- Superb ride quality
- Stunning aesthetics
- Confident handling
- Lacks brand cachet of more established marques
- Fairly weighty
Known for its exquisite and hardy steel-framed mountain bikes, British-based company Ragley has turned its hand to the burgeoning gravel bike market and distilled its off-road knowledge into the drop-bar bike pictured here. The result is the Ragely Trig - a mountain bike-inspired gravel bike built around the 650b wheel standard.
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We put it through its paces on a variety of trails to test its off-road mettle and better understand its position within the best gravel bike space.
Ragley Trig - Design and aesthetics
The Ragley Trig pictured here in ultra-violet metallic paint is a stunning bike to behold. The purple colour does a superb job of accentuating the bike’s proportions and lifts the overall visual drama. The Ragley wordmark takes residence on the downtube while the Trig logo adorns the top tube - it’s a very refined aesthetic. While the gear cables and brake hoses are routed externally around the headset and along the downtube and chainstays, it’s all very tidy and unobtrusive. This might cause some cable rub around the headtube over time but during our two months with the bike, there wasn’t much contact and surface interference.
The bike has been designed around the notion of adventure and the company wants you to decide what that means - gravel, bikepacking or both? It’s your choice. That said, if it is the latter, the bike does benefit from a selection of mounting points: two bottle cages inside the triangle and three bosses on each side of the fork. There’s also a provision to mount fenders or a rack on the seatstay. The mounting options are endless and this very much epitomises what the Ragley Trig is all about - endless possibilities.
In terms of the frame, triple-butted 4130 Chromoly steel round tubes take centre stage. These classic tube shapes provide a welcomed respite to the chunky overengineered scaffolding that underscores most of its contemporary carbon-fibre rivals. Speaking of which, the bladed fork is manufactured from carbon fibre - a move that not only helps cull weight a little but also helps front-end compliance.
The geometry numbers are very encouraging, too, and stay true to the brand’s mountain biking heritage with a slack 70-degree head angle, steep 74-degree seat angle and 1,035mm wheelbase. The 425mm chainstays add stability at the rear while the 595mm stack height and 395mm reach make for a relatively sporty riding position.
The Trig’s superpower is its ability to accommodate both 700c and 650b wheel sizes. The frame has been designed to work best with burly 47mm 27-inch tyres but can also play nicely with 700c wheels, albeit at a reduced clearance of 40c. The frame has clearance for a maximum tyre width of 2.1in (650b).
Ragley Trig - Specification
The Trig comes handsomely appointed and represents stellar value. It benefits from a Shimano GRX groupset and features a mix of RX400 (calipers) and RX600 (levers) level parts. The gearing is handled by a 40T FSA Omega chainring and 11-42T Shimano SLX cassette, the combination of which supplies an impressive range for most situations - on- and off-road terrain included.
Rolling stock comes courtesy of aluminium WTB ST i25 TCS 2.0 rims which are wrapped in WTB Sendero tyres, while a brace of 160mm rotors are bolted to the front/rear Nukeproof Neutron hubs. The finishing kit, including the saddle and chainstay protector, comes compliments of Ragley.
Ragley Trig - Performance
At 10.92kg, the Ragley Trig is more in line with a lightweight hardtail mountain bike than a bona fide gravel rig but this has little impact on its performance credentials. The bike is pretty lively and responsive to pedal inputs and doesn’t require much effort to get it up to speed on open gravel roads. The 650b wheel configuration helps the Trig reach cruising altitude relatively quickly but it is worth noting that the rolling diameter of 650b x 47mm tyres are about the same as 700C x 28-30mm - so it's not as quick in the acceleration stakes as I initially expected.
