The Ridley Kanzo Fast is the fastest gravel bike in the world! At least that’s the Belgian bike brand’s claim. Can the aerodynamic gravel racer come out on top against the competition and what about its all-round characteristics? We put it to the test.
A quick overview of this group test: The best gravel bike 2021
With the Kanzo Fast, Ridley have expanded their gravel bike range to include an aerodynamic race bike. Based on their aerodynamically optimised road bike, the Noah Fast, the Belgian brand have adopted several key design features for gravel. The transition between the fork and frame, the F-Wings at the bottom of the carbon fork, the fully integrated cable routing and the aerodynamic, one-piece carbon cockpit are well-known features of the Noah Fast. The carbon frameset offers clearances for up to 700 x 42C tires and is compatible with the innovative Classified geared hub, which is out to make the front derailleur obsolete. You can find our detailed review of the Classified geared hub here. With the Customizer option, Ridley offer numerous configurations of the Kanzo Fast. You can choose from a total of 42 colours, 7 designs and a wide variety of groupset options. The frame is only compatible with 1x drivetrains. With the custom paint job, our test bike is priced at € 5,684.
Ridley Kanzo Fast
Seatpost Forza Aero 6 mm
Brakes Shimano GRX RX810 160/140 mm
Drivetrain Shimano GRX RX815 Di2 mit ROTOR ALDHU Aero-Kurbel 42 (11–42)
Stem Ridley Aero G1 110 mm
Handlebar Ridley Aero G1 420 mm
Wheelset Forza Vardar db
Tires WTB Venture Road TCS 40C
Size XS S M L XL
Weight 8.56 kg
Customizer option with 42 colors, 7 designs and a wide variety of drivetrain options
Compatible with the Classified gear hub
Frameset is designed exclusively for 1-speed drives
bolting points for mudguards
|Seat tube||470 mm||495 mm||520 mm||545 mm||570 mm|
|Top tube||522 mm||547 mm||565 mm||587 mm||601 mm|
|Head tube||115 mm||144 mm||168 mm||197 mm||221 mm|
|Chainstays||425 mm||425 mm||425 mm||425 mm||425 mm|
|BB Drop||74 mm||72 mm||72 mm||70 mm||70 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,001 mm||1,017 mm||1,026 mm||1,044 mm||1,053 mm|
|Reach||372 mm||380 mm||385 mm||393 mm||400 mm|
|Stack||537 mm||563 mm||587 mm||613 mm||638 mm|
Lactate threshold here we come. In flat terrain, the Ridley invites you to put the pressure on. The gravel mile millionaire.
Weighing in at 8.56 kg in size M, the spec of the gravel bike consists of a 1×11 Shimano GRX RX815 Di2 groupset with Rotor ALDHU aero cranks, a Forza Vardar db wheelset and Ridley’s Aero G1 cockpit. Both the one-piece carbon cockpit and the proprietary Forza aero seat post are available in different sizes so you should be able to find a suitable riding position that fits you. That said, the one-piece cockpit limits the adjustment options to a certain extent. The bike’s competitive genes are also evident in the choice of rotors: 160 mm up front and just 140 mm at the rear. However, the tire choice doesn’t match the bike’s ambitions as in our big gravel tire group test, the WTB Venture Road TCS tires were among the models with the highest rolling resistance.
The bike’s competitive ambitions are ever-present aboard the Ridley Kanzo Fast with an aggressive and stretched riding position. However, the 168 mm long head tube offers a bit of relief, allowing you to stay in this position for longer rides that don’t involve the pressure of a ticking stopwatch.
Another aspect that contributes to the gravel bike’s long-distance comfort is its compliance. High-frequency vibrations and small knocks are pleasantly absorbed, though moderate to large vibrations are noticeably passed on to the rider. However, the Ridley always remains predictable and it’s generally stiff and direct character doesn’t lead to any surprises. Getting on the pedals, the bike is extremely responsive and willing. Its acceleration is particularly impressive at moderate speeds. On the other hand, the S-Works Diverge and the ARC8 feel significantly more light-footed when getting going from a standstill and on steep climbs. When considering the bike’s efficiency on flat terrain, we have to keep in mind that the Ridley suffers from the high rolling resistance of the WTB tires. Apart from that, the combination of the frameset with its aerodynamic features, the deep carbon rims and the aggressive riding position is very efficient. The Kanzo Fast feels particularly comfortable on gravel motorways and poorly maintained asphalt roads. As long as the ground is compact, it can play to the strengths of its stability and the balanced agility of the front and rear. In these situations, the bike instils the rider with confidence. However, it hasn’t got enough reserves for rougher and more technical terrain, where its stiff and direct character quickly reaches its limits.
Tuning-tip: faster rolling tires with a bigger volume for improved efficiency and comfort
With the Ridley Kanzo Fast, ambitious gravel fans will find a fast bike that delivers impressive performance on compact surfaces with its composed handling and good damping. The extensive online configurator is a great tool for customising the bike. For gravel riders who also like to veer off-road, the bike’s stiffness will be a limiting factor.
- well-damped frameset
- very stable and confident on compact surfaces
- extensive online ‘Customizer’
- tires with excessive rolling resistance
- one-piece cockpit limits adjustability
- designed exclusively for 1x drivetrains
- limited off-road performance
Not sure which gravel bike you should buy? This guide will help you for sure: gravel bike buyers guide.
You wonder what tires to put on your gravel machine? We recently tested the best gravel tires against each other in our gravel tire group test.
More information here: ridley-bikes.com
Get an overview of this group test: The best gravel-bike 2021 – 13 models on review
All bikes on review: 3T Exploro Race EKAR 1X13 (Click for review) | ARC8 Eero (Click for review) | BMC URS 01 ONE (Click for review) | Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 3 (Click for review) | Canyon Grail CF SLX 8 eTap (Click for review) | Fustle Causeway GRX600 (Click for review) | OPEN WI.DE. (Click for review) | Ridley Kanzo Fast | Ritte Satyr (Click for review) | ROSE BACKROAD FORCE ETAP AXS LIMITED (Click for review) | ROSE BACKROAD AL GRX RX600 1X11 (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Diverge (Click for review) | Trek Checkpoint (Click for review)
No, it’s not about perfect race tracks, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along high-speed passages need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret “Smooth tarmac” bikes as follows: Hard efforts at high speeds with a maximum efficient bike on a consistently well-paved road. Effort-joy ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
… also known as bike riding. Broken-up roads in the hinterland, deadlocked gravel roads, loose surfaces – sometimes muddy, sometimes bone-dry. For this, it takes bikes with super all-round, handling and wearing qualities uphill and downhill. Effort-joy ratio: 50:50↩
If you want to use your bike almost every day, you usually do not need an extremely tuned racing machine. Solid components, which are able to cope with the rigours of continuous usage in any kind of weather, are part of the basic equipment. At the same time, the bike should have practicable details: integrated fenders/assembly options, luggage racks/attachment points and a light system or at least the option of installing bike lights. The position on the bike should be rather relaxed, the overall comfort high, so that the Afterwork Ride becomes a cure and not a curse. Effort-joy ratio: 30:70↩
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Words: Photos: Valentin Rühl