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With decades of innovation in the cyclocross market, we're not surprised to see Ridley make the leap to disc brakes. Our reasoning is simple. While some manufacturers approach 'cross as something of a novelty, simply slapping wider clearances and cantilever bosses to road frames, Ridley's passion beats from the heart of the sport -- Belgium. And, with five cyclocross world titles in its palmares, we're confident that the X-Fire Disc/SRAM Apex Complete Bike is a deliberate step in the right direction.

Ridley's X-Fire Disc Complete Bike features a frame constructed of 24-ton carbon fiber, and a full-carbon 4ZA Oryx fork. To mitigate the torque originating from the new disc brake, the fork 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 direct 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 Five 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 experiences better mud clearances, and braking is no longer impacted by inclement weather. Also new for the X-Fire is 135mm rear spacing. So now, you can keep you 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 derailleurs, the X-Fire uses the impeccable SRAM Apex. The drivetrain is driven by an Apex 46/36t crankset, PG-1050, 12/27t cassette, GXP bottom bracket, and KMC X10 chain. Ritchey has been used throughout the cockpit for the seatpost and stem and has been rounded off with the PRO Evo-Curve handlebars. You rest on a Prologo ZERO II saddle, and roll on the Alex CXD26 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/SRAM Apex Complete Bike is available in the color Red/white and in eight sizes from 41cm to 60cm.

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