by Jamie Mack
The Ridley lineup, like that of Redline and Focus, offers options for every budget and rider. For 2010, it starts with the budget-friendly X-Bow. Aluminum frame, carbon fork with alloy steerer and a price of $1,395 for a complete bike ($695 frame) is an attractive package for the beginning racer or vet on a budget. The X-Bow brings one of the top names in ’cross down to the mortal’s level. The frame is 7000 series aluminum and is quite light at 1320 grams. It’s built with standard Ridley geometry, meaning that the bike has the same chainstay length, bottom bracket drop, top tube length and angles as the top-of-the-line model ridden by World Champ Stybar, but the rack, fender eyelets and water bottle bosses mean the frame that can be commuted on during the week as well. Components include Shimano Tiagra shifters, with 4ZA brakes and Truvativ crankset. 4ZA, Ridley’s house brand, provides the stem, seatpost and bars to complete the sturdy package. Throughout the Ridley line this year, from the X-Bow to the top-of-the-line X-Fire, the standard tires are the proven and popular Challenge Grifos in a more economical clincher form.
The X-Ride again uses a 7000 series aluminum frame, but complements it with a full-carbon fork and higher-end components. The frame also benefits from a tapered head tube to increase stiffness in the front end. Shimano 105 replaces the Tiagra of the X-Bow with hardier components that will likely serve a season or two longer than the lower-end group. 4ZA provides many of the same components as the X-Bow but supplies the wheels as well, which are still wrapped in Grifo rubber (clinchers). The rack and fender eyelets are gone as this is more of a dedicated race frame than the X-Bow, and the price increases to $1,995 complete ($950 frame) for the upgrades.
The next step up in the Ridley line-up is a big one. The X-Fire features a full-carbon frame and fork, tapered head tube (1.5″ lower) and a down tube shaped both to increase stiffness and give you a better grip to get the bike up on the shoulder. Components receive an upgrade as well to the tried and true Ultegra level with many of the other parts and pieces still branded 4Za. The 4ZA Stratus wheels are again wrapped in Grifos — do you think Styby had something to do with that decision?
The top-of-the-line for 2011 is an all-carbon dream bike, the 2011 X-Night. The frame includes the tapered head tube with the 1.5″ bottom bearing seen on other Ridley frames this year but replaces the typical seatpost with an integrated seatmast. From the SRAM Red drivetrain, minus the Force BB30 crankset, to the 4ZA Cirrus Pro T50 carbon wheels, there are no shortcuts in the build. There is a difference in the tires though, this is the only model that doesn’t use Challenge Grifo clinchers — it gets an upgrade to the tubular version.