Ridley adds discs and thru-axles to the Fenix-SL

Disc brakes and thru-axles for Ridley's most popular platform

On the back of Ridley launching its new Helium SLX under the Lotto Soudal riders at the Tour Down Under, the Belgian bike manufacturer has also announced a disc-equipped model of the endurance-oriented Fenix.

Ridley Fenix-SL highlights

  • Ridley’s ‘diamond shape’ tubes
  • Ultra-thin lowered seat stays
  • Leaf Spring top tube
  • Wide tyre compatible
  • Internal hose lines
  • 8.47kg / 18.67lb

Edwards Vlutters, Ridley's international sales director, explained this bike is designed to handle whatever you can throw at it.

“It’s really the bike that can do everything, if you wanted to go on a ride with climbs, cobbles and all kinds of terrain then this would be the bike,” Vlutters said. “ I also heard that Andre [Greipel] rides this bicycle on most of the mountain stages during the Tour de France, because it’s comfortable. Andre doesn’t want to win the mountain stages, but he does want to get through as comfortable as possible.”

The Fenix SL utilises Shimano flat mount brakes
The Fenix SL utilises Shimano flat mount brakes

As you’d expect on a newly released disc roadie, the new Fenix abides by Shimano’s flat mount disc standard and will run a 160-140 rotor combo for ideal stopping power.

The Belgian bike brand has also opted for a BB86 bottom bracket standard, which allows the bike to take a 30c road tyre

Added for this new frame are front and rear 12mm thru-axles, which Ridley says not only allowed them to make the frame stiffer, but also more comfortable.

With the chainstays and fork beefed up to withstand the additional energy from the disc brakes and the more secure connection provided by a thru-axle, Ridley was able to drop the seatstays, allowing the seat tube to flex more. The layup in these areas was also changed a bit to make them more solid, which added a bit of weight to the frame, but Vlutters is quick to point out that disc specific wheels also eliminate rotational weight because they don’t need a brake track, a worthwhile trade-off.

With that said, the bike presented at the launch with an Ultegra transmission, alloy finishing kit, and DT Swiss R24 DB Spline was not particularly light, tipping our scales at 8.47kg / 18.67lbs.

Adam Hansen was on hand to walk us through the bike and give his opinion on disc brakes
Adam Hansen was on hand to walk us through the bike and give his opinion on disc brakes

Lotto Soudal rider Adam Hansen was on hand and weighed in on discs. “I think disc brakes are the future,” Hansen said. “They are heavier, but they are a lot stiffer at the front and same in the back.

“If I was out riding by myself and training by myself, I would get a disc brake bike for sure. If everyone was on them in the peloton sure, but we are in a transition period at the moment so it's a bit difficult for the pro riders to adjust to it.”

The reasoning behind the BB86 bottom bracket was to add more tyre clearance
The reasoning behind the BB86 bottom bracket was to add more tyre clearance

The Belgian bike brand has also opted for a BB86 bottom bracket standard, which allows the bike to take a 30c road tyre. Vlutters explains: “On this bike we use a bigger BB, BB86. This creates more space in the bottom bracket area so it allows for wider tires. We could use a different BB, but we would have to make the chainstays at an angle to go around the tire to make the clearance, whereas if we use the BB86 we have a lot of space here to easily fit the tires.”

The latest in the evolution of this frame, it carries through the diamond downtube shape, which the brand says offers an aerodynamic advantage and also creates a robust structure that's resistant to side impacts.

Also carried through is the curved ‘leaf spring’ top tube. Vlutters explains: “from the testing we have done, when there is an impact that comes from the back, you can see this tube takes a bit of the impact. Also the shape of this tube is a bit flatter and making it stiffer on a lateral axis but compliant on a vertical access.“

No word yet on pricing or availability, but we'll update as more information comes to light.

Colin Levitch

Staff Writer, Australia
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Colin now resides in Sydney, Australia. Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his former European pro father convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he enjoys the occasional mountain bike ride, too.
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Tarmac mountain climbs into snow-covered hills
  • Current Bikes: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9
  • Dream Bike: Mosaic Cycles RT-1
  • Beer of Choice: New Belgium La Folie
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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