Ridley introduced the Fenix in 2013 as a direct successor to the venerable Damocles and Excalibur lines of road bikes. The Damocles was a bike designed for strength and maximum stiffness – a true sprinter’s bike if you will – while the Excalibur was given the task of being Ridley’s lightweight race machine. Taking cues from both legendary sword-named bikes, Ridley came out with a frame that is not only extremely stiff, but also retains the comfort of the best race bikes out there.
Fast forward 2 years later, the redesigned Fenix has arrived. Aptly last-named SL, the new Fenix SL promises to be stiffer and lighter than its predecessor. Oh and did I mention, it is faster now too, thanks to the aero features incorporated into the frame with Ridley’s experience with the super slippery Noah.
We take an in-depth look at the new Fenix SL, and detail its improvements as well as new features that racers and enthusiasts alike will be hard pressed to ask for more.
Structure and Carbon Grade
Ridley has classified the Fenix SL as a premium All-Round Endurance platform, a frame that will do it all under every possible circumstance. An area they have worked hard to improve is the top tube, which now closely resembles that of the Noah’s. This is to make it more aerodynamic than before and faster than the old angular shaped top tube of the outgoing Fenix.
The downtube remains diamond shaped and highly angular, which makes it stronger laterally as compared to a conventional round tube, making it less susceptible to damage from side impacts.
Ridley has also changed the seat stays of the Fenix SL to a wishbone-styled set up. In addition, they have made the seat stays whisker thin to maximise the comfort of the bike. This welcome change ensures that the bike remains smooth over the roughest cobblestones and transmits as little road vibrations as possible to the rider. If it’s tested and proven on the pavé, it is certainly good enough for Singapore’s largely smooth roads.
The new Fenix SL now comes with a pressfit BB86 bottom bracket instead of the previous BB30. This gives the bike even more stiffness than before and does not require the use of external bottom bracket cups, creating a cleaner and sleeker look as well.
Another comfort oriented change was made to the seat tube as well, as the bike now accepts 27.2mm seat posts instead of the previous 31.6mm. The bike is now much more comfortable over long distances and bumpy road surfaces. This of course also comes with the added bonus of weight savings that has become a must-have these days.
An upgrade to the carbon fibre used in a frame is always noteworthy. Ridley has gone from 24-ton high modulus carbon to a mixture of 30-ton and 24-ton high modulus carbon in the Fenix SL. This allows them to reduce weight by using less material (because it’s stronger) in key areas but at the same time still increase stiffness of the bike.
Weight, Features and Conclusion
Ridley has reduced the frame weight from 1200g to 1060g for an M sized frame. For the rest of us smaller sized Asians, an S sized frame will weigh in at 1050g. The redesigned full carbon monocoque aero fork comes in at 370g. While these figures won’t impress a weight weenie, it is certainly no overweight fat boy and definitely no slouch when it comes to riding performance. Deck it out with the proper components and groupset and you won’t have issues getting it close to the UCI limit.
In high demand these days are wide tires, as research has shown some benefits associated with riding wider tires. The Fenix SL will comfortably take 28mm tyres, should you decide to ride on those.
The Fenix SL proves to be great value for money in a bike that is raced at professional world tour races. If it can handle the cobblestones under powerful professional riders, it will certainly pack more than enough punch for us regular riders.
Ridley Bicycles are distributed by:
Actionbods Pte Ltd
194 Pandan loop
06-18 Pantech Business Hub
Tel: +6567766995(Showroom – Kindly call for appointment)
Also available at:
1 2 Cycle
80 Marine Parade Central 01-786/788
14 Arumugam Road
01-04, Lion Industrial Building C
9 Yishun Industrial Street 1
01-07 North Spring BizHub