Ribble Winter Trainer review
The level of equipment for the price is simply outstanding. Add to this a great quality – if a little dated – aluminium frame and a good Deda fork and you have the perfect winter trainer/ year-round commuter. We wouldn’t be tempted to use it for much more than that, but we can’t think of a better value bike for seeing out the winter.
Ribble’s winter trainer is based around an aluminium frame that’s been in rotation at Ribble for as long as we can remember. Its geometry is straight out of the Nineties, with a straight, horizontal top-tube. Not only is it flat with no hint of compact geometry, it’s also longer than the latest bikes. The shorter rear end and longer head-tube result in a bike that feels both ‘tall’ but also stable.
All this last generation geometry is no bad thing in our book, as most of the classic Nineties aluminium bikes were fast, stable and had a cockpit length just the right side of aggressive, all adding up to bikes that were made to be pushed hard, with no nods to all-day comfort or ‘sportive’ potential. What we have here is a bike designed to do the job in hand. It doesn’t make concessions to you – you need to live up to it.
Where the Ribble scores maximum points is the specification. For your £700 it comes with an ITM bar, stem and seatpost, a Selle Italia saddle, Deda fork, Campagnolo Khamsin wheels and, the icing on the cake, a full Campagnolo Veloce groupset. That’s quite simply an astonishing level of equipment. You can see a similar package on bikes that cost nigh-on three times the price. This winter trainer is among the best value we’ve seen.
Unfortunately the ride isn’t the most complete – it’s not as smooth as the latest generation of aluminium frames and is a little more jarring over rougher surfaces. The rear end is nicely cushioned, though, thanks to the well-padded Selle Italia saddle and 25mm tyres. But the Ribble reminds us of how race bikes used to be, with its long position and fast and stable handling. It’s not a machine to be thrown around and duelled crit style, but it’ll let you put in plenty of miles in reasonable comfort, with flawless performance from the components. When you consider the quality you’re getting for the money, the Ribble simply can’t be beaten.