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Ridley X-Night 10

Ridley X-Night 10

26.02.15 22:22 3.460Text: Stefan Herr, Luke Biketalker, NoMan (translated by NoNene, proofread by Josh Hayes)Photos: Forstus (Action), Thomas Mika (sw), NoSane (Studio)Belgian Style and colours face Austrian testing and races. A combination which in the end, even led to a regional championship in Cyclocross. Any further questions?26.02.15 22:22 3.460

Ridley X-Night 10

26.02.15 22:22 3.460 Stefan Herr, Luke Biketalker, NoMan (translated by NoNene, proofread by Josh Hayes) Forstus (Action), Thomas Mika (sw), NoSane (Studio) Dieser Beitrag ist auch in Deutsch verfügbarBelgian Style and colours face Austrian testing and races. A combination which in the end, even led to a regional championship in Cyclocross. Any further questions?26.02.15 22:22 3459

The bicycle manufacturer Ridley, located in the cyclocross crazed country of Belgium, sent over their top model X-Night 10 for a field test. Developed specifically to fulfill the needs of racing cyclists, the 2015 X-Night series was equipped with a brand new frame design.
The most evident modification is the seatpost. The rather rigid, integrated seatpost which were used before made room for a standard seatpost. In case of the X-Night 10, we're talking about a 27.2mm carbon seatpost from Ridley's own brand 4ZA. This change is supposed to grant notably more comfort and lessen fatigue when riding on rough routes.

Thanks to optimized manufacturing processes and a more efficient use of material, the wall thickness has been noticeably reduced, as well as the chainstay diameter. The frame weight was reduced by over 400 grams. At the same time, stiffness ratio, acceleration and reactivity are said to have been improved with this new construction (i.e. the PF 30 bottom bracket).

Several frame details were optimized to master muddy and tricky CX races, thus creating sufficient tire clearance on the rear stay to give the standard Challenge Grifo tubular tires (33mm) plenty of space on all sides.
In terms of geometry, Ridley stays true to traditional values and pays tribute to the Belgian racing conditions. With a drop of only 60mm, the bottom bracket is positioned approximately 5 to 10mm higher than those of most competitors. Thus the center of gravity is moved upwards, which enables you to keep pedaling where others might get stuck- i.e. on soft terrain or in turns with danger of sinking in. The head tube angle is rather steep by modern standards (at 72°), creating a shorter wheelbase.

Ultimately, Ridley has been very consistent here - after all, the frame has been developed with and for CX world cup racers and is clearly meant for hard-line racers who place special emphasis on agility, acceleration, and weight. Tame handling and tracking stability on the other hand are not part of this program.

Geometry

Another thing designed to satisfy racers' needs is the top tube without slope to simplify shouldering the bike on running sections.
While the previous X-Night goes entirely without bottle cages, the new model allows the mounting of at least one bottle cage on the down tube. Internal cable routing makes it easier to clean the bicycle. However, hobby mechanics need not despair at the sound of "internal": as long as you leave the integrated guides in place, exchanging the cables should be relatively uncomplicated. And just in case anything should happen: a large service flap on the down tube will help to prevent too much desperation.

Tech Specs

FrameHM/HR Unidirectional CarbonRims4ZA Cirrus Pro T30
Sizes50/52/54/56/48 cmHubs/SpokesDT Swiss 240S, DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes
ForkOryx Pro, Tapered steertubeTiresChallenge Grifo Tubular 33 mm
ShiftersSram Force CX1 doubletapSaddle4ZA Cirrus Pro, Cr/Ti rail
Brakes4ZA Cirrus Pro CrossStem4ZA Cirrus Pro
Rear derailleurSram Force CX1 11-fachHandlebar4ZA Cirrus Pro Carbon
CassetteSram Force 22 11-28Seatpost4ZA Cirrus Pro Carbon, 27,2x350 mm
ChainSram Force CX1Weight 7,04 kg (w.o. pedals)
CranksetSram Force CX1 Carbon 42tRetail price € 4.999,-

As for the components, the Belgians resorted to their own brand 4ZA, providing carbon handlebars,seatpost,stem, saddle, and cantilever brakes. The wheelset's rims are also made by 4ZA: Cirrus Pro T30 Tubular, laced with DT Swiss Aerolite spokes, rotate around DT Swiss 240 S hubs.

