Offering the versatility of riding in all sorts of weathers on all kinds of terrain, Ribble's CGR Ti Sport also provides a beautiful ride quality. This build balances performance with value too, proving you don't need to spend a fortune to own a quality titanium bike.
We are big fans of the CGR here at road.cc, as are our colleagues over at off.road.cc. After all, we've just crowned the Reynolds 725 steel version of the CGR as our combined gravel bike of the year for 2020/21, with the aluminium CGR ALe taking the number seven spot (the 'e' denoting it's an ebike).
That's the great thing about the CGR range: you can have it in any material you want; aluminium, steel, carbon fibre and of course, titanium.
I've ridden the aluminium and steel versions of the CGR and really liked the way they behave, and both had a great ride quality, so I wasn't expecting anything less from this titanium model. Especially as I'd not long finished testing Ribble's Endurance Ti Disc Enthusiast a few months before.
Just as with the Endurance Ti, Ribble has exploited the smooth ride quality of titanium alloy tubing. Regardless of how hard or soft you pump the tyres, the CGR smooths out the majority of high-frequency buzz, and has just enough 'give' that even the bigger jolts are reduced.
Being designed as both a road and gravel/adventure machine, overall stiffness isn't as high a priority as a decent ride feel, and that is what Ribble has focused on.
The frame is still plenty tight enough – especially at the front end and the bottom bracket junction – for any out of the saddle shenanigans, but Ribble hasn't overdone it.
The beauty of the big (40mm) Schwalbe G-One Allround tyres is that I've been able to explore new routes locally that I've never tried before.
One mystery turning led to routes that are technically roads, but even most farmers would think twice about driving a tractor down them, so rough and covered in mud are they.
This is where the versatility of the CGR highlights itself. One minute I'm bombing along on the smooth asphalt, and the next I'm riding over little more than a gravel track – and constantly switching between the two, with a bit of canal towpath chucked in for good measure.
I ended up completing quite a lot of rides this way, with most over 100km and – as the riding wasn't massively technical or demanding – I spent the majority of the time in the saddle.
The ride quality really comes through on these mixed rides, as does just how good the geometry is. To work on different surfaces, you need to balance handling responses to make it enjoyable and fun on the road without it becoming a handful in the loose.
This medium size has a head angle of 72°, which does just that. When paired to a wheelbase of 1031.8mm, it means you get a bike that is easily controllable while still holding on to the fun factor.
On the road it feels positive. There is plenty of feedback through the frame and fork and, although the handling is more subdued than you'd find on a road-specific bike, you still feel involved. Meanwhile, carving your way down a technical descent is still a pleasure, just not quite so frantic.
Thanks to the smooth handling and ride quality, this is a machine you can really cover some miles on. I could literally lose myself for hours just tapping away at the pedals enjoying the scenery, or just processing those thoughts and ideas you never get chance to at home.
It was the same when I took to the gravel tracks, trails and byways. The CGR is such a relaxing bike to ride; it takes everything in its stride. You can give it a little dig, slide about on the gravel a bit, but when you want to you can just kick back and enjoy the ride.
The only thing, with this build at least, is the weight. It's not massive at 10.81kg, but a lot of that mass is in the wheels.
You don't notice it hugely, it just blunts acceleration a bit, and out of the saddle climbing can take a knock. I've said it plenty of times before, but I'm not a huge fan of Mavic's Aksium Disc wheelset. Tough, yes, but svelte they ain't.
At the same time I was testing the Ribble I also had a set of FFWD RYOT44s in. It's a versatile set of wheels that's a bit like the CGR – capable both on and off the road.
They dropped around 400g from the overall weight, and while that's not massive, boy did it make a difference to how the Ribble rode. The boost to acceleration and climbing prowess made the CGR feel much more sprightly, and showcased what this frameset can really do.
The frame is made from 3AL/2.5V (3% aluminium/2.5% vanadium) titanium alloy which has been rolled and seamlessly welded to create the tubing.
The tubes are also triple-butted, which means the material has three different thicknesses: thicker at the tube ends for stiffness where they mate, and thinner in the middle to drop a gram or two and give a bit of flex.
The welding is of a high quality, and the contrast between the polished tubes and untouched logos give the whole frame a top-end look. Full internal cable and hose routing keeps the frame looking neat and clean, and there are plenty of mounting points for water bottles, mudguards and a rear rack.
