Noah SL Disc Aero+ Complete Road Bike
We've never known of a time when it was easier to buy extra speed on a road bike than right now. The industry is hell-bent on eliminating aero drag, while at the same time we're seeing more disc brakes on these wind-cheating bikes giving us more confidence to go faster on the descents. We're not the only ones benefiting either as more and more professional racers are hopping aboard aero-optimized bikes and using dedicated rotors to slow them down. Disc brakes have been a staple in cross, endurance, and gravel bikes for years, but this upswing on full-tilt road racing rigs marks a sea of change and we're guessing that rim brake days are numbered. Disc brake bikes are even proving faster in the wind tunnel and on the open road by carefully hiding the caliper behind the fork blade and between the stays and concealing the housing. Also, the weight is beginning to drop substantially and there really isn't a penalty anymore. Besides, just knowing that it's not possible to overheat a carbon rim from braking, and actually being able to slow down in wet conditions nullifies any weight differences in our book. If there ever was a bike that epitomizes the current range of aero/disc road bikes it’s the Noah SL Disc Aero+ Complete Road Bike from Ridley which takes all of the aspects of the beloved Noah SL and adds F-Steerer technology and an integrated cockpit to fully integrate all of the cables into the frame, further boosting aerodynamics while making the look very clean as well. Additional aero benefits come from the Forza 45mm deep carbon clincher wheelset and even the wind-cheating Rotor Flow crankset.
This Noah Aero+ is based on its SL rim brake brethren with slight modifications needed to reinforce the fork and chainstay areas to handle the disc brake forces. Despite this, its oversized tubes still earn the SL suffix—which we assume denotes the industry superlative Super Light—through Ridley's inclusion of a mix of 60, 40, and 30-ton high modulus carbon fiber. Both the Noah Fast and Noah top out at 50-ton, and the SL's use of 60-ton means it can use less material at key points while maintaining the same efficiency, which in turn lowers weight. As with the rim brake model, the SL's different carbon moduli are placed in different areas of the frame based on desired properties of stiffness, weight, durability, and road-noise damping.
And while a targeted blend of materials is fairly common practice across the industry, few manufacturers go to the extreme of using 60t carbon. The SL also features a tapered head tube for sharp tracking and efficient power transfer, and the PF30 bottom bracket, internal cable routing, and future-proof electronic group compatibility that are all but expected in frames of this level. Unlike other frames, though, Ridley incorporates its Future Aero Speed Technology (FAST) F-Surface design, which involves fluted channels running the lengths of forward-facing tubes to trip air into a manageable layer of turbulence. That tripped layer detaches later and more cleanly, reducing the frame's wake and overall wind drag.
The Noah SL's high-modulus carbon fiber fork looks distinctly different than other forks on the market, internally and externally. Starting off, an open channel runs down the middle of each leg, known as the FAST F-Split Fork channel, and its design is revolutionary in its ability to guide incoming air away from the spokes to reduce turbulence and drag, which keeps the airstream around the wheel smooth and fast. By pairing this fork with the FAST F-Surface design, Ripley claims that the Noah SL enjoys a 3-5% reduction in drag over frames without the FAST design so you get a little more speed with less effort, all thanks to a little bit of surface air routing. This Aero+ version features what's known as the F-Steerer, with a half-moon curvature steerer, allowing the internal cable routing to run directly down the steerer tube and into the frame. As built with the Forza integrated aero cockpit, the bar is still able to turn freely and it reduces drag by up to 40% over the traditional Noah SL and looking very clean. One might worry that the unique shape of the steerer might have reduced the frameset's responsiveness, however, it's quite to the contrary and by optimizing the cross-section of the steerer, it was able to increase its lateral stiffness.
- A lightweight and aerodynamic road bike with powerful discs
- High modulus carbon fiber construction reduces weight
- FAST F-Surface, F-Split, and F-steerer fork improve aerodynamics
- Hydraulic disc brakes offer power and modulation
- Oversized bottom bracket shell allows for efficient power transfer
- Internal cable routing provides clean lines
- Shimano's Ultegra Di2 drivetrain delivers crisp, precise shifts
- Recommended maximum rider weight of 209.5lb (95kg)