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Discover the Ridley history

Premium bicycles since 1997

About Ridley

Where it all began
Ridley was founded in 1997 by Jochim Aerts. He grew up in the small town of Balen, located in Flanders, Belgium. Like many kids living in a land where cycling is such an ingrained part of its culture, Aerts had aspirations of becoming the next Merckx. Inspired by his older brother who competed at a high level as a promising youth rider, Aerts jumped in headfirst. His debut race was at the age of 14. But by the time he turned 19, he came to the realization that his dream of making a name for himself in the bike world would have to take a different path.

From Racer to Creator
Following his passion for the bike, Aerts took a job at Belgium-based Bio Racer. He started off as bike painter before moving onto welding. After mastering the ins and outs of bike-building, he made the bold decision to go off on his own to build his ideal bikes. His ultimate goal was to create custom bikes that perfectly fit each individual’s riding style and goals, as well reflect their unique personality.

Ridley innovation
In 1990, Aerts founded his first bicycle company called NV Race Productions. They made custom bikes for local Belgian bike shops. Seven years later, in 1997, Aerts took the final step towards realising his dream by founding Ridley Bikes. He named it after his favourite English film director Ridley Scott.

Since its inception, Ridley has remained at the forefront of product innovation. The company’s first bold creation was that of a tapered headtube which was introduced in 2001 on the Ridley Damocles bike model. This tapered headtube went on to become the industry standard.

As for material innovations, Ridley has not only creatively sourced new materials to build lightweight, reliable bikes but has significantly raised the bar in the usage of these materials. Its patented FAST-technologies is cutting edge when it comes to aerodynamic advantage. FAST is inspired by nature, thoroughly tested in the lab and perfected in the field.

Successful “In-the-field testing”
Ridley’s innovations have been put to the ultimate test since 2002, when they first became involved in sponsoring professional cyclists. Tom Vannoppen was Ridley’s first pro. He scored a silver medal at the Cyclocross World Championships (2002 Zolder, Belgium) atop his Ridley machine. Mario de Clercq was also an early Ridley adaptor back in 2002, taking the win just ahead of Vannoppen at the World Championships that year. To date, Ridley has collected 15 world titles, one for each year since its involvement in professional sponsorship.
Ridley is now a household name with top pros riding their bikes such as current European champion Marianne Vos who is ten-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion. They also have powerhouse teams such as Belgium-based Lotto-Soudal making expert use of their bikes.

Looking ahead
With Aerts’ competitive spirit, perfectionism and drive leading the charge, Ridley continues to push limits when it comes to creation and improvements. While the Ridley bikes of early years may differ from the newest models, the company’s mission remains the same – to deliver cutting-edge machines that reflect each rider’s individuality.