Bikes: Ribble Weldtite Team Bike

At races before lockdown, I have had riders outside of the Ribble Weldtite team say to me how great the Ribble team bike looks so I thought we’d take a look at the race winning Endurance SL R  with help from Jamie Burrows and Jack Rees

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Bikes: Ribble Weldtite Team Bike

At races before Lockdown, I have had riders outside of the Ribble Weldtite team say to me how great the Ribble team bike looks so I thought we’d take a look at the race winning Endurance SL R

The bike is an ultra-lightweight and aerodynamically advanced carbon frameset. The Endurance SL R Series is built with watt-saving aero efficiency at its core. With a high-performance Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset, Level 56 carbon wheels and Level 5 Integrated handlebar system, the race winning Endurance SL R is a performance road racing machine capable of taking on the world’s best as it already has in 2020.

The most eye catching aspect of the team bike is the special limited edition paint finish reserved only for their Pro Team riders and this exclusive model available from Ribble Cycles. It really is a level or two above anything that has come before it. One of the team’s riders, Jack Rees says of the team’s weapon for races, “the bikes have proved faultless through the early part of 2020 after having been tested comprehensively at the team’s training camp.”

Jack racing the Eddie Soens on his Ribble SL R team bike

“Progressing from the rim brake version in 2019 to the disc brake version in 2020 allows the riders to have identical set ups for all types of terrain and race requirements. The move to Hydraulic disc brakes has been a significant improvement. When paired with the Continental tyres, it ensures precise and consistent braking performance regardless of the conditions.”

“We have also noticed some aero improvements gained from having a full ‘clean looking’ set up with all the cables and hydraulic hoses internally routed.”

Meanwhile, former ProTour professional Jamie Burrows who is now head of design at Ribble Cycles, explained more about the work that went into the design of the bike. “In the modern World of marginal gains, we wanted to create the perfect balance of aerodynamics with light weight and handling, power transfer and all day comfort.”

“Many modern bikes tick some of the boxes but with compromise in certain areas. The most aero bikes are usually heavier and uncomfortable over long rides on mixed terrain. And the ideal super light climbing bikes tend to miss out on aerodynamics”.

“With the SL, we started by optimising the tubing profiles one by one using CFD* and backed this up with wind tunnel testing. Pretty much every tube on the bike is an aerodynamically optimised truncated aerofoil shape. This allows aero gains but keeps weight to a minimum whilst maximising torsional stiffness over traditional aerofoil shapes. The resulting frame generates 28.5% less drag compared to our previous top end road bike.”

“Other key attributes” says Jamie “are the ability to run up to 32 mm tyres and the total frame integration when paired with the LEVEL 5 integrated bar and stem. This alone offers a drag saving of 40% over a conventional bar and stem and allows for fully internal routing of both brake and gear cables”. As mentioned above, one of the big changes to the 2020 team bike has been the addition of the brand’s own brand components called LEVEL.

The Level 5 Team Edition carbon integrated bar stem system provides an ultra-clean cockpit with zero visible cables and a drag reduction of up to 40% over traditional handlebar and stem systems. The Team Edition benefits from a stunning Sky-Blue finish to perfectly match the bike.

The company explained what LEVEL was by saying “as our bike development has progressed and integration has become an increasingly important design and performance factor, it became very apparent to our R&D team that we needed a high quality, technologically advanced range of components to both keep up with our product development and further enhance our product range”.

“Next ‘Level’ Technology is a component range designed, developed and manufactured to perfectly complement the new range of Ribble bikes. This enables us to not only offer a better performing product and rider experience but also achieve class leading accessibility”.

There are more ‘watt’ savings made with the rear derailleur using Ribble Cycles own ‘Level’ oversized pulley wheel system with ceramic bearings. The team’s rider Jack Rees says “the rear derailleur we are using has Level’s own oversized pulley wheels which reduces friction and improves drive chain efficiency”.

The bikes also come with Level 56 deep section carbon wheels that have been aerodynamically optimised in the wind tunnel across a wide YAW range to provide aerodynamic efficiency in real-world conditions (not just front on air flow but from other angles too). The lightweight carbon rim provides excellent acceleration when sprinting and climbing. Silky smooth sealed bearings and Continentals high performance GP5000 tubeless race tyres improve rolling resistance, comfort and grip. Ribble also offer the LEVEL full carbon clincher wheels in 40mm and 86mm profiles to cater for varied terrain and riding conditions.

