Published on Competitivecyclist.com (copyright reserved)
Disc brakes have finally taken hold in cyclocross and answering the call, Ridley, the Belgium titan whose bikes have helped win multiple National and World cyclocross titles, has taken its much lauded frames and made them disc-ready. The Ridley X-Fire Disc frame's innovative design and disc brake compatibility easily make it Ridley's most advanced and compelling frame to date.
Ridley's X-Fire Disc frame has been constructed from 24-ton carbon fiber and features a full-carbon 4ZA Oryx fork. To manage the load forces from the new disc brake, 4ZA now uses a reinforced lower-leg design. This is beneficial in three ways. First, the massive legs guarantee that you won't experience any lurching or torsion from the caliper. Additionally, the larger blades aid in absorbing any chatter, vibration, or shock from nasty terrain. And lastly, the 1-1/8 x 1-1/2in, oversized design provides unparalleled rigidity. Coupled with the massive head tube juncture, the Oryx fork provides nimble handling and an explosive sprinting prowess — perfect for the short spurts of power required after barriers.
And while the newly redesigned fork is amazing, the frame construction and new features bring just as much to the table. For the carbon itself, the 'T' in 24T stands for ton — meaning that the X-Fire's carbon is capable of withstanding 24 tons of pressure per-square-inch. This level of strength might sound weighty, but the opposite is actually true. Ridley knows that with stronger carbon, less is required to receive greater results. Accordingly, this application sheds weight while increasing torsional and lateral rigidity. Aside from carbon, Ridley's decades of 'cross experience bred a few frame features that you'll be happy to have when you're running in the mud. For one, the X-Fire has a squared top and down tube for a heightened sense of comfort and grip when you're shouldering the frame. In turn, this feature also stiffens the bottom bracket juncture for greater power efficiency. For added protection from the elements, and for unencumbered dis/remounts, Ridley incorporated internal cable routing for the shift cables and the rear brake line. Ridley even designed the fork shape to shed excess dirt and mud.
Of course, the real star of the show is the X-Fire's disc brake compatibility. Disc brakes provide the best stopping power on the market. Cantilevers have never been regarded as the "ultimate" in power or efficiency, and frankly, we're surprised that it's taken this long to witness the shift. Now, the frame has increased mud clearances, and braking is no longer reduced in inclement weather. Also new for the X-Fire is a 135mm rear spacing. So now, you're able to keep your 29er wheelset in the pits as an easy backup or change-out option.
If you're able to think of it, Ridley has already done it. The X-Fire Disc is the culmination of a long list of Ridley innovations -- the first full-carbon cyclocross frame, the first oversized carbon cross fork, and the first 1-1/8 x 1-1/2in cyclocross head tube.
The Ridley X-Fire Disc frame is available in four even sizes from 52 to 58cm in the color Black/white.