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Ridley Helium SL Road Frameset - 2015

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Item # RID002T

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  • Matte Carbon/Green, XL ($1,924.45)
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Item # RID002T

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  • 1.888.276.7130

Super(de)Light.

Shedding the grams from a frame design in the name of creating an ultralight deluxe-o-matic whatever model often results in either a flimsy, flexy frameset that's too easy to overpower, or a stiff, jittery one that's lost its ride quality — thankfully, the engineers who designed the Ridley Helium SL knew not to mess with a good thing. The SL is a "Super Light" version of the a famous Helium that doesn't give up a bit of the original's ride quality or stiffness. It's a great frame that needed no adjustment, which is why we're happy that the 2015 model's differences compared to the 2014 model are cosmetic and nothing more.

So how light is light? And how does it ride? These are the two questions we'll address. Starting with weight, the SL is a mere 1050 grams, including frame and fork. With the 300g fork, this leaves just 750 grams for the frame. This was achieved through the use of a sophisticated carbon selection, utilizing a strategic placement of 60, 40, and 30 ton high-modulus carbon fiber. Before the SL, the Helium featured a predominantly 30 ton carbon composition. Why is this important? The "ton" designation in "60 ton" refers to the carbon's ability to withstand 60 tons of pressure per square millimeter. Basic logic tells us that a stronger carbon fiber requires less carbon to be used. In addition, on top of the carbon, Ridley bonded an ultra strong nano-resin that meant it could use less carbon, decreasing overall weight while boosting toughness and stiffness further.

But Ridley's engineers weren't done yet. To further reduce weight, they constructed the front triangle of the SL with a monocoque design. This means that the entire front triangle (head tube, down tube, seat tube, and bottom bracket lug) is made in one piece. How does this save weight? Well, the seatstays, chainstays, and dropouts are bonded to the existing triangle by applying resin and then over-wrapping the bonding points with more carbon fiber. With the SL, this application only occurs once, and you can imagine the added weight of repeating this process at every tube juncture of the frame. Furthermore, Ridley shaved grams by giving the SL a slightly smaller head tube dimension than the Helium, with a 1-1/8 x 1-1/4in tapered design instead of the Helium's 1-1/8 x 1-1/2in.

The SL has also received a new tube shape design. The SL takes its design inspiration from the circle. Yes, the circle. You've probably seen this on the Helium, but the SL does away with the massive, oversized tubing. It features rounded tubing emanating from the seat tube juncture, which slowly becomes box-shaped as it approaches the head tube and bottom bracket junctures. As Ridley puts it, this system creates a clean transition from stiffness to comfort. Supporting this ideology, the rear triangle has been designed to intermix the two. The asymmetric, flat chainstays provide a stiff platform for power transfer to the rear wheel. Meanwhile, the ultra-thin seatstays create a vertically compliant ride quality without sacrificing rigidity.

And on the subject of rigidity, even though it's a lightweight, Ridley says that the SL is actually stiffer than the Helium. To be exact, Ridley's testing has concluded that the SL is 8% stiffer at the bottom bracket, 4% stiffer at the head tube, and the new fork design not only weighs 90 grams less, but it also has a 20% increased side stiffness. How does this translate to speed? In rudimentary terms, ride quality hinges on what's called a stiffness-to-weight ratio, or specific modulus. And while the mathematics behind the determination of specific modulus are too complicated to explain here, it's not a complicated notion to grasp that a frame with low weight and higher stiffness will efficiently transfer power.

Ridley has also made the SL what it calls "future ready." This is a fancy way to say that its 100% internal cable routing has been designed to accommodate both electronic and mechanical shift systems. And in the case of the seatpost, the SL features a 27.2mm post. This moves away from the ever popular integrated seatposts — saving weight and making packing easier.

The Ridley Helium SL is available in the color Grey/red and in five sizes, from X-Small to X-Large.

  • 30, 40, and 60-ton modulus carbon in monocoque front triangle
  • Rounded tubing
  • Internal cable routing
  • Compatible with Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo mechanical and electronic shifting

Tech Specs

Frame Material:
60T, 40T, 30T high-modulus carbon fiber
Fork:
4ZA Carbon
Headset Included:
yes
Bottom Bracket Type:
PF30
Cable Routing:
internal
Front Derailleur Mount:
braze-on
Compatible Components:
Shimano, Campagnolo, SRAM
Seatpost Diameter:
27.2 mm
Claimed Weight:
1050 g
Recommended Use:
road endurance
Manufacturer Warranty:
5 years on frame

sizing chart

Helium size by rider height

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Geometry chart

Ridley

 

Geometry Chart

 

Helium SL
 Seat Tube
(c-t)

Effective Top Tube

(eTT)

Stack

(S)

Reach

(R)

Stand Over

Head Tube Length

(HT)

Head Tube Angle

(HTo)

Seat Tube Angle

(STo)

Bottom Bracket DropChainstayWheelbase
XS 48.0cm 52.5cm 53.0cm 37.5cm 74.0cm 13.0cm 72.0o 74.0o 6.8cm 40.5cm 97.4cm
S 51.0cm 54.5cm 54.5cm 38.5cm 75.0cm 14.5cm 73.0o 73.0o 6.6cm 40.5cm 97.7cm
M 54.0cm 56.5cm 57.5cm 39.0cm 78.0cm 17.5cm 73.0o 73.0o 6.6cm 40.5cm 99.0cm
L 57.0cm 58.5cm 60.2cm 40.0cm 81.0cm 20.5cm 73.0o 72.0o 6.3cm 40.8cm 100.3cm
XL 60.0cm 60.0cm 62.5cm 40.5cm 84.0cm 23.0cm 74.0o 72.0o 6.3cm 40.8cm 101.2cm

Geometry Chart

Reviews & Community

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Classic Climber!

    The kit calculator may not show all available options for a custom build and can be a bit tricky in configuring but if we have it on the site we can build it. Often times we have items not listed on the site as well. If you need help in configuring this bike feel free to contact me direct. I'm always happy to oblige!

    Wes- Account manager-Bike
    wbranham@competitivecyclist.com
    801-736-6396 x 4074

    Avg. ride time: 0m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Is there any changes for 2015 other than a coat of paint?

    No changes other than cosmetic, same light, stiff, awesome ride.

    Avg. ride time: 3h 59m per week
    • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

    Hey, Lift my Bike

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    Helium SL: lighter than air, stiff and light.



    Yep, that about describes it perfectly.



    This is the frame your friends ask over and over again to lift. They know it's light, you know it's light, but everyone gathers around again and again to give it a lift and act surprised yet again. This steed is featherlight at 1050g. Our copy goes into great technical detail on how Ridley has made this frame so light and stiff, but with personal experience with it, I'll just stick to how it actually rides.



    This rides like a race frame. Responsive, stiff when heavy power's applied, fast when any acceleration is needed, and nimble but stable when cornering at speed. Even with these characteristics, it it is still incredibly comfortable. Found it very easy on the body on rough roads or long treks in the saddle, and it has a geometry that is not overly aggressive nor perfectly matched for an endurance frame only. It's a frame you could take to your local crit races during the week, and ride for hours on end on the weekends. I felt it was best suited for climbing with ease and descending with finesse, but also found it more than capable at speed on the flats. A very capable all-arounder in my book, a great bike to do it all.



    If you have any questions or would like some input on putting together a custom build, I'd love to help you out. You can request me on chat, reach me by phone (1.888.276.7130 ext. 4579) or get in touch via email at tjackson@backcountry.com.