Skip to main content

Ribble CGR Ti gravel bike review

Ribble’s CGR titanium gravel bike adds contemporary twists to the classic aspirational material. We’ve been cruising the lanes and trails to see how it rides

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

The Ribble CGR Ti provides the gliding ride that is expected from titanium resulting in a luxurious-feeling and looking machine that’s fast and engaged enough to double up as both a road- and off-road option

For

  • Beautiful glide ride
  • Responsive 'relaxed road' handling
  • Sweet detailing
  • Corrosion and scratch-proof finish
  • Rack and guard mounts
  • Grippy 650b tyres

Against

  • Narrow bar

Buy the Ribble CGR Ti Gravel at Ribble

Ribble offers six different gravel/all road options including carbon, alloy, steel, E-bike and step-thru, but it’s the Ribble CGR Ti - titanium - gravel bike that crowns the do-it-all range. It comes in five versions, too. 700 x 40mm Schwalbe G-One tyre ‘SUV’ versions in Shimano 105, Ultegra and Ultegra Di2, a ‘hero’ SRAM Red eTap AXS spec, and then the bike we have here. A proper chunky 650b x 47mm rubber gravel option with Shimano’s GRX RX810 mechanical group. Spec ticks most of the other tarmac or trail needs too, but it’s the aesthetics and aristocratic ride feel that really stands out here.

Design and geometry

While cheaper titanium bikes might use the same 3AL/2.5V alloy, Ribble has invested in expensive triple-butted, multi-shaped pipework. Thankfully it hasn’t gone overboard with oversizing though as that tends to kill the sprung resilience that is the whole point of titanium. That means the head tube stays straight with an external lower bearing for the tapered steerer and while there’s some flattening and flaring of the main tubes it’s subtle. The back end gets a contemporary dropped seat stay design though with a curved tubular brace above the tire and CNC-machined 3D dropouts. The drive-side dropout section also houses a big replaceable alloy terminal for the bolt-through rear axle which is also the rear-mech mount so crash or crush damage is easily sorted. You get four-point rack mounts and separate fender mounts and the offside has flat-mount brake fixtures welded into the seat stay too. The tapered chainstays are dented around the tyre and chainrings to give clearance for either double or single ring set-ups and 40mm 700c tyres or 47mm 650s. The generous 435mm rear end on all sizes gives room for a second hooped brace with fender mounts and Ribble offers short length 46mm guards as an aftermarket add-on.

Image 1 of 2

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel

The CGR Ti features dropped seatstays (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Image 2 of 2

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel

Machined bolt-through axles have fender and rack mounts (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Gear lines are internal from front end to rear chainstay and the brake line is internal through the down tube, all secured with neat alloy insert pieces. There are two bottle cage mounts and a gear cable stop for a front mech with a neat bolted collar that can be colour coded (together with headset) through Ribble’s online ‘bike builder’ system. Despite Ribble quoting ‘seamless welds’ the neat beads are still clear to see throughout but the bright tube finish with contrasting matte panels for the Ribble logo and seat tube bands make it a bike that got a load of compliments on every ride and ‘gram post. In contrast, the full carbon fork has an unmarked, matte finish with straight blades down to the 12mm thru-axle. There are fender mounts on the back of the dropouts though and the front brake line is internal from crown to above the flat-mount. There’s no dropper post routing though and the 27.2mm seat tube diameter would make sourcing a suitable one hard anyway.

While some brands are going rad with their gravel geometry, Ribble has just eased back a fraction on their road numbers, with a 72-degree head and 73-degree seat angle separated by a 555mm top tube (380mm reach) on our medium sample. Head tubes are relatively tall though (170mm on the medium) and the long chainstays mean a steady wheelbase. Frame and fork kits are available for £1,799 / $2,300 with a claimed weight of 1,600g (medium) and 470g for forks.

Image 1 of 2

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel

The contrasting matte design details got many compliments while out riding (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Image 2 of 2

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel

Chromed head badge is simple and classy (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Components and build

While the CGR Ti Sport starts the range at £2,299.00, with Shimano 105 for £2,999.00 you get a bike fully loaded with Shimano’s flagship, single-ring GRX group. It’s a great set up, too, with powerful brakes (particularly when pulled from the drops) and quiet but purposeful shifting. Mavic’s Allroad Elite wheels have a smoothly machined ‘hump profile’ rim for spoke support and an inner width of 25mm on the solid bed. Weight is reasonable at just over 1,720g and bikes will ship with the new, lighter Allroad SL wheels when they’re available. Our sample also came with knobbly WTB Sendero tyres rather than the mostly slick ‘Byway’ tyres listed, but at this time of year, we weren’t complaining.

