Belgium-based Ridley Bikes is still a fairly-exclusive brand here in the United States. With a wider following overseas, many American’s are unfamiliar with the renowned brand. After a quick ride on the 2011 Ridley Noah RS, maybe more people should stand up and pay attention to what Ridley is bringing for 2011.
I swung a leg over the new Ridley Noah RS, which features a moderately-aerodynamic design that’s aimed at riding and racing in a variety of conditions and terrain. While ofttimes the teardrop tubes instantly classify a bike as a tri bike or TT bike, the Noah RS offers aerodynamic performance for the all-around rider. For more information on Ridley’s aero models, visit TheFastestBikeintheWorld.com.
Ridley Noah RS Features:
- R-Flow Jet foils reduce drag by 6.4% by drawing turbulent air away from spokes
- R-Surface paint technology reduces drag by 3.6% by increasing laminar flow
- Adjustable full length aero carbon seat post
- Internally routed cabling minimizes airflow disturbance
- Frame: 30 and 24-ton high modulus carbon fiber
- Fork: 4ZA Sphinx full carbon
- MSRP: $3495 (SRAM Force, Fulcrum, 4ZA build – as tested)
Ridley Noah RS Review
I slipped on the all-black (it was an unpainted sample) Noah RS, eager to give the aerodynamics a whirl. While wind tunnel testing isn’t really in my repertoire, I trusted the folks at the Ridley booth when they said it was really the last mile of incremental improvement and could go a long way to improving overall speed and efficiency. Sounds reasonable enough, right?
The teardrop-shaped, aerodynamic tubing does make the Noah RS look sweet and the Ridley Sphinx 4ZA fork features small wind slots to channel the air from the fork on past the frame. In fact, there are strategically-placed air diffusing panels that “soften” the air (think dimples on a golf ball) as it passes by to further increase efficiency.
The Medium-sized Noah RS felt great overall and I liked the versatile performance it provided. Stepping on the gas, it was immediately responsive and it felt very capable on extended climbs. It didn’t feel uncomfortable and nor did it feel sluggish when pushed up the ascents. I was able to hammer out the climbs with ease (not something your typical aero bikes are known for).
When things turned downhill, I felt comfortable and confident with the Noah RS. Cornering was predictable and the bike was really fun overall. The SRAM Force grouppo performed well and I appreciate the more ergonomic shape to the levers, but I’m still a Doubletap newbie, so it takes a little getting used to.
The Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels performed well and provided a solid and stiff platform when pushed hard, but the rear hub is VERY LOUD. It’s as if they made it that way on purpose as a “Coasting Alarm.” There’s no way to coast while drafting on this bike without everyone in your group knowing it. Yup, that’s me… I’m the coaster! I also felt like the bars were a bit narrow on this build, but that’s personal preference, I suppose. Everything else felt good with no real complaints.
Good Noah RS
- Affordable and capable aero bike for the masses
- Beautiful color scheme (not the black sample bike)
- SRAM Force performed well… just gotta get used to that Doubletap thing
- Very comfortable ride and good overall components
- House-brand 4ZA brakes worked well
- Full internal cable routing
Bad Noah RS
- Bars were a bit narrow for my tastes
- Fulcrum Racing 7’s were great wheels, but the freehub needs a volume control
Bottom Line Ridley Noah RS
While more miles on this bike will yield a bit more beta, my one-hour test ride was great fun. This was my first Ridley and I hope to get aboard more in the future. The aero design feels fast and the overall package comes in at a reasonable price point ($3495) — all things considered.