Ridley Excalibur - Carbon Di2 Ultegra
RRP £3300 Now only £1999. White Green or Black options available.
Ridley bikes have been developed from a true cycling heritage of the Belgian cycling scene. Ridley's slogan - "We Are Belgium" sums up where the bikes stem from; long one day races, cobbles, driving rain and cruel winds all thrown into the pot to create bikes with real grit and pedigree.
My brother guy and I noticed the rise of Ridley as a manufacturer for more reasons than one, starting our partnership with them over ten years ago. The company was aligned with where we had come from in cycling. Cold, wet cross races in winter, and cold, wet road races in summer! These were the type of bikes we aspired to ride when we were school boys, through our racing years, to what is now more sportive orientated activity (and the odd foolish notion to race again!)
The range is tight and avoids the "fillers" that so many brands seem to unnecessarily show to pad out their product offerings. Their designs have always had a certain point of difference and stand apart from the humdrum of the everyday that manufacturers churn out year on year. Each model has permission to be there, from simple, make sense models such as the versatile Tempo Race, to the development of the jaw dropping flagship models such as the Fast. Ridley covers all genres of performance cycling in a well-conceived and concise way.
Quality has been the key to the popularity of the Excalibur over the past few years. It's supremacy has been maintained by using one of the highest grades of very tough, lightweight carbon fibre in a monocoque frame.
Over the years, the Excalibur has remained a cut about the rest by adorning the latest innovations from top level professional racing, making it the best friend of any aspiring leisure rider. Stability and efficiency is provided by an oversized down tube, oversized lower headset bearing and full carbon fork. The addition of sleek, vibration damping seat stays keep comfort levels high. Any finer road temors are filtered throughout by the combination of 25 and 30 ton carbon fibre.
Rider position is all important, some background -
Pearson Cyclefit is designed to enable our customers to reach their optimum position on a bike. Needless to say, this is not necessarily the position Sir Wiggo would be seen in when pounding down the Champs Élysées! There are many factors will determine a rider's optimum position, such as body shape, type of riding, suppleness, injury issues and often other surprise factors we find when interviewing a customer for Cyclefit.
If you can bend it like Bikram (the god of hot yoga) then fantastic! You could probably ride this bike with the handlebar 'slammed to the top of the head tube in a super aggressive, traditional road racing position. The reality is most riders have limited range of movement, aches and pains and require more sedate positions when riding.
This is where the versatility of the Excalibur geometry plays it's unassuming part. The longer head tube is naturally higher, assisting the rider into a less back-cramping position. Compare the Excalibur to typical road bike geometries and notice the difference. Steerer heights (the gap between the top of the headtube and the lower part of the handlebar stem) have been maximised to give the option of keeping the bars high. The spacers in this gap can then be moved above or below the stem to fine tue height. Once a customer is happy, any remaining fork column above the stem can be trimmed to size. Some customers simply leave this to future proof the bike for resale, or to allow for any need to move to a more upright position again.
Remember it's not all about flat, aerodynamic, contorted backs. Optimised Cyclefit positions are designed to allow riders to be efficient and comfortable, enabling faster and longer rides.
Size Comparison Chart
Do You Need Electronic Gears?
Yes! Of course you do. It's a bit like a mobile phone - it took a while for people to come around to the idea of having one with cost and reliability being the main considerations. You wouldn't even think twice now.
Shimano Di2 has been around for a while. It was first trialled in the 2009 Tour De France and the research and design initially poured into the concept seems to have proved itself flawlessly since. This can be substantiated by the huge sales of DuraAce Di2 henceforth, firmly establishing it's place in the current market.
The launch of Ultegra Di2 in 2012 seems to continue this trend. The groupsets have been used on everything from road bikes to cyclocross bikes and still works like a dream in every conceivable condition.
Truthfully, back in 2010 we still had our doubts, always thinking the purist would still hanker after mechanical gearing. Those who have committed have not been disappointed. To our great delight, the smooth running and effciency of electronic gears has even led customers to retro fit their second bike with ACDC. Now, given the relative price of Di2 coupled with this high grade carbon bike, it suddenly becomes a very attractive offering.
Who would buy this bike?
At it's original price point of £3300, the Excalibur would normally grab the attention of the second time buyer. Notably one that has already bought into the idea of cycling with an aluminium road machine and aspires to something for the weekend. Also, the long term rider whose constant need for something new and exciting will also love this sort of bike for the calibre of frame and their yearning to embrace the latest in transmission technology.
It is still entirely relevant to these indiciduals. However at the lower price, it is now also relevant to the first time buyer. who may wish to future proof a purchase, thus avoiding the need for any further major upgrades or a second bike.
I hope this helps with a little insight as to why we would scoop purchase the Excalibur Di2. Apologies too, but if your are tempted then please strike while the iron is hot. We only have limited numbers and sizes to go around! You won't regret it...
Written by Will Pearson
Ultegra Di2 Reviews
- Cycling Weekly cast their verdict on the new kid on the block
- Velo News goes deep and then deeper again in these two reviews
- Shimano blind you with their bike and a bit of science!
- Velo News let fly!
This video from Ridley will tell you about the Flandrian version of the Excalibur. There are some useful points, but our version has a full Di2 Ultegra groupset and the bike is available in white, green and Lotto black.
Thanks to our friends at Wiggle for this video.
Learn about the Ridley company - make yourself comfortable first!http://vimeo.com/48194421
Jonny Hoogerland testing his Ridley through a barbed wire fence in 2011, straight back on - what a legend!
Ultegra Di2 Videos
Apologies in advance for the cheese.
Poor Shimano rep is interrogated by this delicate lady, thanks for the expigation...