Ridley is unmistakably a Belgium company — its bikes are tested on the infamous pavé and should be up to some serious punishment. This results in an unmistakable ride.
The Ridley Compact’s angular tubing transfers into a stiff platform in every aspect of the frame. Square chainstays transmit power effectively giving a feeling that there is ample return when pushing hard out of the saddle, although at lower speeds this is slightly masked by the bike’s weight but that’s to be expected at this price.
Although the harshly shaped tubing gives an impression that the frame may be uncomfortable it was not as unforgiving as I expected. The Ridley Compact transmits a lot of road feel and for rides over three hours, this is not overly uncomfortable, neither is it comfortable, but for shorter excursions it’s not to the Compact’s detriment.
Up front the ride is extremely responsive with an overtly triangulated top tube indisputably part of the Ridley Compact’s character.
The bulbous front forks continue the theme, with the bike always feeling direct and giving enough feedback to encourage the rider to push the limits.
Oval components dress the frame and even though they are at the budget end of the scale, they offer a good correlation from bar to post and also a solid performance, with the bars being particularly comfortable.
The saddle is definitely down to personal choice though. Fulcrum R7 wheels are what we would expect at this price and provide an appreciably high level of performance.
Fitted with a full Shimano 105 groupset, there is little to complain about as 105 has time and time again performed well while being functional and reliable. The new stealth dark anodised grey finish only adds to its appeal. My only complaint is the compact chainset fitted, rather than 53/39, but this is down to personal choice, although the compact is preferable to a triple.
RIDLEY COMPACT: SPEC
Frame Ridley FluidForm 7005 aluminum
Fork 4ZA Fenix
Size range S (53cm TT), M (55cm TT), L (57cm TT), XL (58.5cm TT)
Weight 19lb (8.6kg)
Groupset Shimano 105
Gear ratios 12-25 and 50/34
Wheels Fulcrum R7
Tyres Vredestein Fortezza
Bars Oval R100
Stem Oval R100
Seatpost Oval R100
Saddle 4ZA Stratos
Full aluminium frames at this price often excel over full or carbon chainstay frames and the Ridley Compact is just that, a stiff and responsive bike with quality kit. At this price it’s hard to fault. For some though, the orientation towards stiffness means that the lack of comfort might not hit the mark. For others this bike will be spot on.