Ridley Question
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  1. #1
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    Ridley Question

    I have an opportunity to get on a Ridley this year, but I am new to the brand. I am having a hard time in seeing the differences between the frames.

    I am a light guy, so I value a light bike. What's the difference between the Heliums and the Excalibur? Which of these two models has the best geometry for racing and the best weight to stiffness?

    Any help would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    gbh
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    I hope you won't mind my jumping on your thread, but I also have a Ridley question, and I thought it might be better to keep them together.

    Has anyone ridden the new Ridley Fenix yet? Supposedly it takes elements of the Damocles and the Excalibur, which sounds good in theory. Seems to be priced as an entry level carbon frame, below the level of the Helium. I've only seen one short review of it so far.

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    @ gbh, Ridley are very good, no-non sense, well built bikes, I've heard they had quality issues in the past but all that is been resolved. The geometry is pretty much the same for all models. I own a Damocles 2010, which is a discontinued model for 2013 and a Noah (first generation) 2008. The Fenix, per Ridley is a combination of both Damocles and Excalibur, also discontinued, but in doing that they have lowered the carbon grade to 24, Damocles and Excalibur were 30/24. That's why the Fenix is cheap and "heavy" for carbon standards, but according to Ridley, it's a very stiff yet compliant ride. They accomplish this by shape/tube engineering. I'd say Fenix is an excellent entry carbon bike with racing capabilities. But if you want lightness perhaps you should look into the higher end new model like the Helium and Noah. Check their website for more info.

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    @ u-wood, the difference is the carbon, Helium higher grade and lighter, the Excalibur, like the Damocles 30/24 carbon with rounder tubes. Both are great from what I read in the reviews. It depends on your budget. If you are gonna race, I'd get the Helium, which now comes in two types, the super light top of the line Helium 60/50/40 carbon, and the lower Helium with carbon 30/24.

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    gbh
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    Corsaire - thanks for the info. Much appreciated. "Excellent entry level carbon bike" is just what I'm looking for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbh View Post
    Corsaire - thanks for the info. Much appreciated. "Excellent entry level carbon bike" is just what I'm looking for.




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    Helium also has an integrated seat mast. Excalibur has a traditional seat post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    Helium also has an integrated seat mast. Excalibur has a traditional seat post.
    Exactly. I'm personally a fan of ISP, I wouldn't have it otherwise if I could help it. Traveling with the bike is not an issue for me since my XS size fits perfectly inside a standard bike case. Having said that, it could affect the resale value, that is, if you plan to sell it.

  9. #9
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    Non-replaceable aluminum derailleur hanger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    Non-replaceable aluminum derailleur hanger.

    I don't know about the new Helium and Noah, but previous models, like Damocles and older Noah have replaceable derailleur hangers. I like you blog BTW, well written.

  11. #11
    gbh
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    Corsaire - thanks again for the info and vids. I've had a test ride of the Fenix and placed an order ... will pick it up on the weekend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbh View Post
    Corsaire - thanks again for the info and vids. I've had a test ride of the Fenix and placed an order ... will pick it up on the weekend.
    Don't forget to take pics and write a thorough review :-) I had been eyeing the Fenix as well, Greipel from Lotto commented is a very solid, efficient and stiff bike.

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    Sorry, I was talking about the Fenix.

    From a Bicycling review:
    "Ridley also opted for a one-piece *aluminum dropout instead of the replaceable dropouts used on the Damocles. It saves weight but you lose the option of replacing a crash-damaged part, so ride carefully."

    That kinda did it for me. Between racing and the road conditions we have out here, I like the ability to repair a bike without sending it out.

    I have a couple Ridley Orions, and have been really happy with them, so I really have no need to "upgrade" to another "entry-level" carbon bike. At the price they're selling at Competitive Cyclist, I would just get another one of them and spend the money on wheels.

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    Finally a review on the Fenix:

    http://www.bicycling.com/gearfinderP..._-ridley-fenix


    @ Alaska Mike, I agree, too bad they did away with a replaceable hanger, considering this model was built to last otherwise. There are very good deals on Damocles, Noahs and Heliums all over the net. Another thing I just noticed is that the Fenix tips the scale at 18lbs w/ Ultegra! according to Bicycling.
    Last edited by Corsaire; 12-11-2012 at 06:00 PM.

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    I picked up my Fenix last Tuesday. As an intro, 40 yrs and always used cycling as a training tool for MX racing. TOTALLY addicted to cycling now and havent ridden moto in over a month! As a reference I use to ride moto almost every weekend! Ridden about 1600 miles this year, but am still struggling to hang on the longer and faster (20+) group rides.... basically a newbie, but I hope to do some racing next year.

