Entries in cyclocross frames (23)
Honestly, I am not sure even where to begin with this post as I’m having trouble keeping the tears out of my eyes these bikes are so beautiful. Opening up the box shipped to Boulder Cycle Sport directly from the mad Ridley laboratories in Belgium literally had my heart racing….and it was not a let down once the bubble wrap was removed. Behold the 2012 Ridley X-Fire – with a paint scheme custom designed by the geniuses at Ridley’s Custom Fabrication Studio for the Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassador’s team. Brandon, Pete, Allen and I are beyond stoked to ride Ridley yet again this season after three great years of our BCS/Ridley relationship.
The 2012 X-Fires are an incredible animal…offering new features over its 2011 predecessor. We love the X-Fires due to their versatility. With minimal weight penalty, we have removable seat posts and bottle cages so when we’re not racing on these bikes, we’re putting in long epic miles on them upon the endless high-altitude dirt roads Colorado offers us.
So let me take you through some of the highlights of the 2012 Ridley X-Fire which we’ll be rocking through the mud this season…(and it’s OK to get misty eyed due to the beauty of their stunning custom paint.)
The frame sizes and geometry have not changed year over year for the X-Fire.
Almost two years ago, Dubba and I were out on a ride, discussing all things cross (which is an every day occurrence and usually doesn’t even require a ride…) and we started talking bikes. “What brand do you think resonates with cross?” he asks. “What would you want to ride? Products that are absolutely cross-specific. No gimmicks.”
My answer was one word, two syllables:
And so, it was done. Boulder Cycle Sport engaged with QBP and the Ridley Brand and fairly quickly, ratcheted-up sales of cross bikes to passionate folks. Simply put, customers ‘got it’. They see the Ridley products and they ooze speed, agility, mud shedding…they ooze Belgium.
Last year the Boulder Cycle Sport Team rocked the X-Night, an amazing, awe inspiring piece of engineering, Internal/fully sealed cabling ensured I literally never changed my cabled the WHOLE season. The integrated seat mast kept things stuff and fast. See my posts here about the X-Night experience.
And so in this 2nd year of carrying the product, the Boulder Cycle Sport Cross Team has a yet again an amazing opportunity to race their 2011 X-Fire product. I’ve just got ‘er built up, so let me take you through the highlights:
- All carbon frame and fork, roughly 1400 grams (mine is a 58)
- Super stout 1-1/8 to 1-1/2” heat tube/FSA head set.This is a new change for the 2011 X-Fire taking on this attribute from it's sibling, the X-Night.
- Traditional seat post (31.6) versus the seat mast the X-Nights have.
- Replaceable rear drop out.
As for the grouppo, again, an amazing array of sponsors help the team with equipment to stand the absolute extremes we face during cross.
- SRAM Red drive train including sealed RideOn cabling. We’ll be opting for 12/26 Force cassettes however due to their mud shedding abilities. 46/38 rings on the crank sets.
- Avid Ultimate Shorty brakes. These are just so flipping amazing, I will devote a post for them specifically. Stay tuned.
Wheels are all personal choice for the Team, so I will use a mix of FSA RD 800 and 488’s with a blend of Dugast rubber. Mainly Typhoons but we have Rhinos as well this year for the badness should she come. And she will.
Here is the bike built up. Just about 17.5 lbs in my large/man sized bike. Enjoy. More reports as I get more saddle time and if you are my size, ask me to ride it!
Katie. She's more artist than anything. Details the bike with love.
The bike all built.
SRAM Red cockpit with Ritchey Classic bend bars.
SRAM Red cranks and my trusty Time ATAC pedals.
The engineering artworks themselves: SRAM/Avid Ultimate Shorty brakes (front)...
...and the rear brake.
Massive mud clearence for our now '33c limit' tires (My 34 Rhinos fit just fine)
One extremely clean cockpit.
Bike one moments after she was all done up and built. I cruised 'er around Elks and thus the lovely sweat stain smack dab in the middle of my chest. Sweet. Check out more bike p(o)rn videos on Boulder Cycle Sport's YouTube channel.
