New Ridely X-Night Launched
The Louisville World Cyclo-cross Championships was certainly a fantastic event despite the worst that the North American weather could throw at it. Preventing a Dutch clean sweep of the main titles, Sven Nys scored a great victory in the Men’s Elite race aboard his Colnago. We are well used to seeing that winning partnership so most of the Worlds tech hype had been around a certain Belgian brand and their new bike, the Ridley X-Night.
Ridley is a bit legendary in cyclo-cross with an enviable record of 7 World Champions in the last 12 years. To help maintain that record they officially launched a new version of their Ridley X-Night flagship cross frame, just before the Worlds. It would have been a fairy tale launch if a Ridley had won as well…
Things went well prior to the Worlds with the new Ridley winning 3 of its first 6 races. Kevin Pauwels of Sunweb-Napoleon Games, won the “Grote Prijs Sven Nys” in Baal, Belgium, and then the Rome round of the CX World Cup. Plus teammate Klaas Vantornout won the Belgian Championship aboard the new Ridley X-Night frame, “…on a bike which we gave to him and his team mate Kevin Pauwels for testing”, says Jochen Bessemans, PR & Marketing Manager of Ridley Bikes. Presumably they liked their new ‘test bikes’…
Klaas Vantornout said, “Both Kevin and I were so impressed this new bike that we decided to already start using it at the World Cup race of December 26 in Heusden-Zolder (Belgium).” That’s a ‘yes’ then.
Their keenness on the new frame may be due to a new more compliant ride. The new frame is a monocoque, replacing the old frame’s tube to tube construction, but also gone is the integrated seatmast, replaced with a new slimline 27.2mm seatpost which must offer more comfort when mated to the thinner seatstays, which are no longer wishbone pattern.
The new X-Night’s lower bottom bracket and headtube are more akin to road bike geometry, perfectly suited to modern cyclo-cross’ faster courses. Traditionally Ridley have always favoured a much more classic ‘cross geometry with taller head tubes and higher ground clearance.
“Over the last couple of years cyclocross has become a lot more professional when it comes to the preparation of the courses, which has led to an increase in the average speed. As a result the differences between cyclocross and road racing are less outspoken than they used to be”, says Jochen Bessemans. “For this reason, and after consulting the professional teams we support, we slightly adapted the geometry of the X-Night. We lowered the head tube and the bottom bracket a bit, closer to the geometry used on a road bike. A 27,2mm carbon seat post absorbs vibrations, which helps prevent fatigue. The rear fork has been redesigned to prevent the accumulation of mud, and we have increased the stiffness of the bottom bracket and the head tube.”
The total weight saving has been around 500gms over the previous frame. “In cyclocross this makes quite a difference, especially since we often have to shoulder our bikes on obstacles like staircases or when running through heavy sandy strips like the one where I secured my win in the Belgian national Championship”, says Klaas Vantornout.
Ridley may be feeling a bit low given that, having looked odds on for the win with two riders in the top 4 with just 2 laps to go, two mishaps late in the race cost them the chance of another World Title. First of all Kevin Pauwels suffered a dropped and jammed chain which removed him from the leading group. Then with just Sven Nys between him and gold, Vantornout managed to catch his pedal on a barrier whilst running with the bike, gifting Nys that all important gap which he was unable to recover.
However, Ridley won’t be feeling so low when the new X-Night goes on sale as you can guarantee it will be very popular. It’s available at Ridley dealers in May.