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Helium SLX Ultegra Di2 Complete Road Bike
We're not gonna lie, an aero bike feels fantastic at speed and it's an easy pick if it's either extremely flat where you live or you're really gifted and talented and your average speed mirrors that of the pros. So for the rest of us, we're better served on a bike that provides an edge in the stiffness to weight ratio department providing a lively ride and one that feels great on the climbs and few bikes do that better than the Helium SLX Ultegra Di2 Complete Road Bike from Ridley. It's the Belgian brand's superlative climbing bike and has quite the lightweight pedigree, however, it's still a Belgian bike through and through, so it's built to handle the abuse of cobbled muurs. Just ask Tiesj Benoot as he piloted one to victory at the 2018 edition of the Strade. In fact, most riders on Lotto-Soudal, from the evergreen Adam Hansen to the always race animating Thomas De Gendt prefer this frameset over the more aero Noah as its ride is simply addictive and excels over undulating terrain. When kitted out with Shimano's precise shifting Di2 Ultegra drivetrain, excellent house brand Forza components, and lightweight Fulcrum 5 wheels, you have a bike that makes quick work of the climbs and descends swiftly and confidently down the steepest, most sinuous mountain roads.
Providing a stiff backbone for climbing and sprinting and proving its aversion to gravity is its frame construction that counts on a blend of 60, 40, and 30-ton high modulus carbon fiber. This precise layup of carbon yields a World Tour-worthy frame that efficiently transfers power while keeping weight to an absolute minimum and it remains durable enough to handle the rigors of the pro peloton and worldwide travel. Compared to the SL, Ridley claims that the SLX is 15% stiffer and that no doubt contributes to the absolute rush when stepping on the gas and translates to snappy, responsive handling when late braking into switchbacks or stomping on the pedals out of the final corner of a crit.
As with the SL, the SLX features rounded tubing emanating from the seat tube juncture, which slowly becomes more 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.
- A race bike optimized for stiffness to weight
- Racing geometry that's proven on the World Tour stage
- Ridley's lightest, stiffest carbon fiber layup
- Fulcrum wheels continue the stiffness to weight theme
- Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain shifts with precision time after time
- House brand Forza complete the cockpit with light and strong components
- Item #RID007B
- 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 email@example.com if you want to speak about the SLX, or any of the other bikes we sell in more detail!