Ribble CGR SL 105 review£1,799.00

A full-carbon frame that mixes value and versatility

BikeRadar score4/5

Ribble’s new CGR SL is surprisingly good value on paper. For £1,800 you get a full-carbon frameset with huge tyre clearances, a complete Shimano 105 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes, Mavic wheels and a Prologo saddle.

Ribble CGR SL 105 frame and kit

The frameset bears a lot of features found on fashionably modern bikes, from its dropped seatstays and drive-side chainstay, to the internal cable routing and truncated aerofoil tube shapes. 

That dropped drive-side chainstay at the bottom of the frame permits the use of either 700c or 650B wheels and tyres up to 47mm wide (on the latter wheel size). But either way, the Ribble’s tyre clearance is huge — even with mudguards fitted and 40mm tyres on 700c wheels there’s still ample room for the double 50/34 chainset.

The dropped seatstays towards the top of the frame, permit the seatpost to flex a little more and although their angular kinks are quite visually extreme, they also serve as the mounting location for a rear rack, adding both versatility and convenience to this bike.

Dropped seatstays offer greater compliance and tyre clearance
Dropped seatstays offer greater compliance and tyre clearance

The Mavic Aksium rims are 17mm internally and 24mm externally, which actually reduces the 40mm Schwalbe G-One AllRound tyres’ width to 39mm. The AllRound tyres have circular tread blocks that are wider spaced and slightly taller than those on Schwalbe’s G-One Speed tyres, which are specced on the Whyte Wessex.

Ribble CGR SL 105 ride experience

Whether due to the plump tyres, effective frame design or both, the Ribble delivers a great ride. I was immediately impressed with how smooth it felt, despite Wiltshire’s roads trying their best to assault me with new potholes and freshly broken tarmac. 

The confidence the frame’s slack 71.5-degree head angle, 1025mm wheelbase and those big, grippy tyres inspire when you’re cornering on lanes covered in wet, slimy leaves was very welcome.

On the road it has a willingness to make progress that doesn’t seem to make sense given its wide and inner-tubed tyres and almost 10kg weight. Yes, you feel that weight on lengthy climbs, which require you to spin up them with some patience, but stomping up short hills on the big ring is perfectly possible. Acceleration isn’t race-bike rapid, but it always feels keen to pick up speed.

Flatland pace is consistently good, even over tarmac that would see you bunny hopping and switching lines constantly on a bike shod with 25mm tyres. 

The 50/34 x 11-32 gearing combination works well for all but the fastest rides and the carbon seatpost makes use of its exposed length and Prologo saddle to produce seated comfort that’s perfectly adequate.

Apart from the odd moment of faint tyre rub, the mudguards — which have a useful flap on the bottom of the front ’guard — kept me, the riders around me and the CGR SL free of road spray. 

The headset collar is splayed out along the top tube but sits flush with it to keep the lines clean, while the 155mm long head tube allows you to configure a low and sporty bar position if you so desire. 

In this spec, the CGR SL, with its vast tyre clearances, delivers a fun, rewarding ride that is all the more enjoyable thanks to the bike’s great value and versatility.

The Ribble delivers a great ride. It was impressive how smooth it felt
The Ribble delivers a great ride. It was impressive how smooth it felt

Ribble CGR SL 105 specifications

  • Sizes (*tested): XS, S, M*, L, XL
  • Weight: 9.87kg
  • Frame: Ribble CGR SL carbon
  • Fork: Ribble CGR SL carbon
  • Chainset: Shimano 105, 50/34
  • Bottom bracket: BSA
  • Cassette: Shimano 105 11-32
  • Chain: Shimano HG601
  • Mech: Shimano 105
  • Shifters: Shimano 105 hydraulic
  • Wheelset: Mavic Aksium Disc
  • Tyres: Schwalbe G-One 40mm
  • Wheel Weight: 1.67kg (f), 2.17kg (r)
  • Stem: Level 1 aluminium
  • Bar: Level 1 aluminium
  • Headset: Integrated
  • Saddle: Prologo Kappa RS
  • Seatpost: D-shaped carbon
  • Brakes: Shimano 105 hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors

Ribble CGR SL 105 geometry

  • Seat angle: 73˚
  • Head angle: 71˚
  • Chainstay: 44cm
  • Seat tube: 49.5cm
  • Top tube: 55.5cm
  • Head tube: 15.5cm
  • Fork offset: 5cm
  • Trail: 6.5cm
  • Bottom-bracket drop: 6.9cm
  • Bottom-bracket height: 28.5cm
  • Wheelbase: 103cm
  • Stack: 56.1cm
  • Reach: 37.9cm

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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