The Excalibur is Ridley's best-selling race frame for good reason. Some of it is self-evident: At 1100 grams, it's second only to the Helium in Ridley's spectrum of lightness. This is because the Helium uses higher grade carbon fiber (and therefore less of it) netting a lower weight, while the Excalibur relies on 24 ton material with 30 ton reinforcements in the high stress areas of the frame. This is where the cost savings are derived, but don't think that you'll sacrifice stiffness or performance one bit. And, like the Helium, the Excalibur utilizes full carbon dropouts and head tube to reduce weight even further. Unlike the triangulated "Sharp Edge Design" you find on the Damocles, or the super-aero tubes of the Noah, the Excalibur is built with oversized round tubes. Here's a good tip: If you're interested in assessing the likely torsional stiffness of a frame without eve riding it, inspect the girth of its tubing and junctures -- larger diameter tubes resist deflection better than small. Then take a long look at the headtube/down tube juncture and the down tube/BB juncture of the Excalibur and utter a big "WOW." You'll verify this stiffness under power on the first ride as the Excalibur leaps with every pedal stroke.While you might look at the Excalibur and think it's a mere kermesse bike -- the sort of "grip it and rip it" rocketship suited for little more than the warp speed circuit races so popular throughout Ridley's homeland of Belgium, think again. It was the team bike of the UCI Continental Pro Team Unibet. Unibet riders cracked the top-20 in 6+ hour epics such as the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, as well as a host of other rough-and-tumble spring classics on the worst roads of Belgium and northern France. Team Unibet knew the secret of the Excalibur: Its oversized tubing gives it top fuel racer-like acceleration and resistance to flex, but it won't brutalize you when you head out the door for a 5-hour cruise in your 53x19.You'll be hard-pressed to find another carbon bike in the Excalibur's price class built with such care (both structural and aesthetic), with similar lightness, durability, smoothness and with anything even closely resembling its pro pedigree. It's a thoroughbred that has many of the markings of framesets priced well above it.The Ridley Excalibur is available in White/black and comes in five sizes from X-Small to X-Large. Given its compact geometry, we strongly suggest that you focus on the effective top tube length as you make a determination of the proper size. The frame comes with a painted-to-match Ridley 4ZA Excalibur monocoque full carbon fiber fork and a proprietary FSA integrated headset. It requires a 31.6mm seatpost, an English bottom bracket, and a 34.9mm front derailleur.
I ride a custom Moots Vamoots which is a crazy nice bike but wanted a "grip it and rip it" bike for sub 3 hour rides. This was frame was such a great deal I jumped on it. It is a rocket, with Ultegra 6700, DA c24 wheels it is 15.5 lbs with computer, cages and pedals. Ridley supposedly "over builds" the frames so they are super durable but I don't intend on crashing it to find out...
I have ridden a ton of nice bikes from a C50 to a Time VXR to a Madone 7 and this frame is the equal of any of them. Ridley does not get much press (probabbly from lack of advertising spending) in the mags but this bike just surprised me with how balanced it is- stiff but smooth... light but sturdy... Just a fantastic bike!!
Strengths: stiffness combined with comfort; acceleration; ability to hold a line; steadiness at speed.
Weaknesses: Nothing stood out. there was not one thing about it that I found offensive.
This review is for a 2009 Excalibur that I purchased new on ebay. I recently built it up using Campy Chorus 11, and have had a chance to put about 250 miles on it so far. The two things that stand out at initial inspection are its’ low weight and aesthetics. It is a good looking bike without being overly flashy. Add some loud wheels and it looks like it stepped off the pages of ‘Procycling’. Dress it down with a basic setup and wheels with conservative graphics, and you won’t raise any eyebrows at your club rides. It is also rather light. I’m not a gram counter and don’t know its’ claimed weight. However, one lift and the only conclusion that you can come too is that it feels darn light.
Despite its’ weight, on the road it tracked straight and was not bothered by rough surfaces or big jolts. Well, the stability was not compromised by big jolts, but you can definitely hear and feel them.
The bottom bracket is rock solid, the front end has supreme stiffness, and power transfer is excellent. All of this is accomplished while keeping me comfortable. My longest ride on it to date was 3 hours and I had no problems at all with comfort. There is something to be said about the thin seat stays. They really do seem to do a good job of offering the right amount of compliance in the right place.
The frame’s compact design is also a winner with me. This is my first compact frame, so I may just be learning what others already know, but it seemed that I was able to accelerate and really put the power down on climbs. I know stiffness has a lot to do with this, but having that back end tucked in under you cannot be overlooked.
While standing it climbed well, but it seemed to distinguish itself when going through the gears from the saddle. It was also very good at taking rolling hills and short power climbs. The combination of bottom bracket stiffness, a compact rear end, and the campy 11 drivetrain seemed to make powering over rollers in a seated position efficient and fast. The setup definitely rewarded sitting, clicking through 2 or 3 gears, and cresting rollers without losing too much momentum.
Handling is stable and predictable. My informal, riding with no hands test would lead me to characterize it as having a decent balance of stability and quick handling attributes. It is not twitchy at all, but not as stable as my Merckx, Pegoretti. That said, it holds a line well, did well in switchbacks, was nimble, and was not upset by having to change a line while in a turn. Put another way, it rails turns and does not mind getting aggressive. Yet, you don’t have to babysit the bars when just cruising along.
As I’ve read in some reviews, Ridley’s sizing is not typical. I’m 6’2”, typically ride 61 and 62cm frames. On the Ridley I ride a size large. This leaves plenty of seatpost exposed (which I kind of like), but provides me with a top tube length that is where I need it to be. So, I think that means they have long top tubes. My advice, match yourself to the top tube length when selecting a Ridley. And, don’t be afraid if this results in a shorter than optimal headtube length. The stiffness of the fork and front end means that having to slap a few headset spacers on is not going to compromise the ride.
Now, I just hope that it scores high in longevity. I’m a heavy rider (245Lbs.) and that is a concern for me with carbon. By the way, the Excalibur is ‘Big boy’ approved. It handles my size without a qualm.
Strengths: Light, very responsive to the slightest power input, durable construction leading to excellent shock absorption and comfortable rides!
Weaknesses: A double crankset on the climbs! It was something of a weakness for me and so I have now instead started using the double crankset as a training mechanism for that race day finish ;)
This is a review for the 2008 Ridley Excalibur with Shimano Dura Ace 7800 components! Boy oh boy, is this impressive or what :) Light, very responsive, stiff, and once you get the hang of it...it climbs like a cat! The build quality is spectacular and the bike is quite stiff and it almost mocks you to be as stiff as it is :P
Great cornering and handling
2008 frame set built up with Shimano DA components. Awesome bike, light, stiff frame, yet responsive. Big BB helps transition pedal power to the wheel fast and strong. Comfortable for 125+ mile rides, but strong in crits and Road Races. Very confident feeling.
Strengths: stiff, geometry is not too extreme, comfortable, fairly light. the frame geometry (after changing stems) suits my build
Weaknesses: none a this point
My first full carbon frame, stiff, very Like a rocket, very fast, it feels that every ounce of energy exerted moves you forward. combined with the Campy Record gruppo and the Campy Eurus wheels puts this at about 16.5 lbs. These high end campy components are not out of place on this frame. workmanship is excellent and the frame at this point seems quite durable after about 1500 km.