Ridley Helium RS/SRAM Force Complete Road Bike - 2014 $4,195.00
Lightweight is an understatement.
After successfully increasing the Damocles' stiffness and stability, while dramatically reducing its overall weight, Ridley's engineers emerged with what would become known as the Helium. At nearly 300 grams lighter than the Damocles, it's a frame that was bred for the mountains. Not surprisingly, this was Ridley's objective all along. Essentially, this frame was designed to be built to the UCI's 6.8kg limit, giving you the lightest platform possible to hammer up the climbs. The Helium's proven design continues in 2014, with several enhanced features. These include dual purpose cable routing, which cleanly route both mechanical and electronic drivetrains internally, as well as the versatile, non-integrated 27.2mm seatpost design. Combine these updates with a full SRAM Force 22 drivetrain, and the Helium is ready to propel you up the steepest switchbacks with ease.
The new Helium frame tips the scales at roughly 850 grams in the Medium size. This was accomplished through its use of superior grades of carbon fiber. In fact, the Helium predominantly uses both 30- and 24-ton carbon fiber, with areas of 40-ton and 50-ton reinforcements. But, if you're wondering what the "ton" designation is, it essentially reflects how many tons of pressure per square millimeter that the carbon is able to withstand before failure. Thus, 30-ton carbon will withstand 30 tons of pressure per square millimeter. By using high-grade carbon, Ridley's able to use less carbon in the production process. After all, common logic tells us that the stronger a material that's used, the less of it that's need. As a result, the Helium is able to achieve a lower frame weight. And to further reduce weight, the Helium also utilizes full-carbon dropouts with stainless steel inserts. Additionally, it doesn't use any aluminum in the head tube bearing races.
And while materials are a key foundation for a sound strength-to-weight ratio, the construction process and tube shapes are of equal measure. Along these lines, we find it comforting that Ridley draws its tube shape inspiration from the most tested designs on earth — nature itself. You'll find that Ridley's strongest frames, like the Fenix, feature tube shapes inspired by the diamond. Meanwhile, frames like the Helium are based on the circle. Yes, the circle. As Ridley asserts, the circle reflects the best stiffness-to-weight ratio in nature, as it requires the least amount of materials in order to achieve the highest amount of strength. Accordingly, you'll find that Ridley designed the tube shapes of the seat, top, and down tubes with rounded, circular shaping. However, for sake of even higher rigidity, and weight savings, the top tube has been slightly tapered. Adding to this theme of lightweight rigidity, the Helium features a hollow-molded bottom bracket. This design allowed Ridley to remove excess materials, and the ability to reshape the conjoining tubes. As a result, needless weight has been eliminated, while lateral rigidity has been increased.
Going a step even further, Ridley also built the front triangle of the Helium with a monocoque construction. Surprisingly, the definition of the monocoque process is hidden within the name — "mono" being Latin for "one," and "coque" being French for "shell." So, as logic would have it, monocoque carbon fiber is formed as one piece in a single mold. This system allowed Ridley complete creative control in developing the Helium. From the geometry to the tube shaping to the layup, every design parameter is attainable with monocoque, whereas the tube-to-tube construction method that you see on halo bikes is far more limiting for the engineer. As a result, the front triangle was met by flat-designed seatstays and oversized chainstays. Essentially, this design increases lateral stiffness, while also absorbing road vibration.
The Helium comes with a matching Ridley 4ZA monocoque full-carbon fiber fork and a proprietary FSA integrated headset. This system further increases rigidity under load, especially where the Helium excels, on the climbs. Additionally, this characteristic has been further increased through the incorporation of a 1-1/8 x 1-1/4-inch head tube. And with a 99.0cm wheelbase, a 73.5 degree head tube angle, and a 73 degree seat tube angle (size Medium), the Helium is guaranteed to descend confidently, and more importantly, quickly.
For the build, Ridley spec'd the Helium with SRAM's renowned Force 22 11-speed groupset. The crankset is a Rotor 3D 52/36t, paired with an 11-25t cassette out back. For the cockpit, the build features a 4ZA handlebar and stem. Topping the 4ZA post is a Special Kit saddle, and in terms of wheels, the bike rolls on a pair of Fulcrum Racing 7s that've been cased in Continental GP tires.
The Ridley Helium RS/SRAM Force Complete Road Bike - 2014 is available in five sizes from X-Small to X-Large and in the color Black/red.
Effective Top Tube
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Bottom Bracket Drop