Ridley Fenix SL 50 Road Bike - 2016
Save $800.03 (33%) $1,599.97 MSRP $2,400.00
The Fenix SL is 15% lighter, 8% stiffer, and 5% more compliant than its predecessor, the Ridley Fenix Classic. The full carbon, high modulous frame has a touch of aero, with a front triangle that's been obviously influenced by the Noah SL. The shaped hour glass headtube is stiff and aerodynamic, while the fork integrates smoothly into the frame to help better channel air flow around the bike and eliminate drag. The diamond-shaped downtube is big and beefy for maximum rigidity, while maintaining the tough tube shapes the original Fenix was known for. The flat top tube starts out massive at the headtube junction, then arches and tapers to the seattube, which Ridley claims helps the frame flex just a little bit more for added compliance. Gone is the girthy 31.6mm seatpost of the old Fenix, instead replaced with a more comfortable and complaint 27.2mm model. The rear triangle looks like it's borrowed straight from the lightweight Helium SL, with pencil thin seatstays that help soak up plenty of road vibration, and chunky asymmetric chainstays for added power transfer. A BB86 bottom bracket replaces the previous PF30, giving more real estate for bigger tires without sacrificing any stiffness, while a tapered headtube and full carbon fork keep things nice and rigid in the front end.
And speaking of tire clearance, the Fenix SL now officially clears a 28mm tire, but we can testify first hand that there will be room to spare. According to the Lotto guys, the bike clears a 30mm Continental tubular, and we've personally managed to fit some pretty wide tires on there--depending on the tire/rim combination used. This wider clearance, more than anything, helps give the bike a super supple, comfortable ride and vastly expands its abilities as an all-around gravel and all-road machine.
While the updated frame and fork are the big story here, excellent components should never be overlooked. The Ridley Fenix SL 50 is outfitted with Shimano's ever popular 105 5800 groupset, which brings Grand Tour-winning technology to a more consumer-price point. With refined ergonomics and a completely reengineered front derailleur that makes shifting to the big ring, even under power, easy and efficient, 105 5800 represents a technological leap in mechanical shifting.
Rounding things out is build kit from Ridley's house brand 4ZA components, including an alloy stem, handlebar, seatpost and saddle. 4ZA RC31 wheels offer a great premium ride quality, with a semi-deep section rim for some aerodynamic gains that won't weigh you down. Wrapping up the wheels is a set of Continental UltraSport II SL 25mm tires, the pro training tire of choice. The Grand Prix perfectly balances lightweight, flat protection, and road feel for an excellent all-around tire.