If your number one priority in a bike is speed then the Ridley Noah is a bike you have to put on your short list. If your are looking for the most well rounded or the ultimate do it all road bike, the Noah might not be what you are looking for.
Ridley made some pretty dramatic claims when they released the Noah in 2009. Ridley claimed the
combined effect of R-flow and R-surface technologies reduce wind drag by 11.5%. I am not able to say if this is true or not but I am able to say the aero advantage of this frame was noticeable. So noticeable that I am a convert. Prior to riding the Noah I was not really getting the whole need for aerodynamics in a road frame. I felt that designing a road race frame for aerodynamics was not worth the drawbacks on weight and comfort. After 2 races and 50 hours on the Noah, I am going to feel at a distinct disadvantage on an other frame. Day one on the Noah I noticed the way I was rolling up on my ride companion. It was very similar to a good pair of aero wheels, perhaps even more dramatic.http://www.glorycycles.com/ridley.html
Racing on the Noah, things felt fantastic at higher speeds - when attacking a group through a dip at 35mph, the Noah gave me confidence to bridge to the breakaway. The aero engineering in the Noah makes a significant difference to speed. Riding a Noah in a road race could be the difference between winning or finishing 2nd. In a fast group ride the Noah could take you from hanging onto the back, to making a few pulls at the front. Sounds like a bit much? Yes riding the Noah is over the top - it really is.
No free lunch. Yes friends there is no free lunch. The downside to the Noah’s huge upside in speed is that it’s not very comfortable. The Noah does not climb very well and in strong crosswinds it gets blown around just like deep carbon wheels. None of these are deal breakers, but if you are looking at a Noah as your only bike you need to examine your priorities and realize there are lighter and nicer riding bikes out there.
The Noah’s geometry made it feel more like a drag racer than a typical Belgium race bike. The slightly shorter wheelbase makes it a bike for criteriums and sprinting but not ideal for all day riding. Wheel selection made significant difference to the ride quality of the Noah. The demo bike came with Campagnolo Eurus and Michelin Pro 3 race tires. Although this is a good wheel set it was a little harsh with the Noah. Most real deep carbon wheels might give a similar feel but would be a fantastic performance combination. Using American Classic Hurricanes for daily riding took some of the harshness out of the ride and made for a great combo.
The Noah strikes me as the perfect bike for a tall, powerful rider who lives in a relatively flat area and does fast group rides and races. The high modulus carbon used in the Noah makes the bike very stiff yet still relatively light. The Noah is made from a blend of 40 and 50 ton high modulus carbon. The claimed weight of the frame, with the intergraded seat post, is 1200grams (allow 180gram for the post) this is light for a bike with such stiffness and aero styling.
All carbon drop outs on the fork and rear reduce weight once again and attest to the engineering that went into the Noah. The fork also has a tapered steerer tube and a oversized bearing at the bottom with the standard 1 1/8th on the top. The fork contributes to the cornering ability of the bike and the feeling of confidence out of the saddle when sprinting.
The integrated seat mast was easy to adjust and with 3 options for saddle adjustment the Noah should satisfy most riders.
For details about what gives the Ridley Noah it’s aero advantage, I suggest looking at Ridley’s website dedicated to explaining the technology: http://www.thefastestbikeintheworld.com
Looks as fast as it is. Yes, if it came down to choosing a bike on looks and speed the Noah is a 10/10 . When you see it up close or when you park your Noah at a coffee shop next to “normal bikes”, it just looks fast and your friends know it cause your coffee is cold by the time they get there.
Thank you for reading, comments welcome.