As the name suggests, Ribble's Sportive Racing is designed for distance riding. Despite the fact the full-carbon frame costs £500 on its own (plus an extra £113 for the matching fork), complete bike prices start at less than £1,000, which is quite incredible value.
Our test bike upgrades to full Shimano Ultegra and Mavic's Ksyrium Elite wheels, not to mention a full complement of Deda Zero finishing parts, for a penny under £2,000. That's still great value, but at this price it faces stiff competition.
The Sportive Racing is a lightweight chassis – our 58cm test bike tipped the scales at just 7.3kg. That light weight is a bonus when the road starts to rise, and the sportive-friendly compact gearing helps here, too. The bike's long wheelbase and heavily raked fork make it a little slow to react at low speeds but when riding along at a decent pace, they add bags of stability.
The Ribble may not have the excitement of the Cannondale SuperSix, Planet X RT-57, Specialized Tarmac or Canyon Ultimate but it's a pleasant place to spend a few hours turning the pedals. However, despite its sportive billing, it doesn't offer the cosseting ride we'd hoped for.
It's not that it's twitchy or harsh, it's just that the fork transmits excessive buzz through the bars and into your hands. It's not so bad that it'll give you pin and needles or numbness but the ever-present vibration is a tad irritating. You could cure it by using a padded tape like Specialized BG Bar Phat or Fizik Bar Gel, though, so it's not a deal breaker.
Overall, we think Ribble have got the Sportive Racing half right. For a sportive bike, the comfortable position, stable handling, light weight and sensible gearing are ideal. For a race bike, though, the steering and handling are a little slow. If you're looking for a bike to ride long distances on, the Sportive Racing would be a great value choice, providing you address the buzz through the bars with a bar tape upgrade.
This bike was tested as part ofCycling Plusmagazine's 2012 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 260, on sale Friday 2 March.
Origin: BikeRadar.com Road Bikes & Gear