Even in the age of carbon fiber, we find that aluminum has its place in the world of cycling. That place is several dozens of miles beyond cellphone reception with nothing but freeze-dried camp food, a sleeping bag, and Ridley's X-Trail 105 Complete Bike for company. The frame's triple-butted 6061-T6 aluminum is heat-treated to further improve its fatigue resistance, so it's much better suited to the abuse of pannier-laden bikepacking than the latest wonder materials. Save the carbon climbing bike for five hour rides, and take the aluminum X-Trail for rides lasting five days. Though the frame is aluminum, Ridley equips the X-Trail with a carbon fiber fork that has integrated fender mounts to keep grime out of your face when conditions are less than ideal. The legs of the Oryx Disc fork are shaped from a blend of 30t and 24t high-modulus carbon fiber, which add a bit of chatter-absorption while stiffening the front end in the event your bikepacking route leads straight up or straight down a steep fire road. The steer tube is still aluminum, and the left leg is built-up in order to offset the twisting forces applied by disc brakes. The fork is equipped with a stiff thru-axle, too, further reinforcing the overall structure against braking forces and the general lumps of all-terrain cycling. The X-Trail's geometry is something of a melting pot, but the end result fits pretty firmly in the gravel category rather than a classic cyclocross bike like the X-Night. It's got a lower bottom bracket, shorter chainstays, and a stack/reach combination that leaves riders in less of a shoulder-intensive, slammed racing position but rather a more comfortable, long-miles position. In contrast to its road racing frames, Ridley extended the X-Trail's head tube by 10mm, bringing riders into a more upright position to accommodate longer training rides rather than racing exclusively. It's only slightly more aggressive than the Ridley's endurance road bike the Fenix, in fact, but unlik...
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Ridley X-Trail 105 Gravel Bike
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