Ridley X-Trail Adventure review

A weighty ride that takes on the trail

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Named the Adventure, this entry-level UK-spec alloy Ridley X-Trail stands out thanks to its yellow frame and is the only X-Trail to come with 650b wheels and 2in-wide tyres.

Ridley X-Trail Adventure frame and kit

The X-Trail range is designed with gravel racing in mind, and takes 700c wheels with 36mm rubber, something the Adventure could also do, but its frame and fork easily swallow the 2in/50mm Continental Contact Speed tyres with heaps of clearance to spare. 

Its credentials are also validated with a third bottle-mount beneath the down tube, as well as rack and mudguard mounts.

The triple-butted 6061-T6 alloy frame has a relatively short 158mm head tube on my Medium size, and boxy, wide down-tube, slimming top-tube and bridgeless seatstays with a connecting brace behind the seat tube. 

The strong frame can handle rough roads with ease
The strong frame can handle rough roads with ease

Heavily shaped chainstays incorporate the flat-mount disc brake, two cable stops, thru-axle mounts, and a massively strong section of plate aluminium that forms a bridge and the forward part of the driveside chainstay, creating extra chainring room.

The carbon fork blades have an aluminium steerer and thru-axle mounts, with mudguard mount below. All of the finishing kit is by Ridley’s in-house brand Forza, including the unbranded wheels with 32 black plain-gauge J-bend spokes on 24mmm wide, 22mm tall rims. 

SRAM’s entry-level Apex 1x groupset handles drivetrain duties, with TRP’s Spyre-C mechanical discs slowing things down. Tidy internal cabling ports keep things neat, and dark reflective graphics on the frame help with visibility.

Ridley X-Trail Adventure ride experience

With almost no carbon-fibre present, the Adventure does carry some weight at more than 11kg, which isn’t a problem when rolling along. I set out with 40psi in the tyres, on a route that mixed dirt tracks with tarmac, and long gravel stretches.

Spinning along the road demonstrated the benefit of big tyres, as they can mask most surface undulations, and increase overall ride comfort more than many other factors can. The first uphill gave a taste of what was to come, as rather than ebb away, speed just evaporated as the gradient kicked in.

This X-Trail offers a true taste of adventure in a very well-priced package
This X-Trail offers a true taste of adventure in a very well-priced package

Starting a potholed, rocky dirt track cautiously, I was soon travelling faster than I had been on tarmac, as the X-Trail seemed to come alive on the rough stuff. Here the air volume made even more sense, and I could just shift about on the comfortable Forza saddle while threading a line through the worst holes. 

A far longer, steeper climb meant exploring the lowest gears, assuring me that the 42x42 bottom gear would be essential with luggage on board. Steep climbs are something to endure rather than attack but they never felt like a slog.

With its 71-degree head angle and 1,034mm wheelbase, the Adventure is seriously stable, whether laden or not. This makes it a confident descender, if a little lazy steering at speed. 

TRP Spyre-C mechanical disc brakes keep the Ridley in check
TRP Spyre-C mechanical disc brakes keep the Ridley in check

I’d spin out in 42x11 at a little over 30mph. The gearing is pitched for all-day cruising, something it accomplishes well, and better suits the mechanical Spyre-C disc brakes.

They are effective, but take longer to start biting and hauling you to a stop, and require more hand pressure than a hydraulic caliper. But they’re simple and easy to maintain, which counts too if you’re heading into the wilds.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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