In our 2015 Ridgeback Vanteo bicycle review our expert reveals how well this hybrid bike performs both in the town and on bumpy country bike trails

Overview

If you love caravan holidays, the chances are that you're quite a big fan of spending time outdoors. There's just so much glorious countryside to explore in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. And after towing your caravan some distance to the caravan park, what could be more relaxing than exploring the local area by bicycle?

For those who normally live in a built-up area, the experience of cycling in the countryside is so refreshing. Without the traffic fumes, you'll quickly be transported back to childhood pleasures as you pedal quietly through the landscape. Just feel yourself relax as you get fitter and explore further, secure in the knowledge that there's never a problem about finding somewhere to park when you're on your bike.

Much as we admire sports cyclists, we're not reviewing extremely high performance racing bikes here, or the kind of mountain bikes that purists would buy. Instead, we've reviewed hybrid bikes that you can use everywhere on holiday. We looked for flat handlebars that are easy to hold when you're sitting in an upright position. We wanted 29in or 700c wheels, which are suitable for pedalling long distances on the road, on occasion. We also wanted bikes that we could ride on a canal towpath or a disused railway bike trail, and that we could ride across fields and on the road to the village pub or shop. We favoured bikes with a frame that would fit the average height person, but that was also adjustable. And we took note of the overall weight of each bike, along with ride comfort, stability and braking power.

In our quest to find the best hybrid bicycles for caravan holidays, we tested a selection of eight strong but light bikes for our Practical Caravan cycling special issue. In this review we'll focus on the Ridgeback Vanteo, which costs £499.99. 

It weighs just 11.8kg, making it lighter than the Islabikes Beinn 29, Fuji Absolute 2.0 and Claud Butler Urban 200 that we also reviewed, but heavier than the B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar, which is 10.9kg.

Ridgeback is one of the leading British hybrid brands, and this Vanteo model is intended to offer a balanced mix of comfort and performance. 

The gearset all comes from Shimano’s excellent mountain bike/urban series, and it works very well, with a total of 24 ratios available. But far more exciting are the Shimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes — unusual at this price — which offer great performance, particularly in the wet, and are generally more powerful and controllable than rim brakes. 

Other practical considerations include the fact that the Ridgeback Vanteo has an adjustable stem to help you get your position just right, though if you're short, or find it hard to raise your leg to handlebar height, consider the gentler 'open frame' version of this bike.

The Ridgeback Vanteo also boasts massive handlebar grips, which are very comfy. Indeed, the whole bike offers a fine combination of lively performance and plush ride quality.

As an all-round leisure machine the Ridgeback Vanteo is very impressive, and those brakes mean that it’s super safe, too.

Technical specs

Weight11.8kg
StemAdjustable
Gears24
BrakesShimano M355 hydraulic disc brakes
Wheels700c (29in)
HandlebarsErgonomic triple intensity grips

Verdict

The Ridgeback Vanteo is a truly excellent hybrid bike and we've awarded it a four-and-a-half-star rating!

Conclusion

Pros

  • Fantastic hydraulic disc brakes
  • Adjustable stem
  • Comfortable ride
  • 24 gears

Cons

  • Buy the 'open frame' version if you're short
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