A sense of adventure.
We won't go so far as to say that carbon fiber is overrated, but we will say that there are some applications where we're just partial to the classic aluminum bike frame. The 2018 Ridley X-Trail A20 105 Complete Road Bike is one of those applications, though in our eyes the title "road bike" sells this steed short. Its more of a bike for week-long adventures, MRE's, sleeping bags, and panniers.
The frame is made from triple-butted 6061-T6 aluminum, that's heat treated to further improve fatigue resistance, making it better suited for bikepacking and long-term adventures than the lightest weight elite materials. Instead, we get the feeling of an Old Reliable on the X-Trail A20—a bike that can be trusted to go the distance without fuss, sending it down gravel roads to rekindle a sense of adventure that some of us feel gets lost in the heady rush of innovation that accompanies each product cycle.
The X-Trail's geometry is something of a melting pot, but the end result resembles a road bike more than a classic cyclocross bike like the X-Night. It's got a lower bottom bracket, shorter chainstays, and a stack/reach combination that leaves riders in less of a shoulder-intensive, slammed racing position. In contrast to its road racing frames, Ridley extended the X-Trail's head tube by 10mm, bringing riders into a more upright position to accommodate longer training rides and adventure touring rather than racing exclusively. It's only slightly more aggressive than the Fenix, in fact, but unlike its endurance road cousin, the X-Trail is designed to be run with tires up to 40mm.
Though the frame is aluminum, Ridley equips the X-Trail A20 with the same fork on the full carbon model. The legs of the Oryx Disc fork are shaped from a blend of 30t and 24t high-modulus carbon fiber, which add a bit of chatter-absorption while stiffening the front end in the event your bikepacking route leads straight up a steep fire road. The steerer is still aluminum, and the left leg is built-up in order to offset the twisting forces applied by disc brakes. The fork is equipped with a mountain-grade thru-axle, too, further reinforcing the overall structure against braking forces and the general lumps of all-terrain cycling.
- A trusty alloy steed for adventuring into the wild beyond
- Long, stable geometry keeps its footing on gravel and washboard
- Mechanical disc brakes for stopping power on fully loaded trips
- Alloy frame keeps pace with bikepacking abuse
- A Shimano drivetrain built for life in the bush
- 36mm Clement tires float over loose gravel with supple traction
- Ridley's X-Trail series brings Belgian 'cross expertise to all-terrain cycling