The CGR Family – frame materials explained

If you are in the market for a new bike there’s plenty of choices out there and to someone new to the sport it may seem a little daunting. The most common questions we respond to are; Why would I choose aluminium over a steel road bike? Or, what’s heavier/stronger/more long-lasting, a steel or titanium road bike? In this blog – ‘The CGR family, frame materials explained’ we take you through our CGR (gravel bike range) and highlight the specific benefits afforded by each frame’s design and material.

First of all,What is a CGR?

Put simply, the CGR family is the most versatile range of bikes that we offer and as the name suggests is suitable for a variety of disciplines. The acronym CGR stands for Cross, Gravel and Road, and it does exactly what it says on the tin ….bike! For consistency across the range each model shares exactly the same features. These main features are as follows.

  • A more than generous clearance for tyres up to 47mm in width with 650b wheels or 45mm with 700c wheels. This allows the tyres to be tailored to suit your preferred riding style.
  • Compatibility with 650b wheels enhances off-road performance with big volume tyres offering more comfort and traction over bumpy surfaces. Or 700c wheels for a more road optimised set up with the capability to head off-road too.
  • Disc mounting points for the fitting of a rear pannier rack which enables the bike to be utilised as an all-terrain light tourer or commuter.
  • Mudguards mounting points to enable the fitting of full-coverage mudguards for true year-round capability.
  • Flat mount disc brakes which offer the most powerful and consistent braking in all conditions.
  • 12mm bolt thru-axles provide better wheel security and are designed to better cope with the braking forces of disc brakes.
  • Internally routed cables which both provide protection from the elements and preserves the clean lines fo the bike for an uncluttered look.

What sort of riding are they for?

When fitted with narrower, slick tarmac tyres you have a fast and capable road bike that can more than hold its own when out riding with a group. Or, fit some fatter semi-slick or knobbly tyres and you have a fast trail charger or a bike that’s well suited to canal towpaths, fire roads and bridleways. The CGR family encompasses a range of frame materials and below we outline what difference this makes to how they ride.

CGR Ti

The CGR Ti is shown here in the 650b MTB wheel specification for maximum off-road performance.

Want to see more details on the stunning CGR Ti? Click here.

You may find Titanium sometime referred to as the ‘dream’ material. The reason for this is it has a lot of plus points and only one negative…kind of. In fact, the only ‘negative’ that you level at titanium is that it is the most expensive of the available options due to the difficult manufacturing process. This, however, is more than offset by the lifespan of a titanium bike, it can literally last a lifetime hence its use in the aerospace industry..

  • Durability – A good quality Ti frame can last a lifetime, literally. Titanium does not degrade, corrode or fatigue. It is also less likely to be written off due to accidental or crash damage.
  • Comfort – Much like Steel, Titanium has a natural spring that translates into enhanced vibration absorption (compliance). In terms of ‘ride feel,’ this means that you experience a very forgiving ride and feel less fatigue than you would on a super-stiff frame.
  • Weight – Titanium frames are lighter than steel so they offer a similar ride-feel but provide more speed for less effort.

CGR SL

The CGR SL shown here in it’s road configuration but with wide 40mm tyres that add comfort.

The CGR SL is constructed from a carefully selected blend of Toray T800 and T1000 carbon fibres. These are then layered in a unidirectional pattern, whereby each strand is layered in the same direction rather than weaving them together in the traditional way. Doing so adds to the frames inherent strength while also eliminating any potential weak spots.

  • Weight – The lightest frameset in the CGR range, the lighter the bike the less effort is expended to propel it.
  • Stiffness – Carbon is ultra-stiff which means there is very little to no frame flex when you put the power down. This means that the frame is highly efficient at transferring the power generated through the pedals to the road, with very little effort wasted.
  • Comfort – Carbon can produce a slightly harsh ride (road buzz) due to how the stiff the frame is. To counter this the CGR SL has dropped seat stays and a longer seat tube profile to provide more vertical compliance. This vertical compliance allows the seat tube to flex slightly which helps to alleviate the road buzz. The fitting of wider tyres also helps to provide additional comfort.

Want to know more about the CGR SL? Click here.

CGR 725

The CGR 725 features a retro styling but with a modern twist.

Constructed from ‘Best of British’ Reynolds Steel tubing this is a frame that is finished in a very fetching retro-looking colour scheme but benefits from the very latest, cutting-edge design features. Resulting in a bike with the traditional looks of a steel road bike but with all the benefits of modern frame design technology.

  • Weight – Steel frames are not renowned for being super-lightweight but are popular with riders who like nothing better than to sit in the saddle and rack up the miles with little fuss and maximum satisfaction.
  • Comfort – Steel like titanium is synonymous with having a ‘springy’ ride feel which produces a forgiving ride and also means that you feel less of the fatigue caused by road vibration.
  • Durability – There are steel enthusiasts out there still riding about on frames that were manufactured in the ’60s, which certainly attests to their longevity. A well-built steel frame that is carefully looked after can last a lifetime. Of course, steel is susceptible to corrode if not cared for adequately and so do require a little bit of TLC occasionally to ensure that they remain in peak condition.
  • Cable routing – All cables except the rear hydraulic hose are routed internally. Due to the narrower profile of the traditionally shaped (round) steel tubing, there is insufficient room to run every cable internally. If the bike is fitted with a single chainring groupset however it is possible to run ALL cables internally. The rear brake hose can utilise the cable routing normally reserved for the front derailleur.

Want to know more about the CGR 725? Click here.

CGR AL / CGR AL e

The CGR AL is an excellent choice for all-weather / all-terrain commuter.

The CGR AL is constructed from 6061-T6 heat-treated Aluminium with oversized tubing for extra strength. Not only is the CGR AL a rugged off-road platform it has also proven to be a very popular all-terrain commuter.

  • Weight – Second only to the CGR SL carbon in terms of how light the frame is.
  • Comfort – Aluminium is stiff and does transmit vibration through the frame. To alleviate this and a feature of practically our entire range of bikes we have designed the bike with dropped seat stays. This combination of dropped seat stays and a longer seat tube profile smooth out road vibrations. Again wider tyres run at lower pressures also help provide additional comfort.
  • Durability – The CGR AL is very strong and durable, as long as it is not subjected to accidental or crash damage it can last many years. Aluminium is, however, subject to fatigue so does not have the same life expectancy of frames manufactured from Steel or Titanium.

Want to know more about the CGR AL? Click here.

The electric version of the highly successful CGR AL offers that extra assistance for those tough climbs both on and off-road.

For more information on CGR AL e click here.


Want to know about Ribble’s range of ebikes? Click here.


Do you have access to a cycle to work scheme? Find out how it works here.

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