As with most frames the CGR is oversized where it's likely to see the largest loads – such as at the head tube with its 44mm diameter, the down tube and bottom bracket – while slender elsewhere for a bit of flex and comfort.
The compact style with the sloping top tube also allows for more seatpost to be exposed, promoting a bit of flex there too.
Fans of home maintenance will be glad to see a threaded bottom bracket shell to support external bearing cups. It's good to see on a bike like this as it's likely to see plenty of bad weather, dust and mud, but avoid any creaking issues associated with press fit options.
The fork is a full carbon fibre monocoque design with a tapered steerer and its stiffness is impressive. The large profile legs will take plenty of abuse while also taming vibration from the road or trail. Tyre clearance is impressive at 45mm for 700c wheels, and 47mm if you decide to go 650b.
One nice touch is that not only does the hydraulic brake hose run internally, there is also provision for you to run a dynamo with a mount on the fork crown and a channel to run the wire to the hub.
When it comes to sizing there are five available, which Ribble suggests should cover everyone from roughly 5ft 4in through to 6ft 4in.
I've touched on the geometry a bit, but I'll give you the rest here. This medium has a 555mm effective top tube length, 170mm head tube, 435mm chainstays and a 1031.8mm wheelbase. The angles are 72° for the head and 73° for the seat tube.
All this results in a stack and reach of 589mm and 380mm respectively.
The CGR Ti is available as a frameset only, or in one of five builds that top out with Hero, a spec featuring a SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset, carbon fibre finishing kit and Zipp 303 wheelset for £7,999.
If that's a little to rich for you this Sport model is the entry point into CGR Ti ownership for a much more modest £2,299.
Shimano 105 may have a reputation as a bit of a workhorse, but it really can't be faulted for both its shifting and braking.
The Sport model has a road-focused build which gives you a compact chainset with 50/34T rings paired to an 11-32t 11-speed cassette. If you're going to be spending a lot of time off-road and would prefer a 1x groupset, a GRX version of the CGR Ti is available for £2,899 with a higher build spec than the Sport.
For me though, the gearing was fine for most applications with only some of the long, steep gravel drags causing a bit of cussing as I winched my way up out of the saddle.
Level is Ribble's finishing brand, and the Sport gets a Level 1 6061 aluminium handlebar and stem, plus a Level 2 carbon fibre seatpost. It's all decent quality kit, and the shallow drop of the handlebar means that you can use all of the hand positions even when away from the road.
Level also provides the headset, with seven anodised colour options available.
Sitting atop the seatpost is a Prologo Kappa RS. I really like the shape of Prologo saddles and this one didn't disappoint, even on longer rides.
The Sport comes with 46mm mudguards included, and while it's great to have some protection from the elements they're too short to keep the worst of the spray and mud away from your feet – and more importantly, from the bottom bracket and gear components.
I've mentioned the Mavic Aksium wheels already and you know my opinion. If durability is your main concern rather than performance, then you won't be too dismayed with them. I had a set on a gravel bike that did thousands of off-road miles without complaint (and that included the punishment of the Dirty Reiver race).
You can use Ribble's Bikebuilder to upgrade any of the components should you wish – including the wheels – and paying the excess from the start.
Tyre wise the Sport comes with the excellent Schwalbe G-One Allroad in a 40mm width. I love the way the tan sidewalls go with the titanium frame.
I've used various iterations of these tyres over the years and they're fast and grippy on the road, while offering good performance away from it so long as the surface isn't too soft. They're great for chopping and changing terrains, with the only caveat being their slight fragility compared to some gravel tyres out there.
They are tubeless ready though, so at least the addition of some sealant should stop you suffering flat tyres mid-ride.
I reckon a fully built, quality titanium bike with Shimano 105 for £2,299 is an absolute steal.
Dave loves the Tripster ATR V3 from Kinesis and I'd say it certainly looks to be a very high quality frameset. Dave's feedback on how the bike behaves is very similar to my findings with the CGR.
The Kinesis costs £2,200 just for the frameset though – that's the frame, fork and headset. If you go down that route with the CGR Ti you're looking at £1,799, which further highlights just what a bargain this full build is.