    With about 100 miles racked up, so for I really like it! Sold my 04 Wilier Izoard to purchase the Fenix. As for the weight, it weighed 18.76Lbs. with Racing 5 wheels, water cages and OLD Look A3.1 pedals ( I bet the pedals alone weigh 1 lbs.). Fenix comes with Quatro wheels but LBS credited them toward a hand built Enve 45 w 240 wheelset. Rims are back ordered and Racing 5's are a demo set. Hopefully with the Enve wheelset, Look carbon pedals and Enve or 3T bar/stem combo it will weigh in the 17's. I am 6', 205 so I will work on losing weight before I throw to much cash at this frame!

    Likes
    Bike is so much more rigid than the Wiier but doesnt beat me up... three rides so far: 15.5 local loop, 30.5 and 45 mile group rides.
    Accererates a lot faster and carries speed better (if that makes sense)
    Handles different than the Wilier, but I think I will like it once I adjust
    Not going to see a lot of them on group rides
    Overall it is a pretty good looking bike..... should look better with Enves with Red decals!

    Dislikes;
    Handlebars and stem, handlebars arent comfortable (to skinny) and bar/stem flex to much
    - game plan is to replace with an Enve or 3T setup (going to a 100mm stem too)
    Seat is so much harder than my old Flite saddle.... wish I had hung on to it
    - I do think I will get use to it, not replacing until I put more miles on it to confirm like/dislike

    Wheelset should be here late this week/early next week. I will take some pics and post them
    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by 986MXRacer View Post
    I picked up my Fenix last Tuesday. As an intro, 40 yrs and always used cycling as a training tool for MX racing. TOTALLY addicted to cycling now and havent ridden moto in over a month! As a reference I use to ride moto almost every weekend! Ridden about 1600 miles this year, but am still struggling to hang on the longer and faster (20+) group rides.... basically a newbie, but I hope to do some racing next year.

    With about 100 miles racked up, so for I really like it! Sold my 04 Wilier Izoard to purchase the Fenix. As for the weight, it weighed 18.76Lbs. with Racing 5 wheels, water cages and OLD Look A3.1 pedals ( I bet the pedals alone weigh 1 lbs.). Fenix comes with Quatro wheels but LBS credited them toward a hand built Enve 45 w 240 wheelset. Rims are back ordered and Racing 5's are a demo set. Hopefully with the Enve wheelset, Look carbon pedals and Enve or 3T bar/stem combo it will weigh in the 17's. I am 6', 205 so I will work on losing weight before I throw to much cash at this frame!

    Likes
    Bike is so much more rigid than the Wiier but doesnt beat me up... three rides so far: 15.5 local loop, 30.5 and 45 mile group rides.
    Accererates a lot faster and carries speed better (if that makes sense)
    Handles different than the Wilier, but I think I will like it once I adjust
    Not going to see a lot of them on group rides
    Overall it is a pretty good looking bike..... should look better with Enves with Red decals!

    Dislikes;
    Handlebars and stem, handlebars arent comfortable (to skinny) and bar/stem flex to much
    - game plan is to replace with an Enve or 3T setup (going to a 100mm stem too)
    Seat is so much harder than my old Flite saddle.... wish I had hung on to it
    - I do think I will get use to it, not replacing until I put more miles on it to confirm like/dislike

    Wheelset should be here late this week/early next week. I will take some pics and post them
    Brian
    Congrats on your new Fenix, and thanks a lot for the brief review. I try not to judge a good, solid, quality frame by its components, those can be changed anytime and it will dramatically change the ride feel and its performance in most cases. This is one of the reasons I like buying a frame separately, and buy the components I know and familiar with. After you change to better wheels, handlebar and saddle you'll notice great improvements. Happy riding on your new bike.

  17. #17
    gbh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corsaire View Post
    Don't forget to take pics and write a thorough review :-) I had been eyeing the Fenix as well, Greipel from Lotto commented is a very solid, efficient and stiff bike.
    So, I've had the bike a few days and ridden about 100kms. What I've realized is that the experience is so different to my other bike, which is a Trek hybrid, that I don't think I'm able to tell you anything that would help anyone compare the Fenix to any other carbon-frame road bike. All I can say is that I'm enjoying it immensely. It feels extremely responsive - above all I love how quickly a bit of effort on the pedals translates into forward momentum. I'm also noticing that it's much easier to corner at speed. I can pick a line at a speed that would scare me on the other bike and hold it confidently through the bend. The road feel is also a big step up - the frame clearly absorbs more of the vibration than my alloy hybrid.

    And of course it's much lighter ... although I have room to lighten it up further in the future ... I went pretty basic on wheels, pedals, etc.

