In the first part of his review (check it out here) Phil went in to the look and build of the Ribble Sportive. In this 2nd part he focuses on the all important ride and handling!
Having now had this bike for a little while it is fair to say that it has been used for a range of distances from short quick 2 mile dashes to the train station, up to 50+ miles rides on a weekend. The one constant in all of those rides has been the fun and enjoyment this bike has given me.
Living in Surrey I have taken it out into the Surrey hills on numerous occasions and it has dispatched all of the hills it faced with ease. I set my fasted time up Box hill by a considerable margin and though this may be partially down to my increasing fitness it is also undoubtedly because of the ride quality and lightness of this all carbon frame. The Sportive takes all that is thrown at it, from ascents and descents, to long flat rides, to twisty winding roads. The handling never falters, and always feels safe and comfortable to ride at all speeds.
Whilst on my summer holidays despite knowing I would only get a chance to ride for a few days I didn’t hesitate to put the bike on the back of the car and take it with me to Germany. Again it didn’t disappoint. My in-laws back gate leads on to the Harz national park which includes in its boundaries the highest point in Northern Germany, the Brocken. Whilst I didn’t get a chance to tackle this beast (there is a paved path) it is safe to say that the roads were far from flat. From an 8km climb at an average 4% gradient, to the terror of a 1.5km climb where the road didn’t drop below 13% the only limit to the climbing performance of the bike was my ability (and on that second road, my jelly legs!!).
What goes up must come down though and when it comes to descending I will freely admit I don’t have ‘a need for speed’ and am usually very cautious, but the Ribble just encourages you to push harder, and so I threw caution to the wind and achieved speeds of 70+km with no adverse reactions from the bike, it was smooth, steady and not once did I get any worrying wobbles (try saying that three times fast!).
The performance both on hills and flats is superb. I have found myself able to maintain higher speeds on the flats than I ever have before, and this is certainly a reflection of the bikes superb performance and credentials. As I have mentioned before, I would perhaps consider an upgrade on the supplied wheelset if you want to get even more from this bike, and having recently purchased some Mavic Krysium SL, I tested this idea You won’t be surprised to read that the bike was set off that much more, speeds were raised again and the enjoyment factor increased further.
One of the worries that I hear people mention when discussing mail order bikes straight out of the box are niggling little issues, or concerns of the longer term performance of the bike and components, but fortunately with the Ribble Sportive this has not been born out at all. There have been no mechanical issues and even during a quick service (whilst I was having my other bike done (n+1 after all)) the mechanic found no fault bar a slight adjustment of a break cable (likely to have been my fault). Not only this, but he was also very complimentary of the build quality and the potential for future upgrades to enhance the bike even more.
The Ribble bikes are all about customisation and with that in mind I made two adjustments to the bike that I received, I changed the saddle due to personal preference and as mentioned I added a lightweight wheelset to further enhance the ride BUT even brought exactly as sent this bike is a superb entry in to the carbon frame world and is more than most people will need.
I continue to ride and enjoy this bike more than any other I have ridden, and have been so impressed with my experience of not only the bikes ride quality, and the bikes build, but also the customer service from Ribble, that I didn’t hesitate to put my money where my mouth is and buy a Ribble Sportiva for my wife recently.
Surely there can be no greater recommendation?
Review by @RolyRouleur
Interest peaked? Then click on this link for a closer look