The Aero TT is a brand spanking new model from UK-based Ribble. As usual with them, you can either go with the suggested standard build or you can change any of the components to suit your funds and fancies. This is one of their fixed spec Special Edition bikes designed to give you maximum value for money.
Ride & handling: Light and nimble, but aggressive ride position could be uncomfortable for some
The first thing you notice when you jump aboard the Ribble is the lack of weight – you don’t need the scales to tell you that this is a light bike. This, combined with frame tubes that don’t wander off when you lay the power down, results in lively acceleration from the off and every time you put in a surge.
The Aero TT’s nimble character is again clear when you get to work on the slopes and find yourself able to stay seated for that little bit longer than normal before your quads start to shout.
There’s no sense that the Cosmic Carbone SLR wheels are hampering your progress as many aero models can on the climbs. The largest sprocket on the cassette is a 23T but you rarely find yourself craving anything easier.
When you do need to stand up on the pedals, it’s easy to get right over the top of the low front end to muscle the bike about. Speaking of the front end, you could struggle with the lowdown-and-dirty ride position if you’re lacking flexibility.
Assuming you can cope with it – and you can always flip or swap the stem for a bit of extra height – the Aero TT will help you chip away the miles at max speed. The whole setup just fires along the straights. And it’s smooth with it. Okay, it’s not the plushest ride ever, but neither do you get a kick in the butt every time the road surface is uneven.
The only downside to those deep tubes and the aero wheels is when a strong westerly comes along and tries to send you easterly. It’s never to the point of being dangerous, but sidewinds can whack you off kilter, making handling difficult and putting you off your pedal stroke. Still, that’s a rare occurrence and it’s a price worth paying for the aero advantages.
ribble aero tt frame & fork: ribble aero tt frame & fork Paul Smith
Chassis: Excellent frame and forks combo ensures you get max speed for your effort
The carbon monocoque frame at the heart of this bike is a real head-turner. The leading edge of the deep, dropped down tube is scooped away to accommodate the front wheel, and the similarly broad seat tube does the same at the back.
The fork blades and wishbone seatstays are both deep-section and incredibly skinny to carve through the air, while the head tube on our medium sized model is a titchy, tiny 9cm long to give an aggressive ride position.
The frame builders have taken no chances when it comes to eliminating sideways flex. The junction behind the head tube is one of the chunkiest you’ll ever see… until you check out the bottom bracket area which really is a big old slab of carbon. It’s not going to be pushed anywhere when you get lairy with the cranks.
Rear-facing dropouts at the back allow you to fine-tune the position of the back wheel and the aero seatpost is another high-quality touch.
Equipment: Superb level of well-proven componentry – stunning value
Ribble pack a whopping load of value on with the spec. The Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR clinchers retail at £1,250 on their own and they’re excellent wheels. Lightweight with 52mm deep aero rims and bladed carbon spokes, they’re extremely quick while the alloy braking surface provides plenty of control.
The groupset components are from Shimano’s impressive Ultegra range, the only exceptions being the top-of-the-shop Dura-Ace levers.
Extra padding in the nose of the Selle Italia SLR T1 keeps you happy during long hours in the saddle while the only obvious compromise to make the pricepoint is the cockpit.
Deda’s alloy base bar and extensions do a workmanlike job up front but they’re out-classed by the surrounding finery. We’d be upgrading them as soon as we had enough pennies in the jar.