Lancashire bike builders Ribble have a wide range of bikes on their website and will build them up to different specs – even supplying with or without wheels – to suit your budgets and requirements. The Aero TT is one of their tri and time-trial-specific models and our test bike was built with one of the top spec packages, selling for £2,199.99.
At the heart of the Aero TT is a distinctively styled carbon monocoque frame emblazoned with the Ribble name in huge lettering. The wide weave carbon, bulging rounded design and glossy finish result in a very flashy looking machine. The groupset is from Shimano, the majority of bits coming from the second tier in the range – Ultegra – with brake levers and bar-end shifters from the premium range Dura Ace. Top-notch SLR Carbon Cosmic wheels from Mavic are great all-rounders for a variety of courses and conditions, and simple Deda alloy bars, stem and extensions are functional if not fancy looking.
The seat post is a teardrop-shaped offering in the same material as the frame, and the saddle a glossy Selle Italia tri-specific SLR, which fits the shiny appearance of the rest of the bike. Overall, the specification is very high for that of a £2k tri bike.
The Ribble is pretty light for a TT bike – one of the advantages of the monocoque frame design. It also feels very stiff, which is great for power transfer but results in an unforgiving ride on rough surfaces. The GP 4000 tyres do compensate a little, however, being very supple and offering great grip to boot… but can’t disguise the fact that this is an uncompromising bike built with speed in mind over comfort.
The frame geometry is quite aggressive, too. A steep seat angle does help you get into the aero position but, coupled with a relatively low front end, makes handling twitchy when out of the saddle. The bike isn’t all that confidence-inspiring on twisty descents or through tight and fast corners, either.
The Mavics are a welcome addition to the machine and are a very capable all-round wheelset. They have aluminium braking surfaces for great stopping power, are aero enough to be fast at high speed and relatively light and stiff for climbing. The fact that they run tyres rather than tubs will be off-putting to the hard-core rider, but for most people offer a sensible option. The Ultegra groupset with some Dura Ace working parts is also great value at this price point.
When you stand back and look at the overall package of the Aero TT it seems to be amazing value all round: a full Ultegra and Dura Ace groupset, SLR version wheels, top notch GP 4000 tyres and an expensive tri-specific saddle. But the cynic in me can’t help but question where, exactly, the money has been saved.
Unfortunately, when you get on and ride, it instantly feels like it’s in the frameset. Having given it a few rides, and the benefit of the doubt, I have to admit to just not really liking riding it that much. The design looks like it’s trying to ‘look’ aero, but no mention is made anywhere as to whether it’s been properly wind-tunnel developed.
Overall the Aero TT offers very good value for money in terms of spec on paper, but sadly all that doesn’t quite come together on the open road.
Frame Ribble Aero TT Carbon Monocoque
Forks Ribble Aero TT Carbon Monocoque
Groupset Ultegra 10 spd Double; Dura Ace 7900 bar-end; Dura Ace 7900 TT brake levers
Wheels Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR; Continental GP4000s tyres
Cockpit Deda Crononero bars; Deda Quattro stem; Deda Parabolica Due extensions
Seating Selle Italia SLR T1 TT
Weight 18.08 Llbs (8.2 kgs) without pedals
Sizes 51.5, 52.5, 54.5cm
Contact : Ribble Cycles 01772 336800 www.ribblecycles.co.uk