Cables – what cables?

* What is CFD?
Regardless of how fast you may pedal, aerodynamics plays a major role in the performance of a cyclist. The greatest potential for improvement in cycling speed is through aerodynamics.  At racing speeds (around 50 kph), the aerodynamic resistance or drag is about 90% of the total resistance. Aerodynamic drag in cycling can be assessed by field tests, wind-tunnel measurements, and numerical simulation by computational fluid dynamics (CFD):

– Computational: Real flow is artificially simulated by a computer program
– Fluid: Either gas or liquid. In this case gas in the form of air (Aerodynamics)
– Dynamics: Referring to the fact that the fluid is in motion

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can be used to effectively analyse the airflow pattern around a cyclist, keeping in mind the total package of rider and bicycle as one unit. The result of this analysis is utilized to suggest changes and manipulate the 3D profiles of the frame and component shapes until we arrive at the optimal outcome of both Bicycle and rider, with an aim of decreasing the air resistance acting on the overall package.

This information can then be validated in a wind tunnel with a real life subject and bicycle. A CFD software program pin points areas of pressure on the leading edge of a subject which converts into rider drag and the amount and effect of the wake caused as the airflow shapes around and leaves the subject. We can simulate airflow from all angles (known as YAW angles) which is very important when considering the real World practice of cycling, especially outdoors.

The TORAY Carbon used for the Endurance SL R
Toray are a Japanese manufacturer and market leader in carbon fibres used in the aerospace and sporting goods industry. The bicycle industry in particular uses varying products from the Toray Prepreg series (resin-impregnated carbon fibre sheets).  This means that each sheet of carbon fibre is constructed with resin already built into the fibres which are activated and cured during the heating process of the frame construction.

Ribble use a mix of T800 and T1000 Prepreg carbon fibres during the frame construction. T1000 is lighter and has a higher tensile strength which allows less carbon to be used during a frame layup resulting in a lighter, stronger frame. T1000 is used in key areas of reinforcement and where greater strength is required. For example, the bottom bracket or head tube area of a bike. Although the tensile strength is superior in T1000 over T800, the makeup of the T1000 prepreg forms a denser less supple finish which is why it would not be suited as a material for a complete frame where comfort on variable surfaces is key to ride quality.

Jacob Tipper’s winning bike from the  Eddie Soens with the real deep section LEVEL wheels. The specifications for the team bike are as follows: 

Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050 2×11 speed
Shifters – Ultegra Di2 R8070 Hydraulic
Brakes – Ultegra Di2 BR-R8070 Hydraulic Flat Mount
Chainset – Mostly Quarq with Pyramid design chain rings 54/39 (172.5mm)

Bottom Bracket – Shimano Pressfit BB72-41B 86.5×41
Cassette – Ultegra R8000 11-28T
Chain – Shimano HG701 11 Speed (On the team’s bikes, all chains are Wattshop waxed treated)
Disc brake Rotors – RT800 Centrelock 140mm
Front Derailleur – Ultegra R8050 Di2 Braze On
Rear Derailleur – Ultegra R8050 Di2 Short Cage

Wheels – Level 56 Carbon Disc, 12mm Thru-Axle
Tyres – Continental GP5000 700x25c Black (even when not running tubeless, the team run Weldtite sealant in latex inner tubes)
* Note: quite a few riders in the team run Silca speed shield valve covers

Frame – Toray T800/T1000 Full Carbon Monocoque.
Forks – SL Carbon Disc, Full Carbon Monocoque.

Finishing Kit
Bars and Stem – Level 5 Carbon Integrated Team Edition. Riders in the team use 38cm 130mm stem -10 degrees
Bar Tape – Level Embossed, Black.
Seatpost – SL Carbon, Black
Saddle – Saddle is free choice for the team’s riders and quite a lot use ISM

Approximate Weight – 7.8kg (Medium).

Disc brakes for 2020

The search for saving watts knows no bounds and includes the rear derailleur 

The look of the modern aero bike without a cable insight 



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