    I guess the other useful thing I can say is that I bought a size M, which has a 56.5cm effective head tube. I'm pretty much spot on 6 feet. The shop gave me a professional fitting, which I'm never going to buy another bike without. Among the adjustments they made, they replaced the stock stem with a slightly (1.5cm) shorter one, and took a spacer out of the headset, both of which helped the position.

    Finally, I agree with 986MXRacer that the handlebars seem a little skinny - I notice this particularly when I'm on the drops. But obviously, that's easily fixed.

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    Picking up my Enve's tomorrow!!! Super excited to compare them to the Racing 5's.
    For what they cost I BETTER pick up 2-3mph….LOL!

    While at the shop I am going to change out the stem to a 100 (as a note the size M comes with a 110) and remove one spacer. I plan on ordering new handlebars next week, but not ready to buy the stem until I nail down the right size.

    For those of you with more experience setting up a bike, should I hold off on the handlebars till I have a my setup nailed?

    Hopefully I can get out on Sunday and try out the new setup. I will try to post pics this weekend
    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by 986MXRacer View Post
    Picking up my Enve's tomorrow!!! Super excited to compare them to the Racing 5's.
    For what they cost I BETTER pick up 2-3mph….LOL!

    While at the shop I am going to change out the stem to a 100 (as a note the size M comes with a 110) and remove one spacer. I plan on ordering new handlebars next week, but not ready to buy the stem until I nail down the right size.

    For those of you with more experience setting up a bike, should I hold off on the handlebars till I have a my setup nailed?

    Hopefully I can get out on Sunday and try out the new setup. I will try to post pics this weekend
    Brian
    Wheels will most definitely make a difference in the way your bike feels under you, and certainly performance. I think you should hold off on the handle bars until your reach is dialed in, but don't forget that the type of handlebar also plays a role on being properly set up. There's a big difference between an ergo bar (long reach and drop) vs. a compact short reach one. I personally have found out compact handlebar work best for me overall, but in the case of Ridley, what works best for me is 130mm stem (I'm size XS) with a rather short reach compact bar like the FSA ( I have rather short arms). You can't go wrong with those nice pair of Enves BTW. Congrats.

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    Picked up my wheels and did a more complete fitting Christmas Eve. We made several changes that after one quick ride (about 25 miles) seem to have made a huge difference.

    Changes made:
    Shimmed the pedals (two shims)
    110 to a 100 stem
    Flattened out the hoods
    Leveled the seat

    The wheels made a bigger difference than I expected. They are so smooth and roll so easy. Bike feels completely different.....I am extremely happy with the way the bike rides now. Didn't weigh it but it feels lighter with the Enve's.


    20121230_155521.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corsaire View Post
    Finally a review on the Fenix:

    Ridley Fenix: Bike & Gear Reviews | Bicycling Magazine


    @ Alaska Mike, I agree, too bad they did away with a replaceable hanger, considering this model was built to last otherwise. There are very good deals on Damocles, Noahs and Heliums all over the net. Another thing I just noticed is that the Fenix tips the scale at 18lbs w/ Ultegra! according to Bicycling.
    The Fenix still has a replaceable rear derailleur hanger just not the full replaceable dropout like the Damocles had. The fully replaceable dropouts were a very unique feature to the Damocles that I haven't seen on any other bike. Both the left and right dropouts were bolted on an thus replaceable. Hope that helps. I don't know why Bicycling magazine mentioned this because pretty much every carbon bike has a replaceable hanger. Search for pics of the damocles dropouts for further clarification.

    As far as the Fenix goes I got mine about a month ago and I'm absolutely in love with it. It's the best bike I've ever ridden by miles. Sure it's heavy by today's standards but I'd gladly take the weight penalty for the exceptional ride quality and incredible price. If you watched Paris-Roubaix this year everyone of the Lotto-Belissol guys was on the Fenix as apposed to Ridley's more expensive frames. It's that good. Jurgen Roelandts also rode the Fenix to a 3rd place finish at the Tour of Flanders. I really don't think there's a better sub $2,000 frame out there.

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    You Can't Go Wrong

    I have not ridden the Fenix, but if Ridley's claim that it is a cross between their excalibur and Damocles is correct, you can't go wrong. That said, as a self-admitted skeptic, there is a part of me that views Ridley's claim that the 24 ton high modulus carbon Fenix is an improvement over the 30 and 24-ton high modulus Excalibur and Damocles as profit motivated. I'm no engineer, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night and I know scales of economy and product line simplification when I see them.

