Ribble CGR Ti Enthusiast review


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Apr 28, 2023

Ribble CGR Ti Enthusiast review

The gravel rider’s road rig? This competition is now closed By

The gravel rider's road rig?

This competition is now closed

By Katherine Moore

Published: June 3, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Standing for ‘cyclocross, gravel, road’, the Ribble CGR Ti is the premium titanium-built offering in this versatile model range, which would probably fit well in the burgeoning all-road category.

Tested in the Enthusiast build, with the new Shimano 105 Di2, we’ve made use of Ribble's Bike Builder online customisation tool to transform this unisex platform into a rig more suited to female riders, plus making a few other tasty upgrades along the way.

While certainly far from the cutting edge of performance road bikes, this versatile drop-bar bike delivers an incredibly comfortable and inspiring ride.

The neatly tig-welded titanium frame is an unusual entry into the women's road category of our Bike of the Year test, which typically consists solely of alloy- and carbon-framed bikes.

Sleek and understated, the unpainted, polished frame features discreet mounts for a rear pannier rack, as well as mudguard mounts and two sets of bottle cage mounts inside the front triangle.

Cable and hose routing is internal through the down tube, though exposed at the cockpit for simpler front-end maintenance.

A Ribble carbon fork completes the frameset, which also features internal cable routing for a dynamo, should you wish to add one later.

The geometry figures for my size-XS test bike certainly reflect the multi-terrain proposed use for the Ribble CGR.

At 1,026.5mm, the wheelbase is a little longer than many endurance road bikes, while a 71-degree head angle is towards the slacker end of the road bikes spectrum.

This results in slightly slower handling with a greater focus on stability.

The 556mm of stack is also relatively high, giving a more upright riding position.

The CGR is designed to take both 700c and 650b wheels, with the former is supplied here.

Six sizes are on offer, designed to suit riders from 162cm to 194cm.

At the ‘Enthusiast’ level, the Ribble CGR is kitted out with a 12-speed Shimano 105 Di2 R7150 groupset, with 50/34-tooth compact chainrings and a wide 11-34 tooth cassette.

The only substitution is the Tektro rotors, which are paired with Shimano hydraulic disc brake calipers to save a little money.

Finishing kit is by Level, Ribble's in-house component brand, with an alloy handlebar and stem specced here.

The carbon inline seatpost is an upgrade from the stock Enthusiast build, at an additional cost of £30/$36.26/€33.90/AU$54.46. An alloy seatpost with 24mm of setback is specced by default.

The Selle Italia SLR Lady saddle was chosen for the build, at an extra cost of £50. There are four different women's-specific saddles to choose from using Bike Builder.

The Zipp 303S wheelset is another upgrade, shod with Continental GP5000 S TR tyres in a 32mm width.

There's a wide choice of wheelsets and tyres on offer, though, including the default Mavic Allroad wheelset and 40mm Schwalbe G-One Allround tyres.

In total, my test bike weighs 9.16kg.

Setup was fairly straightforward, and though the inline seatpost improved the fit compared to a standard layback one, I still had to slam the saddle forwards to find a better fit.

You’ll need to take care when sizing up, because Ribble's XS won't be the same as an XS elsewhere, and is suitable only for riders over 162cm (5ft 3in).

At 165cm (5ft 4in), I was right in the middle of the suggested height bracket for this smallest size offered, and the bike fitted pretty well.

Testing on the Ribble CGR Ti was extensive, including my local testing loops on Dartmoor, as well as a four-day road trip around Wales on a mixture of paved and unpaved cycle trails and gravel tracks.

The CGR Ti is one of those bikes that just clicks as soon as you swing a leg over it.

On my first ride, I headed straight up Hay Tor – a local climb used previously in the Tour of Britain – taking a whopping 2 minutes and 40 seconds off my personal best.

The CGR is neither light nor aggressive in its road geometry, so this came as quite a surprise and I’ve spent some time trying to figure out just why we get on so well.

The Ribble provided my first experience of Shimano 105 Di2, and I was wowed.

I’ll be deadly honest here; without getting the scales out, I wouldn't know it wasn't Ultegra Di2. You can expect the same keen shifting performance matched with powerful, controlled braking as you would from the higher-priced groupset.

I’ve previously found titanium road bikes can often succumb to the pitfall of being specced with cheaper parts to offset the increased cost of sourcing and manufacturing the titanium frameset.

As a result, you sometimes don't get to experience the full joy of the material. Thankfully, that's not the case here.

The groupset wasn't the only element of the build that impressed. The Continental GP5000 S TR tyres are among the best I’ve tested on the road.

The girthy 32mm rubber soaked up a lot of the harshness over rougher roads and smaller potholes, but also gave a lot of added confidence when both descending and cornering.

