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Ridley Helium - 2012

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Item # RID0021

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Item # RID0021

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Description

Belgian love.

Who can forget stage 9 of the 2011 Tour de France as we watched horrifying imagery of Vacansoleil-DCM's Johnny Hoogerland as his breakaway companion Juan-Antonio Flecha was struck by a French media car, launching Hoogerland into a barbed wire fence at roadside. The disturbing video still induces cringes every time we watch it. While he would later need 33 stitches to close the gashes he sustained, team doctors patched him up as best they could at the scene, and put him back on the Ridley Helium he'd just crashed. Surprisingly, it was hardly worse for wear. He finished the stage, riding into the Polka Dot jersey and into the storied annals of Tour hardmen.

It's nothing short of a miracle that Hoogerland's racing career didn't end in that gruesome moment, but also pretty spectacular that despite the Helium being Ridley's lightest bike, it is also their most battle-hardened, having endured punishment on the cobbles and hors categorie climbs all across Europe. It is a shining example of carbon fiber's supreme durability and longevity in the hands of intelligent design. The Helium tips the scales just over 900 grams, which is less than that of Ridley's pave-flagship Excalibur. This is accomplished through its use of superior grades of carbon fiber. Ridley Helium DetailThe Helium uses 30-ton carbon with areas of 40-ton and 50-ton reinforcements (in comparison to the 24-ton carbon used on the Excalibur.) By using higher-grade carbon, Ridley can use less carbon in the production process, netting a lower frame weight. The Helium also utilizes full carbon dropouts and doesn't use any aluminum in the head tube bearing races to reduce weight further. And when you factor in the detail that you need to use a conventional seatpost on an Excalibur, but you don't on a Helium, the real net difference in weight is well over a half-pound . Unlike the Excalibur, the Helium features an integrated seatmast design akin to the super-aero Ridley Noah. We will cut down the carbon fiber seat tube of the frame based on your saddle-to-BB measurement. You'll use a custom Ridley seat clamp that seamlessly mates to the seat tube and offers three different positions to modify your effective seat angle. The use of this integrated seat tube/seatpost maximizes frameset stiffness when you're putting the bike under serious in-the-saddle pressure. The integrated post, combined with the frame's matte carbon fiber finish, gives the Helium an extremely fast, post-industrial tool aesthetic that looks positively deadly.

The Ridley Helium is available in Black/White, and comes in 5 sizes from X-Small to X-Large. Given its compact geometry, we strongly suggest that you focus on the virtual top tube length as you make a determination of the proper size. Please provide us with your BB-Saddle Rail height in the "Comments" section of our order form so we can properly cut down the seat tube for delivery. Please note that the post's maximum cut-off length from the top of the seatpost is 60mm. The Helium comes with a matching Ridley 4ZA monocoque full carbon fiber fork and a proprietary FSA integrated headset. It requires an English bottom bracket, and a 34.9mm front derailleur. One final note on sizing: on all sizes the top of the seat tube is 235mm above the center of the top tube, not including seat mounting hardware. The standard Helium seat clamp has 18mm in height adjustment, and comes with a 1mm micro-spacer for small adjustments. Ridley also offers an aftermarket clamp that provides 40mm of height adjustment.

  • Flex seat stays increase comfort during long days in the saddle
  • Painted using real paint in Belgium—not decals like your last frame
  • Ridley's 10-year warranty means you may be passing the Helium along to your next of kin

Tech Specs

Fork:
4ZA Helium
Fork Material:
unidirectional monocoque carbon fiber
Fork Blade Shape:
curved
Dropout Type:
vertical
Replaceable Rear Derailleur Hanger:
yes
Head Tube Diameter:
(tapered) 1.125 - 1.5 in
Bottom Bracket Type:
English
Recommended Use:
racing like Hoogerland

Geometry chart

Ridley

Geometry Chart

 

Helium - 2012
 

Seat Tube

(c-t)

Effective Top Tube

(eTT)

Stack

(S)

Reach

(R)

Head Tube Length

(HT)

Head Tube Angle

(HTo)

Seat Tube Angle

(STo)

XS 68.0cm 52.5cm 53.0cm 37.5cm 13.0cm 72.0o 74.0o
S 71.0cm 54.5cm 54.5cm 38.5cm 14.5cm 73.0o 73.5o
M 74.0cm 56.5cm 57.5cm 39.0cm 17.5cm 73.5o 73.0o
L 77.0cm 58.5cm 60.2cm 40.0cm 20.5cm 73.5o 72.5o
XL 88.0cm 60.0cm 62.5cm 40.5cm 23.0cm 74.0o 74.0o

Ridley Helium Geometry Chart

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Here's what others have to say...

