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Thread: Ribble Buying Experience
26th January 2013 #21
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
Before I moved to the UK, my trusty bike was a Trek hybrid. If I remember correctly, it had Deore with a cheaper crank -- so pretty similar to your 2300, probably. My dad's old road bike had a very old 7 speed group set from Shimano which I rode quite a lot this fall. Personally, I found that I had very little trouble with the rear gears as long as I adjusted them frequently. However, the front gears were a pain because you couldn't trim them. I could never get them set up so that I had all the gears. The things I'm hoping for from the 105 is less maintenance, shorter throws when switching gears, and the ability to actually use all my gears. Also, I'm looking forward to having my gear ratios closer together. My old bike had some extremely low gear ratios and then it jumped up quite a bit. I always found I was wanting the gear in the middle of where I was, which meant finding it on the other ring. Not a huge problem, just inconvenient.
One quick note on gear changes. The wheels I had on my old bike were terrible and they were always going out of true. This changed the angle of the rear gears, causing them to grind in certain circumstances. I used to curse my cheap gears, but actually it was my cheap wheels. I wonder how many other people have the same experience and are convinced that they need to upgrade their group set. Having said that, I've got cheap wheels and a decent group set this time around. That was mainly because the group set is much harder to upgrade. I would have been happy with a Sora or Tiagra group set and upgrade later, but the 105s have a different cable pull ratio, so you pretty much have to upgrade the entire group set at once (not as they need to be replaced). Wheels I can buy whenever I squirrel away enough money (all the train fare I save from riding to work can be diverted to bikes, according to the boss).
As for the frames, I was also torn between the R872 and the NSR. I chose the NSR for my wife partly because she liked the colours and partly because I was hoping it would be a slightly less aggressive ride. I chose the R872 for myself because I know that I like to be fairly low at the front. I wonder if I got sucked in by the marketing blurb now that I see the bikes in person because I can't actually see any difference in geometry at all with the naked eye. The top tube on the NSR *may* just slope a little bit more (you could check on the geometry page on the web site).
The main differences between the two frames is that the NSR is arguably better finished. It's painted and glossy. The R872 has a rough feel and may not have anything on top of it. You can actually feel where the carbon sheets overlap. This isn't bad -- it gives it a kind of raw power feel, but the NSR is more polished. On the other hand the R872 uses a higher standard of carbon fibre, is lighter and has internal cable routing. I don't know why, but it gives me the impression of being the better frame. We'll see when I actually get to ride it (today I hope!). I'll write back later about it.
26th January 2013 #22
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
OK. We went out for a short ride today. Unfortunately there was still a little bit too much snow around to do anything serious. Also my wife had never used a road bike before (nor clipless pedals!) so we had to take it very easy. But I have some impressions of the R872. Keep in mind that I've never ridden a carbon bike before.
The bike is a *lot* lighter than I'm used to. Especially on the slushy streets, the handling was very different. I now understand why some people might not want to ride a bike like that as an everyday commuter. I also found the Vittoria Rubino tyres to be fairly slippy, but again, I'm not used to 23mm tyres. We rode down the high street in Watford (do people not understand the concept of a bike lane???) which has those interlocking blocks on the pavement. I caught the edge of a block a few times and felt the back tyre skid a little bit.
Having said that, the bikes performed extremely well. I was really surprised at the smooth ride of the R872. I felt very little if any road vibration (although, we were riding *very* slowly the whole way). Even on the high street, it had an extremely nice ride. Over larger bumps, I could definitely feel it in my butt. Early days yet, but I'm not overly keen on the CSM K6 saddle so far (I should have brought my saddle with me from Japan...). I think a better seat pillar would also go a long way to improving comfort because I felt little or no jarring in my arms.
Both of the bikes are also very quiet -- much quieter than our old bikes. Not sure if it's a big deal, but it surprised me.
I didn't really get a chance to go up and down the gears because I kept getting stopped by patches of ice and snow (or waiting for my wife). The little that I did was very crisp, quick and quiet. I crossed the chain having it on the outer at the front and inner at the back. After you trim the front (extra click), there is no noise from the chain at all. It definitely performs much better than my old gear set :-)
Apart from the smoothness of the ride, I think the biggest difference I feel in the bike over other bikes I've ridden is the responsiveness. It really moves when you put down your foot. I also got 170mm cranks (my old bike was 175mm). The difference is obvious and I'm really glad I did that. When I was younger I had a nice Bianchi steel frame road bike and I remember that it used to just explode when you stepped down on it. This bike is a lot different. It moves, but it's really soft. You don't feel it at all. The power is there, but the smoothness of the drive train coupled with the softness of the frame seems to mask it. It's just that all of a sudden you're going fast and you didn't really realize it. It feels dramatically faster than my old bike even when I'm going dramatically slower (I hope that makes sense).
The brakes are a lot different than my old brakes. Again my old bike used Shimano Deore brakes. The 105 brakes have a lot less clearance (well, probably true of most road bike brakes, I suppose). They also work a lot better. But it took me a while to learn how to stop smoothly. I'm going to have to fiddle with them a bit. The reach of the brakes on my wife's bike is too far, so I'll have to find out how to reduce it.
That's all I can think about for now. Definitely a nice ride. I'll try to post again when I have a more in depth experience. I'm sorry that I can't really talk about the NSR yet as my wife is still feeling her way around it. She was on the drops the entire time because she was afraid that she wouldn't be able to get to the brakes if she was on the hoods. She was also chanting the "must clip out" mantra the entire time (but she didn't fall!). I'll post more details later.
