The great guys at Madison gave me a Ridley Fenix SL on long term loan (March – December 2017) along side my Pearl Izumi Champion Duties. This was the first time that i had ever ridden a Ridley Bike but was very impressed by the colourway and quality.
The following review is from a keen cyclist but with little knowledge of angles and weights of components but more on how it, feels, looks and performs.
I had been given a SL 105, this Bike has a mix of 105 and Forza components which makes a great quality setup which screams quality and speed.
My first ride was at the PI Champion day and i had little time to set it up but even with a quick setup i could feel the speed from the off. I was able to keep up with the more seasoned cyclists and never felt like i was ever going to get dropped.
I had been given the small, I’m 5 ft 6 inches with short legs and found it still a size bigger than i would buy. Ridley having a strong background in Cyclo Cross the’re bikes are slightly bigger so it’s worth checking the dimensions and trying them for size.
Coming from a aluminium bike i was taken by the stiffness of the frame. You really could feel the power pushing through to the tyres via the crank. The bike felt light and responsive but i found the steering easy and not twitchy.
Since that first ride i have used the bike throughout the summer in many different training and racing scenarios. I have noticed lots of new PB’s on all my favourite training routes on the Fenix as it always feels fast and responsive.
The Fenix truly has shown to be versatile, it is classed as an endurance bike but it has been great on fast flat sessions as well as local CAT 4 Tour of Britain climbs. The gearing is smooth, like the ride and the ratio’s work well across the whole range. I’ve read lots around the 105 compared to Ultegra but i’m fairly heavy handed and the 105 has stayed flawless and easy to keep working smoothly after riding this bike i’m unsure if i need to go higher than 105 for my usage, unless i was offered it for free!!
With most bikes under the £2000 mark (£1799) you normally start to think about what parts you need to upgrade first but i have been so impressed with the build quality, components and look. People talk about looking to change the wheels to improve a bike. If you changed them for some aero carbon wheels this would make a huge difference but apart from this i cannot see what difference a different pair of alloys would make. the wheels are built well and of good quality and finished off with some great, grippy tyres from vittoria.
I have used this bike in a sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlon and found it to be comfortable and fast. I took great pleasure in overtaking lots of racers on Aero bikes on both races. The fenix allows you to get in a good tucked shape and having aluminium bars it is possible to use clip on for triathlons too if you want to.
if you are looking for an all rounder under £2000 and what it to race and train on i think considering the Ridley should be an option. I would strongly suggest finding a local stockist and test riding one. I’m sure if you ride one you too will see how great they are.
So i have had the bike for 9 months sadly the guys have remembered i have it and want it back. So it’s going to be tough to go back to my Aluminium bike. it’s going to be tough so i have 2 options, look for a replacement Ridley or not answer the emails from Madison!