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Reinvent your ride.
Some cyclists have the luxury of access to multiple bikes to cover different types of riding: the lightweight climbing rig, endurance and base mile grinder, and super stiff criterium racer. We typically call them "pros." Those of us who are self-sponsored need one bike that can cover all of our road riding and racing needs. Tested and proven by Team Lotto-Soudal on the grueling cobbles and punchy climbs of the 2016 spring classics, the new Ridley Fenix SL Road Frameset leads the way as a true all-purpose rouleur in a sea of discipline-specific frame options.
Though it's built from the same 30t and 24t high-modulus carbon fiber as its predecessor, Ridley claims the Fenix SL is 15% lighter and 18% stiffer, and any number of First Ride impression articles from across the industry assure us that these gains don't come at the cost of cobblestone-worthy comfort. It's a rare mix of long-mile comfort and sprint-worthy stiffness in a lightweight package that can fly up any climb.
The Fenix SL features a few changes to maintain that plush ride in the lighter, stiffer package. These include narrower, flat-section seat stays that absorb power-sucking road noise while maintaining lateral stiffness. The stays feed into a seatpost that's reduced from the previous model's 31.6mm to a more vertically compliant 27.2mm. The flat, curved top tube is another significant redesign, serving as a leaf spring of sorts that works in conjunction with the seatstays and slimmed-down seatpost. The net result is a system-wide increase in vibration damping and compliance for a more forgiving ride across everything from rural chip seal to the stones of Belgium.
The top tube and down tube utilize a unique multi-hexagonal shape, which is no doubt partially responsible for the claimed increases in torsional rigidity. At the front, Ridley utilizes a tapered head tube that's considerably shorter than the notably tall head tube of the previous Fenix. This makes for increased stiffness while torqueing on the bars and exceptional handling and cornering capabilities while sweeping through descents or diving through the last corner before the finishing straight. The Fenix SL will go exactly where you want it to, when you want it to, and will corner on rails to boot.
For an extra dose of stiffness, Ridley opts for a beefy PressFit BB86 shell instead of the PF30 model featured in the previous Fenix. The wider bottom bracket shell anchors the oversized drive spine, solidly transferring every bit of power to the drivetrain without any watt-sucking lateral movement. While this frame isn't billed as specifically aerodynamic, it does boast an integrated fork crown for a smooth transition between the head tube and fork that at least offers the appearance of aerodynamics. You'll enjoy some drag-reduction benefits over frames without the integrated fork crown, and it just plain looks cleaner.
Ridley caps off the 2016 Fenix SL Road Frameset with internal cable routing that's compatible with both mechanical and electronic shifting systems for clean lines and a bit of extra aerodynamic advantage, regardless of setup.
- Item #RID004D
- Q & A
Love this frame
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I have been riding road bikes since the late 1980's, and have ridden every material except titanium (although with any luck, will be ordering a Firefly Ti bike). I built up the Fenix SL frame/fork with full Dura Ace 9000, Thomson X2 stem and Masterpiece post, HED Belgium C2 rims (24 front / 28 rear) with Chris King R45 hubs and Vittoria Rubino Pro day-to-day tires (and latex tubes), 3T ergonova aluminum bars, Specialized Toupe Pro seat and Garmin Vector 2 pedals. It is definitely not the lightest bike I've ever owned, but it is by FAR the most comfortable. It is stiff, but forgiving - although the rim and tire/tube combo help with this as well.
I've put a few hundred miles on the bike and the only downside (to me) is that the bike doesn't have the quickest handling in the world. I personally like bikes that are "twitchy"....and this isn't one of them. To somewhat put it in context, it's like comparing a BMW M5 (Ridley) to a Porsche Cayman GT4 (purpose-built "high speed" racing bike) - the M5 will outclass and outcomfort the GT4, especially for the long haul, but the GT4 will outhandle it any day of the week.