26th January 2013 #23
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
Great reading Mike, certainly helping me. Keep us updated !
When I do decide to pull the trigger on either the 872 or the NSR it'll be my first full carbon bike. I've owned several Ribbles over the years and I've enjoyed every single one of them.
27th January 2013 #24
Ya the black bike is nearly as cool as mine! Drop down to the local hardware store or pound shop for a 99p 15/16mm spanner for the pedals, IF you need it....you don't need to go mad on the tightening.
27th January 2013 #25
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
There was a pedal spanner in the tool set that I ordered, so no problem.
We went out for a longer ride today now that the snow is gone. It was fairly windy so I wondered if the bikes would get blown around since they are so light. No problems at all. Apparently I provide more than enough ballast.
I realised that the tyres were a little bit low on air yesterday and pumped them up a bit. This, of course, made a stiffer ride, but not so much that it bothered me. I still hate the saddle. I'm not sure what's wrong, but it doesn't fit right for me. That will be my next upgrade.
I was able to go up a short hill today. The bike climbed admirably. There were two things that struck me. First, the pedal action was a lot smoother than I was used to. I felt that I could get power all through the stroke. I'll attribute that to the crank. Second, it was very easy to keep the bike going straight. Normally going up a hill, I find the bike pulling to the side that I'm pushing down on. This bike just wants to go straight. Probably that has to do with a much better frame.
I've also decided that I like SPD-SL pedals better than SPD pedals. I like the slightly wider platform. I have strangely shaped feet and it definitely feels better for me. Also, the amount of float is a little bit less, it seems. I feel a little bit more snug. On the downside, it is definitely harder to clip in and when you slip it hurts :-) I know the SPD/SPD-SL debate has raged on several times. Having done both now, I think it's definitely a matter of taste. I'll probably change my mind when I have to buy new cleats ;-)
One more thing. I slighted the Vittoria Rubino tyres yesterday. We rode them through some fairly extreme terrain today, including a few km of mud track. Absolutely no hint of slipping. I'm guessing the compound doesn't like the freezing temperatures.
On the downside for today's ride, my wife forgot to clip out once :-( Small scrape on the knee. But she's tough. At least this time she didn't have to ride 10 miles to the hospital for stitches.
Anyway, to sum up: I like the bike. My wife's NSR seems to perform very similarly to my R872. If I were to choose I think I would do it based on looks more than anything else. The R872 has internal cable routing and I'm still not sure whether that's a good or bad thing. If you had a preference, it might influence your decision. Otherwise since they are basically the same price and very similar in performance I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
Many people often ask, given that they have money to buy a cheap bike now, if they should wait to save enough money for an expensive bike. I asked my wife what she thought, having ridden the NSR with full 105s (which cost almost exactly 1200 pounds). She said that she would definitely prefer to ride her old bike than to wait several months to save up for our current bikes. However, she really enjoys the new bike. When I asked her what she thought was the best thing about the new bike, she said that it has a lot more power than the old bike.
27th January 2013 #26
'The instructions say that you can't get sufficient torque with an allen key,'
I'd disagree. My Look pedals don't have spanner flats, therefore only allen key tightening is possible!! The pedals are threaded so they tighten (at least, don't loosen) as you ride anyway.
1st April 2013 #27
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
I thought I would update this thread as it has been a couple of months since I last posted. Unfortunately, due to a combination of poor weather, long working hours and poor health, I haven't been able to ride much. However, I have come to some conclusions.
First, I mentioned that the ITM wheels that I got on my bike seemed better than the Rodi Airline wheels that are on my wife's bike. After a few months of riding, the ITMs have stayed true while the Rodi wheels have needed adjustment. It used to be a small upgrade to the ITM wheels, but I notice that they aren't available on the Special Edition bikes now. The Shimano R501's are slightly more expensive and I know that I father likes his, so I would consider the upgrade if I were buying again.
Apart from that, the bikes have been fantastic. My wife specifically pointed out that they climb much better than our old hybrid bikes. I find this interesting given that she's a novice and has moved from a triple to a compact double, which doesn't have anywhere close to as low a gear.
I've managed to find a place to run up and down the gears and I'm very happy with everything. Like my initial impression, the bike likes to go forward and does not hesitate at all when you push on the pedals. Whether I'm going at a stupidly high cadence (which I like to do when I'm accelerating rather than gear up), or pushing a high gear slowly, everything is smooth. Gear changes are very, very quick and quiet and I'm more than happy.
I wasn't sure about brakes. I wanted to get all 105 components because I didn't know what to expect. I wouldn't say that the 105 brakes are that much grippier than my old cheap brakes. The biggest thing is the brake levers, which I really like. Not sure how to describe it. Others have said that you can get by with Tektro brakes and now that I've experienced the 105 brakes, I would buy that.
Finally pedals. I used to use SPD pedals with the Shimano road-like shoes, but wanted to try SPD-SL pedals. I said earlier that I preferred the SPD-SL pedals and I still do, but with a caveat. They definitely are harder to clip in. My wife often has trouble with them and for a novice I would recommend SPD pedals without hesitation. As for me, I used to suffer from numb feet once in a while with the SPD pedals. The SPD-SL pedals have a wider platform and I find them much more comfortable. Keep in mind that I have strange feet and this could easily apply only to me.
Oh, one last thing. I still hate the CSN saddle with a passion. If I had any money I would ditch it in a heartbeat. Still cursing my lack of foresight of not bringing my old saddle with me from Japan...
2nd April 2013 #28
Strange feet eh? And you left your saddle in Japan? This has the sound of a Poirot murder mystery and my money is on the butler.