Helium X Ultegra Complete Road Bike
Billed as Ridley's "ultra-gourmet bike," the Helium X Ultegra Complete Road Bike flexes and flashes its race credentials as a featherweight in the hills, while easily remaining stiff enough to make it in a GC bunch sprint. This bike has typically been pigeonholed as a "climber's bike," an assessment that we take issue with—it's much more than that. We challenge you to put this bike through its paces on long miles of flat, chip-seal country roads, the start-and-stop traffic of the urban roads you have to take to get there, and, of course, the canyon climbs that mark the end of out in the out-and-back loop. And after all that, then try to tell us it's just a "climber's bike."
Breaking the mold of what we expect a climber's bike to be, the Helium X's frame is eager to show off its capabilities, regardless of the road surface or gradient. It owes its sprightly demeanor to a layup blending 30 and 24t carbon fiber, which is slightly heavier than the Helium SLX but every bit as stiff, and as a result slightly more affordable. When you lay into the pedals, the frame lays into the road. Despite the different lay-up, the Helium X does have the same geometry as the Helium SLX, so it's every bit the aggressive racer that guys like Lotto-Soudal's Gallopin rely on during long alpine climbs and nerve-wracking, winding descents.
Forza RC23 wheels provide an above-average quality build and are deep enough to give a sporty look to the bike, while Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tires ensure plenty of air volume, a wide stance to the sidewalls, and an overall comfortable ride. With the extra volume, you can also lower the tire pressure to further enhance comfort. As hinted at by the title, Ridley gave the Helium X Ultegra a full Shimano Ultegra groupset (duh), excluding the chainset, which is replaced by a Rotor 3D30 chainset and brakes. With its semi-compact 52/36 rings and 11-28 cassette, there’s plenty of range for faster riding as well as on the uphills. And as you’d expect from Ultegra, the shifting is faultless and the braking effective.
- Climb-hungry, race-worthy endurance road bike that goes everywhere
- Agile and nimble geometry tailored towards long-mile comfort
- Lightweight carbon fiber construction soaks up the road chatter
- Ultegra's precise shifting and powerful braking adds reliability