Belgian heritage and aero intentions, the Ridley Noah retails in Australia for $9,999 with SRAM Red. Find out what the mechanic had to say after building our test bike.
When it was pulled to pieces the Noah was interesting to look at. The thick tubing gives an illusion of a very heavy frameset. Now, it is no lightweight but at 1,000g it is not bad at all, especially considering how robust it is.
The frame is finished nicely even on the inside; no excess carbon shards or resin is seen. The finish on the bottom bracket and headset are tidy: smooth finishes and no blemishes.
An internal headset, although fairly common now, is good to see. Bearings are always easy to source (and replace) when the time comes.
The frame mould is more than a basic shape and on close inspection the down tube has a very neat ridge designed into it. I’m guessing this adds to the stiffness of the bike but is also a testament to the level of quality from the frame, that the company can create a small touch that is consistent and executed perfectly.
Press-fit 30 is the BB of choice for the Noah.
Considering the usual culprits
The bottom bracket shell is a little different to what I have seen before: press-fit 30, instead of a sleeve that is sealed or cups that sit in the frame – the Ridley Noah has a hollow press-fit design.
We had no creaking issues with the bike on the test, but what this design means is that it may need more attention and servicing down the line. This is, in part, due to the elements being able to penetrate the area easily and also because the hollow design can create an echo that may go through the frame. Again we didn’t have a creaking issue but if it does happen, you’ll know where to look.
The finish on the frame is great, a good quality matte paint has been used that is easier to clean than a lot of other similar finishes I have seen lately.
This particular Ridley was not painted in Australia like the custom versions will be and yet the paint is of great quality.
The smooth lines of the tubing matched with the paint job.
The Ridley went in and out of the workshop faster than most bikes on test.
Aero or not, it looks great!
The finned fork is something people seem to love or hate, but I love it – whether or not it creates the claimed aero gains, it suits this bike perfectly and makes it stand apart from others on the market. All ride quality aside the fork is fitting and really adds to the look.
Getting used to new-generation shifting
The build kit on the bike is high-end for everything except the wheels. The SRAM eTap wireless shifting creates an even cleaner looking product, eliminating the gear cables or wires that so frequently clutter up the front end.
In the workshop there is only praise: set-up time is significantly reduced and function isn’t compromised. The SRAM finish matches nicely with the finish of the frame.
Setting up the eTap is super easy, but there are still a few touches you need to make sure you don’t miss whilst putting it together – ie. the small front derailleur wedges that stop the derailleur from moving. This part was missing upon delivery and although not uncommon it is something that is critical in the assembly process to reduce any chance of the derailleur moving or twisting.
Thank you SRAM: eTap makes life so simple for the mechanic — and adds to the ride time during office hours. Though it’s always praised, it doesn’t come cheap but it still earns full marks as the top-tier groupset from one of the truly innovative companies in cycling.
The compact rear end of the frame made it a little bit tight to mount the rear brake; this isn’t too uncommon with the way bikes are becoming more compact but it was a little job that was made just a touch harder.
Brands are frequently opting for in-house components for their finishing kits and there can be a whole host of different levels of quality. Ridley has their own (proprietary) seatpost, aluminium stem and carbon-fibre handlebars.
The bars have a great bend that very much suited me. Once the tape had been removed it’s obvious that the finish is of a very high level; a small ridge design allows the brake cables to neatly sit whilst taping the handlebars. The stem is fairly standard, there’s nothing that particularly sets it apart but with a good, hard anodising the finish looks great
The Ridley build didn’t require too much extra thought.
With a brand that has been around for so long we would expect that a high level of frame finish would be what the bike receives and it does. Combined with a smart build kit the assembly process was relatively easy and a lot less time consuming then other builds from this issue.
The bike is a little let down by the wheels that are on it; although they don’t look bad, with a set of deep dish wheels installed the bike is transformed.