Ribble’s naming conventions are pretty self-explanatory, so you know what you’re getting with the Gravel AL. This £1,999 build is spec’d with a 1X SRAM Rival groupset (Shimano 105 equivalent), Mavic Allroad 650b wheels and chunky WTB Sendero tyres.
There are a range of other groupset configurations available with the Gravel AL, including SRAM Apex 1X (£1699), Shimano GRX RX400 (£1699), Shimano GRX RX600 (£1999) and Shimano GRX RX800 (2 £399), with electronic groups also offered when you upgrade to the carbon fiber Gravel SL models.
For larger budgets, titanium Gravel Ti versions are also offered, as well as additional support with the Gravel AL e electric gravel bike.
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x frame details
At first glance, you could be forgiven for mistaking the Gravel AL for a carbon bike, thanks to the incredibly smooth welds between its frame tubes and the nice shape around the head tube.
It’s only when you cast your eyes towards the base that a signature alloy weld is visible, unlike some other bikes in the economy alloy category.
Up front, a super thick carbon fork offers tons of space around the supplied 47mm wide tires, which bodes very well for clearing mud during the winter months. Each fork blade is adorned with three mounts, so you can load up cages to carry kit or water if you fancy a few days (or months) on the trails.
Only one color is offered, with the British Racing Green finish, with matt and glossy areas, which turns heads.
However, if you fancy something unique, Ribble also offers a custom color scheme. For the price of £299 you can order your dream painting.
This is easily configurable via the brand’s online design platform, where you can choose the color of the frame and decals, as well as gloss, matte or glitter finishes. Having had a few bikes privately repainted over the years, this seems like a pretty decent value.
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast Geometry SRAM Rival 1x
The geometry is fairly typical of a modern gravel bike, with this size XS measuring up to a 1036mm wheelbase and 70.5-degree head tube angle.
The Gravel AL comes in a fantastic range of sizes, from XXS (for riders from 152cm/5ft) to XL (for riders up to 194cm/6ft 4in).
There’s a decent level of tire clearance on offer, with up to 47mm for the 650b tires and 45mm for the 700c; the Gravel AL can take both wheel sizes.
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x Specifications
The SRAM Rival 1x build kit offers a fairly generous gear range in a simple, easy-to-use format with the 42t chainring and 11-42t cassette. Hydraulic disc brakes are also essential for tackling the toughest stuff.
Unsurprisingly, the mid-range Gravel AL comes equipped with a finishing kit from Ribble’s in-house component brand, LEVEL, with an alloy seatpost, Gravel Riser stem and handlebars, which provide 100% lift. 20mm, as well as a generous 16 degree flare on the drops.
Mavic Allroad 650b wheels are spec’d and shod with chunky 47mm WTB Sendero tires. With a tread closer to cross-country mountain bike tires, these unlock an exciting level of capability with the Ribble Gravel AL on more challenging terrain.
Ribble Gravel AL Enthusiast SRAM Rival 1x riding impressions
Lively, capable and great to ride: the Gravel AL certainly impressed in testing. Although the big Senderos aren’t the fastest gravel bike tires on the road, they come into their own once you hit more technical gravel and singletrack.
Likewise, if you find you’re spending more time on smoother, paved trails, it wouldn’t be an ordeal to swap them out for the less aggressive 650b tires.
Fit was the one area where I felt the Gravel AL could be improved. At 165cm, I fell to the middle of the XS size, and although the frame size was snug, the reach was long. I slammed the saddle forward to offset the extended seatpost a bit, but from the center of the top of the handlebars to the position of the cowl, the path is really quite long.
Women tend to have proportionately longer legs and shorter torsos than men.
Women’s gravel and road bikes tend to solve this problem, either with specific geometry to reduce reach or with a slightly different choice of components, but in this case you may need to take matters into your own hands. with this unisex model.
The option of a short-reach handlebar and alloy seatpost online at no extra cost through Ribble’s bike customizer would make this offer much more appealing to many female riders.
I found the saddle to be very comfortable though, despite being a unisex model rather than one of the best women’s bike saddles. There are five different saddles to choose from in the customizer at no extra cost, including some women’s models.
The SRAM Rival shifting was smooth and consistent (adjusted cable-to-bar tension, which is expected of a new bike), and the powerful hydraulic brakes gave me control on descents and rougher terrain .
While the gearing was adequate for most Dartmoor tarmac hills, a smaller 40- or 38-tooth chainring would be useful for spinning looser dirt climbs, especially when loaded for the bike.
The component choices largely make sense. Although the bars were a bit too wide for me at 42cm, the 20mm rise was a delight. For shorter riders, this gives additional front tire clearance for a bar bag.
If you prefer a zero height bar you can opt for this at no extra cost in Ribble’s customization options, although unfortunately 42cm is the only width available for all frame sizes.
At just 10.3kg, the Ribble Gravel AL is quite light, even with the big WTB Sendero tires.
The Ribble Gravel AL was great fun to ride and a bike I would be really proud to own.
The value you get at this price is truly impressive. While I would need to spend a little more to optimize the fit, key construction elements like the quality SRAM Rival drivetrain and Mavic Allroad wheelset can’t be overlooked.
The fat 650b tire setup is pleasingly more aggressive than what you see on most gravel bikes, although I’m sure the build would be just as fun on tarmac and lighter gravel with a 700c tire setup, 40mm.
I love the matt and gloss British Racing Green paint, but if that’s not your cup of tea, for £299 you can choose your dream paint.