Ribble Evo Pro Carbon £999.99
18th Mar 2010 | 08:00
Thousand pound all-rounder
The Evo Pro Carbon is the new model in Ribble’s broad road and triathlon/time trial range, freshly baked and just out of the tin. It’ll be available from March and, as ever with Ribble, you can choose your own spec to suit your taste and budget.
Alternatively, you can go for this Campagnolo Centaur build that is offered as a special edition. That means you don’t get as much leeway as usual on the choiceof equipment – you get to select individual component sizes rather than models – but you do get a killer price.
Ride & handling: Lightweight, fast and well-behaved with it
From the off, the Ribble reveals itself to be a quick and lively ride – hardly surprising for a bike that tips the scales at under 18lb . It taps along swiftly on the ﬂat and obliges keenly when you dig deep to increase the pace. It ﬁres out of corners and up steep climbs with barely any frame ﬂex to dull its responses, even when you get out of the saddle and on the cranks.
The Ribble carves through the tight stuff capably, the Pro-Lite wheels staying impressively ﬂex-free no matter how hard you lean them over, and the Deda cockpit holding ﬁrm without any mushiness at all as you shift the pressure around.
It’s a conﬁdence-inspiring descender that you can ﬂick about effortlessly when you need to change your line in a hurry, and the Centaur brakes have the power to bail you out if you misjudge your speed, leaving you free to attack the downhills without worry.
You can select your own handlebar width, stem length and crank length – along with the chainset type and cassette range. Choose carefully and you should be able to get the perfect ﬁt.
Pro-Lite’s titanium-railed San Carlo saddle comes with a cutaway mid-section that does a great job of relieving the pressure as you get the miles in. The long, exposed seatpost dampens road vibration and the front end is by no means harsh either, Campag’s shock-absorbing hoods and decent Deda bar tape help keep buzz to a minimum so you stay ache-free on even your longest rides.
Chassis: Muscular carbon frame, but alloy fork steerer adds a touch of extra weight up front
The carbon monocoque frame is a stealthy-looking bit of kit. The meaty down tube has a teardrop-shaped proﬁle up at the front end, but it has ﬂipped over by the time it reaches the bottom bracket, while the shield-shaped top tube arcs slightly as it drops steeply down towards the seat tube junction.
The back end is pretty muscular with boxy, meandering chainstays ﬂowing seamlessly into equally well-built wishbone seatstays, while up front the carbon leg/alloy steerer fork matches the frame perfectly. You get a replaceable gear hanger but no eyelets for ﬁtting mudguards, and the ﬁnish quality is sound throughout.
Equipment: Campag Centaur groupset lasts ages with minimal adjustments
This special edition Evo Pro Carbon comes with equipment from Campagnolo’s ﬁfth-tier Centaur range, which is high-quality stuff. The Ergopower Ultra-shift controls, which come with composite bodies and brake levers, have a similar feel and shifting action to Campag’s way more expensive Record kit. A ﬁnger paddle moves you up the cassette a maximum of three sprockets at a time, while a thumb shifter allows you to move in the opposite direction up to ﬁve sprockets at once – so you can get right down the block in just two pushes.
The Centaur rear mech works brilliantly to provide precise gear changes and it’ll last an age, as long as you treat it right. It’s a star, and so is the Ultra-Torque 53/39T aluminium chainset, which doesn’t ﬂex one bit. Whether you prefer a Campag setup to Shimano or SRAM is a matter of taste, but it’s beautifully engineered.
Pro-Lite’s Luciano wheels are very good too. They’re semi-deep section (30mm proﬁle) with aero spokes to help them cut through the wind, the cartridge bearings are decent quality and, best of all, they’re superbly built. Ours stood up to all manner of abuse without complaint. The Vittoria Rubino tyres aren’t the ﬁnest ever but they offer sound puncture resistance while Deda’s aluminium bar and stem provide front end solidity.