Featured User Review: Ridley Excalibur Road Bike

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Featured User Review: Ridley Excalibur
by Vitix2

Price: $800.00 at eBay
Overall Rating: 4 of 5
Value Rating: 4 of 5

Bike Setup:
Campy 11
Selle An Atomica saddle
Thompson Elite seatpost
FSA Stem
Deda Newton Bar
Fulcrum Racing 3s & Campy Protons

Favorite Ride:
I Like em all

Summary:
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:
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.

Similar Products Used:
Cannondale R-800, Trek 5200,Pinarello Stelvio, Debernardi, Casati Gold Line, Eddy Merckx Premium, Pegoretti Marcelo

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