Ridley Helium Sl Frameset – 2015
Ridley Helium SL Frameset – 2015. Created to be the ultimate climbing machine, the Ridley Helium SL frameset is the choice for the top pros of the Lotto-Soudal cycling team in races like the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. Crafted from some of the most advanced carbon composites in the industry, tuned for stiffness and lightweight, and imbued with legendary Belgian practicality, the Helium SL might just be one of the greatest all-around bikes ever created. We had an opportunity to test ride the Helium SL in Belgium at the Ridley factory, and can say without a doubt it’s one of the best bikes we’ve ever ridden. Whether on a fast and flat race track, leg-crushing 20% climbs, and Belgian cobbles, the Helium SL delivered everything you would expect from a pro-level, high end bike. And then some. The Helium SL frame is crafted from a proprietary blend of 60-ton, 40-ton, and 30-ton high modulus unidirectional carbon fiber. By using a blend of different carbon fibers, Ridley’s engineers are able to tune the ride to deliver up the perfect ride–stiff where you need it to be, and more compliant in areas that affect rider comfort. For example, the bottom bracket and headtube areas are made from the ultra-stiff 60-ton carbon fiber. This is because these areas are subjected to massive amounts of torque from the rider, so by using a stiffer carbon, the Helium SL ensures no power is lost to frame flex. On the flip side, areas like the ultra-thin seat stays are made from a less-stiff 30-ton carbon to allow for more compliance and flex to improve comfort, making this a race bike that’s comfortable to ride on all day. For the highest strength-to-weight ratio possible, the carbon tubes are a circular shape that gradually transitions to a square, allowing the bike to be stiff and responsive, while using far less material than other bikes. The Helium frame also features internal derailleur cable routing that is compatible with both electronic and mechanical drivetrains. Additionally, a PF30 bottom bracket and oversized, tapered headtube enhance frame stiffness. The PF30 bottom bracket allows the use of a crankset with a shorter, beefier spindle for less flex and improved power transmission. The bottom bracket shell is also burlier, which means that the frame is stiffer, so more watts go into forward movement, and less into frame flex. The tapered headtube enables the frame to be stiffer for improved handling and control on even the roughest terrain. The full monocoque carbon fiber fork features a tighter rake that gives the bike the ability to dive into turns, making descending feel smoother and more confident. If you’re looking for an all-around race bike that can excel on any terrain, and is about as lightweight as it gets, then you’re looking for the Ridley Helium SL.