Ribble Endurance 725 Bike Review

Ribble Endurance 725 Bike.

Ribble’s Endurance 725 is a modern-day melding of traditional steel frame tubing with contemporary endurance geometry and the latest electronic groupset technology. Although centuries apart, they’re an aesthetic triumph, but will it all gel once we set off down the road?

First impressions

Nine times out of 10, there’s a trade off between ride quality and weight when it comes to steel bikes. This is by far the most handsome of our three bikes, and while it does weigh significantly more than the other two, it imbues you with a special feeling of pride. Also, it guarantees a double-take from riders you pass when you change up a gear and they try to process the fact you’re riding a steel bike with electronic shifting…

On the road

The Endurance 725 carries its weight extremely well,with a decent balance struck between solidity and agility. Although the steel tubing does put the bike at a disadvantage on more foreboding terrain, the Di2 system fitted to the Ribble actually serves to mask much of the effect of this extra bulk. Swapping between ratios across the Ultegra 11-32 cassette is a simple press of a shifter paddle away, followed by a precise shift across the cogs accompanied by the sound of an electric beard trimmer.

Crucially, there are none of the botched gear changes you might fire into a mechanical system only to be met by a reluctance to mesh and the slowing of progress. The Ribble simply shifts and gets on with what you’re asking of it. The 52/36 chainset gives the opportunity to get the hammer down on rolling roads, and well-timed gear shifts create perfect moments on our ride.

Those minutes on deserted roads where everything just gels, you can hear is the sound of tires on road, and you always seem to be in the right gear for rapid progress. Comfort is never in question, either, with the alloy bars’ bend giving a closer position for riding on the tops, while their shallow drop means you’re never contorted when you get your head down. Plus, the Ultegra rim brakes are some of the most assured stoppers we’ve used in months; pull lever, pads grip, bike slows… zero fuss, simple. Just like the old days.

Handling

We didn’t expect razor-sharp handling from the Endurance 725. And, as the name of the bike might suggest, it isn’t designed to provide that. What it does supply, however, is a biddable ride that’s never anything less than predictable, regardless of the speed. Chatting away to a riding pal next to you on country lanes? We had every confidence in rapid turns, shoulder-to-shoulder.

Hammering down a descent with a kink that requires some dash to tip into without a dab of the brakes? Yep, that too. There’s no need to heave the bike into a turn; it’s agile enough to do what you ask with the minimum of effort, and without drama.

The Vittoria rubber wrapped around Mavic rims at either end are some of our firmest favorites, for the way they mainline cornering confidence. The feel for the road surface is right up there with some of the most supple race tires, and the grip supplied by the company’s graphene-infused rubber is simply perfect for long days of riding in the height of summer. In fact, keep them on for winter, fit some mudguards, and this bike could prove to be a perennial favorite.

Frameset of Ribble Endurance 725 Bike.

Frameset

The Endurance 725’s frame make-up has triple-butted Reynolds 725 tubing at its heart. Butting (the rolling over of the tube ends to create different thicknesses) in this way allows the makers to tune each tube for strength where it matters, and reduce weight where it doesn’t. It really is a compliant ride, highly recommended for big old days in the saddle.

A carbon fork ensures that you don’t have to contend with undue harshness from the front end. There’s also something so simple and pleasing about a road bike with straight, round frame tubes. We have to commend it for its paintwork, too; it’s classy and very well finished.

There’s versatility to the 725, too, with mudguard mounts to make this bike an all-year steed. The cabling is all carried within the frame, which is designed to accept both electronic and mechanical cables. When it comes to handling characteristics, the steering geometry provides stacks of confidence from its 72.5° head angle. Frame clearance is claimed to allow the fitment of 28c tires (although you’ll be restricted to 25 mm rubber once you’ve fitted mudguards).

Groupset

The 725 wears a groupset entirely composed of Shimano Ultegra equipment. Starting at the front end, there are Ultegra Di2 shifters operating the front and rear electronically- controlled derailleurs. A 52/36 mid-compact chainset is matched an 11-32 cassette to give a sizable range of gear ratios, all of which are seamlessly meshed by the precise shifting mechanism.

Once you’re used to the fact the gearshift paddles don’t hinge as is the case with mechanical Ultegra levers, swapping between chainrings and cogs on the Ultegra cassette becomes second-nature. Both the front and rear rim brakes are naturally Ultegra items, too. Finishing kit

Ribble has called upon some workaday alloy equipment for the 420 mm handlebars and 100 mm stem (both of which are well matched to the frame size in terms of comfort and reach), but employed a 27.2 mm carbon seatpost at the rear, to really take the buzz out of the ride. It’s topped by a supremely comfortable Fizik Arione saddle (although other seating options are available on the firm’s online bike builder website).

Wheels

The Ribble’s Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset features sealed cartridge bearings, so you’re unlikely to need to maintain them beyond careful washing. Our test bike had supple VittoriaCorsa tires (with de rigueur tan sidewalls), although the wheels are also tubeless-ready. The rims’ 17 mm internal diameter ably accepts this 25c rubber, which in turn provides exceptional cornering confidence and no small amount of durability. Those rims will take up to 32 mm tires, although frame clearance on this bike will limit you to 28c.

Specs

Frame: Reynolds 725 steel frame, Ribble Endurance carbon forks

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra

Brakes: Shimano Ultegra

Chainset: Shimano Ultegra, 52/36

Cassette: Shimano Ultegra, 11-32

Bars: Ribble, alloy

Stem: Ribble, alloy

Saddle: Fizik Arione K5 Kium

Seatpost: Ribble, carbon, 27.2 mm

Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium Elite

Tires: Vittoria Corsa G+, 700 x 25

Geometry

Size tested: MChainstays (C): 410 mm
Weight: 8.92 kgHead angle (HA): 72.5°
Top tube (TT): 550 mmSeat angle (SA): 73.6°
Seat tube (ST): 530 mmWheelbase (WB): 995 mm
Stacks (S): 551 mmBB drop (BB): 68 mm
Reach (R): 388 mm 

Rating: 8.4/10

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