The Enigma Escape is similar titanium machine, although it does have a few more load-carrying capabilities with mounting points on the fork legs. It's available as a frameset for £2,186.
Mat is currently testing the Van Nicholas Rowtag, another titanium beauty, and it costs £1,630 for the frame only – I'll be interested to read how that behaves on a mixture of terrain.
With a couple of component changes this could really be my ideal do-everything bike. It really is that versatile. But not only that, it is just such a beautiful bike to ride, and gives you such a positive feeling... and it's a bargain too.
A well balanced, smooth riding, well priced, very versatile mile muncher for any terrain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ribble CGR Ti Sport
Size tested: Med
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Shimano 105 R7020 2x11-Speed Hydraulic Disc.
Shifters - Shimano 105 R7020 11-Speed Hydraulic.
Brakes - Shimano 105 R7070 Flat Mount Hydraulic Disc.
Chainset - Shimano 105 R7000 50-34T.
Bottom Bracket - Shimano BB-R60 BSA 68mm.
Cassette - Shimano 105 R7000 11-32T.
Chain - Shimano HG601 11-Speed.
Rotors - Tektro Centrelock 160mm.
Front Derailleur - Shimano 105 R7000 Braze On.
Rear Derailleur - Shimano 105 R7000 Medium Cage.
Wheels - Mavic Aksium Disc,12mm Thru-Axle.
Tyres - Schwalbe G-One Tubeless-Ready, 700x40c, Tan Wall.
Bars - LEVEL 1 6061 Alloy, Black.
Stem - LEVEL 1 6061 Alloy, Black.
Bar Tape - LEVEL Cork, Black.
Seatpost - LEVEL 2 UD Carbon, 27.2mm, 350mm.
Saddle - Prologo Kappa RS, Black.
Headset - LEVEL 44, a choice of anodised colours available in BikeBuilder.
Mudguards - Ribble 46mm, 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, "Road, gravel, or trail the CGR Ti certainly ticks all the boxes. This highly versatile machine is designed to do it all. The sport edition is equipped with the exceptionally smooth, precision shifting performance of Shimano's 105 11-speed complete and powerful 105 hydraulic disc brakes. Mavic's ever reliable Aksium wheelset with the all-terrain versatility of Schwalbe G-One Allround tyres are a highly capable wheelset for year-round riding."
This really is a very versatile bike with an excellent ride quality.
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, with the range topping out at £7,999 for the SRAM Red eTap AXS model. Various other builds make up the catalogue including mechanical Ultegra, Ultegra Di2 and GRX 1x.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The welding and overall finish is very well executed.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Frame - 3AL/2.5V Titanium, Triple-Butted, Seamless Weld.
Forks - CGR Ti Disc, Carbon Monocoque, Tapered.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is a blend of an endurance bike and gravel bike. Things like the angles and tube lengths allow it to work well on a range of surfaces. Full details of all sizes are on Ribble's website.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
I mention the stack and reach in the review – there is nothing out of the ordinary for a bike of this size and style.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes. Ribble has done a good job exploiting the natural smoothness of titanium tubing.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness levels are exactly where they need to be for the riding the CGR is for. It's a good balance of stiffness versus comfort.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
The wheels dull the edge a little due to their weight, but on the whole the Ribble feels efficient both in and out of the saddle.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
A small amount due to the mudguards.
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?
The handling is well balanced, which means it's easy to live with whatever terrain you are on. But it's fun as well.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The Schwalbe tyres are supple and I got on well with the Kappa Saddle.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Stiffness levels are fine throughout the build.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
I would switch to lighter wheels as this really shows how nippy the CGTR Ti can be.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
The latest Shimano 105 is top notch, and I wouldn't personally change a thing.
Wheels and tyres
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 Aksium Disc wheels are great in terms of durability, but I always find them heavy and draggy on the ride.
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?
Good tyres from a performance point of view, and over differing terrains. Not the most robust, though.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
Decent quality finishing kit that does a good job. The shallow drop of the handlebar gives full access to all hand positions, even off-road.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes, but I'd upgrade the wheels.
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 road.cc?
Compared to the bikes/frames mentioned in the review, it is very well priced indeed.
Use this box to explain your overall score
In this build there are a couple of components that just miss the mark, but overall I can't really fault the CGR Ti on the way it rides or the quality of the frameset.
About the tester
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,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!