Some bikes tantalize us with their mystique and heritage, while others turn us on with their raw performance and wealth of results in the professional peloton. The Ridley Damocles is a bike from the latter category. Even though Ridley has only been producing bikes for 17 years, it's been an amazing time -- a brief era capped off by a streak of victories that include the Australian, Dutch, Belgian, and British national road race championships; umpteen wins in field sprints under Robbie McEwen in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia; plus a glorious mountaintop solo victory for American Chris Horner in Switzerland's prestigious Tour of Romandie. Fillipo Pozzato selected the Damocles for his battle with Tom Boonen on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. It's thanks to this diversity -- in the rolling courses that define national championship races, in the dead flat sprinters' stages of the Grand Tours, in the dizzying finishes at the ski stations of the Alps, and on the brutal pav? of Northern France -- that we're convinced of the Damocles' versatility as a race bike. The carbon fiber Damocles is constructed of individual tubes that are joined together into a complete frame. This tube-to-tube method gives Ridley designers the ability to fine tune the layup for each tube considering its role in the frame as a whole, giving it a special blend of durability and lightness. But where the Damocles is unique -- and where it should capture your attention -- is in its ride quality. The true test is to big ring it down a chip-and-seal country road (after all, every bike feels great on smooth pavement). By now we've had countless experiences drilling carbon fiber bikes in the boonies and at times have been annoyed by both the jackhammer effect and the reverberation of road noise throughout the oversize tubes. Take just one test ride on a Damocles though, and you'll come to a glorious conclusion: there's a distinctive forgiveness to its tubes. In a "me too" world of homogenous carbon fiber framesets, it's smoothness and silence will breathe new life into your belief of what's possible with carbon.As smooth as the Damocles is, it doesn't sacrifice performance for comfort, as evidenced by its race pedigree. Its "Sharp Edge Design" has been optimized for stiffness, in a way that it resists flex under power. So be it sprinting or charging up a climb, the Damocles leaps at the push of a pedal. Along those same lines, it has a tapered headtube with an oversized 1.5" lower bearing, giving the front end supreme stiffness when you're out of the saddle. The tube junctures at the bottom bracket illustrate the intent for stiffness under power, as the hexagonal shaped down tube is massive, nearly as wide as the bottom bracket shell. By pairing this rigidity with its capacity for absorbing road vibrations, the Damocles has a finely balanced ride of which most other manufacturers can just dream.A medium-sized Damocles weighs in at 1.2kg, just a shade above 2.5 lbs -- p
The perfect race bike! I love the way this frame reacts when you put the power down; l love the sensation of rock-solid stability you get when barrelling down rough country lanes in a bunch; I love the way this handles, great front end stiffness, tracking through corners, no-drama characteristics. I also love the way you can throw the bike in the back of the car and not worry about putting holes in the carbon, or pick it up from a prang and still ride it without worrying about its structural integrity (it's well built, if slightly heavy for it). It's also a pretty smooth ride, given the above (I'm 6'1", 155bs), but I tend to pick another ride for long days in the saddle and training rides (there are certainly more comfortable frames out there, but none that match the comfort/stiffness compromise that the Damo hits). Love it, Ridley know their stuff! Great value too.
Similar Products Used: Pinarello FP4
Look 481 & 281
Various alu & steel race frames
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2012
Strengths: bombproof design, smooth, stiff in all directions, comfortable
Weaknesses: only weakness is the value to doller; cost:benefit ratio
luckily I bought mine used, but I must say, its hard to stomach that IF I had bought this frame for $3200, I don't think it would have been justified. It is my first carbon road bike, and my aluminum and steel rides are not THAT much of a lesser performer.
This is my first carbon road bike as I mentioned. I think I was the last cyclist in the nation to convert over to carbon from my prior Alu/steel clad ladies, but after all the hype that carbon is so much better in all ways, i finally had it and got a chance to buy a frame. I carefully researched it out, as I do with every purchase such as this, and was left with either a Cannondale Hi-Mod, Specialized Tarmac SL-3, or the Ridley...all based on reviews here that each and all were strong, stiff, and all around performers. I personally liked the Damocles best, and bought it.
