In a very short while Ribble have gone from making no e-bikes at all to making some really good ones. We picked the Endurance SL e as our e-bike of the year last year, and they’ve made other new ebikes which we’ve also really enjoyed riding too.
Today they’re adding two bikes to the range. Well, sort of two bikes. “Cycling’s popularity has increased over the past decade with more and more people discovering the benefits and joy of cycling", Says Ribble’s CEO, Andy Smallwood. "We’ve added the new e-bike Step Through models to our existing World Class range to provide even more choice for everyone, whether thinking of getting into cycling or life-long cyclists like myself."
First up is the Hybrid AL e Step Through. The Hybrid AL e has been around for a while, and we’ve reviewed it on ebiketips. We liked it. A lot.
Making a step-through version of this bike is a no-brainer, really: this sort of bike is generally better with a dropped top tube because it makes getting on and off easier when you’re stopping and starting in traffic and hopping on and off about town. It’s not a boy/girl thing, it’s just easier. A diamond frame is marginally stiffer but you’re not looking for those types of performance gains in a bike like this, and a step-through is more accommodating of a wider range of rider sizes. It’s not a full low-step with a single, bigger diameter down tube. all the same tubes as the diamond frame are here, but the top tube is dropped down the seatpost to make getting on and off less of a chore.
Ribble have used Mahle’s ebikemotion system for all their e-bikes so far, and it’s probably the pick of the lightweight, lower-power systems for me. It’s simple to integrate and it looks really neat. The battery’s in the down tube, and that drives a 250W hub motor at the rear. You can’t even see it between the wide-range cassette and the disc rotor. It’s compatible with ebikemotion’s smartphone app, which adds routefinding and system management functions to the reasonably basic on-bike controls. The light motor system makes for a light e-bike: both of these models weigh in at around 14kg, a bit more or less depending on build and frame size.
Until now changing modes on the ebikemotion system was done with a button on the top tube, so switching meant taking your hands off the bars. This bike uses a new bar-mounted i-Woc Trio handlebar remote, which gives you access to the modes without letting go. There’s LEDs in there to tell you which of the three modes you’re in and even a bit of haptic feedback so you can be sure you’ve pressed the button. It’s nice and neat.
The cables have moved to fully internal routing through this spacer stack, which cleans up the front of the bike a lot. On a road bike that would be for a claimed aerodynamic advantage but here it’s just to look nice.
The Hybrid AL e step-through is available in two variants, although you can configure your bike using Ribble's Bike Builder if you don't like the stock builds. Both of them are basically the same: you get an Apex single ring transmission, Mavic Aksium wheels, Schwalbe’s excellent G-One tyres and Ribble’s own finishing kit. This is the sport version and it retails for £2,299. For an extra hundred quid you can get the fully loaded version which adds mudguards, a rear rack and rechargeable lights.
The other new model is the Ribble CGR Hybrid Al-e. The obvious difference is here at the front with the dropped bars: Ribble have built this as a step-through e-gravel bike, carving out a niche within a niche. It’s currently one of a kind so far as we’re aware.
Do you need a step-through e-gravel bike? Well, you can probably imagine having plenty of fun on one. The drop bars on the CGR will allow you to hunker down on the flat sections for a bit of extra speed, and they also offer a solid position for control and braking on more technical stuff. But equally it might be just the ticket for a longer commute, and you can add a rack and mudguards if you want.
Ribble have specced the CGR with a double chainring; you can have either the Shimano 105 build pictured at £2,799 or there’s a Shimano Tiagra version at £2,399. Both get hydraulic disc brakes. Other than that there’s more the same than different. It’s the same ebikemotion motor system, the same wheels and tyres, and most of the finishing kit is identical too. One notable exception is the seatpost, which gets upgraded to a carbon one for better bump taming when you’re on rougher surfaces.
If you’re thinking that the frame looks similar on both bikes, then you’re right: these two bikes are sharing a new low-step frame design, and it’s available in two sizes for launch. There’s a small/medium and a medium/large, and Ribble reckon that’ll cover riders from about 5’1 to 5’11. So you’re out of luck if you’re at either end of the bell curve, but a decent range of riders are catered for.
Both bikes are available now, and you can custom-spec them through Ribble’s Bike Builder app on their website. You can even have them in custom colours if you want.