    I should also disclose that I've got both an Ex Cal and a Damocles, so I may be biased. They are both great bikes and have made me trully respect Ridley products...carbon strength aside. I also can attest to the fact that the Ex Cal and Damocles share the same carbon and geometry but are pretty different bikes. The Ex Cal ride feels light and frisky, and the Damocles ride feels strong and fast. The amazing thing is that the weights and geometry are the exact same.The layup is different. The Ex Cal is monocoque and the Damocles is tube-to-tube.

    If I am going out climbing or doing my version of and all out time trial training ride I reach for the Ex Cal. If I'm going out with a group and will be changing the pace often and fighting to hold wheels I reach for the Damocles. Both would perfom well under any circumstance, but the Ex Cal feels more like it is meant to climb, dart, and do sustained max efforts. The Damocles feels like it is built to go fast on demand and cruise at speed. The handling for both is a mix of stability and responsiveness, with the Damocles feeling more steady and content to go where you want it to until you tell it to change direction, and the Ex Cal feels more like the bike you'd want if you were riding a slalom course. Neither is hesitant to turn on a dime when needed or require you to babysit the handlebars. It is just that the light feeling of the Ex Cal simply makes it seem that the bike is just waiting for you to lean it sharp and cut through the apex of a turn at 'break-neck' speed. They're both exceptional handling bikes.

    As for rigidity. Again they're different. I can't tell which is stiffer, but the Ex Cal's feeling of lightness makes it seem stiffer to me. For the Damocles, it almost seems that a bike that feels as planted and tough as it does is supposed to be stiff, so the stiffness is no suprise. With Ex Cal the stiffness is a shocker because it rides so light.

    I can't say which is my favorite. They both are great for long rides and are comfortable to me. The Ex Cal would seem to be a better crit bike given its love for accelerating and turning sharp with ease, and the Damocles a better road racer given it's stability and muscle car toughness. However, the light and accomodating nature of the Ex Cal is somewhat inconsistent with the explosive bump and grind nature of crits. Moreover, it is a joy to do long tempo rides on the Ex Cal. On the other hand, the Damo would feel just right in the middle of a cursing, bumping, and unpredictable crit. Yet, the miles melt away on the Damocles when you are doing a mindless 4 hour ride alone.

    So, the moral of the story is that the Fenix should be great if it blends both traits. Colorado Cyclist has great deals on the Ex Cal and Damocles as of this posting, and they also have the new 2013 Fenix.

    No matter which you choose, you'll be happy. Disregard all of the old posts about the frames cracking with ease. I'm a true 6' 3" 230 pound clyde and both of my Ridleys handle my size with ease. If anything, some might find them too stiff. For me that is not an issue at all, but I can imagine it would be different if I was 70 pounds lighter. Also, be aware that they have relatively short top tubes and long headtubes. Based on my long legged, short torso build this works great for me, but we're all built differently.

  23. #23
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    Great review Vitix2, I posed that question to Ridley themselves on their FB page: Why a 24tT would be better than a 30/24T carbon? They replied saying it's the geometry and tubing innovation blend (Damo and ExCal) of the Fenix that makes the difference. It may be so, but you pay a penalty in weight. I own BTW a Damocles and a Noah (older version 2008, aka Super Damocles), both superlative bikes. Your description of the Damo is very spot on.

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    Vitix2, great writeup on the Excalibur vs Damocles - I was torn between the two when I bought my Damocles 2 years ago. Love the Damo but have always wondered what if....

    My big question for you is, are you riding the same wheels on both bikes? If not, could some of the differences you feel be attributed to the wheels rather than the frames? And I guess, which wheels are they? I have Reynolds Solitudes and like them a lot but those ENVEs in that pic of 986MXracer are pretty awesome looking

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    That is interesting about the Excalibur and Damocles. I own an Excalibur and Tarmac among other bikes. I find the Tarmac to be the fast turning bike and the Excalibur to be a little slower and more 'stable'. I regularly do a fast twisty descent and both carve the turns well but the Tarmac just does it a bit better. The Tarmac makes me want to ride harder and accelerate harder. If I were to write Vitix2's review, the Excalibur would be the Damocles and the Tarmac the Excalibur, if that makes sense.

    They both ride really well. I also ride a Lynskey R420 with lights and that bike is very comfortable but needs to be 'steered' much more down the hill and is not really very fun on the descent. All my bikes use standard 32 hole aluminum rims with DA, Ultegra or WI hubs. The tires can be different but the wheels get switched around occasionally.

    And, thanks for the write up! I too was not sure which to buy and ended up getting the Excalibur Flandrian over the regular Damocles. Based on the review, I think I done good.
    Embrace the fact that everyone on these forums has their own unique desires, needs, experiences and environment so what works for you may not work for others.

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