Ridgeback is a UK-born company which has been manufacturing bicycles for a quarter of a century.
If there is one thing that makes Ridgeback stand out, it is the versatility of the models it produces. Cycling enthusiasts with almost all conceivable needs will find a bike within the Ridgeback range to suit them.
Amongst the words most commonly used in consumer reviews of Ridgeback bikes are 'fast,' 'responsive,' and 'versatile.' The ability of Ridgeback bicycles to meet and exceed the expectations of consumers has led to the company earning a well deserved reputation for making affordable, reliable bikes which last.
The website features all available Ridgeback bicycles and a page which allows you to search for your nearest dealer by region, county or postcode. If at all possible, it makes good sense to talk to a dealer if you are seriously considering buying a Ridgeback. This will allow you to benefit from the advice of staff familiar with the specification of all the bikes and even to test drive the model you are interested in.
Ridgeback's newest design, the R25, was produced to mark the 25th anniversary of the company. At an average of £900, the R25 does not come cheap, but its versatility and durability go a long way towards justifying the price tag.
One of the most special features of the R25 is the presence of Shimano Deore XT discs which provide very high performance braking. As is true with most things, you generally get what you pay for, so if your budget allows it, the R25 will guarantee you a very high quality cycling experience.
The Rapide series provides the rider with high quality, puncture resistant tyres which cope very well with uneven surfaces and Shimano Deore brakes which allow for efficient braking, even in wet conditions.
The Rapide series is available in five principle models: the Supernova, the Element, the Velocity, the Comet and the Motion. The Velocity, the Comet and the Motion are also available as Open Frame models designed specifically for women. Prices range from around £550 for the more expensive Supernova to the cheapest Motion model at £230.
The best thing about the Rapide Equipt series is probably the upright riding position allowed for by the ergonomically designed frame. Like the Rapide series, the Rapide Equipt range also has impressively durable tyres which should stand up to the trauma inflicted by cobbled streets and errant stones.
The series has three principle models: the Meteor (usually around £330), the Speed and the Metro (around £280). The Meteor and Speed models are also available with open frames designed to provide a more comfortable ride for women.
Anyone looking for a folding bike suitable for air travel or long distance road and rail journeys should consider Ridgeback's folding range. The range offers three folding bikes: the Attache (the most expensive, at around £450), the Envoy and the Rendezvous (the cheapest, at around £230).
These relatively modest prices should make the folding Ridgebacks a serious contender for the attention of a budget conscious shopper.
Bear in mind, however, that those who enjoy regular cycling holidays or anyone who plans to use their folding bike frequently may want to consider investing some extra money in a bicycle made by a specialist folding bicycle manufacturer, such as the Chameleon, Joey and Rhino offered by Airnimal. However, less keen cyclists should find their needs are adequately met by a cheaper model such as that offered by the Ridgeback range.
Ridgeback's World range is, as the name suggests, designed to satisfy the needs of a rider who wants to be free to cycle anywhere in the world. World bikes are sturdy enough to endure frequent long distance trips and, for non-folding bicycles, are relatively easy to transport.
The World range is a great choice for the foreign traveller who is not a fan of folding bikes. If you are prepared to spend up to £900 on the most expensive Panorama model, however, it is a good idea at least to consider the advantages of folding bikes if you are planning to travel by air. A bicycle which is designed to be able to fold into a suitcase and remain well within your baggage allowance will save you a great deal of hassle when flying. However, for those who dislike the appearance of folding models or the need for folding and reassembling may be well served by a Ridgeback World.
The World range consists of three bicycles: the Panorama (around £900); the Voyage; and the Horizon (both around £500).
The Switch series is the perfect choice for the modern urban commuter. The lightweight aluminium frame ensures that these bicycles have excellent manoeuvrability and speed. The Shimano roller brakes also allow for efficient stopping, even in difficult weather conditions - a must for a safe journey when cycling through an inner city during those harsh winter months.
Consumers have been impressed by the ability of this series to stand up to continued daily use. The sleek appearance of the series also attracts many commuters looking for a reliable, attractive bike which will get them to work safely every day.
Those interested in the Switch series can choose between five different models, over a wide price range: the Nemesis (around £600); the Storm; the Tempest; the Cyclone; and the Bora (around £230). To choose the best model for your needs and budget, it is advisable to go to a Ridgeback dealer and request a test drive in an area similar to the route along which you will be cycling.
The Dual Track series is best suited to those who will be cycling mostly on roads and moderate off-road trails. This makes it a great compromise for those who will be using their bike mostly for the daily commute, but may also be venturing off-road at the weekends. Anyone looking for a bike suitable for more adventurous off-road trails, however, will not be best served by the Dual Tracks.
The Dual Track is available in the more expensive Quest model (around £600), and the cheaper Advance model (around £400).
The best feature of the Terrain series is arguably the 24 speed transmission. The wide range of gears available makes the Terrain suitable for a number of surfaces and conditions and contributes to the versatility of the series.
The increased comfort provided by the ergonomic design is also a big advantage, and is sure to reduce the aches and pains associated with long cycling trips. Women should pay particular attention to the MX2 and MKK Open Frame designs, as these are specifically designed for female riders.
The Terrain series is available in a range of models, from the MX2 to the MK5 and the MKK, at prices between £300 and £430.
Kids Boys and Kids Girls
The MX24, MX20, MX16 and MX14 (for boys) and the more delicately named Destiny, Harmony, Melody and Honey models (for girls) are all great introductions to cycling.
With a lightweight aluminium frame sturdy enough to withstand some of the inevitable punishment inflicted on it, all of the bikes are easy to ride and should stand up to constant use. Each model is also aimed at a particular age range.
To ensure that you select the best model for your child's age and build, it is a good idea to go along to a Ridgeback dealer and talk to a salesperson face to face, even if you ultimately decide to buy online.
For parents who want to ensure their children catch the cycling bug particularly early, Ridgeback's Scoot series offers models aimed at the under 4s. While these bikes don't have peddles, they do have rear brakes to help children become accustomed to the feel of riding a bike at a very early age.