Now, that's not to say that the Fenix SL doesn't handle well and is incapable; I'm just comparing it to a full-on crit machine that you can effortlessly dive into corners with. You can do that with the Ridley as well, it just takes a little more forethought. Your mileage may vary. On a recent mountain descent on some rather poor roads, I found myself on the brakes much more than I would be with previous bikes I've ridden/owned.
But the comfort - oh man. This is a bike that you want to keep riding. It's stiff where it needs to be, and yet surprisingly compliant.....but doesn't feel totally "dead" like some other carbon bikes I've owned.
A word about the Dura Ace 9000 mechanical groupset - holy crap. I rode Shimano in the 1990's through to the mid 2000's, and used Ultegra back then - a very capable groupset that shifted flawlessly. I then went to SRAM back in 2007 for my race, bike since it was light and cheap.....if I killed it, it would be much cheaper to replace. I've been using SRAM right up until this spring, but grew tired of the crummy feel of the shifting. Between the brakes, crankset and the effortless mechanical shifting (including the front derailleur), Shimano knocked it out of the park with the D/A 9000 groupset. I will never go back to SRAM.
Oh, I almost forgot - the Fenix SL frame/fork appear to be made in China. I was rather disappointed by this as I was under the impression that Ridley made all of their stuff in Belgium, but this doesn't seem to be the case. Either way, the frame and fork appear to be well constructed and with good tolerances.
A Modern Classic
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Like the Stade Bianche, the Fenix SL is a modern classic. I had originally purchased a Fenix frameset, after a run in with car left my previous bike destroyed, and me with two fractured vertebrae. I was lucky, thank you Bell Gage Helmet. I loved the Fenix, but when the Fenix SL came out a couple of years later, with its advertised more vertical compliance and slightly shorter reachâ¦ I had to upgrade to save a little more wear and tear on my back and neck. This is an awesome machine.
I built mine with a Campagnolo 11spd, mechanical group, fulcrum 3 tubeless wheelset-Schwable 28c tires, and a Deda cockpit. This bike is Sublime. Floats over the busted chip and seal roads of our local Tuesday Thursday night river rides, as if they were fresh tarmac. Scoots forward when pressure is applied to the pedals; zero flex when I stand on the pedals and try to sprintâ¦ lol, granted Iâm not a super strong sprinter, but still, I canât make the frame flex or the chain ring rub. Fantastic energy transfer, on the half dozen hill rides Iâve done with it energy goes straight to the drive train; and just as importantly the bike incredibly stable on the descents and never needed to be coaxed through the corners.
Okay then, this frameset just looks cool. Thin seat stays, internally run cable housing throughout, aero head tube, arching top tubeâ¦ Itâs just cool. Build up yours with a groupo of your choice, and youâll have a modern classic that will take you anywhere you want to go.
Frame is worth the money !! It does what it really says on the specs ! Ridley bikes are awesome one bike for all road cycling condition , if it withstand the cobbles then it's one good frame !!
an under rated sleeper
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Being a newer model to the Ridley lineup I was a little hesitant to fall in love with this frame being such a fan of it's predecessor the Excalibur. I was extremely please to find that Ridley had done this right and made it ride even better. It's very athletic but holds to being a very comfortable ride long term. Ridley makes a bike you can't go wrong with at a great price and they hit the mark again with a bike that will compete with frames costing much more. Feel free to contact me directly with questions on custom builds and pricing. firstname.lastname@example.org 801-736-6396 ext. 4417
Why does the size table on this page differ from the one on the Ridley page? Per the Ridley page I should be a large, but the CC page tells me I should ride a XL.
Eric, I'll get someone on an update to the site. In the meantime, give me a shout and we can go over sizing details. email@example.com 801-204-4557
what is the weight of a medium size Ridley Fenix SL frameset? Also, what is the "Horizontal" measurement of the top tube on a size Medium.
You have this listed as a 2015 model frame, but I believe the Fenix SL is a 2016 model?
Hi Dave, this is indeed a 2016 and hopefully shows that on the title.