A slight flare on the Ribble own brand ‘Level’ bars make up partially for the 420mm width and the 100mm stem length confirms the traditional handling vibe, but you can swap both to suit your style in the Ribble website's bike builder program. Level provides the carbon shaft seatpost in a skinny 27.2mm diameter and while we’d forgotten about the curvaceous Fizik Antares saddle, it was great to see it and sit on it again. The old school ‘Concor/Tornado’ shape really suits the timeless Ribble aesthetic, too.

Image 1 of 2

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel

The 420mm bars are more roadie than gravel shredder (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Image 2 of 2

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel

Sendero tyres offer excellent grip without being too much of a drag on the road (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Ride, handling and performance

Corrosion resistance, lack of paint to scratch practicality and always classy polished metal aesthetic of titanium are all great reasons to spend extra on the awkward to manufacture and inevitably expensive material. The main reason to dig deeper into your pockets (the Ribble CGR AL starts at £999) is ride quality though as, when it’s done right, titanium has a visceral vibe all of its own. As mentioned in the frame details, Ribble has ignored the temptation to add excessively flared, flattened or squared tubes and the tall head tube isn’t tapered either. Add the multiple wall thicknesses, dropped rear stays and skinny seatpost and they’ve guaranteed that you’ll get exactly the gliding ride that titanium should give. 

This isn’t a floppy, flexy bike by any stretch and it makes short work of muscling it’s 10kg mass up steeper hills or grunting it through mud and sand off-road. Where it really excels though is with carrying on the surge and flow after you’ve backed off from max or just tapping out tempo while soothing away the grind of back roads or the staccato rattle of bridleways that would normally chip away at momentum and morale. While there’s a little bit of grumble from the round lugs of the 650B Senderos they actually spin along pretty well on less taxing surfaces and really help when things get properly MTB. Just make sure you drop pressure right down (we ran 30psi with a 70kg rider) to let the 47mm carcass flex otherwise they’ll actually feel rougher than a narrower tire. We’d also turn them tubeless with an extra helping of sealant ASAP as the gum-wall versions are skimpy on puncture protection.

Having some side knob also lets you turn in and crab across off cambers more aggressively. The frame angles and cockpit set up are definitely more geared to keeping responses lively and quick on the road rather than chasing MTBs on singletrack. The lack of dropper post compatibility and a relatively large 42T chainring also confirms that this is more of a premium off-road cruiser than a predatory off-road combat machine. That’s certainly not a criticism though as it’s a gloriously luxurious feeling and looking machine that’s fast and engaged enough to enjoy pure road miles but comfortably capable of exploring off-road options.

Ribble CGR Ti - Gravel

The Ribble CGR Ti provides the gliding ride that is expected from titanium (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

There are cheaper ways to get on a similarly versatile titanium bike that probably rides close enough to the CGR-Ti. However, there are also much more expensive ways to get a bike that looks very similar but potentially rides significantly worse. It doesn’t take long on-road or off to realise that Ribble has created a real sweet spot ride with the CGR-Ti frame. While the handling is definitely best matched to the four ‘fat road/SUV’ options the Gravel edition here is a great option if you want to explore dirt options without becoming a barge pilot on back roads.

View the Ribble CGR Ti Gravel at Ribble

Logbook

  • Temperature: 8-18 degrees
  • Surface: Road, gravel, singletrack, cobbles

Tech Specs: Ribble CGR Ti Gravel bike

  • Model name: Ribble CGR Ti -Gravel
  • Discipline: Gravel
  • Price: £2,999.00
  • Head angle: 72 degrees
  • Frame material: 3Al/2.5V triple butted titanium
  • Size: S, M (tested), L XL 
  • Weight: 9.9kg (Size M)
  • Wheel size: 650x47mm
  • Components: Shimano GRX RX810 11-42T 11-speed gearing and shifter, KMC X11 chain. Shimano GRX RX810 42T chainset with BB R60 threaded bottom bracket. Shimano GRX RX810 brakes with 160mm RT800 Centrelock rotors. WTB Sendero 650 x 47mm tires on Mavic All Road Elite wheels. Level 420mm flared bar and Level 2 100mm stem, 27.2mm Level 2 carbon shaft post, Fizik Antares R5 Kium saddle.