As far as ride quality goes, the Ragley is fairly compliant and in line with what you’d expect from most metal off-road bikes. There’s a springiness to the steel underpinnings that helps iron out imperfections and bolster confidence. Together with the stiff carbon-fibre fork and wide bars, the bike tracks accurately and supplies impressive control down singletrack descents and sweeping gravel downhills. Of course, much of its traction comes down to the ultra-grippy WTB Sendero tyres. The widely spaced, chunky tread blocks ensure the tyres perform in a variety of settings - mud and sand included - and the tubeless setup allows further tinkering with tyres pressures to unlock even more potential.
When linking gravel tracks with tarmac roads, there’s little trade-off in terms of outright performance. If anything, the Trig will manage your speed expectations with aplomb, rewarding your hard work with a cacophonous thrum from the tyres on hardpack and tarmac surfaces. Back on the loose stuff and your confidence will continue to build, especially when you start to push the limits of adhesion. The bike is an absolute hoot to ride hard, and the harder you ride it the more it rewards you - it's a matter of picking your line, keeping it pinned, looking through the corner and trusting the grip. And repeat.
Should you feel a little apprehensive about sending it full tilt through your favourite singletrack, the Shimano GRX brakes offer superb modulation, allowing you to accurately scrub off speed to get more weight over the front wheel.
Ragley Trig - Verdict
The Ragley Trig doesn’t pander to any specific trend but rather charts its own path, shunning the race-obsessed mainstream culture in favour of adventure. For the money, the Trig is impressively specced and boasts provisions for all types of riders, bikepackers included. While the 650b wheel configuration makes it more mountain bike than a gravel bike, it can dismiss anything that comes its way. If you ride more road and easy gravel than technical terrain, there is the choice of fitting a set of 700c wheels and faster-rolling tyres.
At £1,750, the Ragley Trig represents superb value. While it doesn’t have any direct rivals, from a pricing perspective, it does go head-to-head with the £1,680 aluminium Forme Monsal 1 that Stu tested. The Monsal is marginally lighter but gets a SRAM Apex 1 groupset and fits 700c wheels only. Then there’s the Ribble’s Gravel AL Sport which straddles a similar price point (£1,600) and gets the same Apex 1 groupset.
Ultimately, the Ragley Trig is a totally different bike from the examples listed above and it shows in its design and riding dynamics. It’s more about having fun and enjoying yourself than trying to keep up with the Strava leaderboards - and its 650b wheel set-up represents a middle-finger salute to what’s become normalised in the gravel space. If this appeals to you, you won’t go wrong with the Ragley Trig. If it doesn’t there’s a host of generic cookiecutter options to choose from.
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About the bike
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own :
State the frame material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.:
Frame is made from triple-butted 4130 Chromoly steel tubing. Carbon-fibre fork.
|Wheelset||Nukeproof Neutron Hub, 100mmx12mm/142mm x 12mm, Sealed bearings, 36 points of engagement, 32h, 6-bolt disc on a WTB ST i25 TCS 2.0 Rim 650b (taped for tubeless)|
|Shifter||Shimano RX600 11 speed|
|Rear Deraileur||Shimano GRX RX812 11-Speed, Shadow Plus|
|Chain||KMC X11-EPT 11 speed|
|Cassette||Shimano SLX M7000 or XT M8000, 11-Speed, 11-42|
|Crankset||FSA Omega, 170mm, 40t|
|Brakes||Shimano GRX RX600 lever with RX400 calliper, Resin pads with fin|
|Rotors||160mm RT66 rotors|
|Tyres||WTB Sendero 650b x 47c Tan Sidewall, Dual DNA Compound, Lightweight Tubeless Casing, TCS Aramid Bead|
|Handlebars||Ragley Alloy, 31.8mm, 48cm-400mm Wide, 50cm-420mm Wide, 52/55/58cm-440mm Wide|
|Stem||Ragley, 31.8mm Clamp, 7 Degree Rise, 48 / 50cm:70mm, 52cm:80mm, 55 / 58cm:90mm|
|Seatpost||Ragley 27.2mm x 400mm|
|Headset||FSA NO.9M,1 1/8-1.5 Tapered|
|Grips||Ragley Black cork cushion tape with bar end plug|