X-Night SL Disc Force 1 Complete Cyclocross Bike
Cross has grown from a fringe sport here in the States to one of the most popular forms of cycling but in Europe, it's always been a staple of fall and winter cycling. Few brands understand the passion and build bikes for cyclocross quite like the Belgians at Ridley. Racing and building competition-worthy bikes have always been in its DNA and along with cyclocross it now builds high-end road and mountain bikes. At the top of its CX category is the X-Night SL Disc Force 1 Complete Cyclocross Bike incorporating all of the modern accouterments needed to go fast without losing some of the traditional Euro touches that makes its bikes so popular. If the thought of finding traction with 33mm knobbies, deftly maneuvering a slick off-camber section, and slogging through mud is enough to get your heart racing, this is the bike that can handle it all.
Ridley makes no bones about the fact that this bike is made for a power hour between the tape and over the planks. It has other bikes that are more competent for gravel events. Compared to those bikes, the X-Night is much more compact with a slightly steeper head tube angle and a drastically shorter wheelbase. It also has a taller bottom bracket, which prevents pedal strikes when negotiating off-camber slopes and lets you get back on the power to create a gap on tight turns. When conditions force a dismount, the level top tube offers a generous main triangle for plenty of room to comfortably shoulder the bike on steps or unrideable stretches of sand.
It's important to note that the frame is so 'cross centric, it only has one water bottle cage mount on the downtube. The classic European cyclocross geometry gives the X-Night SL a nimble and agile ride making quick work of technical and twisty courses. The bike always finds the right line throughout all the accelerations and decelerations that define cyclocross. The frame is plenty adaptable for fast and dusty early season West Coast races with plenty of clearance for sticky New England mud when propper cross weather sets in.
As with the previous generation, Ridley builds the X-Night SL from a mix of 30T and 24T high modulus carbon fiber and adds in 40T for weight reduction that tips the scales at a super svelte 850g. This blend of carbon sops up fatiguing vibrations and tenaciously transfers every watt into forward motion for a fast yet cushy ride worthy of even the harshest race conditions. Its internal cable routing makes for a clean, streamlined look, with the added bonus of eliminating pesky cable pinches when shouldering your bike up and over the flyover.
On the front, Ridley realizes that disc brakes are the new norm and the 12mm thru-axle version of its Oryx Disc carbon fiber fork features flat mounts. The Oryx Disc has a slight asymmetry that counters the extra torsional loads applied to the left fork leg under braking. Thru-axles anchor the hub to the dropouts and a scuff plate on the inside of the left fork leg keeps sharp rotors from making contact with carbon during frequent wheel changes finding the right tread for the conditions. The flat-mount design allows for 140 or 160mm rotors.
The frame gets the new flat-mount treatment as well, allowing for the same size rotors and thru-axles, which have become the standard for newer 'cross rigs. This improves stiffness in the rear of the bike and keeps the rotor from grazing the pads. Get the holeshot and keep the momentum going with the stiffness necessary to propel you forward all the way to the finish.
The frame is built up with SRAM's Force 1 drivetrain and hydraulic brakes. The lack of a front derailleur means one less opportunity for mud or a mechanical to interrupt a race, and the combination of a 42t chainring and a 32t bailout cog help ensure you're geared for punchy climbs. The DT Swiss ER1400 wheelset has a generous 20mm internal width to plump out the MXP tubeless tires.
If you live for 'cross, the X-Night SL Disc Force 1 is the bike you'll want and it'll help you achieve all your goals this fall and winter. What originally started as a sport to stay fit during the winter has now become an obsession and entire seasons are focused on CX success. 'Cross is full of pain, grit, and determination and this Ridley has the DNA needed to help you give it your all.
- Ridley's podium-topping cyclocross race bike
- Agile geometry proven by the Marlux-Napoleon Games squad
- Euro-style BB height for pedal clearance, mud, and tight turns
- Superlight carbon construction is stiff for immediate response
- SRAM Force 1x drivetrain offers race-ready simplicity
- DT Swiss wheels are built for CX-width tires and conditions
- Ridley is Belgian where 'cross is boss