More and more cyclists are finding rides that venture off the beaten path and away from cars. Gravel grinding or all-road riding has taken off in recent years enough so that manufacturers took note and began building bikes specific to the task at hand. Unique geometry and other features separate these bikes from traditional 'cross and road machines, and riders looking to maximize enjoyment rather than staying within a certain percentage of FTP are lining up. Given the above, the bike many of us are most excited about from Ridley's X-Trail lineup is the X-Trail Adventure Apex 1 650b Complete Bike. It combines the bomber durability and World Cup DNA of the Belgian brand's expertise in cyclocross and road racing in a road plus platform that's eager to knock out that epic bikepacking trip you've been eyeing for months.
The Ridley X-Trail Adventure is constructed from a triple butted 6061-T6 alloy frame that is plenty stiff and lightweight and supremely durable. Ridley dropped the bottom bracket height relative to its cyclocross and road bikes for improved stability over rough roads, and the lower center of gravity improves handling especially while loaded for touring. A tapered headtube guides the front end with extra rigidity, and the PF86 bottom bracket ensures all pedaling efforts go directly into forward propulsion.
A 12 x 142mm rear thru axle rear improves stiffness, aligns the rotor/caliper each time the wheel is installed, and keeps the axle anchored in the frame over rough terrain. The Oryx carbon fork utilizes a 12mm thru-axle to fight flex and ensure the front end doesn't deflect on high-speed descents over washboards. Flat mounts on the frame and fork allow the TRP Spyre disc calipers to cleanly mount and stay out of the way preventing damage. The mechanical actuation increases reliability and allows for an easy fix when in the bush. This particular build sees a road plus wheel and tire setup so you'll have extra traction and comfort from the wider rubber run at lower pressure. Specially shaped seatstays take more of the edge off bumpy roads and add compliance to the ride.
This build sees SRAM's one-by Apex groupset supplemented with TRP mechanical brakes. The excellent ergonomics maintain comfort for hours, and the simplified durability of the group encourages trouble-free rolling for years. The dual piston mechanical brakes offer much better power and modulation versus one fixed/one floating calipers, and changing out cable and housing is way easier than bleeding a brake. The 42t chainring and 10-42t cassette offers plenty of range and is a godsend on extended climbs when loaded down with gear.
Ridley's house brand, Forza components, takes care of the cockpit duties with a lightweight and durable stem, handlebar, post, and saddle. Forza Allroad Adventure 650b wheels roll on Clement X'plor MSO 650b x 50mm tires for maximum flotation on the roughest gravel roads. Knock out that all-day adventure, take a week off from the daily grind, or hit up some trails after work on this do it all machine.
- An all-road bikepacking machine with a sense of adventure
- Road Plus wheels with 50mm tires lend a comfortable ride
- Long, stable geometry improves handling on gravel and dirt
- Aluminum frame is efficient, lightweight, and tough as trails
- Disc brakes confidently stop in all conditions
- SRAM Apex drivetrain for the right gear in any condition
- The Adventure series expands Ridley's X-Trail bikes beyond the tape and tarmac