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When we think about the Ridley Helium SLX SRAM Red Complete Road Bike we find it’s a bit of a contradiction, almost like a mythological creature, managing to dial in nearly unmatched stiffness that tracks down the road with assertive control, and minimal weight that glides up treacherous mountain passes like a griffon taking flight. We're pretty confident that no actual fantastical critters went into the construction of this steed, and instead it's been a beast of technology, packing in a meticulous and tough carbon layup, and aggressive geometry that keeps you ready to attack at any moment — fitting for its build, which pairs Reynolds' Attack wheels that shed weight and keep you tracking with carbon fiber stiffness, and SRAM's Red groupset for crisp and precise shifting through the most grueling pitches.
You'll find a climb-happy personality from this elegant ride, starting with a blend of 60, 40, and 30-ton high-modulus carbon fiber. The result is a World Tour worthy frame that efficiently transfers power while shaving about 30g of claimed weight compared to the SL. The front end sees a slightly different curvature at the tube junctions, a small change that Ridley claims boost stiffness by 15% and translates into even snappier, more responsive handling when diving into switchbacks or pushing out of the final corner.
As with the SL, the SLX features rounded tubing emanating from the seat tube juncture, which slowly becomes box-shaped as it approaches the head tube and bottom bracket junctures. As Ridley puts it, this system creates a clean transition from stiffness to comfort. Supporting this ideology, the rear triangle blends the two shapes. The asymmetric, flat chainstays provide a stiff platform for power transfer to the rear wheel, while the ultra-thin seatstays create a vertically compliant ride quality without sacrificing rigidity.
- Soar up climbs on this featherweight road bike
- Technical roads are a breeze with race-ready geometry
- High modulus carbon layup drops grams from the SL
- Updated headtube junction shape increases stiffness
- Internal cable routing with molded internal channels for clean install
- Beefy bottom bracket shell efficiently transfers power
- Float up climbs with lightweight Reynolds Attack hoops
- SRAM Red groupset offers reliable, crisp shifting
- Item #RID009B
- Q & A
Killer bike, killer price
I'd take this over an F10.
I use the F10 as an example because it's such a popular choice in the superbike market, and it enjoys it's popularity for a good reason. It's an extremely fast all-arounder with an extremely impressive race pedigree.
It also costs $6000. That's 4 times more than you'll pay for this Helium at closeout pricing, and after riding them back to back, I honestly liked the Helium more.
For starters, the SLX is ridiculously light. Quoted manufacturer weights, it's actually lighter than the F10, Bianchi's Specialissima, Wilier's Zero.7, and it comes within a few grams of the new S-Works Tarmac, and even the Factor O2. Build up with mechanic Red, Reynolds Attacks, and a stock alloy cockpit, a small came in at 13.7 lbs (and at an asking price of $5500 no less.) The handling is well-balanced, the ride quality is right on par with other bikes in it's class, and the stiffness is remarkable for a bike that's so feathery.
Even if it was the same bike as all of the other superbikes mentioned above, the Helium would make my short list, and considering that you can pick up a brand new 2017 frame for $1400, it definitely earns the status of 'the bike I'd actually buy.'
Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to speak about the SLX, or any of the other bikes we sell in more detail!