Ribble R872 Tiagra review

Racy sportive-flavoured carbon from British brand makes our £1,000 Bike of the Year top 10

  The products mentioned in this article are selected or reviewed independently by our journalists. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.
Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,000.00 RRP | USD $1,026.00 | EUR €1,113.00 | AUD $1,845.00
Mavic Aksium wheel upgrade extra £99
Ribble R872 Tiagra red road bike

Our review

Fabulous full-carbon frameset with the ride of a much more expensive bike
Pros: Full-carbon frameset, great ride, strong wheelset, great looks
Cons: Frankly, there’s very, very little to fault at this price
Skip to view product specifications

Ribble’s carbon R872 made the top 10 last year with Shimano 105, but by the time the test came out it had  gone up from £1,000 to £1,100. This year’s R872 is back at a grand but it has had to go to Shimano’s 10-speed Tiagra to achieve this – and I think this is a compromise worth making.

Advertisement

Tiagra isn’t that far removed from 105 and while this makes the 2020 R872 a fraction heavier, its 8.9kg weight is competitive for the price and 100g lighter than claimed.

Bike of the Year 2020

The Ribble R872 Tiagra is part of our annual Bike of the Year test.

Head to our Bike of the Year hub for the full list of winners, categories and shortlisted bikes, as well as the latest reviews – or read our behind-the-scenes feature on how we tested Bike of the Year 2020.

Ribble has radically reinvented its road bikes over the last few years and they’re now as up-to-date as anything available – while still keeping up on the online retailer’s eye for value.

The frame has all the tube profiles you’d expect: a flattened top-tube narrows along its length for comfort, the down tube is an oversized, angular affair for stiffness, and there’s a large bottom bracket shell for efficiency.

And yes, the R872’s seatstays are slim and quite radically dropped for “vertical compliance and vibration absorption, increasing comfort”.

It has internal cable routing – with the ability to upgrade to Di2 – and the threaded bottom bracket will please the pressfit-phobes among us.

Ribble R872 Tiagra
Internal cable routing features, and an upgrade to Di2 is possible.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Ribble R872 Tiagra geometry

Ribble markets the R872 as a ‘sportive’ or ‘endurance bike’, but there was no lack of stiffness from the frame – from the head tube to the down tube and bottom bracket shell – or the full-carbon fork. It’s actually at the racier, pacier, more aggressive end of the endurance spectrum.

You won’t be riding nose to the handlebar but you’re a little more stretched than on the likes of the Specialized Allez Elite and Boardman SLR 8.9c, for example, both of which also have endurance geometry.

The geometry’s actually a little closer to that of the more overtly aggressive Cannondale CAAD Optimo 105, with similar 73/73.5-degree head and seat angles that put you in a slightly forward riding position as well as speed up the handling.

And while the Ribble’s top tube is shorter and the head tube taller, the Ribble’s sub-metre wheelbase and sub-9kg weight make it one you can power into corners on.

Ribble R872 Tiagra
I upgraded the wheels to Mavic’s Aksium, which were paired with Continental’s quality 25mm GT Grand Prix tyres.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Ribble R872 Tiagra kit

The bike comes stock with Ribble’s Mach 1 CFX wheels, but for an extra £99 the bike can be upgraded to Mavic Aksium’s, and I found them tough and durable, and at a reasonable weight for the money.

I did have a minor but familiar issue with them, as there was a slight raised area where the rims are joined, causing a tiny but annoying click when you brake. It’s not serious and goes away with use, but I wish it didn’t happen.

Continental’s 25mm GT Grand Prix tyres are top-quality and still handmade in Germany. They contain a PolyX Breaker layer that’s designed to increase resistance to punctures without increasing rolling resistance.

Ribble R872 Tiagra
Shimano’s Tiagra caliper rim brakes.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Meanwhile, their natural and synthetic rubber BlackChili Compound is claimed to reduce rolling resistance by 26 per cent, deliver 30 per cent more grip and five per cent more mileage. I did have an ‘off’ on one of winter’s slippery surfaces but still trusted them enough to ride the last 20 miles home and had no further issues.

Ribble R872 Tiagra ride impressions

I’ve left the best till last: the R872’s carbon frame. It’s very different even compared with the model from just a couple of years ago.

The new R872 frame bears a resemblance to the Boardman SLR 8.9c – and the ride isn’t that dissimilar either. It nicely balances impressive frame stiffness and a taut front-end with excellent long-distance comfort, the carbon successfully smoothing road bumps.

That oversized down tube really does feel like it delivers the promised “improved torsional stiffness and power transfer”.

Ribble R872 Tiagra
I didn’t miss the extra gear Shimano 105 offers compared to Tiagra.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

The Tiagra groupset did its usual sterling work and I never missed the extra gear that 105 would have offered. Numerous build options are available too, including Shimano 105 from £1,299 and a model with mechanical disc brakes and Tiagra for just £1,100.

Ribble also offers loads of options when it comes to wheels, saddle and cockpit components. In our Cycle-to-Work-friendly £1,000 build this means Ribble’s own-brand Level 1 6061 stem, bar and 27.2mm seatpost, all absolutely typical at this price (minus that wheel upgrade).

Ribble R872 Tiagra
Ribble’s own-brand Level 1 6061 stem and bar.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Ribble R872 Tiagra overall

Ribble has always produced good-value bikes, but after its new CEO took over in 2017 – Andy Smallwood, formerly managing director at Boardman Bikes – shortly followed by former US Postal rider Jamie Burrow as head of product, Lancashire’s finest upped its game further.

The latest version of the R872 is a bangs-for-bucks treat. I’d even put it a fraction ahead of Boardman’s similarly equipped SLR 8.9c in the £1,000 carbon road bike stakes.

Ribble R872 Tiagra
Ribble’s own-brand seatpost is topped with a Prologo Kappa RS saddle.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

It has a wider range of gears, loads of build and kit options and it’s a fabulous choice for fast sportive-type rides, training and fast on-road commuting.

Its quality carbon frameset – available in black, red and custom colourways – makes it a very sound investment for the long haul as it’s ripe for later kit upgrades.

Advertisement

Ribble R872 Tiagra geometry

  • Sizes (*tested): XS, S, M, L*, XL
  • Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
  • Head angle: 73 degrees
  • Chainstay: 41cm
  • Seat tube: 55cm
  • Top tube: 56.5cm
  • Head tube: 18cm
  • Fork offset: 4.5cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 6.9cm
  • Wheelbase: 1,000mm
  • Stack: 57.7cm
  • Reach: 39.41cm

With thanks to…

BikeRadar would like to thank 100%, Q36.5, Lazer, Garmin and Facom for their support during our Bike of the Year test.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $1845.00EUR €1113.00GBP £1000.00USD $1026.00
Weight 8.9kg (L)
Brand Ribble

Features

Available sizes XS, S, M, L, XL
Handlebar Level 1 6061 aluminium
Tyres Continental GT Grand Prix
Stem Level 1 6061 aluminium
Shifter Shimano Tiagra
Seatpost Level 1 6061 aluminium, 27.2mm
Saddle Prologo Kappa RS
Rear derailleur Shimano Tiagra
Front derailleur Shimano Tiagra Braze on
Bottom bracket Shimano
Frame Full carbon fibre
Fork Full carbon fibre monocoque
Cranks Shimano Tiagra 50/34
Chain Shimano
Cassette Shimano 11-32
Brakes Shimano Tiagra calliper rim
Wheels Mavic Aksium