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Ribble CGR SL - Sport



Smooth-riding, good-looking crossover bike that works on a range of terrains without compromise
Great tyre clearance on all wheel sizes
Geometry works well on road and gravel
Mounts for full mudguards
Wheels are weighty
9,550g Recommends

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At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Versatility often comes with compromise, but not so with the Ribble CGR SL Sport. As the entry-level model in Ribble's carbon fibre range of 'do it all' bikes, it's well specced for the money, is very easy to ride regardless of terrain and it's a looker too. With impressive tyre clearances it's a capable gravel machine, and with a full set of mounts for mudguards it makes for an ideal winter trainer or commuter too. In fact, it could be one of those N+0 bikes, if there is such a thing.

Prefer something more specific? Our guide to the best gravel bikes has more off-road options, our best road bikes guide reveals our favourites for the tarmac.

CGR stands for 'cyclocross, gravel, road' and Ribble launched the range a fair few years ago as the gravel thing started to take off. It was the type of bike that was designed to sort of ease a roadie into gravel or general riding away from the tarmac, without using a bike that felt completely unfamiliar.

I reviewed the first aluminium model back in 2017. Nothing has changed really, apart from the fact that the CGR is now available in pretty much every material going – steel, aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre, to suit all budgets and preferences. In fact, since the launch of Ribble's specific Gravel range of bikes, the latest CGR can comfortably maintain that road bias with added versatility.


Let's kick things off with the gravel side of things.

The CGR may come with a roadie bias in its build, but the geometry is very much in the gravel camp, with slacker angles and a longer wheelbase than you'd expect to find on, say, an endurance road bike.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - front.jpg

It's a surefooted bike, that's for certain. The wheelbase is over a metre long, which gives a feeling of stability especially on looser surfaces, and with a neutral front end the steering speed feels well balanced and very easy to live with. It's still quick enough that it doesn't feel ponderous or dull, but there'll be no surprises regardless of what the terrain throws at you.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - bars 1.jpg

I risked the odd gravel excursion on the stock tyres, which we'll describe as brave considering how wet the weather has been, and with the grip on soft mud being severely lacking, it was no surprise that the CGR spent the majority of its time sideways. It feels super controllable, though, thanks to the mild-mannered handling, which makes it a lot of fun to ride, and on faster, dry gravel sections you can really let this bike fly. It just feels planted.

At 9.5kg it's not a light bike, but it never feels bogged down by its weight either. It's still pretty flickable as you swerve and bunnyhop around and over potholes or tree roots.

Its eagerness proves the 'C for cross' part of its name too. It's not as nimble as a racier, pure cyclocross machine, so if you have the legs to be at the sharp end of the race you'll be at a slight disadvantage compared with your faster competitors, but for everyone else it's very capable, with plenty of mud clearance.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - seat stays 2.jpg

The lower part of the frame and the rear triangle feel incredibly stiff, so you aren't going to be hindered when you smash that power down through the cranks. It takes off well out of corners and it's no slouch on the climbs, and if you have the budget for some lighter wheels for quicker rides then you could easily drop half a kilo from the overall weight.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - frame detail.jpg

The one thing I'd switch is the handlebar for gravel riding. This bike would definitely benefit from one with decent flare at the drops for added stability. It wouldn't be out of place on the road, as I find the flare also works well on wet and tricky road conditions.

Speaking of which, the CGR doesn't feel out of its depth on the tarmac either, with all of its attributes on the gravel translating to winter riding or commuting. On wet or greasy roads, that predictable front end gives you confidence in the corners or when negotiating roundabouts.

The CGR isn't shy on the feedback front either. It has a frameset that transfers road feel well to your contact points, which also boosts confidence levels.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - cable routing 1.jpg

For longer sessions on the road I switched the tyres to some 36mm WTB Exposure TCS Fasts, which worked a treat. They are fast-rolling slicks, but with a decent sized contact patch, and made the CGR SL feel lively.

Unless you are joining the summer chaingang or heading out with mates on their lightweight summer machines, you aren't going to be at a disadvantage. The CGR accelerates well thanks to the frame stiffness, and I found I could get my body position fairly aero too. It feels very much like a road bike, not a gravel bike trying to be a road bike.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - top tube detail.jpg

The only place you'll need to rein things in a touch is on high-speed technical descents. The slightly slower handling means you'll be working hard to clip the apex at speed. It's the only time the handling feels a little sluggish, although I'm not throwing massive criticism here at the CGR; it's a capable road bike but it's no race machine, and cornering like this is a bit out of its remit.

