After coming off a season that had its ups and downs, Zach McDonald is back, this time with a new team and new goals for 2014.
The big news, McDonald’s recent partnership with Kansas-based KCCX, is the product of some good timing and reconnected relationships. Cyclocross Magazine got to talk with McDonald recently and you can read up on all the details in our recent exclusive interview online, and in our spotlight on McDonald (our cover boy) in Issue 22.
With a switch in teams comes changes all around, and we got to take a closer look at McDonald’s new ride, the Ridley X-Night, at the early season 2014 Qiansen Trophy Cyclocross Race, held last week in Yanqing County outside of Beijing, China.
Although McDonald is probably associated most with Focus bikes in many people’s minds, he did spend some time on a Ridley X-Fire in the pre-Rapha days. He even took a third place at a World Cup in Roubaix riding a Ridley X-Fire, and nearly signed with a prominent cyclocross team in Europe the following year before things fell through.
Compared to his old X-Fire (of the same generation that Thijs Al piloted to a win in China), McDonald’s new X-Night, however, has a lower bottom bracket, along with a shorter head tube and shorter overall wheelbase. See more in part one of our of preview of the 2015 Ridley lineup from Press Camp 2014.
As Ridley’s top-tier cyclocross bicycle, the X-Night is available with either traditional cantilever or disc brake configurations and varying component packages. The frame construction consists of Ridley’s blend of 30T-24T unidirectional carbon, featuring a PressFit 30 bottom bracket, internal top and down tube cable routing and a 1-1/8 to 1-1/2 tapered head tube. A 4ZA Oryx fork matches the frame nicely. There’s an ultralight, 14 pound SL version available but McDonald’s isn’t quite that light.
New SRAM ’cross specific Force CX1 components feature on McDonald’s bike. SRAM levers control the 1×11 drivetrain consisting of a single SRAM 44-tooth chain ring and an 11-speed cassette. There’s no need for a front derailleur as the uniquely different SRAM CX1 rear derailleur features a clutch system that is reported to eliminate chain slack.
Easton EC90SL wheels and Challenge Chicane tires were on McDonald’s bike, but reports are that Reynolds may be in the lineup as the team’s new wheel sponsor, while Challenge Tires is confirmed as a sponsor for this season. Braking is done with semi-low profile TRP RevoX brakes and the contact points come in the form of Ritchey WCS Logic II bars, a Fizik Antares saddle and Crank Brothers Candy pedals. McDonald said he’ll soon be on a full Ritchey WCS cockpit.
McDonald said that he is going to roll with the punches as he builds back up to form, but with the first race of the season behind him, in which he took the holeshot and led for most of the first lap, we can see he is eager to get back into the mix.
Zach McDonald’s Ridley X-Night Highlights:
Frame: Ridley X-Night
Shifters: SRAM Force 11-Speed, CX1
Front Derailleur: N/A
Rear Derailleur: SRAM CX1 Type 2 Derailleur
Cranks: SRAM CX1, 44t X-Sync chainring
Pedals: Crank Brothers Candy
Wheels: Easton EC90SL
Tires: Challenge Chicane 33mm tubular
Brakes: TRP RevoX
Saddle: Fizik Antares
Zach McDonald’s Ridley X-Night Photo Gallery: