Thanks to an incredible spec including a carbon frame and Shimano Di2, the Ribble R872 offers a powerful ride at a bargain price.
Frame & equipment: Truly impressive at this price
The new R872 frame from Ribble replaces the highly respected and high-scoring Stealth. The new frame looks outwardly similar, especially with its stealth black-on-black graphics.
Under the skin it’s a different story, though. The R872 is constructed with Toray T800 carbon fibre and features a tapered head tube and BB30 bottom bracket shell (though in this spec it’s running an adaptor for the Shimano chainset) with full internal cable routing.
Ribble tell us the frame was designed with out-and-out stiffness in mind and that, along with the geometry, the standard gearing choice of 53/39, 12-25T firmly marks the R872 out as race material.
As with any bike from Ribble, it’s the spec that truly impresses, and the R872 doesn’t disappoint. Using a combination of Ultegra Di2 with a 105 chainset and brakes has meant that, along with a lightweight carbon frame and great wheels, you can get consistent shifting for an impressively low price. It’s a demonstration in clever speccing from the guys at Ribble, and one we’d encourage from a few more manufacturers.
The wheel package comes courtesy of Mavic, with the combination of Aksium wheels and Aksion tyres providing decent quality with performance that backs up the classy looks.
Ribble’s choice of a Deda cockpit matches a fair few other Cycling Plus Bike of The Year contenders. The combination of Zero 2 stem and RHM02 bar is a great choice of good quality mid-range kit that won’t let you down.
What we’re most impressed with, though, is the seatpost and saddle combo. Ribble have chosen to use Selle Italia’s SLS saddle but in the unique-to-Selle Italia monolink configuration.
The perch uses a single composite rail anchored further forward and back of the saddle’s hull, making for a seat with plenty of flex plus masses of fore and aft adjustability. This design allows it to be much slimmer through the nose, and the super slim shape means no friction at all between you and the sides – the free-feeling movement is a revelation.
Ride & handling: Solid and powerful
Out on the road the Ribble is an absolute blast. The frame is rock solid under powerful pedal strokes and the back end copes well over broken surfaces; there’s an almost spring-like buoyancy to it over bigger bumps and it actively kicks back against you as it crests an impact.
Up front, things are slightly less composed; the deep but thin-bladed and kinked fork tracks well and doesn’t have any unwanted side-to-side flex, but it does catch crosswinds, making it prone to becoming a little unstable. It can also get quite chattery over coarse, gravelled road surfaces.
The combination of 105 and Ultegra Di2 works faultlessly, though the tall 53/39, 12-25T gearing won’t suit everyone. The overall light weight goes some way to compensate for the gears and we didn’t have any major issues with it being under geared, but if you intend to use the bike in Europe or on any serious UK climbs, you’d be best using Ribble’s bike-builder to specify a compact chainset or wider cassette.
This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2013 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 273, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.