I'm just pointing it out for reference, to highlight that its limitations are very much at the extreme of what we ask a road bike to do. The fork does at least perform well when facing the heavy loads from sharp corners and a hauling on of the anchors. With plenty of stiffness in the necessary planes, it keeps the front end tight without the slightest whiff of understeer.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - fork detail.jpg

For such a stiff frame, comfort isn't a problem either. Yes, large volume tyres help but you can't use air alone to hide a poor ride quality. The CGR isn't the plushest bike I've ridden, but the frame doesn't feel like it transmits a lot of vibration from the road or trail, and as I've said, overall feedback is good, which is a sign of a well-designed carbon fibre layup.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - seat stays 1.jpg

Overall, from a ride point of view, the CGR SL has a lot going for it, and it's an impressively capable machine.

Frame & fork

The CGR SL uses a blend of Toray's T1000 and T800 grades of carbon fibre in its frame construction, giving a claimed weight of around 1,150g. That's not superlight, but far from a heavyweight when you consider the type of riding the CGR is designed for; you need an extra few sheets of carbon fibre to protect the vulnerable sections, for example to ward off rocks pinging the lower section of the frame.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - bottom bracket.jpg

It's a good-looking frame I reckon, with the dropped seatstays making quite a statement thanks to the minimal rear triangle they create, and the sharp angled lines. From the rear it looks very much like your performance road bike, and its side profile doesn't look too dissimilar either.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - rear.jpg

The main deviations from something like an endurance road bike is the much slacker head tube angle, and a lengthier wheelbase that brings that stability mentioned earlier.

For instance, this is a medium, sitting midway in a five-size lineup. It has a head tube angle of 71.5 degrees and a seat angle of 73.5 degrees. The top tube is 545mm in length, while the head and seat tubes are 150mm and 500mm respectively.

The chainstays are 435mm, while the overall wheelbase length is 1,025mm, and the BB drop sits at 69mm. The fork offset is 50mm.

If you work out your sizing via stack and reach numbers then you are looking at 561mm and 379mm.

Something that is impressive is the tyre clearance, which is definitely on the gravel side of things rather than road. The CGR will take 45mm-wide rubber on a 700C wheel, and up to 47mm if you go for a smaller 650B wheel.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - fork clearance.jpg

You can also fit full mudguards, although that will impact on overall tyre compatibility slightly, but you are still going to end up with a winter commuter or trainer that can be wet weather ready and still run big tyres, on the whole. All you'll need to use is a removable brake bridge to sit between the seatstays to mount the guards.

The CGR isn't littered with mounts like some bikes of this ilk. You get positions for a couple of bottle cages in the traditional manner and that's about it really.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - seat tube bosses.jpg

Not a major blow, as if you wanted to use the bike for touring or bikepacking there are plenty of frame and bar bags on the market to allow you to carry kit.

Ribble has resisted the urge to run the cables and hoses down through the headset and head tube. Instead, the outers sit in front of the head tube before passing into the top of the down tube. This means the rest of the frame is clean and there is nothing to get in the way or rub when adding those aforementioned frame bags.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - head tube badge.jpg

Ribble has also stuck with a threaded bottom bracket, using the BSA standard external threaded cups. Parts that are easy to source, remove and install even for the home mechanic. Ideal on a bike that is likely to see a lot of poor weather and gritty conditions.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - crank 2.jpg

The fork is also a full carbon fibre design with a tapered steerer, internal routing for the brake hose and mudguard mounts in a traditional position.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - fork.jpg

As you'd expect, it is designed to work with flat-mount brake callipers and a 12mm diameter thru-axle. All of which is mimicked on the frame.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - rear disc brake.jpg

Builds and groupset

There are three models in the CGR SL lineup – well, four if you include the frameset-only option, priced at £1,699. All three of the main builds are road inspired, with the range-topping Hero model coming with Shimano's Ultegra Di2, Mavic Cosmic SL 45 Carbon Disc wheels and a carbon fibre cockpit for £4,799. The Shimano 105 Di2 Enthusiast build also comes with those wheels, at a price of £3,799.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - lever.jpg

Both of those builds are heavily discounted at the time of writing, too, at £3,799 and £2,999 respectively.

The Sport build we have here is fitted with mechanical 105, but in its latest 12-speed guise. I've been using this bike to give that groupset a full review, too, since it was only released a few months back. I'll be going into much more detail in that review, but to sum it up – the 12-speed feels exactly the same to use as the 11-speed it replaces, it just has another sprocket on the back. This is a good thing; if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - cassette.jpg

As standard, the CGR SL comes with a 50/34-tooth crankset paired with an 11-36T cassette. As I said earlier, that's very road orientated, but you still have low enough gears to cope with off-road riding. If you came over to gravel bikes early on, it's the typical sort of gearing you would have found on most bikes before the introduction of Shimano's gravel-specific GRX groupsets and those from other brands.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - crank.jpg

If your riding is going to be mostly spent on gravel tracks and byways, you'd probably be better off with one of the bikes in Ribble's Gravel range instead, but the CGR SL is still versatile enough.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - rear mech.jpg

