Ridley Bikes was formed in 1990 and is currently a major Belgian manufacturer of cycling bikes and components. In recent years, Ridley has been at the forefront of technical innovations in bicycle production. In 2003, the company released its first full carbon frame, the Damocles. This frame was an instant success and continues to be a company bestseller. In 2006, Ridley introduced its revolutionary sharp edge design tubing technology and oversized head tubes. These advancements allowed Ridley bikes to perform spectacularly over a variety of different terrains. The Noah, which made its debut at the 2006 Tour de France, incorporates many of these innovations into its design. Its rider, Cadet Evans, secured an impressive 5th place finish in that competition.
Ridley has been keen to develop its links with professional cyclists. During the 1990s, the company set about supporting grass roots cycling programmes in Belgium. Over the years, a number of Belgian cyclists such as Tom Boonen, winner of the 2001 Belgian U23 Championship, have received Ridley sponsorship. Ridley-sponsored riders have been particularly successful in cyclocross – Belgium’s national sport – with Ridley riders securing a one-two finish at championship races in the Netherlands in 2006. Since 2008, Ridley has provided bikes for the Silence-Lotto cycling team.
Here’s the lowdown on some of the latest Ridley bikes to hit the market.
The Noah is one of the fastest ProTour bikes out there. The latest version of the Noah is as stiff as ever. However, its weight has been reduced considerably making it even easier to handle. The Noah comes with a high modulus carbon fibre frame which features a 3K multidirectional carbon finish. The Noah’s full-carbon monocoque fork first made its appearance at the 2006 Tour de France and has maintained its popularity with riders ever since.
Given the Noah’s awesome specification and its popularity with professional cyclists, it’s not surprising that this bike has received a favourable response from riders. www.bikeradar.com has described the Noah as “the ultimate race bike.” However, BikeRadar’s researchers noted that the Noah’s brake pads had a slight tendency to slip.
The Heracles is a sleek and fast road bike that is designed to suit the needs of professional riders. However, unlike many of the other bikes in Ridley’s current range, the Heracles comes at a relatively affordable price. This bike features a full-carbon integrated seatpost which allows for better handling and greater stiffness. The Heracles’ frame also includes triple-butted tubing for increased strength and durability. Other favourable features include its 4ZA Fenix carbon fork and Ultegra derailleurs. A sleek silver exterior completes this bike.
The Damocles is the best performing Ridley bike to date, winning over 100 professional races since it was first introduced on to the market. The latest version of the Damocles comes with Force derailleurs and a Damocles carbon monocoque fork. Riders describe the Damocles as an excellent bike that’s not only super smooth but extremely responsive too. Pin-point steering allows the rider to maximise power, whilst the Damocles’ innovative seat and handlebars allow for increased comfort. Best of all, its sleek exterior ensures that the Damocles is aesthetically pleasing as well. However, a few riders have pointed out that the Damocles is not nearly as light as some of the other road racing bikes currently available. Others have noted that whilst the Damocles is sufficiently stiff for road racing, it’s probably a bit too rigid for non-racing use. Nevertheless, this bike is certainly worth a test-run!
The Ignite is a top of the range carbon hardtail bike. The 2008 Ignite is some 200 grammes lighter than previous models. The Ignite has been designed to provide the rider with the sorts of stiffness levels you’d expect from a quality singletrack bike. This bike comes with a number of other favourable features, including a Ritchey WCS seatpost and RockShox Reba Team fork. In general, riders appear to be pleased with this bike. Not only is it technically sound, but it also comes with a “striking” exterior that’s sure to impress.
This full suspension bike comes with a super-light aluminium frame. The Blaze 2.0’s reformulated geometry allows the rider to reach superior speeds, regardless of trail conditions. This bike also features SRAM series derailleurs and a DT Swiss X1800 wheelset. Given its innovative frame and Ridley’s choice of components for this bike, the Blaze 2.0 is definitely worth checking out!
The Scorpion is one of Ridley’s most popular MTB bikes to date. This year’s model has been revamped and now comes with top of the line Magura Louise brakes, Shimano derailleurs and an overhauled geometry. The Scorpion’s Schwalbe Jimmy tyres are durable and are sure to perform even over rugged terrains.
The latest version of the X-Night bike has everything an avid cyclocross competitor could want. The integrated seat post allows for superb handling and smooth power transfer. Ridley has described this bike as simply the “finest” cross bike currently available. Their claims are anything but unfounded. This bike is the official choice of a number of professional teams and riders, including the French team, Fidea. However, you don’t need to be a professional rider to make the most of the X-Night. According to www.roadbikereview.com, the X-Night is easy to handle and is designed to be “ridden (and raced) fast.”
The Crosswind comes with a triple aluminium-butted frame that’s second to none. This bike has seen action in two world championships and performs admirably even in the toughest racing conditions. Its striking red exterior will certainly get you noticed. Riders have few complaints about this bike. They appear to be particularly pleased with the Crosswind’s geometry. According to owners, the Crosswind’s compact top tube allows the rider to position himself perfectly between the wheels. This in turn translates into increased speed and stability for the rider.