welded rim joints can sometimes be felt when braking, but they help to flatter any bike.
Shimano’s Ultegra is rightfully held in high regard, and it didn’t disappoint. Its direct-mount brake calipers produce ample power and easy modulation, although in soaking, filthy lanes you’re quickly reminded of the drawbacks of rim brakes, however efficient.
The cassette choice ensures satisfyingly small jumps between gears. Immediate Media
The 50/34 and 11-28 gear combination fitted seems like a throwback to life before oversized cassette sprockets but, in fact, the 34×28 bottom gear will take most riders up the majority of climbs.
The cassette choice ensures satisfyingly small jumps between gears as well, and with such great shifters, exploiting that is a pleasure.
The Endurance SL sustains its easy speed well through undulating roads; it feels incredibly positive when climbing and this bike descends with confidence. No doubt partly due to the dropped seatstays and flat rear-face of the lengthy carbon seatpost, which promotes flex, its vibration absorbing ability impressed.
Even with limited tyre volume to assist comfort, only very dulled road buzz or bumps are transmitted to the rider.
Ribble Endurance SL overall
With its clean lines (in this build), smooth ride and lively performance, the Endurance SL is a very likeable bike, although in poor weather conditions rim brakes are definitely less effective than discs.
Ribble Endurance SL geometry
Sizes (* tested): XS, S, M*, L, XL
Seat angle: 73.6 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 51cm
Top tube: 55cm
Head tube: 15cm
Fork offset: 4.5cm
Bottom bracket drop: 6.8cm