OK, ‘cross fans! Bike 1 is done! The BCS crew helped with this first 2010 Ridley X-Night like a true team. Mike D on the tire gluing, Dwayne on the main build and Jeremiah on the finish, carbon cutting, etc. All said and done: 17.01 lbs! Boing! Awesome and an absolutely perfect fit. The team did a phenomenal job. Bike 2 is waiting in the wings for its build. Double boing!
A close up of the FSA headset hardware.
A close up of the seat mast hardware. I cut roughly 40mm of carbon. The hardware you see here comes with a set of shims of varying thickness to dial in the height exactly right. And if the need to sell the bike is required, you can essentially use these shims to build back ‘up’ all the carbon you may have cut off.
For the 2010 we are proud to introduce the NEW carbon Cross frame, the PRESTIGE. This new cross frame has been developed with the input from former World Champion, 9 time Super Prestige winner Sven Nys.
The front triangle is a HHM (High Modulus carbon) monocoque with polygonal section on the top- and down tube, it has a curve between the inside of the top and seat tube, this for better comfort when carrying the bike on the shoulder. The rear triangle is lugged.
Stability, speed and weight are key components to the PRESTIGE.
The PRESTIGE will be available in 6 sizes, (50 to 60 with).
I'm not sure what's with all that curvy carbon by top and seat tubes. Sort of ridonculous and unnecessary carbon. I'm digging the traditional horizontal top tube though. I will never understand sloping top tubes on cross bikes...
I'll take my Ridley X-Night's though any day in a head to head beauty contest. I'm probably just in lust at the moment though...but I can't stop messing around with the frames! Bike 1 built this weekend.
The lightest palette likely ever delivered to Boulder Cycle Sport rolled off the delivery truck last week! That, of course, was the highly anticipated palette of Belgian carbon goodness I spoke about in earlier posts. X-Nights, X-Fries, Crossbows and other goodies were unpacked and assembled for the show room floor including my highly anticipated X-Night frames. When they were 'presented', I got super weepy. Absolutely gorgeous.
I brought 'em home and proceeded to whip out the tape measure. The sizing (58cm) in my case was a 1/2 cm difference from my Rock Lobster frames but my ‘actual’ positioning on the bike will be nearly identical. The geometry is more slack than the R.L.’s with a slightly higher BB so I’ll more or less end up in the same position…which for me is very ‘forward’ to enable me to be on top of the pedal stroke (think how you power on the flats on top of the stroke) and not necessarily behind it (think how you position yourself when you climb...e.g 'pulling' the stroke).
I wanted to take the time to show off the details of the frame before I get them built. There are SO many details here in the X-Night it’s worth a closer look. So without further adieu, and with the help of my Nikon, check out the X-Night with me!
The 2010 Ridley X-Night in her full glory. All carbon with aluminum sleeves for the bottom bracket, headset and rear drop outs. Claimed weight is 1.25kgs/2lbs 12oz. My 58cm is closer to 3lbs. Compare that to my 3.01 lb Scandium Rock Lobster (~58cm). Oh, and don't forget that includes the 'seat post!'
The paint scheme is unbelievable. They are not just decals applied but carefully sprayed graphics with a good helping of clear coat.
The BB30 bottom bracket on the X-Night assists with q-factor fairly dramatically. I will be running my 2009 SRAM Red cranks utilizing an aftermarket SRAM adapter to insert into the BB30 so I can use my standard BB's from last season (my wallet thanks me).
Freudian? Indeed the seat mast if STIFF! It will be cut to my dimensions and likely the last thing we’ll do when the bike is built.
The X-Night features INTERNAL cable routing! YES! Finally someone listened. You can see the front derailleur cable’s exit hole just above the bb shell. Instead of a roller (used when cables are mounted on the top tube and run down the seat tube, around the roller and up into a traditional road derailleur), the X-Night features this ingenious cable stop seen above.
One burly a_ _ fork! The X-Night’s Oryx fork is maddeningly stout and stiff. It features a 1.25 (upper) to 1.5 (lower) carbon steerer tube making the steering precise and brake chatter virtually non-existent. This is a common problem when using carbon forks and exacerbated with carbon wheels. Even with toe-in capabilities on some of the more progressive brakes like the TRP EuroX Magnesium's, chatter on carbon forks is notorious. The Oryx erases this.
