Ribble Cycles first set up shop in Preston, Lancashire in 1897 and as it approaches its 120th birthday, it’s celebrating the fact that its range of affordable bikes have never proved so popular. In this versatile offering, the Ribble Reynolds 525, Ribble has teamed up with Reynolds steel, founded even earlier than Ribble, in 1889. That’s nearly 248 years of experience between them and some heritage to ponder as we begin our test period…
Campagnolo’s 10-speed VeloceJesse Wild/Immediate Media
Thoughts first turn to the frame and how reassuring it is to see a swathe of skinny-tubed steel in this era of all things aerodynamic and carbon.
Reynolds 525 may be one of the Birmingham tube manufacturer’s more modest metals, but it’s well finished with a neat mix of tidy TIG welds and lugs. (For steel connoisseurs, the 525 is cold-worked chromoly steel and displays similar properties to the material that forged Reynolds’ reputation — 531 — namely comfort without too great a weight penalty.)
As for components, the threaded BSA bottom bracket should result in trouble-free running for years to come. The retro paint job is also a nice touch, as are the skinny Deda Black Storm carbon forks.
Using the BikeBuilder there are plenty of saddle optionsJesse Wild/Immediate Media
Campagnolo’s 10-speed Veloce, with its polished finish, is a fine match for the frame, ensuring reliable and seamless shifts — which is exactly what you want when negotiating city streets. The gearing of a 50/34 and 12-25 is ample, though we’d appreciate a lower bottom end. Thankfully on Ribble’s updated bike builder you can opt for a 11-25 or 13-26 should you want to go the other way. If you’re more of a Shimano fan, opt for 5800 105 and you can go to a 11-28 or a wide 11-32 at no extra cost.
The 525 is fitted with confident brakes and decent wheels, also from Campag. The Deda finishing kit is quality stuff, the addition of full guards from Stronglight is appreciated in winter and some of the toughest tyres around in the form of Continental’s Gator Hardshells will reduce chances of puncturing.
Ribble Reynolds 525 ride impression
The Ribble Reynolds 525Jesse Wild/Immediate Media
Ultimately, despite the modest steel, the Ribble 525 elicits a highly accomplished ride.
The comfort-giving flex inherent in skinny steel is noticeable and the similarly svelte fork nullifies most vibrations from poor road surfaces.
The geometry is classic stuff, too, giving the 525 a relaxed ride position and handling that’s just on the right side of stable without feeling slow.
Ribble Reynolds 525 early verdict
A durable and comfortable bike for commuting and training.