Our workshop manager Pat Blundel has had his Ridley Kanzo A for a little over 3 months now. I asked him for his feedback on how he was getting on with his new bike, and here’s what he came back with.
“The Belgian brand Ridley has been in my bike shed more than once or twice over the years. Often bringing in the muck and dirt from the days of using my cyclocross bike as my all-rounder, my previous X-Night was the “can-do everything” bike, but now, I think it’s been trumped.
I bought the Ridley Kanzo A 3 months ago and it’s not disappointed one bit, its versatility and handling has pretty much let me do whatever I want with it and it handles the roughest terrain like it was built to do it. Its geometry allows a relaxed but positive road feel without the aches and pains creeping through from pavement buzz or hefty vibrations shattering your shoulders, a win-win when doing big miles on the bike packing trips this bike will make you want to do.
With the Kanzo’s ability to run 42mm tyres with a 700c wheel and 55mm with a 650b, you can really get the results you want because you have the ability to find the tyre pairing of your choice, or more importantly, the confidence you want.Image: Pat’s Kanzo after his first ride on muddy winter bridleways
The Sram 1X system that came with my Kanzo suits a wide range of terrain, I’ve never felt under or over geared for what I was wanting to do. You have the range for technical climbing with a huge 11-42T cassette and the 42T front chainring allows you to keep up with any peloton you might be hanging on to. The Apex system links up with TRP’s Spyre mechanical disc brakes on 160/140mm rotors, which perform well on the majority of gradients however, I’d be open to the idea of upgrading to something more powerful down the line if I was going to push this bike further and faster.
So what have I changed you ask? Well firstly the saddle; this is no complaint to Forza who supply the finishing kit throughout the bike but to me, a saddle is personal and I’ve used the same model for 12 years now. I’ve also opted for some flared bars, going with a 20° sweep, these make any descent feel sturdy and give me beams of confidence with a nice 42cm hood to hood width when on the road. Finally the wheels; this Kanzo A came with some 650b hoops on 2.1 inch mountain king tyres, great for off road trail centers and mucky evenings on the bridleways however, I opted to get some separate 700c DT Swiss wheels and finished them off with some 40mm Pirelli Cinturato gravel tyres in the mixed compound and boy, have they been great. With the Kanzo’s ability to run 42mm tyres with a 700c wheel and 55mm with a 650b, you can really get the results you want because you have the ability to find the tyre pairing of your choice, or more importantly, the confidence you want.
Over the last three months the bike has really become a versatile steed, handling a fully loaded multi-day bike packing adventure with a smooth transition into evening chain gangs; a sturdy commuter rolling into a weekend of “off-roading” finding fields and tracks not usually considered. I can’t help but steer towards it when going out with friends, it really gives you no excuses when someone is asking you to join them for a venture out. The days when a bike had a specific purpose are over; the Kanzo gives you access to whatever your heart may desire and more as it is so capable on and off-road.
Overall, I think Ridley have made a brilliant bike that’ll give you miles of joy. The Kanzo A will open new tracks, trails, and pathways you’d never have considered and who doesn’t want that, right?
Reflecting on the purchase I must ask, “would I change anything?”. Possibly. I’d maybe spend a little more on the next model up and foolproof the bike with hydraulic brakes and a spare 700c wheelset. With those upgrades I don’t think you’d find yourself wanting to spend more on the bike, the saved cash going straight on some bike-packing bags & tubeless tyres.
I’d recommend coming down to Bike4Health and trying out the Kanzo A GRX 600, for £1985, you’d be getting that hydraulic performance and 700c wheel size…perfect.”