First road bike - Ribble Sportive Bianco or Gran Fondo??

aspiringcyclist Posts: 7
edited April 2013 in Road buying advice
I'm a moderately unfit bloke in early 40's looking to become a less unfit bloke and compete in a triathlon in 6 months' time. Clearly I will need a bike for this - sub £1,000 is the budget and the apparently obvious choices are (i) Ribble Sportive Bianco or (ii) Ribble Gran Fondo. Both come with Tiagra gearset and entry level wheels (worth an upgrade from Rodi Airline 4 Clinchers to ITM Aero 2.4 or Shim R501's?). Key thing is the more I read the more confused I get - there appears to be so much choice and so many differing opinions. I haven't ridden a racing bike since my Raleigh Arena days in the 1980's) but equally would expect to 'get the bug' and do regular 20-30k cycles going forward). Would someone like me notice the difference between a carbon and alloy frame, and how would the Ribbles compare with Pinnacle Evaporites from Evans or the Carrera's from Halfords? Other option is of course something like a Specialized Allez Elite or a Cannondale CAAD8 with Tiagra - obviously both of these are alloys but have the advantage of being able to go back to the bike shop in the event of any problems (has anyone had issues with Ribble?)


  • stovesym
    stovesym Posts: 38
    Nothing wrong with either of the ribbles, im a satisfied customer I have had the 'old' Ribble carbon sportive for almost 4 years without a hitch. Some people complain about delays over delivery but I had none. I upgraded my wheels w some nice light fulcrum 1s bought 2nd hand from this site and that's an option, often good bargains to be had here. I assume one of your choices might be maybe a more sporty riding position, so worth checking w Ribble to see which would suit your style best, or maybe other forum members might know. Good luck.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    There is a slight difference in the geometry of the two - the Gran Fondo is a little shorter and taller though you probably wouldn't notice to look at them. I have a Gran Fondo because my long legs fit shorter bikes better. If you are of normal geometry, you should fit both and then it really just comes down to which you like the look of better.

    The basic wheel upgrade is a no brainer. Not much money for a quite a lot lighter wheelset.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Thanks everyone for your advice. The key dilemma for me is still whether it's worth paying extra for carbon over alloy. I took a Trek 1.5 out for test cycle then immediately took out a Trek 3.1 Madone to compare what a carbon bike felt like. Both were hugely enjoyable, but the Madone was so stiff my rear end felt like it had been bumped along a very rough road - I dread to think what 30km would feel like. The guys at Ribble told me that the Sportive Bianco was a much 'softer' ride but still has the carbon benefits, whereas the Gran Fondo is a stiffer ride (does anyone have any views on this?) However the Trek 1.5 felt pretty good (though I was able to tell the difference re (i) weight and (ii) responsiveness - the Madone went like a rocket), which still makes me wonder if I should save a couple of hundred quid and go for an alloy Sportive 7046 (regular or curved?)