The R4 frame used to sell for c£175 and was made from double-butted 7005. A 1997 advert says that with full XT and a Judy SL, it would have been £1,275 and quite a nice bike at a bargain price.
It would be interesting to know what it weighs, but on the basis of Total Bike's test of a smaller frame, I would guess c1.65kg for a size 19 (allow 100g for the headset cups and seat clamp). That would suggest a xc-level tubeset spec, rather than anything more heavy-duty.
The Total Bike test criticised it for having over-fast handling, but that's actually a good thing because they tested it with a P2 fork to get the price down, so the twitchy handling suggests that it needed a longer fork. Which is what you want to fit.
I don't know whether there was any link, but soon after that ignorant review, Ribble stopped offering mtb frames. I think they have continued to have a good reputation for road frames.
To be honest, you won't get much appreciation on Retrobike for riding a Ribble R4, but that's because people on here seem to think that bling-type decals are more important than what the frame actually is. They could tell you how much better their frame is than yours, if only they could catch you up.
I've got a 17" one which I haven't built up yet, weight is 4lb. I would say about 16 or 17 years old is fairly accurate as they still had rear cantilever cable stops. Construction wise mine has much neater welds than more illustrious aluminium frames such as Orange Aluminium O's. I did contact Ribble to see if they could help date mine or anything but the reply I got was distinctly unhelpful, in contrast to the replies other forum members have had when they've contacted Orange or Pennine for example about old bikes.
Celebrate Yorkshire Day; put weedkiller on your red roses!
In't stable: 1992 GT Avalanche1991 Marin Muirwoods[/color]1992 Marin Bear Valley1994 Specialized Stumpjumper1990? Falcon Team Banana1994 Kawasaki KMB4501990 Raleigh Lizard 1995 Kawasaki KMB450
Expired: Sun [Not Sunn] 5, Raleigh Activator, Peugeot "Tim Gould". Ex Team Raleigh Reynolds 853