Arguably the epitome of a European cyclocross bike, Simon Scarsbrook finds the Ridley is designed and made for racing
The Ridley X-Night 30 Disc cyclocross bike is a machine that just shouts out ‘race me!’, and a small ‘UCI approved’ sticker on the seat tube gives a big clue to the design, geometry and function of this machine. To me, Ridley is the epitome of European cyclo-cross; it embraces new technologies accordingly. That said, the brand has been rather an acquired taste. Many of its frames have felt taller than its rivals’, so I was interested to hear that the bottom bracket height has been lowered slightly, bringing the geometry in line with current trends — including a shorter top tube. In this case, it’s very short, causing a slight toe overlap.
The X-Night looks fast; the sleek full carbon frame with its internal cabling is sculpted to provide comfort through the rear stays. It is stiff and very responsive too. The components are a mixture of Shimano Ultegra, Ridley’s own brand 4ZA and Avid mechanical disc brakes.
Our initial bombing about in the woods was great fun for the photographer. Cycling off-road, the X-Night can be thrown in and out of corners with ease. What immediately struck me was the lightness and balance of the bike. I’d assumed that a bicycle with disc brakes would be pretty weighty, owing to the extra material used to cope with the additional stresses.
A longish ride along the North Downs proved me wrong as the X-Night took longer climbs with ease and at times felt very similar to riding a road bike. Handling wise, it did at first feel a little short for my liking — a case of becoming accustomed to the responsiveness, perhaps.
Competitive by nature
The X-Night is for racing; a single bottle cage mount hints at other uses but it is most at home tearing around woodland or parkland for an hour of hard graft. When I rode a couple of league races, everything at once gelled. The Ultegra 11-speed slickly changed when needed and was perfectly comfortable over rough ground.
The Avid brakes were very impressive, not so much because of the braking power, which was plentiful when needed, but because of the ease of use. I could ride comfortably on the hoods, gently modulating the levers, with a consistency of braking beyond that of the cantilevers I’m used to.
If I were looking to buy an X-Night, I would pay careful consideration to Ridley’s size charts, but I’d be confident that, once used to the geometry and ride characteristics, I would have an extremely fast machine.
Available from Madison.co.uk
Pay careful consideration to Ridley’s size charts, but you can be confident that, once used to the geometry and ride characteristics, you'd have an extremely fast machine