The Ribble HT 725 has a mainframe that's UK-designed Reynolds heat-treated chromoly steel hardtail featuring slack and long geometry.
When we first featured the Ribble HT 725 Pro, we were impressed by the ride quality and totally blown away by the competitive pricing. Four weeks later the price jumped by a whopping £400. So what’s changed? In terms of the bike and build kit, not a jot. It’s still using Reynolds 725 cro-mo tubes for the frame, it still gets a 150mm-travel RockShox Revelation RC fork and SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. Basically the world has changed, not the bike. And, in an ideal world, we’d have tested the HT 725 Enthusiast at £1,899, but if you’ve tried buying a bike recently, you don’t need us to tell you things are far from ideal right now.
Ribble HT 725 Pro Build review
All models in the Ribble HT 725 range use the same Reynolds 725 frame. It comes in four sizes, where Ribble recommends the size large for riders 5ft 11in (180cm) to 6ft 1in (186cm) tall. Sling a leg over the size large and it doesn’t seem very big, however, even if it feels tall. In fact we measured the reach dimension, the best proxy we have for comparing size, at 453mm, 20mm shorter than claimed. We also measured the BB height at 319mm, which is tall for a hardtail, especially one with 170mm crank arms. The rest of the geometry is on point, though. The slack 63.2° head angle and 429mm chainstays offer stability at speed, while the 73.4° seat angle gets you forward enough for all but the steepest climbs.
Ribble also sweated the details of the steering geometry, not just the head angle. By opting for the shorter 38mm offset RockShox Revelation fork, it has increased the amount of trail and ultimately steering stability. This allows you to run the 150mm-travel fork with more sag and the steering still feels direct without being nervous, something that’s aided further by the stubby 45mm Level stem. Running the fork a little softer also improves the dynamic geometry by lowering the BB a hair – it’s not enough to stop your quads burning on longer descents, though, as you hunker down to keep your weight low.
At £1,899 we could afford to let a few things slide, but now the price has shot up, those niggles start looking like problems: namely, the 150mm-travel Level dropper post. No amount of cable adjustment or jiggling got it working properly. Also, the collar that seals the post kept working loose and after just three rides, when we could get it moving, it felt like it was full of grit. Not good. Also the SRAM Level T disc brakes, while powerful enough even with the 160mm rear rotor, had the same lever throw issue as the Guide brakes on the Canyon Stoic, so we ended up running the levers further out than we’d have liked. The rear brake was worse than the front, so that could be a direct result of the internal cable routing.
You don’t need to ride far on the Ribble to notice that the high BB makes you feel perched on top of the bike rather than in it. As a result, if you hook the rear wheel up in a hole or square-edged hit, you instantly get thrown onto the fork. Good thing it has that slack head angle then.
You also notice that it’s a really comfortable ride. The WTB SL8 saddle has just the right amount of padding and support, while the Reynolds 725 tubing helps to damp vibration but not to the degree that it numbs the senses. It’s the 2.6in Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR II tyres with their soft 3C Maxx Terra compound that give the Ribble its real advantage, though. The ability to run the tyres at lower pressures really takes the edge off every bump, but it’s not just comfort that’s improved. The bigger footprint of the fatter tyres and their ability to wrap around, rather than ping off roots and rocks, means you can hit lines on the Ribble that would simply be out of reach on other rival bikes.
At £1,889 the Ribble HT 725 Pro Build looked like an absolute steal. Now that the price has increased to £2,199, however, it faces stiff competition from brands like Cotic, Stanton and Marin, to name just a few. There’s no denying the quality of the Reynolds 725 frame is first rate, and combined with the 2.6in Maxxis tyres, the Ribble HT 725 captures the ride quality that steel hardtails are revered for. All it needs now is a lower BB and a higher-quality dropper post and Ribble could easily give some of the steel stalwarts a run for their money.