The gear shifting works well right across the range, and it can cope with being used in poor weather conditions too. Each time the number of sprockets increases, the chains tend to get thinner, and thoughts of fragility start to make their way into your consciousness. No need for that here, though – I've treated this grouspet pretty badly and it has coped well with everything it's had thrown at it.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - front mech.jpg

Ribble has specced Tektro CL 160mm rotors instead of Shimano, but the braking performance has still been very impressive, with loads of stopping power and, you've guessed it, modulation.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - front disc brake.jpg

Finishing kit

Away from the going and the slowing you'll find a lot of Ribble's own finishing kit under the Level brand name.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - stem.jpg

It's all decent kit. Nothing flash, aluminium alloy throughout, but their black anodised finish is tough wearing, and the graphics give it an upmarket look.

As standard you get an 80mm stem on this medium frame and a 42cm handlebar, but by using Ribble's configurator you can change sizes at the time of ordering, plus you can always upgrade components too. This is available for the stem, handlebar, saddle, bar tape, tyres and wheels.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - drop bar and lever.jpg

Sitting atop the alloy seatpost you'll find a Selle Italia X3 Boost saddle. It's a model I find okay. It's not exactly uncomfortable, but I find it a little flat in shape and a bit too thick in terms of padding.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - saddle 2.jpg

There are a range of options that I could swap it to, though, many of which don't require an increase in the overall price. I'll take a Prologo Kappa RS saddle instead, please.

Wheels & tyres

This SL is specced with Mavic Allroads, wheels I have always found to be reliable, robust and good allrounders. They are on the weighty side, at around 1,900g a set, but at this sort of money it's definitely not a dealbreaker. They look smart and you can ride them on any terrain without treating them like they need to be wrapped up in cotton wool.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - tyre and rim.jpg

If your riding routes tend to take in a lot of climbs or stop/start heavy traffic routes, you'll find that dragging them uphill or away from a standing start can feel a bit laborious after a while.

When out of the saddle they feel stiff enough from a lateral direction and they aren't a harsh set of wheels in terms of the ride quality. They can also be set up to run either tubed or tubeless, depending on what you are after.

Fitted to them is a set of Schwalbe's G-One Allround tyres in a 40mm size. They are a great choice if you want to dabble on varying surfaces.

2023 Ribble CGR SL - Sport - fork clearance.jpg

I like the way they feel, too. Even pumped up for road use there is a decent amount of suppleness in the carcass, and the tread is made from quite a soft compound.

Schwalbe offers the G-One in a range of tread options, and these are intended more for hardpacked surfaces rather than anything too soft or muddy. They are a good compromise for dipping in and out of gravel and taking in some road sections as they roll well.

They aren't the most durable out there, but that is one of the drawbacks of having a tyre that is more focused on performance than robustness.


It's a sign of the times that a carbon bike with Shimano 105 mechanical and entry-level wheels is north of two grand, but at £2,399 this Sport model is competitively priced.

Orro's Terra C has always scored well in our reviews, on account of the blend of the ride quality and the geometry that makes it as easy to ride as the Ribble on a range of terrains. It's quite similar in being a good crossover gravel machine, although it does lack the tyre clearance of the CGR SL.

A 105 12-speed mechanical build with Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 wheels and Deda Zero finishing kit is exactly the same price, bar an extra 99p.

Dolan's GXC is a capable gravel bike which has geometry influenced by the road side things. This also makes it the kind of gravel machine that can be pressed into other duties like commuting or winter training with a switch of tyres. Tyre clearance is a roomy 45mm on a 700C wheel while it can manage 50mm on a 650B.

With a similar build to the Ribble, you are looking at spending £2,149.99, while for £2,399.99 you can get an 11-speed Ultegra mechanical build.

We've reviewed both the GXA and GXT, the aluminium and titanium versions of the Dolan.


I'm a big fan of the Ribble CGR SL. It's not the best gravel bike out there, or the best road bike, but as a bike that can do both it is actually very good. Aside from the racing end of either discipline it's a very capable machine, and I think that's what makes it such a good choice. It gives you that versatility, with very little in the way of compromise.

You could meet your buddies for a club run on the road or gravel, and with the right tyres fitted you aren't going to be under biked ever.


Smooth-riding, good-looking crossover bike that works on a range of terrains without compromise test report

Make and model: Ribble CGR SL - Sport

Size tested: Medium, 545mm

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.


Shimano 105 R7100 2x12 Speed Hydraulic Disc.

Shifters - Shimano 105 R7120 12-Speed Hydraulic.

Brakes - Shimano 105 R7170 Flat Mount Hydraulic.

Chainset - Shimano 105 R7100, 2x12-Speed.


Wheels - Mavic Allroad DCL 700c, 12x100F/12x142R.

