Ribble has upgraded the Endurance AL to a disc version for 2020. The lightweight alloy frame combines with mechanical disc brakes and a 10-speed groupset.
The Endurance AL’s credentials as a capable all-rounder become obvious fairly early in our test ride. The Prologo saddle, which we’ve experienced on several bikes this year, is a cracking choice, the gear shifts are positive and smooth, and the bike is seemingly light enough to make fairly swift progress through the town center and off into the back lanes.
On the road
That the Ribble has one extra cog on its cassette might not sound like it makes a huge difference – after all, the range of options on the block is still identical to the other two bikes we’ve tested this month: 11-32.
However, because there are 10 gears rather than nine, the jump between them is not as pronounced, and therefore makes it less likely that the AL will clang into gear, and more likely slot into the next ratio. This does make a difference to the speed with which you can make progress on the Ribble.
This is most keenly felt when climbing. When you realize that you’ll need to select a smaller gear to haul your sorry self up a climb that’s not agreeing with your massive breakfast, the change under load is as kind as possible on the drivetrain, and allows your uphill progress to continue with the minimum fuss.
Where the AL excels is on smooth tarmac and rolling roads, so if you’re looking for an inexpensive sportive bike, or the neatest commuter in the office bike shed, the Ribble does offer a lot of bike for your money.
Once we hit the downhill turns of our test route, the Ribble does hold its head high, however; the slightly rangier wheelbase compared to its alloy pure road bike rival here does lend it a marginally greater feeling of composure mid-corner.
This could be improved hugely by fitting some tires with far lower rolling resistance than the Continental Ultra Sports it’s wearing, but for an extra $75 you can specify Conti Gatorskins on the Ribble website when configuring your bike. Go a little further ($125 above the $1200 price of the standard build) and folding GP 5000 rubber can be yours.
These tires would really ramp up the handling confidence, but would obviously take the overall price much closer to $1,350. The Ultra Sport tires we’re riding on do shrug off poor road surfaces, and remained untroubled by puncture potential throughout our testing, so they really are a sure-fire winter training option.
The disc brakes are a welcome addition to the 2020 AL, hauling the bike up predictably and with easily metered force.
The Endurance AL’s frameset is fashioned from heat-treated, double-butted 6061 aluminum alloy. It’s worth pointing out that you can buy it separately for $800, which makes you realize that $1200 for the complete build (excluding pedals) is actually quite a deal.
The welds under its deep white paintjob are neatly executed, and the contrasting red on the inside of the fork legs is a classy touch. The frame’s sloping toptube has a fiat-topped, triangular profile which is mirrored in the shape of the oversized downtube.
410 mm chainstays meet arching seatstays at the rear thru-axle to create a rear triangle that’s compact. A 130 mm headtube and a 72° head angle ensures that its performance is firmly in the ‘endurance’ ballpark (who’d have thought it? They should have incorporated that into the name of the bike or something…).
Both wheels are secured by way of thru-axle to minimize losses through flex, while the Ribble’s cabling is routed internally through the alloy tubing.
The Ribble is fitted out with a 10-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset, comprised of a 50/34 compact chainset, front and rear mechs, shifters and 11-32 cassette. The mechanical brake set-up is courtesy of Tektro’s MD510 callipers biting on 160 mm rotors front and rear
As you’d expect on a bike at this price, there’s nothing fancy to see in the finishing kit department. Level 1 handlebars measuring 400 mm in diameter are fixed to the steerer by a 100 mm alloy stem. At the rear end, a Level 1 seatpost (27.2 mm in diameter) suspends Prologo’s exceptional Kappa RS saddle. It provides a joyous combination of support and cushioning, with just enough flex in its body to take the shock out of bumps in the road.
Mavic’s Aksium Disc wheelset spins beneath the Endurance AL. Its 24-spoke rims have an internal diameter of 17 mm, which the firm says will accommodate tires of up to 32c. The rubber fitted to them in this build is Continental’s budget-friendly Ultra Sport 2. It’s puncture- resistant, supple enough when run at lower pressures, and will ably transport you through hundreds of winter miles.
Add the $350 cost of the wheels and $75 for the tires to the cost of the frameset if bought separately, and you’ll have spent $1000. These rudimentary maths demonstrate that, if you buy the complete build, you’re effectively getting the groupset and finishing kit for free!
Frame: Ribble Endurance AL aluminum frame, carbon fork
Groupset: Shimano Tiagra
Brakes: Tektro MD510 mechanical discs, 160 mm rotors
Chainset: Shimano Tiagra, 50/34
Cassette: Shimano Tiagra, 11-32
Bars: Level 1, alloy
Stem: Level 1, alloy
Saddle: Prologo Kappa RS
Seatpost: Level 1, alloy, 27.2 mm
Wheels: Mavic Aksium Disc
Tires: Continental Ultra Sport 2, 700×25
|Size tested: S||Chainstays (C): 383 mm|
|Weight: 9.98 kg||Head angle (HA): 72°|
|Top tube (TT): 535 mm||Seat angle (SA): 74°|
|Seat tube (ST): 510 mm||Wheelbase (WB): 990 mm|
|Stacks (S): 531 mm||BB drop (BB): 68 mm|
|Reach (R): 383 mm|