As much as we would all love to have a different bike for every type of riding occasion, most of us can't afford to house a lightweight climbing rig, endurance mile grinder, and super stiff criterium racer without some serious financial repercussions. The 2017 Ridley Fenix SL Road Bike Frameset is for cyclists who want a frameset that's competent in competition but doesn't sacrifice ride quality in pursuit of weight loss or stiffness and aerodynamics. Put through its paces on the grueling cobbles of the spring classics, the Fenix SL is a proven jack of all trades that will revel in any road environment without punishing you for riding anything less forgiving than a velodrome.
The 2017 Fenix SL carries over Ridley's 2016 updates and is built from the same 30t and 24t high-modulus carbon fiber as its 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 confidence. It's a rare mix of long-mile comfort and criterium-worthy stiffness in a lightweight package that won't hold you back on 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 chip seal to the stones of Belgium.
The top tube and down tube utilize a unique multi-hexagonal shape, which is undoubtedly partially responsible for the claimed increases in torsional rigidity. At the front, Ridley utilizes 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. It also allows more leeway in personal fit preference, letting you slam the front end. Or not. The point is that the older Fenix's tall head tube ruled that option out by default.
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, reducing bottom bracket wag when you're dumping power into the pedals. 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.
Ridley caps off the 2016 Fenix SL Road Frameset with internal cable routing that's compatible with both mechanical and electronic shifting systems for clean lines and a bit of extra aerodynamic advantage, regardless of setup. Please note that Ridley recommends a maximum rider weight of 209.5lb (95kg) for the Fenix SL.
- An endurance road bike for any occasion
- Geometry blends snappy responsiveness with long-mile comfort
- Lightweight carbon fiber construction for confident handling
- Pressfit BB86 bottom bracket shell efficiently transfers power
- Tapered head tube tracks confidently through corners and sprints
- Compatible with mechanical and electronic drivetrains