Ridley X-Trail CR50
There is a growing demand for a bike that can cover a variety of riding situations without compromising performance and, most importantly, keep it fun! Such a bike must be able to compete at your local cyclocross race, be a street-savvy commuter and have
The era of the “All Road” bike is here, and the Ridley X-Trail CR50 is one worth checking out. Since 1997, the Flanders-based Ridley Bikes company has etched its mark in the cycling world by producing high-quality rides in a country that is passionately obsessed with the sport of cycling. Using its expertise in cyclocross and testing the X-Trail in the tough weather and riding conditions of the Belgian countryside provided key ingredients in the designing of this bike.
Rest assured, the Ridley X-Trail CR50 has great bones. The frame is laid-up with high-modulus, uni-directional carbon fibre, creating a light, firm platform able to perform well on the city streets or backcountry trails. The roomy main triangle allows ample space to shoulder the bike when needed, while providing mounts for two water-bottle cages to hold the largest of hydration containers. Both of these features served me well while out on a three-hour backcountry ride. The eye-catching, glossy two-tone blue with red-accent paint job adds a touch of class to the overall package.
The oversized headtube provides the base for a stable, comfortable cockpit, where one can attempt high-speed cornering or mash down that rocky, technical descent with control and confidence. The specially designed tubes in the rear asymmetric-triangle stays provide a smooth, compliant ride while allowing solid rear-wheel traction when in loose rock or muddy conditions.
The massive, oversized clearance of the Oryx Disc TA front fork and rear triangle allow ample room to fit up to 38c tires, making for safe passage of small woodland creatures to fit through as well. Industry-trending front and rear thru-axles add even more stability to this rock-solid machine.
The bike comes stock with a set of durable Alex DRAW 1.9s rims laced up on Formula hubs. The wheels are graced with a set of Clement X’Plor MSO 36c tires. These treads offer a good all-round set of rubber, although you might opt for a more aggressive tire if you are riding more mud or dirt, or a 33c tire if racing and you need to be Union-Cycliste-Internationale-legal.
The Ridley that we tested was decked out with an 11-speed Shimano 105 group. This reliable, durable, performance-level drivetrain, including shifter, derailleurs, crankset and brakes, complement the entire X-Trail package.
With so many choices for gearing, it was much appreciated that this bike came stock with a 50x34 compact crankset. After all, this bike is classified as “All Road,” and when combined with an 11-32 cassette, it provided that high gear for pavement cruising, while the super-low gearing aided me in climbing up more significant off-road hills.
The Shimano hydraulic brakes provide reliable stopping power, while the modulation aids in controlling speed through technical terrain. The Oryx Disc TA front fork nicely absorbed any potential front-brake chatter, making a smooth transition from “go to slow.”
Sometimes the small things can make a big impact. Hidden fender mounts will be appreciated by those year-round riders needing some extra protection from the rain. The 4ZA bar, stem and seatpost come from the same Belgian pedigree as the frame, adding unique, quality components to the package.
It was a real treat to ride the Ridley X-Trail CR50 on a variety of terrain and to try to maximize its performance potential. I can now truly say that the “All Road” evolution has arrived.
It was a real treat to ride this bike. The era of the “All Road” bike is here, and the Ridley X-Trail CR50 is one worth checking out.