Simplify your bike collection.
While some of us enjoy the variety of a stable full of bicycles tailored to specific rides, others of us prefer a stable of one do-it-all road bike such as the 2017 Ridley Fenix SL 105 Complete Road Bike. The Fenix SL may not be a dedicated climbing or crit bike, but it harnesses qualities of each—combined with a touch of endurance comfort—to truly embody a race-worthy jack of all trades. Finished with Shimano's affordable workhorse 105 componentry, this bike will shepherd you through everything from epic gran fondos to short, punchy Tuesday night criteriums with snappy responsiveness and comfort.
The Fenix SL carries over Ridley's 2016 updates to this venerable frame, and is built from the same 30t and 24t high-modulus carbon fiber as its pre-2016 predecessor. Ridley claims this version of the Fenix SL is 15% lighter and 18% stiffer, and any number of First Ride impression articles from across the industry assure us that these gains don't come at the cost of cobblestone-worthy comfort. It's a rare mix of long-mile comfort and criterium-worthy stiffness in a package that doesn't entail an undue weight penalty on the climbs.
The Fenix SL maintains that plush ride in a lighter, stiffer package than the previous Fenix thanks to a few design updates. These include narrower, flat-section seat stays that absorb power-sucking road noise while maintaining lateral stiffness. The stays feed into a seatpost that's reduced from the previous model's 31.6mm to a more vertically compliant 27.2mm. The flat, curved top tube is another significant redesign, serving as a leaf spring of sorts that works in conjunction with the seatstays and slimmed-down seatpost. The net result is a system-wide increase in vibration damping and compliance for a more forgiving ride across everything from rural North American chip seal to the stones of Belgium.
The top tube and down tube feature a unique multi-hexagonal shape, which is undoubtedly partially responsible for the claimed increases in drive spine rigidity. At the front, Ridley uses a tapered head tube that's considerably shorter than the notably tall head tube of the previous Fenix. This makes for increased stiffness while torqueing on the bars and exceptional handling and cornering capabilities while sweeping through descents or diving through the final turn before a finish sprint.
For an extra dose of stiffness, Ridley opts for a beefy PressFit BB86 shell instead of the PF30 model featured in the previous Fenix. The wider bottom bracket shell anchors the oversized drive spine, solidly transferring power to the drivetrain while reducing watt-sucking lateral movement. While this frame isn't billed as specifically aerodynamic, it does boast an integrated fork crown for a smooth transition between the head tube and fork that at least offers the appearance of aerodynamics. You'll enjoy some drag-reduction benefits over frames without the integrated fork crown, and it just plain looks cleaner.
- A jack of all trades endurance road and race bike
- Geometry blends long-mile comfort and snappy handling
- Lightweight carbon fiber construction
- Over-sized bottom bracket shell efficiently transfers power
- Shimano's 105 groupset is itself a jack of all trades
- Compatible with mechanical and electronic drivetrains