The new Ridley Kanzo Fast is ready to slice through those country road crosswinds and deliver you to the finish line faster than ever. But how? How does a bike that’s battling washboards, soft sand, and sketchy surfaces use aerodynamics to cut down on drag and lap times?
We teased a lot of the aero design features in our preview of this bike. In this post we get a closer look at the actual frame tech and details, and the official specs and colors from Ridley. It’s also the first bike to get OEM spec of the lightweight 2-speed internally geared Classified rear hub, letting them build this 1x-only frame into a bike with 2x gear range!
What makes the Ridley Kanzo Fast so aerodynamic?
The Ridley Kanzo Fast was created as a system and modeled after the Noah Fast, relying on shaping and design of both the frame and individual components…and their integration and interaction with each other…to deliver bigger gains. Or, rather, losses if we’re talking about drag. Here’s how it all comes together:
Up front is a combination of a fully integrated bar/stem/headset system that hides all cables, hoses and/or wires inside. Nothing’s visible until it pops out at the brake or derailleur.
Essentially, Ridley took their Forza Aero Integrated handlebar design and added gravel geometry to it with 16° of flare, and a shorter drop and reach. Handlebar – stem combinations will be available from 38cm to 44cm width and 9cm to 14cm lengths.
Ridley states that the biggest aero gains come from the handlebar, the steerer tube, and the junction of the fork into the downtube.
The aero treatment extends to the fork with their F-Wing design.
While less used on the frame as some of Ridley’s original FAST aero bikes, they’re sticking with the trip lines where they make sense. Here, the seatpost gets their F-Tubing indent to “trip” the air and induce a smoother, more laminar air flow around the D-shaped seat post.
This isn’t the only trick Ridley’s used over the years to reduce turbulence, but it’s the easiest to produce. The rest of the frame relies on truncated NACA tubing profiles for additional aerodynamics.
All together, Ridley claims the Kanzo Fast is nearly as aerodynamic as the Noah Fast. More importantly, when tested against the Kanzo Adventure, it’s 15% more aerodynamic.
1×22 Drivetrain is Classified
This will be the first bike available with the Classified 1×22 drivetrain which will work on the Kanzo Fast, even though it’s 1x specific. That’s because the Classified system uses a planetary gear system hidden in the rear hub to provide a ‘virtual shifter’.
Using a proprietary 11 speed cassette, the rear derailleur shifts just as it would on any other bike. However, inside the hub you have two ‘speeds’. One is a 1:1 ratio so it pedals just like the chainring and cassette combo would normally. And the other is a 0.7 ratio which will make the pedaling easier. This is done with a planetary gear system that Classified claims is 99% efficient, while the 1:1 ratio has no additional losses. And since the system is always in the “big ring”, they claim it’s more efficient mechanically than a 2x system when in the small chainring.
The proprietary cassette design will mean that you can’t just add your own ratio, but cassettes will be available for sale in 11-27, 11-30, 11-32, and 11-34t ratios. Classified will not be selling the drivetrain as an aftermarket group yet, but they will sell additional hub shells if you want to build it into different wheels for your Ridley.
Shifting the system starts with a standard Shimano Di2 shifter, which relays the signal to the transmitter installed at the end of the handlebar. From there, the transmitter communicates wirelessly with the thru axle which communicates with the Power Shift Hub to make the shift. There are no cables to foul, and the system inside the hub is sealed from the elements to make it durable.
Classified claims the “front” shifting can be done under full load (tested to 1000w) and takes just 150 milliseconds to complete, either up or down. It’s also fairly light, with claimed weight to be as light or lighter than a comparable 2x drivetrain. In fact, Ridley says that the same bike is 70g lighter with Classified than a 2x group. The weight of the frame and fork set is listed at 1190g, while the fork alone is claimed at 490g.
You can bet that we’ll hear more about the Classified system in the coming months, and it was just announced that Tom Boonen has invested in the company and is serving as an advisor.
Available in sizes XS to XL, the Kanzo Fast uses a gravel specific geometry with a shorter reach and higher stack.
Ridley Kanzo Fast colors and build kits
Complete bikes will be available in a few different builds and in stock paint schemes or custom paint options through their Customizer program as shown below. With the exception of the Classified build, all of the Kanzo Fast builds are 1x, with a Rival HD, Shimano GRX Di2, and GRX 800 build available.
The Shimano GRX Di2 with Classified system is priced at €5,999, and is expected to arrive in January, though the rest of the bikes will start shipping on September 1.