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Ribble R872 road bike review

11 Aug 2020
Verdict:

The Ribble R872 is a carbon road bike for alloy money that’ll cosset newbies and flatter everyone

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Excellent value for money • Well thought-out components • Respectably light • Predictable yet punchy performance
Against 
Front end is slightly unforgiving on choppy tarmac

Let’s put this out there from the outset: the Ribble R872 is the all-you-can-eat hotel breakfast buffet of the road cycling world. There’s truly something for everyone, and it represents incredible value for money.

For less than £1,500, the mostly Shimano 105-equipped version of the Lancashire company’s sportive-ready carbon-framed road bike shames bikes that cost double that amount, with no loss of riding enjoyment or performance.

 

Buy the Ribble R782 now from Ribble from £1,099

All things to everyone

'The Ribble R872 was designed to have a price point that makes it very appealing to beginners, as a first carbon bike or an upgrade from alloy,' says Ribble head of product (and ex-pro cyclist) Jamie Burrow.

'But the technology and quality of product are certainly not low end.'

On this Shimano 105-based version, the front and rear mechs plus shifters are all from the fabulously dependable and satisfactorily lightweight mid-level groupset.

Only the non-series RS510 chainset and Tektro R540 brakes stray from the fold, the latter working on the alloy rims of a Mavic Aksium wheelset. This addition from the French firm’s endurance range of wheels is a £100 upgrade from the standard build.

 

The right angles

The Ribble R872 offers handling that promotes confidence in the less-experienced rider, while also having enough performance capability up its sleeve to either grow with you or offer a compelling low-cost alternative for the rider with many years under their tyres.

'The model offers a sportive geometry,' says Burrow. 'It has a slightly shorter top tube and higher head tube than our high-end SL and SLR-series bikes, once again lending itself to beginners, sportive riders and all-round comfort.'

The 525mm top tube on the size S bike I’ve been riding, combined with a seat tube angle of 74.5° and head tube angle of 72°, puts the bars comfortably at hand for even my T-Rex-proportioned arms, and the handling at the sporty end of ‘endurance’. But the compact wheelbase of just 969mm exaggerates the sportiness, in a good way.

 

Attack everything

The Ribble R872, while a great option for novice road riders, offers sprightly performance that will flatter anyone. The fat down tube aids stiffness while boxy 410mm chainstays enhance this feeling to get pedal input to the rear wheel efficiently.

An 11-speed, 11-32 cassette gives ample scope for hilly rides when combined with the 50/34 compact chainset. And the bike’s capacity for attacking a climb is clearly evident. You might think a bike weighing nearly 8.5kg shouldn’t be this good at ascending, but the frame says otherwise.

Want to just cruise the lanes on a summer’s evening, though? Narrow seatstays and carbon forks take most of the buzz out of the road surface before it reaches butt and wrists, although the front end does jar and allow some noticeably high-frequency vibration through.

Burrow vindicates this assessment, adding, 'Stiffness and power transfer under stress in key areas like the bottom bracket, chainstays and around the head tube cluster have not been overlooked at all, despite the bike’s more relaxed sportive geometry.'

 

Chipping away

What would improve the Ribble R782 even further is a set of lightweight wheels. For the price, I can appreciate the fitment of Mavic’s entry-level wheelset – and it commends itself to this package, especially shod with the grippy, ready-for-anything, 28c Continental Grand Prix 4 Season tyres this bike is wearing.

Even the basic short-drop Tektro callipers grip with enough urgency to slow the rotational mass efficiently and predictably. But throw a set of performance wheels into the mix and you’ll really get the best out of the frame.

The ability to customise your bike online at the point of purchase does afford you the option of Mavic Cosmic Pro carbon wheels, but they add £800 to the price of the bike tested here. Again, the finishing kit is basic alloy equipment, but it works – and it’s what you’d expect in a build of this price.

 

How do they do it?

What’s enabled Ribble to put such an impressive bike together for such an appealing cost? 'We design and own all our own frame moulds, which allows us to achieve a better frame price, cutting out the middle man and any eventual fluctuations in production and material costs,' Burrow explains.

'Plus, our direct-to-consumer sales strategy is another key factor enabling us to maintain such value for money.'

The future’s online? Who knew? Next thing, you’ll be telling me we’ll have all the time in the world to ride bikes as good as the Ribble R872 because we can all work from home until further notice. Wait… What?

Buy the Ribble R782 now from Ribble from £1,099

Spec

Frame Carbon-fibre frame, carbon monocoque fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Tektro R540
Chainset Shimano RS510, 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105 R7000, 11-32
Bars Level 1, 6061 alloy
Stem Level 1, 6061 alloy
Seatpost Level 1, 6061 alloy, 27.2mm
Saddle Prologo Kappa RS
Wheels Mavic Aksium with Continental Grand Prix 4 Season tyres, 700 x 28  
Weight 8.42kg (size S)
Contact ribblecycles.co.uk

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£1,399

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