Ridley Helium Force 2016
This bike costs a bit more than $1,500 — but if you’ve always wanted a carbon fiber road bike, this Ridley Helium Force offers the rare chance to pick up a 2016 model at nearly half price. Ridley makes two carbon framesets — the Helium SL, which is their higher end model, and the Force, which uses a different carbon lay-up for a slightly heavier build. The Helium Force ($1,760 at Backcountry — marked down from $3,520!) still offers the light, stiff performance you’d expect from a race-ready carbon fiber frameset. If you want to out-climb your friends or set a personal best on your next organized ride, you’ll enjoy the lighter weight a carbon frame offers compared to aluminum.
The Ridley Helium is built up with the always-reliable SRAM Force groupset, which offers 2×11 gearing. It rolls on durable Mavic wheels, which could be upgraded in the future to create an even lighter overall bike. The Ridley Helium features SRAM rim brakes, rather than the discs that have become increasingly common; rim brakes offer solid stopping power in most conditions and are easy to maintain, which means more time on the bike, and less in the shop.
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