Ridley Bikes Orion (09) review

Belgian beauty with competition level performance

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
£1,499.00 RRP

Our review

Super strong bike for strong riders, but a little overpriced
Skip to view product specifications

The Ridley Orion shows that this Belgian company can still punch above its weight on the world stage.

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  • Frame and fork: Well executed but it will be too rigid for many, with a zero-tolerance policy towards flex.
  • Handling: High speed stability is the Orion’s forte – comes into its own on fast downhills and hell-for-leather sprint efforts.
  • Equipment: Does the job, but could try harder; Shimano 105 performs to its usual high standard.
  • Wheels: Basic Fulcrums are fit for purpose and strong, with Vredestein Fortezza tyres providing necessary softening.

It’s not for those wanting outright comfort, but the Orion’s uncompromising rigidity makes it ideal for bigger, athletic riders looking for strength and peace of mind.

The instantly gratifying responsiveness of such a rigid frame is tempered by the extra weight of the basic kit and corpulent wheels.

At £1499, the Orion aims to provide competition level performance. Strength and rigidity seem to be its raison d’être, as Ridley claims to test its frames two to three times beyond their required breaking point. First impressions of heft and power are confirmed with further time spent in the saddle.

Stout construction, stiff ride

Featuring massive box section monocoque construction, and high modulus carbon, this bike is seriously stout at 8.78kg/19.4lb.

Although there’s a sticker claiming ‘Pavé Tested’, our test section of cobbles was one stretch we wouldn’t want to repeat.

With a rather leaden pair of basic Fulcrum 7 wheels, the only thing helping to soften the jackhammer blows were the Vredestein Fortezza tyres. These were the key in helping this bike shine where it was at its best: high speed downhills and hell-for-leather sprint efforts.

Characterised by a zero-tolerance policy towards flex, the Orion’s ridiculously large bottom bracket box area and chainstays channel every ounce of power into propelling you forward.

It wanted to make quick work of our diesel-fumed climb (as we did), but was being held back by too much weight.

Where’s the weight?

The frame is actually a respectable 1350g, almost 150g lighter than the Museeuw MF-5 we tested it alongside, but the complete wheels and tyres weighed in at 1245g/front and 1737g/rear. That’s heavy for a bike in this class.

Further weight blame has to be apportioned to the homely finishing kit, although the Shimano 105 drivetrain performed to its usual high standard.

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If you’ve got the extra muscle, and want a blunt instrument to bludgeon your way to the front of the pack, this one’s for you.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Orion (09)
Brand Ridley Bikes

Bottom Bracket Mega Exo
Weight (kg) 8.78
Wheelset Racing 7 Wheelset
Rear Tyre Size 700x23C
Rear Tyre Fortezza
Front Tyre Size 700x23C
Front Tyre Fortezza
Available Sizes L M S XL
Wheelbase (cm) 98.8
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 79
Seat Tube (cm) 49
Chainstays (cm) 40.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (lb) 19.4
Stem OS190
Brakes Firged alloy dual pivot
Shifters 105
Seatpost SL 280 alloy with single bolt clamp
Saddle Padded vinyl with chromoly rails
Rims Racing 7
Rear Hub Forged alloy
Rear Derailleur 105 Short Cage
Handlebar Omega double butted 6061 42cm c-c
Front Hub Forged alloy
Front Derailleur Braze-on 105
Frame Material Carbon monocoque with alloy inserts - replaceable hanger.
Fork Carbon Blades 1-1/8 steerer and forged alloy dropouts
Cranks Gossamer forged alloy 2 piece compact - 172.5mm arms
Cassette Shimano 105 12-25 10spd
Year 2009