Ridley Noah RS, SRAM Force Group, Fulcrum 5 wheels, Deda bars, Stem & Post.
The Noah RS uses a 30-and 24-ton high modulus carbon fiber, just a step below the 50, 40 & 30 high-modulus carbon found on the flagship Noahbut with a healthy jump down in price. Coming in at around 1200 grams, the RS isnt the lightest frame available, but what it lacks in the weight-weenie category, the RS makes up for in aerodynamics and stiffnesstwo characteristics Ridley has invested heavily into improving.
Over the past decade bottom bracket shells have been getting progressively larger, minimizing bottom bracket flex in many of todays machines. But with the Ridley RS this isnt just hype, its actually a defining feature. Bottom bracket stiffness during an out-of-the-saddle climb or a hammering sprint is unmatched, period. Hard as we tried, we couldnt get the RS to play the middle-man when it came to power-transfer; energy went straight to the wheels without passing go.
Ridley tackled lateral flex through the oversized head & down tube, and continued all the way through the front end by adding the 4ZA Sphinx full-carbon fork. The combination of oversized tubing and the 4ZA Sphinx Fork eliminates any hint of sloppiness in the front end. Take your hands off the bars at 30mph and the RS tracks straight and true without wanting to wander or wobbleimportant when its time to sit up and don a windbreaker for the descent.
Cornering on the RS was confident and smooth. Diving through corners the RS didnt flinch, and although it shares the same 970 cm wheelbase as the Damocles and Excalibur, the RS just feels quicker.
One complaint about the RS is that ride quality was almost too good. Smooth and nimble sometimes bordered on muffled, eliminating some of the Euro-sportscar-esque feel that defines a race machine. But, if youre more of a high-powered sedan person, it might be right up your alley.
To say Ridley researched aerodynamics would be an understatement. Every curve on the Noah RS is tuned to reduce drageven down to the R-Surface paint. The 4ZA Sphinx fork uses Ridleys patented R-Flow Jet foils; slotted airfoils on the fork blades draw air away from the spokes and reduce drag by up to 6.4%. Internally routed cables and a teardrop-shaped carbon seat post keep the RS sleek and slender while adding to Ridleys focus on aerodynamics.
But can you feel the difference? Without a doubt the RS feels fast, whether you attribute fast to the aerodynamics, nimble handling or what you ate for breakfast it doesnt really matter. Numbers dont lie, and the with the rigorous wind-tunnel tests Ridley has performed, the numbers are there. So whatever the reason, fast is fast, period.
Groupsets are personal choice, and as someone who isnt a DoubleTap user, the SRAM Force gruppo took a bit of getting used to. Shifting was relatively smooth, but lacked the confident clicks found in a comparable Shimano or Campy group. The Force hoods were fairly comfortable, and access to the controls is quick and easy.
Fulcrum 5 hoops are stock on the Noah RS and come with one of the loudest-clicking freehub bodies around. Dont plan on coasting up behind anybody without them noticing, because the rear hub sounds like a pissed off rattlesnake. Aside from the noise, the Fulcrum 5 wheels felt stable and complemented the stiffness of the RS nicely. Durable and smooth, the Fulcrum 5s make a great training wheelset as most will swap out wheels for race day.
Overall, the Noah RS is ready to race right out of the box. Its also ready to climb, descend and tackle cobbles like nobodys business. It has a price tag literally thousands less than its big brother, so you can still afford to renew your license, pay for your new team kit and take your spouse out to dinner.