Outta the gate the first day, it blew me away as a 20yr cyclist and self-wrenching, self supported Cat4/masters racer of HOW much different the geometry was. It took me a freaking 2-3 weeks to dial in my position, stem length, post set back and all. After gettin her dialed in, and now about 800 miles in, I have to say it is really smooth. They said the faster the better and it is actually true, the road is really soaked up well by the frame, it is very vertically stiff and torsionally stiff as well with absolutely NO flex at all. The BB is stiff as a sophmore at prom, and the headtube is very much the same. It is a comfortable all day rider, the fatigue dampening of the carbon is some noticable, and the bike really climbs nicely. Its not a fly weight, but neither am i, and don't care.
so, to sum it up, its a really good bike, not alot I can say bad about it at all, but the price
Weaknesses: Fork could be harsh if high PSI used.
This is the Filipo Pozzato 2010 ISP model. XS Ridley size.
The reason why I got my Damocles is because of Giant, back in May 2010 I was set on buying a Giant TCR Advanced ISP frame but they were sold out for the year due to the crisis, short production run. That June, after some research and bike watching at some CAT 1 races I liked the aesthetics of the Damocles and its pedigree and Euro pro race proven qualities, Robbie McEwen's favorite. I'm so glad fate led me to Ridley, I couldn't have been happier with this bike and for much less money. No wonder Pozzato made this model his while the sponsorship lasted. It has to be ridden to believe it. Ridley's best kept secret, seriously.
I built mine with DA 2011 gruppo (Dec 2010) and Mavic Ksyrium SLs, on very hilly routes with buddies I put on the AM Sprint 350's. I already have about 3,600 miles logged on it. It's a well made frame, durable, strong due to the tube shapes, very rigid without being harsh, although it can be on the front if going over enough road cracks, that's why I now put about 5 PSI less than in the rear, and it's much better on my hands now. But it has taught me to relax more my hands on the handlebar, the way it should be anyway, no death grips here.
I had an old Ultegra/FSA gruppo but I retrofitted it last December. Now with the DA components it makes for a sharper and nimbler ride, bike is lighter, has a far better drive train efficiency, crisper shifting and most of all feels stiffer, especially when climbing due to the outer BB. It has no choice but to jump forward like a scalded cat!
I come from steel, carbon and Aluminum bikes but I'm no racer, and at 165 lbs I can be competitive on fast paced group rides. An excellent all around bike, a rocket on the flats, a mountain goat on the hills. I feel my Damocles glide over the roads. It moves with you when standing on the hills, the headtube doesn't twitch or flexes, wants to go forward and it tracks as if on rails. This bike screams to be pushed. I couldn't recommend it enough for those who want a 'pure bred' at a lower cost.
Strengths: Value plus the balance of weight, stiffness and tuned ride quality.
Weaknesses: Some might prefer the traditional post version over the ISP if they have fit issues that require rotating the saddle from side to side slightly (or if they regularly box and travel with their bike).
I have the 2010 Damocles ISP with the Pozzato paint scheme. The bike is built up with a Sram drivetrain and hand built, by me, wheelset (DT 240s hubs 28 spokes and DT R1.1 rims at 1,470 grams). The performance of this bike is fantastic. I have been racing and working in bike shops off and on since the mid-80's and worked for bicycle manufacturers so I have ridden a LOT of bikes over the years. The cornering and tracking of the Damocles is spot-on. Acceleration is blistering and the ride is quite comfortable for a bike that is so strong in the handling and drivetrain departments. As with any high performance bike, wheel choice is the most critical factor in determining ride characteristics. A high tension, low spoke count or other overly stiff wheel would feel a lot more jarring than the carbon clinchers or traditional type wheels that I prefer for this bike on longer rides.
Overall you would be hard pressed to do better for the money than a Ridley Damocles. The bike punches above it's weight in many ways. Plus, it is much more fun to ride a nice Euro bike than a same-old-same old cookie cutter machine.
Bike Setup: Sram drivetrain, hand-built wheels, alloy bar & stem
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: November 23, 2010
Strengths: Rigid, solid ride
Weaknesses: none so far
This bike is amazing, really. It´s a delite to ride this bike where ever you can imagine. Did the Tour de Flanders cyclotourism with it and when the first set of cobbles came i knew this bike is Belgium and that cobbles, bad roads and bad weather it´s what it was made for.