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Race bikes aren't supposed to be this comfortable.
Ridley is best known for two things — Belgian pride and incredibly fast race bikes. So, what do you get when some of the hardest folks in cycling combine the best attributes of the Damocles and the Excalibur? The result is the Ridley Fenix/ Shimano Ultegra Complete Road Bike. And while its racing pedigree is beyond question, the real surprise is the all-day comfort that sets the Fenix apart from other ultra-efficient race machines.
As previously mentioned, Ridley tuned the Fenix to combine the best attributes of its Damocles and Excalibur lines. But you're probably wondering what exactly these are? Well, starting with strength, Ridley incorporated the same Sharp Edge tube design that was developed for its first carbon frame, the Damocles. Essentially, the engineering ideology at work here is that of form following function. If you've ever taken a gander at Ridley's logo, you'll notice the Ridley "R" encased in the outline of a diamond. This isn't just a flamboyant demonstration of Belgian wealth and prosperity. In fact, it's a representation of Ridley's design philosophy — taking cues from natural, proven designs. Accordingly, Ridley has designed the oversized carbon tubing with the shape of the diamond in mind. The "sharp edge" means that the focused areas of the carbon layup are at the edges of the tubing. This not only guarantees a high level of strength and impact-resistance, but it also translates to a lightweight composition. So, like the Damocles, the strength lies at the forefront, but with pages taken from the svelte Excalibur, the Fenix's strength-to-weight ratio goes off the charts.
Like the Excalibur, Ridley placed a focus on lowering the overall weight, while increasing stability and comfort. Accordingly, the Fenix has been constructed from a 24-ton, high modulus carbon fiber. This means that the carbon is designed to withstand 24 tons of pressure-per-square millimeter. So, the stronger the carbon fiber, the less material that needs to be used. And the less material used means a lower overall frame weight. However, the light carbon design also translates to heightened levels of rigidity, which directly lends itself to an efficient power transfer to the rear triangle. Complementing this attribute are the Fenix's asymmetrical chainstays, oversized tube junctures, a PressFit 30 bottom bracket, and a tapered, 1.125 x 1.5in head tube.
For comfort, the Fenix features a tapered design down the seatstays that thin towards the middle before regaining their original size at the axle. Essentially, this creates a forced flex area for shock absorption on rough roads. And further along these lines, Ridley also gave the frame a medium-height head tube for increased vibration absorption and a comfortable position in the saddle. However, this isn't to say that this is a cushy gran fondo design. In fact, Mr. Greipel opted to ride the Fenix at the 2012 Paris-Roubaix. The tall, tapered head tube also permits a high level of stability, maneuvering, and control across the gamut of speed. These features are further accentuated by the use of Ridley's tried and true 4ZA carbon fiber fork.
For the build, Ridley spec'd the Fenix with a Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed groupset. The drivetrain is comprised of a Ultegra 50/34t crankset with a 30mm spindle to take advantage of the Fenix's oversized bottom bracket shell. It's been mated with an Ultegra 12-25t cassette out back by a KMC X11 chain. For the cockpit, the build features a 4ZA Stratos handlebar, seatpost, saddle, and stem. And in terms of wheels, the bike rolls on a pair of Fulcrum Racing 7 that have been cased in Continental Grand Prix tires.
The Ridley Fenix/ Shimano Ultegra Complete Road Bike is available in the color Black and in six sizes from XX-Small to X-Large.