Another shot of the beautiful paint scheme.
The entrance for the front derailleur internal cable routing. There is an entirely sealed kevlar ‘pipe’ that your cable runs through completely sheltering it from mud.
Quick: What’s missing? See bottom of the post for the answer or try and guess!
Rear tire clearance by the bottom bracket is enormous. Seen above are size 34 Dugasts which leaves ample room for mud clearance.
And even more clearance by the seat stay yoke where mud often collects due to the brake arms.
The Oryx fork is no different. Again, mad clearance even with big tires.
If you watch any of the race coverage in Belgium, you know how peanut buttery the mud can get. Hamme Zogge’s course as an example is notorious derailleur shredder and has killed the chances of many a ‘sure winner’. The X-Night has thoughtfully included an ingenious replacement mechanism for BOTH drop outs (not just the derailleur side!). The are made of a plate of 7000 series aluminum bolted on ensuring the stiffness of a non-replaceable hanger with the practicality of a replaceable one.
ANSWER: No bottle cage bosses! This bike is a pure race breed. Super PRO.
The season has ended. Sigh. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself! As I was preparing the bikes for their hyperbolic chambered rest as I switch to the fat tires, I decided to snap some photos and comment about the most excellent equipment I used this year. It is surreal the abuse this equipment takes each week from August through December and I hope it can help you with your 2009 equipment plans!
Click on the photo below to take you to my Flickr set and each photo is commented including on-photo notes.
Most of all I want to thank Paul at Rock Lobster, Shotty at SRAM, Lance at TRP, and the entire Boulder Cycle Sport crew (Brandon, Mike D, Jeremiah, Dwayne and Coleman) for all the work and support this season!
So Scott, a reader of mine from DC, sends me this simple question:
Thanks for your thoughts.
Scott has started a religious debate, methinks. To which I responded with the following. I have received the question quite a few times, so I figured I'd broadcast the answer.
Thanks for the note, man. You have asked a very religious question! for me, its sort of a confluence of materials, custom sizing/geometry and finally 'cult' status. I've raced a variety of off the shelf bikes from Kelly (a production/non custom steel frame), Felt and Scott and of course my various Rock Lobsters. Let me net it out this way:
a) Scandium rocks: The material of choice for me is scandium. It's SUPER light, SUPER strong and has a variety of characteristics I like that frame builders can literally 'tune' the design to how you want it to ride. As an example, I had Rocklobster's Paul Sadoff give me super rigid chain stays (for power transmission) yet the scandium down stays provide some level of flex for comfort. I get exactly what I want in a 3.0 pound frame that is roughly a 59cm (so that light in a larger frame size). Carbon's good, do not get me wrong, but it has limits (for me) on sizing, geometry, colors, et al (see b. next).
b) Custom sizing/geometry: A lot of these off the shelf manufacturers think that sloping top tubes and lower bottom brackets are 'cross' geometry. It's MARKETING geometry. They wouldn't know a cross bike and how it should ride from a commuter bike with 700c tires and cantilever brakes. A horizontal top tube and high BB are CORE cross with near road geometry...albeit just ever so slightly slacker. I personally think Ridley and Colnago have it nailed on the production side (wonder why the best teams ride these frames in Belgium?)...the latter requiring a double mortgage on your house to afford. Paul has built cross bikes for 20+ years....for many national champions and Europeans. His geometry stands the test of time. I have one special requirement though on my frames he builds.....OK 2: First, I run double chain guides with a single ring. I have him specifically crimp the right chain stay to allow for this clearance AND ensuring I can fit a 34 tubular in the stays with appropriate mud clearance. He nailed that. The second thing is that if I want to run a double ring up front, I would (personally) ask him to route my f. der. cable on the top tube. He likes the down tube routing. This may have no bearing on your tastes/desire though.
c) Cult: Support your local frame builder! OK, Paul's in Santa Cruz....but he WAS local to me when I lived there! Ha! I have an affinity for the hard working manufacturers of the sport...who are artists in all senses of the definition. Paul is an artist to me before he is a bike frame builder.
Hope this helps you! In fact, I may post this as it is a question I get often!