When I strayed off-road, they performed excellently in all but slick mud, and didn't show any sign of puncturing. I’d go so far as to say I’d contemplate using them for fast-paced summer off-road riding – in the dry, that is.

So, onto the titanium frame. There are a lot of generally accepted beliefs about the ride quality of titanium, but I was keen to analyse this for myself.

It's hard to decipher whether the frame material was solely responsible, especially with such wide, quality tyres in use.

However, the harshness of the rougher, bumpier and debris-laden roads was reduced noticeably. And, let's face it, there's a lot of that around Dartmoor, especially at this time of year.

Onto the aesthetics, and I really like the finish of the polished titanium with brushed logos. This comes from someone who loves a flashy, colourful paintjob, but winces when peeling off the frame-protecting Helitape that inevitably takes a layer of lacquer with it.

If you’re set on using bikepacking bags, or mudguards, there's no worrying about damaging the paint here. I used a large handlebar bag on the CGR for a week and the effect on the head tube was minimal.

The versatility of the CGR shines through in other ways, too. The 34-34 gear was perfect for winching up steeper climbs, and reflects the same gearing I choose on my own bike for riding in these hillier parts.

It could easily be swapped out for a slightly larger cassette (Shimano 105 Di2 is compatible with cassette sprockets up to 36 teeth), super-compact chainrings and gravel tyres to tackle off-road riding, too

You could even switch to 650b wheels if you wanted to unlock the full 47mm tyre clearance (usually 45mm with 700c wheels), or leave a little extra space for mudguards.

With mounts for a rear pannier rack, it could make for a good (if a little fancy) commuter bike, too.

The 40cm-wide Level Alloy 2 bars are typical of the width I’d run on a gravel bike, whereas I’d usually use 38cm on the road.

The increased width didn't feel like a burden, though, and, if anything, added a little extra comfort and stability, especially for someone like me who tends to spend more time off-road than on.

If you’d rather a narrower width, you can save yourself £20 and swap to the slightly heavier Level 1 Alloy bar, which is available in 38cm or 36cm incarnations.

Torn between the titanium CGR and Ribble Endurance Ti Disc road bike? There are a few subtle differences.

The geometry differs slightly between the two models, with the Endurance bike offering a lower front end and a more aggressive riding position, though both feature the same head tube angle.

The chainstay and corresponding wheelbase are both shorter on the Endurance, too.

Along with a more relaxed riding position, the CGR offers significantly greater versatility, because you can choose between 650b and 700c wheels, and there's a lot more tyre clearance.

You can fit tyres up to 30mm wide on the Endurance, while the CGR can accept tyres up to 45mm with 700c wheels.

Put it on the scales and the CGR Ti is certainly not the lightest, but when it comes to riding it, you might not notice. The inspiring ride offered by the combination of titanium and wide, quality tyres makes you forget about the numbers pretty quickly.

Race-minded riders seeking the latest aero tech, integrated cables and aggressive geometry would be better off looking elsewhere.

Yet for those who prefer a more traditional approach, the simplicity of round tubes and the ride feel of metal bikes, there's a lot to love about the Ribble CGR Ti. That's especially true if you want to tackle multiple types of surfaces on your rides.

The offering is accompanied by an impressive choice of components to suit most riders, and represents good value, with the Enthusiast model starting at £3,499/$3,826.93/€3,398.51/AU$6,345.79.

Three endurance road bikes were put to the test in this year's Women's Road Bike of the Year category, ranging from builds with women's-specific geometry to unisex frames built up with women's-specific components.

The tarmac of Dartmoor National Park formed the testing grounds for the Women's Road Bike of the Year.

Steep climbs, rough lanes and sweeping moorland tarmac all gave a spectacular backdrop for pushing the bikes to their limits.

Smoother main roads were contrasted with gritty back lanes, enabling us to test how these bikes performed over a wide range of terrain.

We selected bikes at the Shimano 105 or Shimano 105 Di2 level, with a resulting range of price points from £2,499 to £4,489.

In our quest to find the best women's road bike in today's market, we sought a mile-munching, hill-crunching machine that would not only bring us joy to push on the pedals, but also offer good value for money.

Thanks to our sponsors, Lazer, FACOM tools and Band Of Climbers for their support in making Bike of the Year happen.


Katherine Moore is Dartmoor-based gravel and bikepacking expert who judges her rides by stoke level, rather than speed. When she's not scouting out the best long-distance and local off-road routes in the UK, Katherine works as a freelance writer, bike tester, presenter and guide. Katherine is the former editor of advntr.cc and has also worked as a presenter on the Global Cycling Network. As well as being a regular contributor to BikeRadar.com and the BikeRadar Podcast, Katherine has also written for Cycling Weekly, Bikepacking.com and hosts the Unpaved Podcast. If you’re out on the trail you’ll likely see her from a mile off, thanks to her rather bright colour palette!