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As much as we would all love to have a different bike for every type of riding occasion, most of us can't afford to house a lightweight climbing rig, endurance mile grinder, and super stiff criterium racer without some serious financial repercussions. The 2017 Ridley Fenix SL Road Bike Frameset is for cyclists who want a frameset that's competent in competition but doesn't sacrifice ride quality in pursuit of weight loss or stiffness and aerodynamics. Put through its paces on the grueling cobbles of the spring classics, the Fenix SL is a proven jack of all trades that will revel in any road environment without punishing you for riding anything less forgiving than a velodrome.
The 2017 Fenix SL carries over Ridley's 2016 updates and is built from the same 30t and 24t high-modulus carbon fiber as its predecessor. Ridley claims this version of 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 confidence. It's a rare mix of long-mile comfort and criterium-worthy stiffness in a lightweight package that won't hold you back on climbs.
The Fenix SL maintains that plush ride in a lighter, stiffer package than the previous Fenix thanks to a few design updates. 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 undoubtedly 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 final turn before a finish sprint. It also allows more leeway in personal fit preference, letting you slam the front end. Or not. The point is that the older Fenix's tall head tube ruled that option out by default.
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, reducing bottom bracket wag when you're dumping power into the pedals. 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. Please note that Ridley recommends a maximum rider weight of 209.5lb (95kg) for the Fenix SL.
- An endurance road bike for any occasion
- Geometry blends snappy responsiveness with long-mile comfort
- Lightweight carbon fiber construction for confident handling
- Pressfit BB86 bottom bracket shell efficiently transfers power
- Tapered head tube tracks confidently through corners and sprints
- Compatible with mechanical and electronic drivetrains
- Item #RID005K
- Q & A
Ridley Fenix SL
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I purchased my first Ridley Fenix C about a year and a half ago. After many years of riding TCR’s with stretched out race geometry I was ready for something a bit more comfortable endurance geometry for long club rides and long days in the saddle. I was drawn to Fenix because of it lack of dampers / complicated devices to smooth out the ride. I prefer a straight forward no gimmicks bike. Forward to the Fenix SL. I have put 200 miles on this bike in the past week since building it and I am seriously impressed with this frameset / bike. I found the Fenix C to be a very capable all day efficient, fast & comfortable ride but the Fenix SL takes it to a completely different level of performance. This bike has a very stiff, firm, efficient I want to go fast “right now” feel / attitude that is an absolute blast to ride. It is definitely not on the plush side but it’s not by any means jarring either. The thin seat stays and smaller 27.2 diameter (31.6 on Fenix C) seatpost (Fizik R3 alloy) seem to provide just enough flex to provide needed comfort. I am currently riding 23mm wide ROL Race SL Wheels with 25c Michelin Pro 4 Endurance tires but I will be switching to a wider 25mm ROL Wheelset with 28c tires soon which will improve ride comfort significantly on rough chip seal roads. I am looking forward to logging thousands of miles on the Fenix SL and highly recommend this bike to anyone looking for a straight forward, no gimmicks full on fast race bike with endurance geometry. Cheers!
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This is the greatest all-around road bike I have ridden/owned. The geometry is classified as "endurance", but this is much more that a bike-path cruiser. It can be ridden all day, but it is responsive and tough, as well. Ridley prides themselves on being built for and tested on the cobblestones of Belgium. While I don't ride cobblestones, it's good to know that my bike is tough enough to handle the chip seal roads here in Utah. As you can see from the picture, the orange is much brighter than the website lets on. Ridley's founder comes from a frame painting background and I have never seen a poor-looking Ridley.
great all around roadie
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
The Fenix replaced one of my favorite bikes of all time, the Ridley Excaliber. I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to the predecessor but I was really pleased when I got my new Fenix. It's really a comfortable bike and probably ideal for 80% of road riders out there. I have it set up with ultegra and been very impressed with what a great bike it turned out to be especially considering the cost. It's a competitive bike but if you a really serious racer I think you'll find the bottom bracket a little soft/flexy when in a high speed sprint. Feel free to contact me with questions on builds or specifics on the frame. they run pretty big and at 5'7" I ride an XS and can actually ride an XXS if I want to get really aggressive.