Tyres - Schwalbe G-One Allround TLE, 700x40c, Tan Wall.

Bottom Bracket - Shimano BBR60 Threaded BSA

Cassette - Shimano 105 R7100 12-Speed Hyperglide+.

Chain - Shimano Deore M6100 12-Speed with Quicklink.

Front Derailleur - Shimano 105 R7100 Braze-On.

Rear Derailleur - Shimano 105 R7100 Shadow RD.

Disc Rotors - Tektro Centre Lock 160mm.

Finishing Kit

Bars - LEVEL 6061 Alloy, Black.

Stem - LEVEL 6061 Alloy, Black.

Bar Tape - LEVEL Cork Ribbon, Black.

Seatpost - Ribble SL Carbon, 5mm Offset.

Saddle - Selle Italia X3 Boost, Black.

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Ribble says, "Whether it's fast and fun road rides or discovering the joys of off-piste routes, the CGR SL is designed to ride-it-all with effortless ease. Beginner and accomplished cyclists alike will appreciate the wide gear range and premium mechanical gear shifts of Shimano's new 12-speed drivetrain - 105 R7100. Ruggedly reliable Mavic Allroad wheels paired with Schwalbe G-One all-terrain tyres offer the perfect balance of speed and control, giving you the freedom to make the ride as fast, far, or challenging as you like."

It's a versatile bike that works well on a range of terrain, making it ideal for the type of rider who likes to dabble in all sorts of riding styles.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

This is the entry level model in Ribble's carbon CGR range. Sitting above it is the Enthusiast model which comes with Shimano's 105 Di2, and the Hero build uses Ultegra Di2.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The finish of the CGR looks absolutely great with a modern design and a striking paint job. The overall construction looks to match that too.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Frame - Toray T1000/T800 Carbon Fibre Monocoque.

Fork - CGR SL, Full Carbon, Tapered

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry is fairly typical of a gravel bike, with a slacker head tube angle than you'd find on a traditional road bike, and the seat tube angle is a touch more relaxed too. Overall, the geometry gives a stable feel on loose surfaces, without feeling sluggish when used as a road bike.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Height and reach are exactly what I'd expect from a bike of this type and size.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Overall comfort is good, from a combination of the frameset and the tyres chosen.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Stiffness is good throughout on both the frame and the fork.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

It's decent on this front. The CGR's weight isn't excessive for this kind of bike and the 12-speed groupset gives a great range of gears.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?


How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

This is a bike designed for riding on various terrains and in differing conditions, so the geometry is designed to bring calmness and stability to the ride.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The Schwalbe tyres have plenty of volume for cushioning and they are quite supple, too, which helps comfort.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The CGR's cockpit is stiff enough to withstand hard efforts out of the saddle, and the Mavic wheels show no major signs of lateral flex.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The Mavic wheels are quite weighty, but you only really notice that on the road rather than the gravel, so if you are using the CGR for commuting and general riding on the road then an upgrade would make a big difference.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
Rate the bike for acceleration:
Rate the bike for sprinting:
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
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Rate the bike for low speed stability:
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
Rate the bike for climbing:

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
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Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

An extra sprocket on this new 12-speed groupset narrows the gaps between gears, but it maintains the great shifting and braking power of the 11-speed it replaces.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
Rate the wheels for durability:
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Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

The Mavics are reliable and good allrounders, suiting many conditions without giving you the feeling that you need to take things gently with them. Their overall weight is probably the only thing that really holds them back in terms of performance.

Rate the tyres for performance:
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Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

Schwalbe's G-One tyres work on hardpacked gravel and mud, and roll decently on the road too, so they definitely suit the bike. For wet conditions they'll need an upgrade to something with more tread for off-road excursions, though.


Rate the controls for performance:
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Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Ribble's in-house Level kit offers decent performance and comfort for the money, and I got on okay with the X3 saddle although for longer rides I'd select something with a bit more shape and less padding.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on

It is similarly priced to other good bikes of this genre. The Orro Terra C with a similar build is exactly the same price, while the Dolan GXC comes in a bit cheaper at £2,149.99.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:

Use this box to explain your overall score

Considering the build and the overall quality of the frameset, the Ribble justifies the price, and has a ride quality that exceeds it. The fact that it is so versatile for road and gravel means that if you like to mix your riding up a bit then you won't need a separate bike. It's very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for, and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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KoenM | 4 months ago
1 like

I have one since 2019 and I'm not happy with it anymore, the internal cabble routing is rubbish and after changing the cables twice and the frontderailleur it's still not shifting good enough for how a 105 group should shift! Also that special spacer is a nightmare, it moves when it shouldn't except when you put the expensanion plug harder than you should (so the steering is to hard).
If you get one, get one with electronic gearing!
Also the plastic brake bridge voor mudguard mounting isn't good, I've broken it.

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