My first exposure to the Ridley Helium SLX was at its launch at this year’s Tour Down Under in January. The local guys from Ridley brought in a few Lotto Soudal riders, namely Thomas De Ghent and Adam Hansen, to give us their impressions of the bike as they’d been riding it for a few months already.
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It’s here that Hansen said point blank to a room full of journalists and retailers, “the new Helium (SLX) is the best bike I have ever ridden.”
- This review is part of our new long-term test format on BikeRadar where staffers, like me, will be introducing the bikes we’re spending time on over the next few months. We’ve already seen Jack’s Bianchi Methanol, Oli’s Norco Search Alloyand had a brief look at Joe’s Fuji SL 1.5. Be sure to keep checking back here for regular updates.
- Gallery: Adam Hansen’s Ridley Helium SLX
He then went on to explain the physics of why early disc frames broke the way they did, quote exact weights of disc brake groupsets off the top of his head and answer some pretty technical questions when it came to certain design elements of another Ridley launched on the day.
Given he also makes his own custom carbon fibre shoes and tinkers with bike fit and set up like nobody else in the pro peloton, dude knows gear.
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Yes, I realise he is a sponsored athlete and is supposed to say, X, Y and Z are the best he’s ever ridden, but with the amount of black electrical tape and magic marker used on his race bikes to appease sponsors, I actually put quite a lot of stock into what Hansen has to say when it comes to equipment.
Needless to say, I was intrigued, and when the local Ridley distributor asked if I’d like to borrow one for review I jumped at the opportunity. This was made sweeter when the build was outlined — more on that later.
With so many bike brands touting their frames as the lightest and stiffest, the Ridley doesn’t really tick many of these boxes. With a 750g frame and 300g fork, it’s far from the featheriest out there (though the local Ridley distributor points out it is the weight of a painted frame), and it’s also not the stiffest, but in my short time aboard the Belgian beauty it rides pretty damn wel