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With five world championships, and even more national titles to its credit, the Belgian Ridley is rightly said to be residing at the center of the cyclocross universe. Never being one to shy away from innovation, for the first time, Ridley's 2013 line incorporates disc brakes. Paving the way for this design is the X-Fire Disc/Shimano Ultegra Complete Bike

Ridley's X-Fire Disc Complete Bike features a frame constructed of 24-ton carbon fiber, and a full-carbon 4ZA Oryx fork. To manage the load forces from the new disc brake, 4ZA now uses a reinforced lower-leg design. This is beneficial in three ways. First, the massive legs guarantee that you won't experience any lurching or torsion from the caliper. Additionally, the larger blades aid in absorbing any chatter, vibration, or shock from nasty terrain. And last, the 1-1/8 x 1-1/2in, oversized design provides unparalleled rigidity. Coupled with the massive head tube juncture, the Oryx fork offers nimble handling and an explosive sprinting prowess -- perfect for the short spurts of power required after barriers.

And while the newly redesigned fork is amazing, the frame construction and features bring just as much to the table. For the carbon itself, the 'T' in 24T stands for ton -- meaning that the X-Fire's carbon can withstand 24 tons of pressure per square inch. This level of strength might sound weighty, but the opposite is actually true. Ridley knows that with stronger carbon, less can be used to receive greater results. Accordingly, this application sheds weight while increasing torsional and lateral rigidity. Aside from carbon, Ridley's decades of 'cross experience bred a few frame features that you'll be happy to have when you're running in the mud. For one, the X-Fire has a squared top and down tube for a heightened sense of comfort and grip when you're shouldering the frame. In turn, this feature also stiffens the bottom bracket juncture for power efficiency. For added protection from the elements, and for unencumbered dis/re-mounts, Ridley incorporated internal cable routing for the shift cables and the rear brake line. Ridley even designed the fork shape to shed excess dirt.

Of course, the real stars of the show are the X-Fire's mechanical disc brakes. Hayes CX calipers and 140/160mm rotors provide the best stopping power and braking modulation on the market. Let's face it, cantilevers have never been regarded as the 'ultimate' in power or efficiency, and frankly, we're surprised that it's taken this long to witness the shift. Now, the frame has better mud clearances, and braking is no longer reduced in inclement weather. Also new for the X-Fire is 135mm rear spacing. So now, you can keep your 29er wheelset in the pits as an easy backup or change-out option.

If you can think of it, Ridley has already done it. The X-Fire Disc is the culmination of a long list of Ridley innovations -- the first full-carbon cyclocross frame, the first oversized carbon cross fork, and the first 1-1/8 x 1-1/2in cyclocross head tube. It also plays host to a generous component package. For the shift/brake levers and rear derailleur, the X-Fire uses the impeccable Shimano Ultegra 6700. The drivetrain is driven by a FSA SL-K Lite BB386 46/36t crankset and a Shimano 105 chain, 12/27t cassette, and front derailleur. Ritchey has been used throughout the cockpit with a Pro Carbon seatpost, WCS 4-axix 44 stem, and WCS Evo-Curve handlebars. You rest on a Prologo ZERO II saddle, and roll on the hand-built Velocity AZ3 wheelset, cased in Clement Crusade PDX tires. As you can tell, the X-Fire Disc is ready for the dirt right out of the box.

The Ridley X-Fire Disc/Shimano Ultegra Complete Bike is available in the color Black/yellow and in eight sizes from 41cm to 60cm.

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