Ridley is a Belgian brand that is well known for high performance bikes including their cyclocross and aero road models. The Noah line is their premiere aero series and new for 2017 is the Noah SL Disc. While their Tour de France stage winning racer, André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) may not be able to race on this bike, that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the benefits of riding with disc brakes. We also had the chance to enjoy this bike on some Park City, UT roads and we will share some of our initial thoughts and impressions.
Ridley - 2017 Noah SL
The 2017 Ridley Noah SL Disc is a full carbon aero road bike that features all the same technology found on the standard Noah models, but adds the power, modulation and all-weather performance of disc brakes. Using features that Ridley dubs their "FAST" technology, the Noah has their F-Split fork, F-Surface Plus and their F-Stays. The F-Split fork has air foils in the fork that draw air away from the spokes and counteracts the turbulence generated by the wheels. The look of the fork is very unique and Ridley claims the gain results in increased speed. F-Surface refers to a textured surface that is not unlike the dimples of a golf ball, allowing air to travel smoothly around the frame instead of detaching and creating drag. The F-Stays are shaped with a unique design that is wind tunnel tested, again to maximize efficiency and speed. The seat stays are dropped, meeting up with the seat tube much lower than a traditional diamond shaped frame and they have a very flat profile at this junction.
The F-Split fork has air foils in the fork that draw air away from the spokes and counteracts the turbulence generated by the wheels.
The Noah SL Disc uses a 12x100mm thru-axle up front and 12x142mm rear axle. Of course the fork and rear stays had to be beefed up for the increased torque demands of the disc brakes. The frame is UCI certified and the bike we rode features a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, Shimano disc brakes, DT Swiss R32 Spline DB disc wheels (alloy), Continental Ultra Sport tires and the demo bike we rode was equipped with a Pioneer power meter (not standard spec).
The pricing for the new Noah SL Disc has not yet been set, but should run in the $4,800 to $6,000 range.
The Noah SL Disc has a solid, stable feeling and is ready to handle all the abuse its rider can dish out.
First Ride Impressions
Although our time on the 2017 Ridley Noah SL Disc was limited, we got just a taste of the ride quality. While talking to Ridley Vice President of International Operations, Richard Wittenberg, he stressed to us that Ridley wants to be thought of as the "tough guys of cycling" and that it isn't always about being the lightest but rather about being the bike that will stand up to the abuse and hard riding that their buyers like to dish out. The Noah SL Disc definitely qualifies under this definition. The ride is solid and it is apparent on both the climbs and descents that this bike is stiff and tough in all the right places.
The ride was efficient, but not overly jarring or harsh. The only downside we experienced was oddly enough, part of the disc brakes. On a fairly extended downhill, the lever pull was not consistent and showed a slight bit of fade as we got closer to the bottom of the descent. It wasn't as extreme as coming back to the bars, but there was a noticeable increase in lever travel as braking continued. We would like to have spent more time discerning whether this was a setup issue; however our limited time meant a follow-up ride was not an option.
Other than that little niggle, the Noah SL Disc was a joy to ride and instills confidence that it can indeed handle what the rider dishes out.
Ridley is looking to expand their US presence and they will have some exciting news on the mountain bike side come next April and we won't be surprised if they have a few more tricks up their sleeves in other categories as well.
For more information on the current Noah line, visit www.ridley-bikes.com