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Ribble CGR review

10 Oct 2016
Verdict:

An all-rounder for all seasons

Price: 
£1,200

About the bike

This is the latest model to join the exhaustive range of bikes from direct sales specialists Ribble. CGR stands for ‘Cross, Gravel, Road’, marking this machine out as one which you could, theoretically, take anywhere, in all conditions. Supplied with mudguards as standard and hydraulic disc brakes, it’s well suited to riding in the typically wet and grimy British winter. We’re not testing its off-road credentials here, but one thing’s for sure – with its lairy paintjob, if you did get lost in the wild on it,  the search and rescue mob would soon find you!

The spec

Frameset The CGR uses 7005 alloy for its frameset. A curving diamond-profiled top tube meets the head tube in a seriously beefed-up section for total directness of steering. A fat, round-profiled down tube and horizontal chainstays help to give a feeling of almost immediate power transfer when you leave the saddle and give the CGR some big licks. One of the less obvious benefits of disc brakes is the extra space for tyre clearance – though it’s supplied with 25c rubber, we reckon it could easily accommodate cyclocross-spec rubber as wide as 33c. On a practical note, the carbon forks and rounded alloy seatstays also have race mounts, in case you were looking for a load-lugger for commuting duties, or even a light off-road adventure. Versatility is the name of the game with this bike.

Groupset The Ribble’s groupset is a sensibly-specced Shimano Tiagra affair, with 105-spec brake hoods and shifters for the hydraulic brakes. It’s fair to say that 2016’s Tiagra is pretty much on a par with the 105 kit of old, and it doesn’t suffer for being 10-speed, rather than 11, either. 

Finishing kit Ribble being Ribble, you can specify many of the details of this bike differently, via the company’s online bike builder. However, the Deda handlebars and stem, which we’ve tested before this year, are solid pieces of aluminium kit, which we’d wager would withstand anything you can throw at them. We’ve also ridden on this saddle before, on the Tifosi CK7. It works even better in this set-up, helped by Ribble’s unbranded carbon seatpost.

Wheels The Shimano theme continues at the wheels, with RX rims laced with 28 spokes. The hubs use low-friction seals to keep out water, grit and dirt. This is a solid wheelset, and will accommodate tyres up to 38c, so are ready for anything. They’re basic, but they work – it’s clear where Ribble’s value-for-money eye was on this build, and that’s the hydraulic brakes. Conti’s Ultra Sport tyres aren’t what we’d choose for ‘performance riding’, but for winter training, they’re supple enough and could easily be sized up to 28s for even better comfort and cornering confidence.

The ride

First impression After donning some dark-lensed sunnies to keep the DayGlo frame from distracting us during the ride, we felt like we should have swapped them for night-vision goggles, as the CGR feels like the road bike equivalent of a tank. We liked it! The front is as solid, direct and downright stiff as anything we’ve ridden. In the first few miles of our loop, i the 85psi in that front tyre kept the worst of the vibes at bay.

On the road Comfort turns out to be an awful lot better than the opening miles had led us to expect. Although the stocky head tube and braced top tube junction make for a massive expanse of 7005 alloy, the overall geometry of the frame is decidedly upright, meaning hands are spared the worst of the road surface. A head angle and seat angle that are near-identical saves wrists from taking a battering, and the brake hoods – identical to those on the Pinnacle Dolomite 5 – are always comfortable. Shifts gel efficiently with the compact, 50/34 Shimano Tiagra chainset to ensure forward momentum is maintained. The extra weight over the other bikes here makes itself known on climbs but rolling roads are dispatched with aplomb, aided by the bike’s direct response. Arrow-straight, horizontal chainstays help, taking all your effort to the hub. The 12-28 cassette will heave you over most hills and allow you to make use of downhill momentum – we didn’t spin out once, and after moving two of the three 10mm spacers above the stem we were able to make this bike fairly aggressive. But that’s not the point – the CGR is a rugged thing, with just enough performance to excite. 

Handling Here’s where the CGR’s stiffness really allows it to shine, with downhill sweepers dispatched in the blink of an eye. Albeit a fairly lingering blink. There’s plenty of feedback through the exaggeratedly tapered carbon fork, which combines with the super-stiff front end to promote stacks of cornering confidence. In the corners, they’re never unsettled, but we were unable to test their performance in soaking conditions. Where the brakes shine is in their ability to shave off fractions of speed if you’re in danger of over-cooking a corner. Although the rear mudguard is fitted very closely to the wheel, there was never a hint of rub, despite the narrow clearance. In all, for a bike that’s designed to take on tarmac, gravel and dirt, the CGR does a pretty good job as a pure road bike.

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) n/a 545mm
Seat Tube (ST) n/a 529mm
Down Tube (DT) n/a 631mm
Fork Length (FL) n/a 408mm
Head Tube (HT) n/a 145mm
Head Angle (HA) n/a 72.8
Seat Angle (SA) n/a 73
Wheelbase (WB) n/a 1009mm
BB drop (BB) n/a 61mm

Spec

Frame 7005 alloy frame, carbon fork
Groupset Shimano Tiagra
Brakes Shimano BR-785 hydraulic discs
Chainset Shimano Tiagra, 50/34
Cassette Shimano HG-5000, 12-28
Bars Deda RHM01, alloy
Stem Deda Zero 2, alloy
Seatpost Ribble alloy
Wheels Shimano RX
Saddle Selle Italia X1 Plus
Weight 10.52kg
Contact ribblecycles.co.uk

 

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