The X-Night 10's drivetrain, just like the frame, has been uncompromisingly designed for races. Due to the wide-tooth, narrow-tooth chainring technology paired with the strong rearward pull of the clutch spring (Type 2), Sram's Force CX1 1x11 groupset is predestined for powerful riders on fast and roughcourses. The single-ring drivetrain also contributes to the low total weight of 7 kilograms (nude), as do the cantilever brakes. For all those who prefer the brake force of discs, Ridley provides the (otherwise identical) model Modell X-Night 10 Disc.

Off the road

In 2013/14, Stefan Herr raced a Ridley X-Fire throughout the cyclocross races of eastern Austria. Somewhat robust, with an insufficient range of lower gears and equipped with clinchers, it couldn't entirely satisfy the passionate racer's needs. Though he did enjoy its handling and driving qualities. All the more satisfied was his first résumé after being introduced to the X-Night: "The design, the workmanship, and the components leave almost nothing to be desired. This bike is going to turn couch potatoes into full-blooded racers."

Still, "almost" doesn't equal "entirely", and thus Stefan files his complaints about the bicycle's overall impression:
Considering the popularity of disc brakes it might appear surprising that Ridley offers an old school cantilever crosser. However, this is no exception in the world cup, where the Belgian cross pros still rely on cantilever brakes. The disc brakes' additional weight of 600 grams is apparently considered more important than their increased performance. If you still prefer discs, you can always go for the aforementioned disc version of the X-Night 10 with Sram's Force CX1 HDR.

The ready-to-race weight including pedals amounts to about 7,5 kilograms (size 52) making it not the most lightweight CX machine, but it still provides an excellent weight ratio for a production specced bicycle.
The classic frame geometry (long seat tube, short head tube, and the cross-specific short top tube) offers plenty of freedom when shouldering the bike. Since the headset's top cover with integrated brake cable hanger requires a lot of space, the short head tube is definitely an advantage.
Unfortunately it's not possible to mount a brake cable hanger directly at the fork, as the fork is not drilled for such an option.

Stefan's first riding impressions were extremely pleasant: the 4ZACirrus brakes worked impeccably, as did the Force CX1 shifting. The saddle fit well, the wheels offered high stiffness, and the high quality carbon frame felt sturdy in spite of its delicate appearance.
The Sram groupset is limited at the cassette, so a 42t chain ring is mounted at the front, which thanks to its special teeth is supposed to avoid chain drops. However, with only this big ring at the front and an 11/28 cassette, relaxed off-road trips aren't really possible (at least they weren't for our test pilot and in the Wienerwald).
Regarding the brakes' performance, Stefan noticed that the deceleration was accompanied by an unpleasant judder. Later, during races, this juddering fortunately didn't appear as prominent. With the comfortable and secure ergonomics of the shifter levers Stefan was able to spend a remarkable amount of time riding on the hoods.

Even though it's said to be impossible, the chain dropped from the single-ring during Stefan's first race on the Donauinsel. Perhaps too many wet leaves had been caught between the chainring and chain, and had thus lifted the chain off the ring.
A total of four - in some cases insanely dirty – cyclocross races were finished without any defects. One even led to a regional championship (amateurs' ÖM) for Stefan Herr. Meanwhile, further insights were gathered. In merciless and wet races and on steep descents during rain, the 4ZA cantilever brakes' deceleration was rather subdued, making immediate stops near impossible. To make up for this, the 4ZA rims, laced around DT Swiss hubs, met all other expectations. Even with Challenge Grifo tubular tires glued on - which our test rider would rather recommend for dry conditions - this combination proved very useful.

 This bike is going to turn couch potatoes into full-blooded racers. 

Test pilot Stefan Herr

Conclusion

Ridley X-Night 10 NoDisc
Model year:2015
Test duration:670 km, 31 h, 4 races
+weight
+components
+ex factory tubulars
+handsome, elaborate frame
-no option for mounting a brake cable hanger on the fork
-brakes' performance limited in the mud, juddering when braking too strongly (front)
-tips of shoes bump into the front wheel in narrow, slow turns due to geometry
BB rating:Professional machine for professional riders and all those who'd like to be one.

Ridley's top model is a race bike through and through. With its low weight, a single-ring drivetrain, tubulars that can operate with low pressure, and many constructive details which are typically for the Belgians, it was very convincing at local races - and, that one chain drop aside, absolutely defect-free.

If you're planning to ride the X-Night across woods and meadows solely for the purpose of training, you'd better build up your muscle strength first - the universal carbon's damping characteristics will be all the more positively noticeable then.



Considering the ever so individual subject of appearance:

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