Ribble Gravel 725 Sport review: retro-cool gravel bike for rugged adventures

Cool, classy, yet more than capable on muddy trails, Ribble Gravel 725 is a steel steed built for exploring

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport review
(Image credit: Amy Sedghi)
T3 Verdict

If you're looking for a gravel bike that you can take on any adventure, the steel-framed Ribble Gravel 725 Sport is a fantastic option. Competitively priced and with great componentry from SRAM, this retro-looking bike is a joy to ride and handles anything the British weather can throw at it.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Classic retro style

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    Great value for money

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    Really fun to ride

  • +

    Numerous mounting points make it a great bike-packing option

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Quite heavy

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    Less adaptable than some when it comes to road racing and commuting

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The Ribble Gravel 725 is a bike built for off roading and bike packing and I loved riding it. Manufacturers Ribble, who are celebrating their 125th anniversary this year, are well known for having a fantastic range of bikes catering for all types of riders and this is no exception. 

Their award-winning range of gravel bikes, which launched last year, already includes the Gravel SL Enthusiast model that we tested recently. That bike did so well with our reviewer that it ended up being named the ‘best high-end workhorse’ in our roundup of the best gravel bikes to buy.

So what’s different with their latest addition: the Gravel 725 collection? With this new offering, Ribble have added their first gravel bike specific steel frame models to sit alongside their existing carbon, titanium and aluminium options. With the Gravel 725, Ribble has created a trio of bikes with a real retro look and geometry that feels distinct from the rest of its range. 

If you want to know more about T3's product reviews, take a read of our how we test page. Otherwise, read on for my thoughts on the Ribble Gravel 725 Sport.

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport review

(Image credit: Amy Sedghi)

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport review: price and availability 

The Ribble Gravel 725 Sport is available direct from the brand and builds can be easily personalised via the Ribble BikeBuilder and CustomColour tools.

You can get the Ribble Gravel 725 Sport in six sizes, from XX-Small (4’11” – 5’3”/150 – 160cm) through to X-Large (6’ 0” – 6’ 3”/183 – 191cm). We like that the three smaller size options ensure that female riders are well catered for too. 

There are three specs available: Gravel 725 Sport, Gravel 725 Enthusiast and Gravel 725 Pro. For this review, we tested out the entry level, Gravel 725 Sport, which comes in at just over £2,000.

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport review

(Image credit: Amy Sedghi)

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport: design and build

My Ribble Gravel 725 Sport version arrived in a sophisticated shade of Air Force Blue, which quickly garnered a lot of compliments. It’s named after the Reynolds 725 steel that the frame is made from - a real bike connoisseur’s choice. 

The Gravel 725 Sport’s long, low geometry is more like a classic 90s hardtail mountain bike than a modern gravel race machine, lending it a classic retro look that really stands out. The vibe is complemented by the tan sidewalls of the tubeless ready Halo GXC 47mm tyres, fitted to Mavic Allroad 650b rims. 

The wheels have bladed spokes, which seems an odd touch given aerodynamics is low on the list of this bike’s selling points: the bike is clearly designed for riding adventures that could take you anywhere, from smooth tarmac to rocky trails and everything in between. 

There are also numerous mounting points to attach all manner of bags and bottle cages, making it a top choice for some epic bikepacking adventures. The SRAM Apex 1x gearing is precise and the hydraulic disc brakes have superb stopping power. Being steel, the bike is not lightweight (the medium size we tried comes in at 11.1kg), but you could say that’s really not the point. If you’re after something faster, then we’d suggest checking out Ribble’s CGR SL or Gravel SL Carbon bikes.

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport review

(Image credit: Amy Sedghi)

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport: the ride

As many of us are looking for a do it all bike these days, I tested the Gravel 725 Sport on both road and gravel rides. The tyres are also the same ones found on the Ribble Gravel SL Enthusiast that T3 tested recently. 

I’d say the tyres definitely felt at home on the type of ‘gravel’ to be found in the North Downs this winter; consisting mainly of deep, slippery mud, tree roots and rocks concealed by layers of decomposing leaves. On an off-road group ride, there was a definite advantage felt over others with less substantial tyres. In fact, an even deeper tread wouldn’t have gone amiss. 

Despite its relatively heavy weight, the bike felt very nimble out of the saddle and had a really nice flow on the more technical downhill sections. In fact, the only time the weight was clearly felt was when lifting it over fallen trees or fences, as is part of the fun of off-road riding. The handling felt very assured though, which was helped by the flared drops. 

Let’s be honest: on the road, you won’t be setting any personal records. However, you can comfortably ride the bike all day and that’s a consideration of utmost importance if you’re looking for a machine for long adventures or multi-day off-road trips. 

I was unfortunate enough to get a puncture within the first few kilometres on the road on my first ride testing out this bike and needed a tube change. The hole would most likely have sealed if the tyres were set up tubeless, so especially after that experince, I’d recommend getting that in place. You'll also get improved grip and ride quality at lower pressures. 

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport review

(Image credit: Amy Sedghi)

Ribble Gravel 725 Sport: verdict

In the few weeks I’ve been riding the Ribble Gravel 725 Sport, I’ve really put it through its paces. Despite the British weather being particularly British (raining almost constantly), the 725 Sport has stood up to everything I’ve thrown at it. 

The thing that really stands out is how much fun this bike is to ride and it only seems to get better as it gets muddier. It makes easy work of mixed terrain and is both a highly capable and comfortable ride. 

If you’re looking for a bike that you plan to use mainly for commuting or road rides with the odd gravel ride thrown in, this might not be the bike for you. However, If you want a bike to take on your next adventure that will get you anywhere, then you could do a lot worse than the Ribble Gravel 725 Sport.

Amy Sedghi
Freelance Writer

Amy is a freelance journalist who writes for various publications, including The Guardian, National Geographic Traveller, Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Independent, Refinery 29 and more. She loves travelling and cycling.