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X-Night SL Disc Cyclocross Frameset
Of all the brands we carry, no one quite understands or has a relationship as close to cyclocross as the Belgians at Ridley do. Its history with the discipline is steeped in tradition and its partnership with top teams and riders help hone the development of its framesets and create rides that are competition-worthy and capable of your regional series or World Cup events alike. The brand's flagship model, the X-Night SL Disc Cyclocross Frameset is a stalwart on the starting grid of international events because it blends proven, European geometry with some modern tech. While this frame could be called into gravel duty, its X-Trail has the geometry and demeanor you're after and the X-Night SL, on the other hand, is better suited for that hour of power and helping you keep two wheels upright as you navigate a muddy field riddled with obstacles that often force you off your bike and is defined by ribbons of zig-zagging course tape.
If you're still on the fence between the X-Trail, its gravel adventure sled, and the X-Night SL, its cross thoroughbred, we'll break it down. 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 aids in preventing touchdown of your pedals on snot-slick off-cambers and allows you to get right back on the gas after scrubbing some speed. The frame's generous main triangle only has provisions for one water bottle cage and its goal is to provide plenty of room to comfortably shoulder the bike on steep run-ups or relentless stretches of sand. The classic European cyclocross geometry gives the X-Night SL a fast, aggressive feel with plenty of room for mud. This makes it adept from everything from sticky Northeast mud to dry, West Coast dirt. If you recognize the names Vos, Pauwels, De Clercq, Vervecken, or Wellens you're looking at the right bike.
As with the previous generation, Ridley builds the X-Night SL from a mix of 30T and 24T high modulus carbon fiber but the frame went on a diet and now comes in at an unheard-of 850g. This is similar to the carbon blend found in the cobble-stone conquering Fenix frameset ridden in Roubaix and Flanders, so it sops up fatiguing vibrations while efficiently transferring every watt into forward motion for a fast, yet cushy ride worthy of the harshest race conditions. Its internal cable routing makes for a clean look, with the added bonus of eliminating the housing from snagging anything or anybody while out on the course or getting in your way while shouldering your bike up a steep wall of limestone stairs.
On the front, Ridley officially bestows its Belgian benediction on disc brakes with the 12mm thru-axle version of its Oryx Disc carbon fiber fork. The Oryx Disc is built with a barely noticeable asymmetry that counters the extra torsional forces applied to the left fork leg when scrubbing speed. The dropouts now anchor the axle in place and a scuff plate on the inside of the left fork leg fends off errant disc during frantic mid-race wheel changes to keep the fork free of unwanted wear. The flat-mount disc design allows it to fit 140 or 160mm rotors.
The rear of the frame gets flat-mount treatment as well, allowing for the same size rotors and thru-axles, which have become the standard for all new drop bar disc rigs. Its benefits include improved stiffness while pouring on the power as well as keeping the rotor from grazing the pads and proper wheel alignment each and every time you install a wheel.
If you look forward to 'cross every fall and your IG account is littered with more crossiscoming hashtags than empty beer cups on the ground at a Superprestige race, the X-Night SL is the frame you'll want as it has its sights set on the same intentions. And if your idea of the ideal course includes off-cambers, sand, and some barriers thrown in for good measure, this Ridley has the World Championship DNA to help you get though 60 minutes of pain and let you race your strength.
- Classic European cyclocross geometry meets carbon and discs
- Nimble geometry offers agility in tight quarters
- High-modulus carbon fiber construction is light and stiff
- Disc-brake stopping power and thru-axle security
- Generous main triangle for comfortable shouldering during run-ups
- Tapered headtube and PF30 BB further anchor down your power
- Ridley epitomizes the Flemish obsession with cyclocross
- Item #RID008O
- Q & A
King of 'cross
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Ridley has been something of a fixture at the top levels of Cyclocross for years. The sponsor some of the very best in the world, and as such, the X-Night is an absolutely critical bike for them. I'm pleased to report that the latest iteration is an absolute home run. It's wildly stiff, very light, and features well-balanced geometry. It feels like a rocket ship on course, but it maintains a playful enough character that I've indulged in a good bit of single track on it as well.
Get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk about a build in detail!