Tom Louge had a bike for every type of riding possible but decided that the CGR SL was the one bike to replace them all.
Meet Tom. He’s a 36-year-old Belgian cyclist who got into the sport – like many others -after years of running and getting injured. He got so into riding his bike collection started to resemble a cycle shop with a TT, commuter, road and gravel bike. We’ve all been there, right?
Having accepted nothing could replace a TT bike, he opted to go for a CustomColour CGR SL to replace the other three. Tom, who now lives in Sweden, speaks about his new love for riding over running, and the set up he now uses to explore, race and get his weekly groceries.
‘The bike to replace them all.’
You said that you had a fleet of different bikes for different purposes, what made you want to just opt for one?
I bought the Ribble CGR SL frameset and built it up completely custom, with all parts that I wanted. The bike ticked all boxes and there was no hesitation to why I wanted to buy it.
I’m regularly participating in time trial races so it’s impossible for me to replace my TT bike but I thought it should be possible to replace all of my other bikes with one ‘super do it all’ bike and that’s the Ribble CGR SL.
I had a commuter, gravel and road bike and sold all three of them since I got the CGR. I wanted a bike that has very wide tyre clearance for off-road adventures and that I could take on some bike packing tours. But it had to have aggressive enough geometry and needed to sport aerodynamic design. It had to be able to replace my road bike and also be versatile enough for my daily commutes to the office all-year-round. In Sweden, it snows a lot during the winter so tyre clearance is very important.
My original commuter bike was ready for commuting in winter but it was heavy and not very sexy. The gravel bike was great for gravel but couldn’t handle very big tyres – a max of 38mm- and had a very relaxed geometry.
My aero road bike was super fast on perfect pavement but anything beyond that felt uncomfortable. I also didn’t have the possibility to mount anything larger than 25mm tyres or mudguards. Therefore I had to use a different bike for every different occasion and never felt flexible or totally satisfied.
The Ribble CGR SL easily replaces all of these bikes. Super wide tyre clearance but as aero as my high-end road bike with great performance geometry and all internal cables. I have two wheelsets, one 650b set with 45mm tyres and one 700c set with 28mm tyres. For the winter I will get a commuter wheelset with winter tyres and mudguards.
The full specs:
Wheelset 1: Flo GR650 with Panaracer Gravelking Slick 45mm tubeless
Wheelset 2: Farsports 25x800mm with Schwalbe one 28mm tubeless
Group: Shimano GRX Di2 1×11 11-34 cassette
Crank: Quarq Powermeter with 52t Drag2Zero 1x narrow wide chainring
Saddle: Supacaz S-Works Pro Power Saddle
Handlebars: Prime Primavera Carbon Aero 38mm
Stem: Deda Vinci aero stem
Chain: KMC SL Gold
You’re a super-fit athlete, and have done some epic rides, tell us about your training schedule on the bike?
I try to mix intense weeks with some time trial racing and intervals with less intense weeks that are more focused on endurance. Due to many races being cancelled this year, I do less structured training and try to enjoy the bike a lot more. Anything from time trial racing and the necessary interval training that comes with them to gravel, bike packing and long-distance touring. I love the variety.
My favourite place to ride is the countryside with winding roads and no traffic. I’m not really a climber and I love speed so I rather have some up and downs than long climbs.
I usually ride on my own, especially this year but I have some cycling friends that I like to do some special epic rides with now and then.
This year I’m only participating in some local TT events but I hope to be able to join the King of the Lake TT race in Austria again next year. This is an amazing event around a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains on a fully closed road. That´s my dream event and I can´t wait to race there again. I hope to be in the top ten there one day (around 1000 people participate).
What has been your proudest cycling moment?
When I lived in Japan as a student, I bought a very cheap bike to go on a pilgrimage of 1500km on Shikoku island. Some people there had never seen a foreigner before. I managed to complete the pilgrimage in ten days with very basic equipment. Hope to do it again one day with my Ribble CGR SL.
But my overall proudest moment is to finish the Tortour Ultracyling event two years ago in the solo category. More than 500km non-stop through Switzerland with 6500m of altitude change in less than 20 hours. I was so fit at that time, I could´ve kept on going. Many great memories and I prepared extremely well for that event. Hard work pays off for sure.
We can tell you love cycling, but can you explain what it means to you?
Cycling is my life. It’s more than a hobby, more than a passion. It’s my therapy, my church. As a father of three and being a manager at work I, of course, carry a lot of responsibility but every spare moment I get, I try to spend it on the bike.
Neil Richards wanted a bike to enable him to go out riding with his Dad and brother. Having selected the Endurance SL as his bike of choice, he has now firmly been bitten by the cycling bug. Read his story here.
Cyclist YouTuber and Ribble ambassador Katie Kookaburra recently embarked on a ferry to Northern Ireland to see what this bikepacking malarkey is all about. See how she got on here.