Falling leaves and scattered rainstorms mean one thing: it's cyclocross season. You spent last autumn clanging cowbells and cheering on your friends, and this year you're jumping into the fray with Ridley's X-Ride Force 1 Complete Cyclocross Bike. Aluminum frame builds at this price point usually come outfitted with more entry level components, but Ridley goes big and outfits this X-Ride with SRAM's Force 1 drivetrain and hydraulic brakes, which can be found gracing the machines of many a pro on the international circuit. Adding in DT Swiss wheels and Clement's renowned MXP tires, this bike arrives ready to tackle all the twisting grass fields, loose sandpits, and leaf-shrouded single track the local promoter can throw your way. Ridley fashions the X-Ride from triple butted 7005-T6 alloy with seatstays carefully shaped to mop up energy-zapping vibrations out on the course. The Belgian brand also incorporates internal cable routing along the frame for crisp, clean lines that eliminate annoying cable pinches when grabbing the top tube to navigate a set of barriers or shouldering the bike for a long slog through the sand. Race-driven geometry paired with wide tire clearance means this bike is roaring to go fast, with ample clearance for mud-caked tires if the clouds roll in and you find yourself navigating a sloppy mess. The X-Ride comes outfitted with an Oryx Disc carbon fiber fork for a plush ride and a stiff, responsive front end. This fork features a barely perceptible asymmetry that counters the torsional forces applied to the left fork leg during braking to reduce flex and promote a long fork life. You'll find stainless steel inserts in the dropouts that protect the carbon from damage, and a scuff plate affixed to the inner left fork leg to fend off errant discs during hurried wheel changes and prevent gouging or scratching.
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