5 5

Lightest of the Noble Gasses

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Carbon Wunder bike? Maybe, just make sure you do more than check stack and reach. This baby's got an ISP, that means you need to pay attention to make sure you account for enough seatpost to get your saddle height correct. Lucky for me CC has an awesome returns policy and I was able to get the right size the second time around.

My mistakes aside the helium is an awesome bike, granted that statement needs to be qualified based on this being a new bike and also that its inherently difficult to compare frames without putting many miles on each respective option(which I didn't/couldnt) so awesome is simply my current sentiment, one I'm sure you'll share but only based on the above observed qualifications.

I bought this as the Force build CC offered last spring, they put together a great package for me on allowing for a few upgrades namely the bars to my preferred FSA wing pro compact and to a red crankset. With my race wheels it sits a fraction over 15lbs, keeping to its moniker, it has been my faithful steed for a great season of racing.

Lightest of the Noble Gasses
Unanswered Question

Is the front braze-on or clamp and if clamp...

Is the front braze-on or clamp and if clamp what size?

5 5

It ain't heavy...it's my Ridley

4th Ridley I've had. Started with an Excalibur, moved to a Damocles, then to a Helium. That Helium was sacrificed to the Cycling Gods after nearly 20k miles...and a pothole the size of a Smart car. Split seat-tube...sh*t happens. And here's the outstanding part about Ridley...
I did nothing more than send photos to the Ridley rep, and the frameset was covered. They even sent me the new frameset before receiving the broken one! That customer service my friends! But I digress...
My old Helium had the "archer's bow" seatstays, and to be honest, it was a bit of a jackhammer on rough roads. It rode very well, and was very lively, but was harsh-ish.
The 2011 I'm on now, which is the same as the 2012, is a completely different animal.
The headtube and fork are the same, but that's were the similarities end. The downtube is bigger, as is the BB junction, which we all know (or should know) makes the bottom end stiff.
The chainstays are a completely different shape, and much larger than the previous iteration of the Helium.
Now to the seatstays...
They are a bit flattish, and the "archer's bow" has been replaced with a more standard, triangle setup. These flat, thin stays lend themselves to much improved ride quality.
The bottom end of the bike is still uber-stiff, but the stays allow for a bit of flex on the vertical plane.
The Helium is smoooove.
As for high speed characteristics, it's like the other Ridleys I've owned before it. The harder you push it, the more alive it feels under you. I've raced all of them, and each has exhibited the same behaviors. No drama, no BS sketchiness...just rock steady and smooth carving corners.
The uploaded pic shows the bike as I have it built now. 7800 D/A, Deda Deep bars, Thomson X4 stem, Mavic SSC binders, and a boat anchor Flite Ti gel saddle. As shown, it weighs 16.2 pounds, which isn't bad considering it's a medium, and NO effort was made to build it light.
With new 7900, Di2 or Red, mid-15s will not be an issue. The dilemma is which group to buy this Spring!

Sure, it's not one of those new-fangled aero bikes, and it doesn't matter. I've ridden a Venge, and it's stiff and fast, but rides like a dumptruck. Given the choice, I'll take big, fat, round tubes and ride quality every time! And so should you!

Update: New 7900 mechanical went on about a month ago. Rotor crankset w/round FSA rings. Lost enough weight to get under 16 pounds. Saweeeet!

It ain't heavy...it's my Ridley
Responded on

I totally agree with your review, I have a 2011 Helium size Medium and I absolutely love it. It's not very aero (at all) which I do think is a penalty particularly on descents; however it's an absolutely climbing beast and is super responsive to all power inputs whether seated or standing. With a set of light wheels it also gives incredible acceleration, it feels like every watt is being turned into thrust. Mine is 14lb even and that's with aluminum wheels and a mix of campy record and chorus parts (except planet-x brake calipers which are the only really weight weenie component on the bike). Its super comfortable as well (for a race bike), you could ride a Helium all day long. As I climb past folks who are on Specialized tarmac, Pinarellos, Cervelo etc. I generally feel sorry for them. I'm crazy happy with this bike and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Responded on

Last year I purchased a 2011 Ridley Helium - fantastic responsive frame and geometry. Soaks up the bumps in the rear and stiff everywhere else - unfortunately the drive side seat stay has started moving where it joins the chain stay and is showing cracking through the paint - at this stage Ridley advised that it is normal for cracking to appear - they want to pain it again but this wont resolve what is happening under the paint - great frame - put this fault is disappointing.

Responded on

Wayne, mine is cracked in the same spot. It's just a paint issue. That's where the seatstays are bolted to the rear drop/chainstay assembly. Mine has been like that for a year, and I've had zero issues. Yes, it's annoying, but that's all...

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