Advertisement

Sign up for our newsletter

Advertisement

Ribble CGR Ti Sport review

30 Oct 2020
Verdict:

The Ribble CGR Ti is the ideal partner if you like to enjoy your long rides in style and comfort

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£2,299
For 
Great ride quality • Long distance and off-road potential
Against 
Non-tubeless wheels • High geared for tougher off-road conditions

As cyclists, we’re constantly told that fast is fun and we should constantly be striving for that elusive KOM, increasingly hard to achieve though that might be. The Ribble CGR Ti Sport, however, hearkens to another cycling tradition altogether: that of the long and leisurely ride that’s taken at a slower pace and takes you to places you’ve not been before.

It’s a style epitomised by the audax ride – heading out self-supported into the unknown and finding your own way from A to B.

 

The CGR stands for Cross-Gravel-Road, a statement on its intended versatility, and this is the titanium version (hence the Ti moniker in its full title). It is an update on the classic touring bike, with enough clearance for 45mm tyres on 700c rims if you don’t want mudguards, 40mm tyres if you do, or 47mm tyres on 650b rims so you can take on gravel paths and bridleways too.

Whatever wheel option you go for, stopping is taken care of by hydraulic disc brakes and so is powerful and effective, no matter the weather or conditions.

Buy the Ribble CGR Ti from Ribble for £2,299

The Ribble CGR started life in 2016 as an alloy machine. Since then, it has branched out into carbon, steel and now titanium, as well as an electric version. 

The Sport build tested here is the entry-level titanium option, amongst several road and one gravel off-the-peg specs for the bike, with prices heading up to £8,000. It's the only one from the range specced with mudguards as standard, though as with all Ribble’s bikes, you can use its bike builder app to customise your component choices to suit your needs.

The look of a special metal

Titanium is a great material for an all-day, all-weather road bike. It’s half the weight of steel for the same strength and more resistant to fatigue than aluminium.

Plus it doesn’t rust and looks terrific in the brushed finish with etched logos used by Ribble.

There’s a small Union Jack on the top tube and a shiny chrome headset logo to add to the classy look, which is completed by the smart orange headset – one of seven colour options.

Tube diameters and profiles are mixed, with the aim being to improve compliance while retaining stiffness – something that the Ribble’s ride quality shows it has successfully achieved.

 

The wide diameter of the 44mm head tube makes for a substantial weld area to the chunky down tube, while the stays at the rear are comparatively thin.

The titanium frame is set off by the all-carbon fork. It comes with an internal channel to route wires from a dynamo hub up the right fork leg, again a nod to the bike’s long ride credentials.

In another nod to longer adventures in the saddle, you get mounting points separate from the mudguard mounts to fit a rear rack. These are incorporated into the beautifully sculpted forged chainstay-seatstay junctions.

The Ribble CGR Ti’s resistance to the elements is increased by internal cable routing, with outers for the full run to the mechs, including under the threaded bottom bracket shell.

Weight-wise Ribble says that the CGR Ti frame is 1,600g, with the fork adding another 470g. Complete with mudguards, our test build came in at 10.8kg, which is about middle of the pack for its price point and specification.

Speaking of which, the Sport build features a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake groupset. It’s a great choice for a bike of this type: slick-shifting, rugged and not too expensive to replace parts if need be.

It comes with a compact 50/34T chainset and an 11-32t cassette. That gives you plenty of range to spin up sharp hills on road, and while it's not quite as off-road friendly as a super-compact setup, the plus side is you get better ratios for faster riding on tarmac.

 

The 40mm Schwalbe G-One Allround tyres, with their low profile tread, are a plus for road riding too. Along with the compliant titanium frameset and a comfortable Prologo Kappa RS saddle on top of a Ribble own brand Level carbon seatpost, the tyres offer plenty of comfortable air volume at low pressure, with little additional rolling resistance.

The extra wide contact area makes descents on dodgy road surfaces more assured. Coupled with the hydraulic disc brakes, you can be confident that the CGR Ti will go where you want it to.

 

The tyres do have a tendency to rub against the mudguards when riding over uneven road surfaces. This can be minimised by fiddling with the mudguard stays, but the supplied tyre width is towards the limit of what the guards can cope with.

Capable off road

The Ribble CGR Ti is a decent performer off-road too, and is an ideal bike for anyone looking to mix and match road riding with some unmetalled stretches.

Buy the Ribble CGR Ti from Ribble for £2,299

In dry conditions, there’s plenty of grip to tackle both dirt and gravel tracks. The gear ratios are a bit high for the toughest ascents, but towpaths, old railway lines and more level trails are perfectly feasible. I took in all of these and some off-road climbing too without any issues.

Through the mud, the tyres do have a tendency to clog and lose grip, plus mud tends to build up around the mudguard stays. As a result, full winter off-road riding would probably need a change to knobblier, narrower tyres and you might need to forsake your mudguards to keep them turning.

 

Although the supplied Schwalbe tyres are tubeless-ready, the Mavic Aksium rims are not. I’d have liked to see a tubeless-ready wheelset too to be able to garner the advantages of setting up tubeless if desired.

It’s always a bit nervous threading your way through flints and along thorny paths knowing that a flat is going to necessitate a tube swap, although I didn’t actually have any punctures during my test rides.

As a solution, Ribble’s bike builder app lets you upgrade the wheels to the UST tubeless Mavic Allroad for an extra £50. The Allroad’s rims are wider too at 23mm in place of 17mm internal, so they’re better suited to the wide tyres, although they might exacerbate the tendency to rub against the mudguards.

A do-anything bike

In short, there’s a lot of versatility built into the CGR Ti. It’s pleasant for longer day rides, could easily be kitted out for multi-day tours and can take on off-road duties with ease. It could serve duties equally well as a flashy winter bike or an everyday commuting machine.

The cyclocross part of its name might be over-egging things a bit, but it will certainly get the job done if you're just looking to dabble in off-road and so don't need a full race-spec bike.

As such, Ribble has certainly hit a sweet spot with its CGR Ti. We had to wait three months for our test bike and there’s a similar wait if you decide to buy one. With its looks, superb spec for long rides and versatility, it’s no wonder there’s a queue for Ribble’s titanium mile muncher.

 

Spec

Frame 3AL/2.5V titanium, CGR Ti Disc fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano 105 hydraulic disc, Tektro rotors
Chainset Shimano 105 50/34
Cassette Shimano 105 11-32
Bars Level 1 alloy
Stem Level 1 alloy
Seatpost Level 2 carbon
Saddle Prologo Kappa RS
Wheels Mavic Aksium Disc
Tyres Schwalbe G-One Allround 40mm
Weight 10.8kg
Contact ribblecycles.co.uk

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