Quick Hit: BELGIAN FLAIR from Ridley
From Issue 92
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Ridley Fenix SL Disc Classics
We’re suckers for anything with a Belgian national team color scheme. Maybe it’s because it’s the color of our magazine, but there’s just something about that baby blue that we’re suckers for. So naturally we had to grab the new Ridley Fenix SL Disc Classics edition for a test.
The Classics edition is not a new frame, but rather a limited-edition release of the Ridley Fenix SL Disc. As a Belgian company, Ridley holds the spring classics close to its heart. To honor those beloved races, it has released this version of the Fenix SL, which fittingly was designed for the toughest cobbled races including Paris–Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.
Having cobblestone roads right in their backyard, Belgians know how to make a race bike for the roughest days. To achieve “cobble comfort” the Fenix features elongated chainstays for a longer, more stable wheelbase. Flattened seatstays help deflect road chatter, while their broad shape helps deliver the huge power transfer necessary to power over cobbled roads. The seatstays are also dropped for additional power transfer during seated efforts. A slight curve in the fork soaks up additional road buzz. And because crashes happen, especially on rough roads, the Fenix SL features reinforced, diamond-shape tubing that increases impact resistance.
Choices in componentry set this limited-edition bike apart as well. It gets the Selle Italia SLS Team Edition saddle, along with a Deda Zero100 seat post, and handlebars and stem used by the Lotto-Soudal riders. And while it can clear up to 30mm tires, it comes set up with excellent 25mm Vittoria Corsa tires. A mechanical Ultegra group with a mid-compact Rotor Vegast crank and 11–30 cassette, supplemented with a KMC chain, rounds out the build.
We like the Fenix SL Disc—a lot. It’s comfortable without being a slouch, and can put down the watts when called upon. Even with the 25mm tires it comes with, it has a smooth ride quality that tunes out the noise emanating from most roads. Occasional big hits from potholes will still ring through, but the worst effects of those impacts are pleasantly muted.
The WorldTour heritage of the Fenix SL Disc is readily apparent. It’s stiffer than you might expect from a bike whose purpose is to make the most jarring, cobblestone-riddled days on the bike bearable. The power transfer is especially apparent when you’re deep into the pain cave trying to rip the legs off your buddies—or just holding on for dear life. There’s a reason this bike is called upon by Lotto-Soudal come spring: It provides relief from constant road chatter, while not sacrificing your ability to transfer every watt into motion. And now it looks better than ever.
$4,500; 7.9kg/17.48 lbs (size M/57 w/o pedals or cages); Shimano Ultegra mechanical (52/36 Rotor Vegast crank, 11–30 cassette); Deda Zero100 handlebars, stem and seat post; Selle Italia SLS Team Edition saddle; Forza Vardar wheels; Vittoria Corsa 25mm tires; ridley-bikes.com