Ridley Orion/SRAM Rival/Mavic Complete Bike - $1,377.00

Between the Noah, the Damocles, and the Excalibur, the Ridley stable of race-ready bikes is so full of compelling offerings, it's easy to overlook the full-carbon Orion -- a bike that sits just inside the doorway of of Ridley's top-tier line. Certainly not a bad problem to have, but it also gives you a the distinct advantage of tailoring the right bike and the right performance package for your dollar. And with this Orion with a SRAM Rival build, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better budget-friendly package for hitting the gran fondo or criterium circuit with a vengeance. In the Orion, Ridley provides a new middle ground -- both in terms of ride quality, and in appearance -- and they do so at a price that's nothing short of alarming. Like other Ridley frames raced in the ProTour, the Orion is built in a monocoque design. The tubes are made from what Ridley terms 24-ton carbon fiber. By definition, it has a tensile strength of 24 tons per square centimeter, and Ridley chooses to make the outermost weave unidirectional carbon. Given its use of 24-ton carbon instead of the 30-ton and 40-ton carbon used in the Damocles and Noah, and given its lack of an expensive 3K outer layer of carbon (which means the frame is fully painted, instead of having a visible clear-coated carbon exterior), the weight of the Orion is nearly identical to the Damocles, even though it costs 40% less. Don't let the economical price of the Orion throw you off -- it still has technology that'd make it a chart-topper for countless other brands. One example of this is the tubing profiles on the Orion. It has an oversized, semi-round, semi-square downtube with a reinforced bottom bracket to maximize stiffness and power transfer. It's reminiscent in our minds of the "Squoval" tubing on the Cervlo R3 -- it's has a rounded boxy shape difficult to explain in words, but its shaping directly correlates to its resistance to torsional and lateral flex. - $1,377.00