Its looks are undeniably classy and elegant. But can the Ribble’s performance match its smart appearance? Nik Cook found out…
Based in Lancashire, Ribble Cycles have a rock-solid reputation for no-nonsense bikes that deliver both value and performance. Their winter trainer 7005 Audax has almost legendary status. With a shop- labelled brand, you might lose some kudos but you’ll always gain in value and spec.
There’s no mistaking the fact that the Evo-Pro is carbon. Apart from the decals, the entire finish is simple, lacquered carbon weave – and looks very classy for it. Compared to many other carbon frames, the tubing is traditionally shaped and slim. This adds to its elegant looks, especially the beautifully curving chainstays. But will it have the stiffness and power delivery of a chunkier frame?
The fork is another classy looking piece of carbon and complements the frame perfectly. The Shimano R500 rims with R501 hubs are a workhorse choice that you’d probably be looking to upgrade and relegate to a training role sooner rather than later. For the groupset, Ribble stick with Shimano and spec the Evo-Pro out with their second-tier Tiagra. There’s nothing wrong with Tiagra and it’s not unusual at this price point, but with a number of the competition (such as Evans’ Jamis and its Carrera rival in this test) offering 105, it feels a little under par. The 52/39t chainset and 11-25t cassette is fine for flatter riding and stronger riders, but this is an entry-level price point for many novices and a compact might
have been more appropriate.
Ribble have really pushed the boat out with the finishing kit, with the bare carbon ITM Triango bars, stem and seatpost adding real touches of quality. A decent enough CSN saddle completes a very aesthetically pleasing build, but one that isn’t without question marks.
From the first few digs of the pedals, any doubts about the Evo-Pro’s frame stiffness are immediately dismissed. When given some real stick on short and steep ramps,
it willingly leaps forwards and upwards. That willingness to transform your exertions into speed continues on the flat. Churning a big gear, the Evo-Pro powers along efficiently and gives no sense of wasted effort. Small kicks and rollers are easily crested and any lost speed can be rapidly recovered with a short out-the-saddle push. Ride quality is excellent, with hardly any fatiguing road buzz coming through the forks and no unexpected jars for your backside.
Churning a big gear, the evo-pro powers along efficiently and gives no sense of wasted effort
When hitting the hills, the frame is unfortunately let down by the wheels. The Evo-Pro doesn’t climb badly, but you can just sense that there’s something holding it back. The obvious culprits are the budget Shimano offerings. Grinding up those steady grades it’s fine, but when you need that extra little bit of acceleration or assistance to turn on the climbing style or get you up that final steep pitch, it slightly lets you down.
Heading downhill, though, the Evo-Pro is superb and lets you carve through turns with abandon. Balance is spot-on, handling is pin-sharp, and the Tiagra brakes effective and predictable. Shifting from the Tiagra groupset is crisp enough, but weaker or less experienced riders would certainly appreciate some lower gears.
Finally, a purely aesthetic gripe. The Tiagra shifters are overly bulky and the gear indicator windows look cheap. They just detract from what is otherwise
a great-looking bike.
Contact : www.ribblebikes.co.uk