Ribble 7046 road bike review

Ribble Cycles has been going for years. I remember being an excited teenager in the early nineties waiting for the A4 black and white catalogue through the post and then getting the subsequent box of ordered parts after. Ribble was arguably one of the first mail order bike companies focusing on the biking community which back then was a fairly small market compared to that of today. Ribble was the staple of many a cycling club with many Ribbles being ridden and raced all year round. I lost count how many our club had amongst its ranks.

Ribble, was perhaps the Ford of the bike world making good value bikes with options of colour and tubing available to suit almost every need. They did a range of time trial bikes (anyone remember 90s TT bikes?) of varying shapes and typical 90s paint schemes.

When the opportunity arose to buy a road bike after years on a mountain bike, the first place I looked was the Ribble site (the catalogues, thankfully long gone). The current bike range is comprehensive, with entry level frames like the 7005 and the 7046 starting at about £250 and moving up to the full carbon bike such at the Gran Fondo and the R872 — both look incredible and has good reviews from both the Press and owners.

Not wanting a carbon bike, as I wasn’t sure at the time how much I would use it and after much research and phone calls to them, I chose a 7046 sportive with a curved top tube and carbon forks (they did a straight top tube also). For some strange reason, Ribble don’t package the frame and forks together, but you can’t buy one without the other so it cost just £300 which wasn’t a bad deal at the time. I have not seen any widespread discounting on frames when compared to the likes of Planet X — it’s more so on complete bikes, although they do list clearance bikes and frames via a PDF on their website.

Delivery was quick and having ordered handlebars, a headset and a stem, I was ready to build it having previously taken the parts of another bike. Despite being on the market for a number of years, I was really impressed by the quality and shape of the frame. Instead, of uninspiring cylindrical tubes on some new frames, the 7046 incorporates a lovely shaped curved top tube and a triangular down tube — nice touches. The geometry is short leaving little clearance but room enough for 25mm tyres at a push. The frame, I am told the frame is about 1800 grams which I guess is mid-weight. It also came with standard stuff such as barrel adjusters and bottle cage bolts. The paint design looks a little dated but I’m being fussy.

On the road, the bike feels rigid and you are able to get the power down with little effort. Finding a comfortable position is fairly easy and apart from the characteristic buzz through the allow frame, it’s fairly comfortable having done a few long rides. Following a frame upgrade, I have converted the 7046 into a winter bike adorned with Shimano Tiagra, Shimano R500 wheels and mudguards. It handles the daily hammering well and still looks good despite the weather. I must point out due to the lack of clearance, mudguards can fitted, but it’s a very tight fit and requires a large degree of patience and time.

7046s on the second hand market appear to be unloved with many being had for little money. I genuinely think this is a very underrated frame and with the winter just around the corner, could make a very sensible investment.