It’s less than a week before CX Worlds in Louisvile, KY, and Ridley has just taken the wraps off their all new X-Night carbon crosser. The prototype was underneath Klaas Vantornout as he rode his way to become the new Belgian CX Champion, one of 3 victories Klaas has tallied on the bike.
With 7 of the last 11 World Champions of Cyclocross winning on a Ridley, there is no question they are deeply rooted in cross. Continuing that heritage, the X-night, their flagship cross bike will receive a major overhaul for 2013. Namely – a new monocoque frame devoid of a seat mast, modernized geometry, and disc brakes.
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While all of the pictures circulating the web are of the cantilever brake equipped X-Night, we’re told by Ridley that there will be two complete bikes available – an Ultegra with mechanical disc model, and a yet to be named hydraulic disc version. As for the Cantis? If you want them, you’ll have to settle for a frameset. When asked about the specifics for the disc framesets, we learned that the fork will be very similar to the fork on the 2013 X-Fire Disc, and the rear brake caliper will be tucked in between the chain and seat stays unlike the external caliper on the X-Fire.
Even though a lot of the Euros are still relying on cantis to slow them down, Ridley feels that for the US market, that ship has sailed. Ridley is reportedly already receiving huge pre-orders of the new bike even though the sales program has only been available to dealers for four days (as of this posting). These of course are orders for the bikes to be delivered in time for the 2013-2014 cross season, and Ridley is expecting a late June/early July delivery to dealers.
As mentioned, the new X-Night is a whopping 500g lighter than the previous version,with the frame itself accounting for 350 of those grams. With the addition of internal cable routing for mechanical and electronic shifting systems, the total weight loss pushed 500g. One technicality with that number is that the new frame no longer has a seat mast – so the seat post isn’t figured into the frame weight any more. Even so, there are a lot of posts under 500g.
About that post, while seatmasts offer the ultimate in stiffness and integration, for many consumers it decreases the ease of use and introduces a whole new set of complications. Ridley’s switch to a 27.2 post (smaller than their other bikes), is two fold: ease of use and increasing compliance while seated. Riders can easily pack their bike to travel, make easy adjustments, not have to worry about cutting it, and it results in a smoother ride. Seems like a win?
The real weight savings in the frame comes from the switch from a tube to tube construction to a full monocoque frame. While the T2T frames made creating custom geometries for their racers easier, it required larger tubes with increased carbon wrap around the joints. The monocoque frames offer increased control of the carbon layup and results in an extremely stiff frame, especially for its weight.
Ridley confirmed that the disc frames required a tremendous difference in carbon engineering to adapt to the change in brakes, and will use a different layup, with the same tonnage of carbon but reworked to keep everything as stiff as possible.
Another big change for the X-Night is the transitioning from the typical European CX geometry to a more modern road like geometry to better suit the faster, less technical courses becoming popular for spectators. The idea was to create a more middle of the road bike as far as handling that could still handle the tight technical courses but also excelled with new school tracks.
As part of the change, the head tubes have been shortened by 1.5mm to 1.8mm across the line. Interesting fact – according to Ridley’s Brand Manager Dana Carson, Ridley was the first company to produce a tapered 1.5 to 1-1/8″ fork, so no surprise that the X-Night’s fork remains so.
The shift cabling is run internally through the downtube, with what looks like cable stops at the frame, meaning a bare cable is run through the frame and exits just in front of the BB.
The X- night will accept a PF30 bottom bracket that is situated in a stiffened down tube junction. Going along with the change in geometry, the bottom bracket will be about 3mm lower across the board. Wheelbase is also shortened by 9mm, however the effective top tubes on each size will remain the same as the current X-Night.
Rather than a solid piece of housing as on the previous X-Night, the housing is split much more like a traditional road bike.
There you have it, we’ll try to get a peek while we’re down in Louisville!