In addition to supplying what seems like every other winter bike in the land, Lancashire-based value specialist Ribble pumps out an array of budget carbon offerings. The Evo Pro has been updated for 2017, promising more comfort and improved aero (although how much is anyone’s guess), along with a generous spec for this special edition.
- Bike of the Year 2017: Specialized Roubaix wins Road Bike of the Year
- Trek Silque S 6 wins Women’s Road Bike of the Year
Aesthetically I have mixed feelings. The paintwork is glossy and well executed, with the green highlights giving it a Cannondale flavour, but the frame’s proportions are slightly gawky, at least in a size small, with the slim fork contrasting awkwardly with a chunky head-tube. I don’t care from a performance point, but a tapered fork would add visual harmony.
In design terms the Evo Pro is pretty standard, with chunky carbon tubes and a big PF30 bottom bracket shell that necessitates adaptors for the Shimano chainset. Compact geometry means most riders will have a good bit of seatpost on show, and the sizing tends slightly towards the large, with our small test bike having 378mm of reach and 556mm of stack.
If you’re new to road bikes then the Evo Pro will feel light, lively and exciting, but compared to some of the stunning aluminium frames on the market, its ride quality is slightly wooden, something that’s doubtless not helped by the stout 31.6mm alloy seatpost.
The ride is moderately smooth and not excessively uncomfortable, but there is a distinct solidity to its persona, one that I’ve encountered on other affordable carbon bikes. On broken surfaces it can be quite jarring, which doesn’t instil confidence on technical descents, and the somewhat flexy own-brand brake calipers don’t help here either (although they’re on par with some of the non-groupset brakes offered on competitors’ bikes at this price point).
Standing on the pedals, the Evo Pro’s frame is underwhelming because it lacks real spring, feeling slightly inert under hard pedalling. For this reason, it’s not the most satisfying bike on which to give your all because it feels as though some of your energy is going to waste. This also contributes to a sense that it isn’t a particularly precise machine — it lacks the poise of a truly great bike.
Brakes aside, I can’t fault the major component choices. Shimano 105 is always welcome and the non-series RS500 chainset is a quality item, even if it doesn’t technically match the rest of the groupset.
While the seatpost is a chunky, utilitarian looking thing, the Deda cockpit is attractive in an understated way, and the colour coordination of the Sella Italia saddle is a nice touch.
It’s impressive that in this time of austerity (or rather, weak Sterling) you can still have 105 components and Mavic Aksiums on a sub-thousand-pound bike. For the time being at least, Ribble seems to be resisting the price increases seen across the industry.
The Evo Pro's frameset is competent rather than lovable, but as a complete bike it certainly represents decent value for money. The question I’d ask buyers is: how badly do you want carbon? Because if you can stomach spending your hard-earned cash on a metal bike, you might get a better frameset for your money.