Shout if you want to go faster – I’ve spent this year putting Ribble’s CGR AL e through its battery-powered paces. Here are my thoughts on this lightweight, go-anywhere gravel e-bike (spoiler – I love it).
Ribble CGR AL e-bike review
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of e-bikes until now. Many of them are so heavy and bulky that they’re unwieldy to use, or take ages to charge or are, well, just a bit ugly. So it felt like British bike brand Ribble read my mind when they designed the streamlined but powerful Ribble CGR AL e. Weighing in at around 13kg (as a comparison – my regular, non-turbo road bike still weighs 10kg) this bike has a sturdy aluminium frame that’s still lightweight enough for me to lift or manoeuvre over stiles – it’s one of the lightest e-bikes around. The battery is integrated into the frame of the CGR AL, and while you can’t see it, it’s ready to be punchy when you need a boost. The charge gives welcome extra pedal power on long rides or on tough hills, but I can (and often do) still ride this bike happily without the battery on. The charge lasts an impressively long time, too – I can ride my Ribble once a day for an hour and get a few weeks of juice out of it, or ride it hard all day for three days, which means I can take it on overnight bike packing trips far from plug sockets without a worry. Last but not least, I think my lean mean red machine looks pretty great (and you can customise and configure your own, which is then hand-built in Lancashire).
Along for the ride: The CGR AL e (which stands for Cross/Gravel/Road) is a smooth, comfortable ride on both tarmac and trail. The wide tyres make the bike feel stable in traffic, and meaty brakes work well even on slick surfaces. Off the road, the rugged tyres are happy on gravel, mud and even mountain bike trails, and so far, I’ve had zero punctures.
Charging: The Ribble CGR AL e is a cinch to charge – the battery is integrated into the frame (so no need to take the battery out to charge it) and the charging port is tucked under a rubber cover. Just plug the bike into the included cable, plug that into the mains and the light on top of the bike will glow green when it’s finished charging. It only takes an hour to two to charge up, which is super handy if you’re using it daily.
Adventuring: I’m still learning the ropes (or should that be bungees) of bikepacking, and the CGR is a brilliant companion for my camping trips by cycle as I follow Komoot routes to pastures new. It’s got enough charge to last me two or three days of exploring, and its frame is easy to pack with all my kit. Best of all, the tough tyres let me head off the beaten track without worrying, and the battery helps me go further in a day than I used to. If this is the future of adventurous e-bikes, I like it.