2018 Ridley Noah SL Aero+ disc brake road bike

Ridley’s aero road bike already had 75 World Tour wins under André Greipel, but when they compared it to the latest crop of competitor’s aero bikes, they found there was room for improvement. The new Noah SL Disc Aero+ builds on ideas like split fork legs and the F-Surface molded rib that trips the air to keep it flowing smoothly across the frame rather than bumping it off and creating turbulence. Those features were introduced on prior models, but didn’t address all those cables out in front of the bike that futzed up the air flow.

They have a wind tunnel on the grounds of their office park, so they took advantage of it being just 50m from their doors to develop this bike. They spent two weeks testing competitors’ aero bikes, using the same wheels and tires on every bike. They noticed that the bikes with an integrated cockpit that hid the cables inside the bar and stem and directly into the frame had a huge advantage. So they took that concept to the extreme and made a whopping 40% improvement in the Noah SL’s aerodynamics…

2018 Ridley Noah SL Aero+ disc brake road bike

To hide all of the cables, they gave the fork’s steerer tube a “D” shape, which made room for cables to slide behind it. They snake inside the one-piece handlebar and stem and directly into the frame. They say even with those tight bends, mechanical shifting is nearly as smooth as a build with traditional external cable routing. And electronic builds will be flawless, of course.

2018 Ridley Noah SL Aero+ disc brake road bike

The result is an impeccably clean bike, with virtually zero cables or wires showing except for the exit loop leading to the rear derailleur.

2018 Ridley Noah SL Aero+ disc brake road bike

2018 Ridley Noah SL Aero+ disc brake road bike

The D-shaped, truncated aero tubes run throughout the frame, too, even up the seatpost.

2018 Ridley Noah SL Aero+ disc brake road bike

It’s only offered in a disc brake version with the integrated cockpit because, with a rim brake, you need the front brake cable outside, so they left it with normal cable routing for shifters, too. For those rim brake bikes, they’re moving the cable entry ports from the front of the headtube just past it onto the downtube, which makes it easier to close them off with covers for electronic builds.

The split fork legs carry over, designed to move turbulent air away from the spokes to reduce drag.

Originally, they used a thin adhesive strip on the frame to act as a lip that curled the air and encouraged a more laminar flow across the tubes. They’ve since switched to a line relieved into the frame, but the effect is the same.

They’ll start at €4,899 with Ultegra Mechanical Forza Cirrus Pro Integrated cockpit, and DT Swiss R32db Spline wheels.

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

Last fall, they introduced the Fenix SL Disc. Now they have the extra light version called Fenix SLX Disc, which comes in at 850g for a size medium painted with hardware. That’s a whopping 300g lighter than the SL’s claimed 1,150g frame weight. They did this by using higher mod carbon, giving it a 60T/50T/40T layup of unidirectional fibers. This not only dropped weight, it made it 5% stiffer than the SL.

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

It uses the same mold as the SL, so you get the low seatstay junction, diamond shaped tube profiles on the front triangle, wide BB86 bottom bracket section and clearance for 30mm tires.

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

The seatpost has its own little collar as a safety net against the post slipping down.

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

It has thru axles front and rear and they’ll offer complete bike builds with the new Campagnolo Potenza hydraulic disc brake group and their new house brand Forza R45-19c carbon clincher wheels. The wheels are machine made in Germany using a woven process rather than the traditional layup of patches, so they use less material since there’s no overlap. That gives them a 400-410g rim weight at 45mm deep with a 19mm internal width (26mm external). That process also means total quality control since there’s no variance from rim to rim. What makes them more unique is a polyester fleece barrier on the outside edge to protect them against impacts. They’re built up in Italy with DT Swiss 350 hubs and Sapim spokes, 100% made in Europe of European parts. Weight is under 1,400g, and they’re also aero. They tested them against a Zipp 303 and showed slightly better or equal performance from 0º to 15º yaw angles. Price will be around €1,699 when they launch this fall as an upgrade on complete bikes and separately in the aftermarket.

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

2018 Ridley Fenix SLX Disc brake gran fondo endurance road bike

As a package, it’s an all round bike for year round use…it’s not specifically aero or ultralight, but Greipel’s been happy with it in the Spring Classics, so it’s certainly race-able, too. The Fenix SLX Disc starts at €4,299 with Ultegra Mechanical, Forza Cirrus kit, and DT Swiss R24 db wheels. Or upgrade to the Campagnolo Potenza, a Deda Elementi SuperZero kit and Campagnolo Zonda db wheels for €5.799. Upgrade that build to their new woven Zonda wheels for an additional €345.

Ridley-Bikes.com

11 COMMENTS

  1. Does the split fork actually work? It’s an interesting theory, but seems like it could be replaced with a lighter fork. Has any independent comparison testing been done?

    • No clue about theirs but I have multiple friends that have tested the Oval Concepts Jet Stream forks before everything became proprietary. All confirmed over 30 second gains in a 40k with their drag numbers that resulted in similarly faster times in TTs for seasoned riders that don’t typically make huge physical gains

    • There won’t be a lot experiences,,, 😉 I can only confirm that wide forks as on Orbea Orca OMR, Bianchi Oltre XR4 or Storck Fascenario.3 improve crosswind stability, especially with wide U-shape rims.

  2. That “D-shaped, truncated aero tubes” is known as a Kamm-tail design. There are a few other companies that employ it (Trek, among others).

  3. “The seatpost has its own little collar as a safety net against the post slipping down.”

    What if that little collar fails? I think a third collar is needed.

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