Ribble’s all-new Ultra SL aero road bike strikes a familiar aerodynamic profile overall, before making lofty claims based on its unique development and integration. Is this the new Ultra the most aerodynamically advanced road bike ever? Ribble seems to think so, and it’s certainly their fastest road bike yet. And much of the secret is in their wild & curvy new Ultra Bar integrated cockpit…

Ribble Ultra SL uniquely integrated aero road bike

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, complete

c. Ribble Cycles

The overall shape of the new consumer-direct carbon Ribble Ultra SL looks pretty much just like the typical modern aero road bike at first glance. It also shares a lot with their recent Ultra Tri Disc triathlon bike…

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, tech specs

Deep aerodynamic NACA tubing profiles, integrated fork crown to downtube, sheltered water bottles behind the downtube, dropped seatstays, deep aero seatpost with hidden clamp, and integrated headset with fully internal cable routing.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, angled

So what makes it unique?

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, CFD

Ribble Cycles says it boils down to their development process. From the beginning of the Ultra Road project, its early CFD design development factored in a virtual rider to smooth airflow in a more realistic simulation.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, wind tunnel

Then, with design concepts stabilized, they took 3D-printed rapid prototypes into the wind tunnel with a rider to test the best designs. Finally, they evaluated rideable prototypes on the road & track for real-world confirmation of the designs.

The process is said to have prioritized a more complete aero solution that results in more realistic aero gains out on the road, whether going Pro racer fast at 29mph (47km/h) or at more average road cyclist speeds of 22mph (35km/h).

Ultra Bar aero cockpit and complete component integration

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, angled

Ribble Ultra Bar cockpit

The most striking element of the new Ribble Ultra SL aero road bike is its unique integrated & ergonomically optimized Ultra Bar cockpit. The patent-pending aero bar & stem combo was developed not just for the lowest drag figures itself, but to manage airflow downstream to & around the rider.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, CFD cut

First of all, Ribble claims this dramatically curved bar is better able to slice through the air in front of the rider. Then its wake creates a “drag reduction zone” in which the cyclist sits, and directs “vortexes around the rider further enhancing the airflow”.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, front end

Ribble hasn’t shared the actual weight or full dimensions of the new monocoque carbon handlebar with us, simply calling it “lightweight, super-stiff” with fully internal routing integration, a direct mount for accessories, and shapely ergonomic drops.

How much faster is it?

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, track testing

Ribble has a detailed aero development Process Paper of the new Ultra available as a PDF on their website for those who want to dive into the fine details of it all. Suffice it to say, they claim the new Ultra SL R complete bike will shave 75 seconds off a 40km ride at 35km/h, or 61s off the same 40km at 47km/h vs. their already aero Endurance SLR road bike. They equate that to a 3 minute shorter time over your typical 100km ride.

Ribble Ultra SL aero road bike – Pricing, options & availability

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, riding

The new Ribble Ultra SL aero road bike comes with the curvy Ultra Bar as the Ultra SL R, or with a more conventional-looking aero cockpit as the Ultra SL.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike, SL complete

2022 Ribble Ultra SL complete

Both share the same hi-mod Toray T1000/T800 monocoque carbon frameset, available in five stock frame sizes (XS-XL).

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, geometry

Ribble Ultra SL road geometry

The Ultra Bar itself does not appear to be available separately at this time.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, frameset

2022 Ribble Ultra SL R frame kit

The Ultra SL R sells as a framekit for £2500 with frame, fork, handlebar, headset, seatpost & axles.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, complete bikes

2022 Ribble Ultra SL R complete builds

Complete Ultra SL R builds start at £3582 with Ultegra mechanical, £5500 with tri-spoke wheels & Ultegra Di2, or from £6082 with Dura-Ace Di2 & deep ENVE wheels. (EU purchases will be subject to VAT & import duty.)  Complete bike weight claims start at 7.6kg for a medium frame.

Ribble Ultra SL road, uniquely integrated aero road bike with curvy ergonomic Ultra Bar cockpit, sprint riding

Custom builds are also possible from Ribble’s website, as are custom paint jobs. Individual bikes are available for pre-order now, with some frameset sizes available from October 2021 and some complete build deliveries as far out as May of next year.

RibbleCycles.co.uk/Ultra-road-range

3 comments

  1. WorkOnSunday on

    serious money for more serious riders. This also means bike fit is a must…fixed stem length and bar width for each size bike frame and not available separately…..hope that part is not true.

    Reply
    • Twiks on

      That is indeed not true. In the configurator you can change both stem length as width of the bike without any extra costs. So, just make sure you do a good bike fit before selecting the stem/bar

      Reply

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