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

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Barry Lys­ter

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.

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