Ridley unveil 2011 cyclo-cross bikes

Highlights include Stybar replica and new X-Ride models

With 2010 barely started, manufacturers are already starting to gear up for the next model year. Belgian company Ridley are the first to give us a sneak peek at some of their 2011 range, in the form of their new cyclo-cross bikes.

After all, they have good reason to be proud of their 'cross line-up – Czech rider Zdenek Stybar, from the Ridley-sponsored Fidea Team, won January's World Championships aboard the brand’s flagship X-Night model.

We checked out the new X-Night and triple-butted alloy X-Ride at Boulder Cycle Sport's (BCS) spring team night. The Colorado shop, while small, is steeped in the sport and one of Ridley’s top 'cross dealers in North America. Co-owner Brandon Dwight is a two-time masters 35-39 national champion and runs a large club team.

“It seems like every year as ’cross gets more popular in the US, people are making it their priority for the year; it’s not an afterthought,” he said. “Now people are thinking about their bikes, their tyres, their wheelsets and their training programs as soon as the season ends, because they want to prepare for next year.”

This year Dwight did his racing on two Ridley X-Nights. The new model features two revisions – internal seatstay routing for the rear derailleur cable and the option of a commemorative Stybar world championship graphic package.

The most impressive development, however, is the new price, which is 20 percent lower than last year at $2,395 (all UK prices TBC). A complete SRAM Red-equipped model with FSA cockpit and HED clincher wheels will cost you $4,000.

Ridley's X-Night is available with this world championship graphic package

Steve Bobusch, Quality’s Bicycle Products euro sales group territory manager, was on hand to answer questions about the new models. He didn’t have a clear answer to why the 2011 pricing sees such a dramatic cut, but said: “We're continually working with Belgium to set the prices correctly."

Ridley’s new US pricing extends across their 'cross model line for 2011 and we can only imagine that their road models will follow suit, though they won’t announce changes until the autumn trade shows.

The second-tier carbon fibre X-Fire frame doesn’t change for 2011 except in price where it comes down from $2,695 to $2,495 for a complete bike built with SRAM Rival, FSA cockpit components and a Fulcrum Racing 7 wheelset.

Ridley's second-tier X-Fire frame is unchanged for the new model year

The new-for-2011 X-Ride model, which was first publicly seen at Frostbike, just two weeks ago, features a triple-butted 7000 series aluminium tubeset with the same build kit as the X-Fire for $1,995.

The new frame features the same stout 4ZA Oryx carbon fork and tapered steerer design as the X-Fire, which offers ample mud clearance and braking without shudder. Bobusch said the new alloy bike is roughly a pound heavier than the X-Fire, with the same parts spec.

The 2011 Ridley cyclo-cross line is rounded out by the entry level X-Bow, which is based on the same frame as the 2010 Crossbow. The X-Bow is built with a Shimano Tiagra group, Truvativ ’cross crank and a traditional 32-spoke box section wheelset, and comes in at $1,395.

The 2011 X-Ride features a 1.5in lower headset bearing and tapered carbon steerer tube

At the BCS team night, Leffe and Duval beers provided by Belgian clothing suppliers Vermarc and looped race footage on the shop’s flat screen TVs helped to stoke members up for a season that’s still seven months away.

“Most of the people who were there were already Ridley owners and they’re just fanatics for the brand and for the sport so they were just there to be ’cross geeks for the evening,” said Dwight.

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